Bel Ami’s Johan Paulik Comes Out/As a Father, Family Man and All Around Stand Up Guy
In American pop culture there are names, individual persons, whose status rises beyond a pedestrian label such as actor, athlete, villian, hero, or even GAY PORN STAR. Johan Paulik, despite living in Slovakia all of his 37 years, and only occasionally visiting America, is deservedly a GAY AMERICAN PORN LEGEND.
For many American Gay men, Porn Stars are the same as the male Greek gods of Olympus – idolized, sexualized, given status above mere mortals. Among these porn stars, some flash brightly and then disappear, like a shooting star across the night sky. Others, however, persists. Fame, for these men, can even outlast their on-camera careers. These are the legends of gay American porn, men whose mortal being and screen persona become gay American icons.
Johan Paulik’s iconic status among gay American porn stars spans half of Johan’s life. And all of these years have been spent working for George Duroy and his Prague-based legendary gay porn company Bel Ami. In fact, Johan was working with Duroy even before he created the company and shot his first porn feature.
Having seen Johan’s photograph in a local newspaper, George Duroy, working then in entertainment booking, sought him out to do a photo project. Quick-witted, enthusiastic, and happy to make extra money, eighteen-year-old Johan soon found himself in front of Duroy’s camera for Sauna Paradiso (1994), Bel Ami’s first porn film.
Of course, Johan has famously said “I never intended to be a porn star” but once he was seen on video, his boy-next-door good looks, his ability to project naturally an innocent sexuality, and the joy Johan seemed to have in all of life’s experiences, secured for him a rapid elevation to the status of a gay American porn star and icon, a status certified by his induction in 2000 into the Hall of Fame of the Gay Adult Video Network.
JOHAN PAULIK TODAY
For the past nineteen years of his life, Johan Paulik (born Daniel Ferencik in 1975) has provided gay porn consumers with a consistent vision of homoerotic sex between men. In interviews Paulik has acknowledged that the vision is George Duroy’s and that early in his own career working behind the camera, Duroy would yet be completely involved and in charge of each filming. Today, however, Paulik and the other men who shoot Bel Ami’s features (Lukas Ridgeston and Marty Stevens, in particular) are given creative independence with much of their productions, especially on set and in post-production.
Of course, the production schedule at Bel Ami keeps everyone fully occupied. In fact, as Johan and I talked in the Bel Ami office in Bratislava in September 2011, he described the demands of production (which often involve travel and being in distant, often exotic, locations for months) as possibly the only drawback of his job. And, yes, somewhere along the way, Johan decided that working for Bel Ami and making gay pornos was not only something he was good at doing, but that it could be a full-time occupation and not only support himself and his family but offer them more comforts, more readily, than many other possible paths.
One of the comforts his work has allowed Johan is the home where he, his five-year-old son, his partner and her eight-year-old daughter share a rather quiet life, filled with family. The house, which is in the rural countryside outside of Bratislava, is the product of Johan’s hands. Competed three years ago, he built it himself, with the aid of a few friends and family, only occasionally contracting construction elements (such as the installation of windows) to others. But the framing, plumbing (a bathroom upstairs as well as downstairs), wiring (except for connection to the utility lines), were all done by Johan, yet as Johan talks about the building of his home, he is modest and doesn’t see anything unusual in his having constructed the two-story, four-bedroom house himself.
At thirty-seven Johan Paulik is quite settled. Although when he was eighteen and got his first substantial check from Bel Ami, his first purchase had been a motorbike so he could compete in motocross (which his parents had not permitted earlier), Johan’s level head prevailed and, when the publication by Bruno Gmunder (the German powerhouse of male Art books) of a small book of his photos went into a third printing, he purchased an apartment with its royalties which he explains George Duroy had given him after the book’s success. As Johan explained, for a young man in Slovakia, owning his own apartment was a sign of professional success in a country where most persons could not afford to buy and rented their housing. Johan’s purchase proved to be savvy , and not long after the birth of his son in 2006, Johan sold his apartment, which (though it had appreciated in value), would not have been enough to have provided his house had he not done all the labor himself.
Johan is duly, though modestly, proud of his career accomplishments, of the success of his days of modeling and of his participation in the business aspects of Bel Ami (for a while after he ceased working in front of the camera he was the company’s CEO). Today Johan says he is glad not to have the stress of the business side of the company and to be part of Bel Ami’s production unit where he directs, shoots and edits video both for dvd releases and for the Bel Ami Online website (www.BelAmiOnline.com). He is also responsible for the Bel Ami documentaries which have become an integral and successful part of Bel Ami’s video production. When asked during the interview if he is happy in his work, with the perhaps single exception of time away from his family and personal interests and hobbies while on extended locale shoots, Johan answers that, yes, he is happy and that he would never consider living or working anywhere else. Undoubtedly, his many admirers and those who appreciate the production standards of the Bel Ami brand are also happy he has remained with the company, helping to expand the quality of gay adult video for an ever increasing and appreciative audience.
As he has done in several interviews throughout the years, Johan yet professes to not understand fully why he became such a sensation, why he (and Lukas) achieved icon status, though from the viewpoint of a director, cameraman, editor and production unit head, he recognizes some of his success as a model was a combination of timing and marketing (European porn was new in the American market), but mostly Johan feels his star rose to icon status because in his videos he showed his personality. And in his role as creator of gay porn fantasies now, he says he can see quickly which models will succeed and which will not by whether there is a personality which comes alive for the camera.
Successful and happy in his career, Johan Paulik’s contributions to gay porn have been immense and will continue. Considering the years ahead of him, Johan says he may at some point opt to continue his university studies for a MBA (rather than structural engineering which he had studied early on) but that currently his time is fully and rewardingly occupied with work and family.
The man this is Johan Paulik is extraordinary. Not only in his achievements but in his attitude toward life and his life’s work. As an interviewer, sitting and visiting with the icon Johan Paulik in Bel Ami’s Bratislava office, I found myself increasingly aware that in his modeling days, the man who is Daniel Ferenick had shared something quite special in his videos and photos. He had shared, honestly and openly, his personality, allowing himself to enjoy his experiences and to show that enjoyment of life and his sexuality through the camera’s lens. Today, nineteen years after his last sexual role on video, Johan Paulik is that same man. Older, yes, wiser for the passing years, no doubt, his youthful boy-next-door twinkish good looks having matured into a very handsome and still seriously sensuous presence , yet still the same person, the same man, still presenting himself honestly to the world, willing to share openly about his life and work.
Thanks, Johan, for the pleasure of an interview and, especially, for the honor of you sharing of yourself, your life, your life’s work and your dreams for your family and future. Much appreciation, admiration and respect.
Enter Here to Join The Party
The interview for this series of articles on Bel Ami’s Johan Paulik covered many more topics than presented here. Check back on www.GayAmericanPorn.com for updates from the interview on Johan’s early videos, modeling career, the escapades he and other of the Bel Ami boys got into during time off on locale shoots in his early days of filming, his travels to the United States and throughout the world, personal appearances and his account of the distilling of plums into a very strong, typical as he describes it, Slovakian brandy. And pictures, of course. Pictures of Johan from his modeling days and iconic films and of Johan today, on set and behind the scenes and as he travels around the world.
The author’s appreciation for permission from Bel Ami Studios to conduct and present the information from this interview with Johan Paulik are gratefully acknowledged, with special thanks to Bel Ami COO Stuart Davis and Bel Ami’s director of online marketing Alan Breslaw.