Riley Reid Talks Business of Being Her on Eric Weinstein Podcast

CYBERSPACE—There's a lot that goes on behind the curtain of the self-driven mini industry that is adult megastar Riley Reid, and the bubbly luminary offers a candid glimpse at some of the blood, sweat and tears involved on the latest episode of noted physicist and Thiel Capital managing director Eric Weinstein's podcast The Portal.

Appearing on the program under her real name, Ashley Mathews, Reid delves during the nearly two-hour discussion into topics ranging from the Obama administration's "Operation Chokepoint," which hindered some in certain businesses including adult from accessing banking services, to her transition from a religious upbringing into atheism, to the culture shock she's experienced interacting with so-called "civilians" on mainstream sets. The episode is the podcast's 21st; previous guests have included director Werner Herzog, author Bret Easton Ellis and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

Reid said she connected with Weinstein after posting on Twitter that she'd attended a talk between himself and fellow podcaster Sam Harris. "After a few discussions on the phone and learning more about me, Eric had the idea to have me on his podcast The Portal," she told AVN. "He said he wated to 'advertise you as Riley Reid, but we actually give them Ashley: cerebral, Sam Harris fan, psychonaut and successful business woman.' He had an interest in discussing subjects like body positivity, discriminative business extortion, as well as just to show the underlying human being that I am."

On the prosepct of peeling back the porno façade and conducting the interview using her legal name—Weinstein paints Riley Reid from the outset of the episode as a "character" created by Mathews—she offered, "I was nervous at first and still am a bit nervous about advertising myself as who I am authentically, but at the same time it's kind of refreshing.

"I have created a character who I have brought to life knows as Riley Reid," she continued. "Most people know me as Riley before they know me as Ashley. Which I can't blame people, it's the only way I've advertised myself. Although there is something about my soul that wants to be more than the fun-loving, slutty porn star Riley Reid. What most people don't realize is that Riley could not exist without Ashley. Ashley is the creator of this internet persona. I often like to say there is no separation of self because I am both beings, but at the same time I know myself. Strangers who watch my porn, follow me on social media, etcetera, have only seen me as Riley.

"In recent times, I have felt more inclined to share myself beyond my brand Riley Reid, and have been using my real name in multiple occasions, from other podcasts to even my I Am Riley docu-series by Evil Angel. I have been more comfortable with the idea of people learning the real me. I encourage it. I want people to be able to feel relatable and see me beyond the character I've created online."

Comfortable as she may be these days with revealing her true self, Reid said she was still plenty on edge about holding her own opposite such a scholarly type as Weinstein. "I was so nervous to speak to Eric!" she confessed. "He's one of the smartest people I've ever met, and to hold a discussion with him was extremely daunting! I wasn't sure if I was even smart enough to speak to him [laughs]. It's not every day that I have conversations like that with people like him. Plus I had to censor myself to try to not be too pornographic, if at all."

She added, "Overall I knew it was an opportunity I had to accept, given the audtience and platform. It's a new place for me to allow people to hear my voice and to take me seriously as an individual. It was my duty as a symbol in the industry to accept this challenge and express what it's like to be a sex worker. I can only hope I did a decent job."

Listen to the Ashley Mathews/Riley Reid episode of The Portal here or on Spotify, Stitcher or other podcast platforms.

Photo of Riley Reid from Manuel Ferrara/Jules Jordan's Raw 37.