BeBe Sweetbriar’s FAME :: Sister Roma -- Porn’s favorite nun

by BeBe Sweetbriar

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday November 3, 2010

The self-proclaimed "Most Photographed Nun In The World," Sister Roma has dedicated almost 25 years as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and the fight against AIDS. Along the way, this glamorous nun found a place in the gay adult industry where her personality can shine and her celebrity can soar.

Her GayVN (Gay Video Network) Award win in September (in the category GayVN Personality of the Year, no less) solidifies how much she is adored by, not only her fans, but her industry peers. Her web talk show about the gay adult industry The Tim & Roma Show is on the cusp of a landmark 100th episode. (To watch a highlight show of the show's first 99 episodes,click here.

It wasn't too hard for me to track down the San Francisco nightlife celebrity since we are normally side-by-side at a watering hole. Here Sister Roma shares with me her involvement in the gay adult film industry, her thoughts on the recent gay youth suicides, and her political aspirations.

First award?

BeBe: To add to your own self-proclaimed title, you won the Personality of the Year Award at September's GayVNs. Did cash come with that?
Roma: No. No cash. But then the adoration, love and respect of my adult industry colleagues and fans mean more to me than money....oh, what am I saying? Where's my money, dammit!? Seriously, I love the adult industry. I've met some amazing, crazy, talented, sexy and wonderful people.
BeBe: Is your recent GayVN trophy your first?
Roma: Yes. It was my first GayVN. I also have a Grabby Award for design.
BeBe: How long have you been involved with the porn industry, and how much longer do you see yourself with your finger on the g-spot, so to speak?
Roma: I started out as an avid porn viewer and fan. Then in the early 90s, I met Michael Youens (drag persona Shante) who worked at Falcon Studios. Shante introduced me to Chi Chi LaRue (Channel One), Steven Scarborough (Hot House Entertainment) and almost every porn star of the late 80s and early 90s. I befriended the industry and made several appearances with the guys before I actually started my professional involvement. I honestly can't imagine NOT working in porn. The industry has changed so much since I started and continues to evolve. I hope I can roll with it, adapt to it, and keep it hot forever!

Hot House gig

BeBe: I think the public forgets that along with being a San Francisco icon, a prolific member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (the Sisters), and a world personality that you have a day gig at Hot House Entertainment. Explain your role there.
Roma: I started working with Hot House Entertainment as a freelance graphic designer in 1998 and became full-time a few years later. Steven Scarborough, Hot House President, and Brent Smith, Hot House VP/Creative Director, made me the Art Director in 2006, and we've been turning it out ever since. We have a wonderful time because we love what we do.
BeBe: The porn industry has definitely taken a two-fold hit with free porn on the internet and the current economic environment. How is Hot House handling these challenges?
Roma: I'm proud of Steven and Brent for staying ahead of the curve with regard to technology, branding, marketing, and meeting the ever changing desires of our audience. We maintain a close relationship with our loyal DVD/mail order customers who have been with us for over a decade while simultaneously developing a strong presence on the internet at Seriously, our website offers more adult entertainment and more weekly updates than any other studio site. I'm very proud of it!
BeBe: As co-host of the "Tim and Roma Show" on the internet, you have probably interviewed every major gay porn star there is. In your opinion, who is next on the horizon?
Roma: It's hard to believe that we just celebrated our 100th episode of the "Tim and Roma Show"! It's such a wacky, fun-loving and tongue-in-cheek show. We have a blast, and I have met and interviewed some amazing people. I love Tim Valenti and everyone at NakedSword. As far as some of my favorite XXX (adult film) newcomers....keep an eye out for Brandon Bangs, Logan Scott, Phoenix Saint, Chris Porter and Kennedy Carter.
BeBe: I know you have heard people say in San Francisco that 'everywhere you turn you are tripping over a porn star'. Has gay porn reached a saturation point here in the City by the Bay, and are porn stars becoming less significant as notable celebrities?
Roma: I think the term "porn star" is thrown around too loosely. Before the internet there were a few major studios and a handful of men making the movies. They were more like screen idols and less accessible than they are today. Now, anyone with a webcam can make porn and put it online. At the same time, more studios have popped-up that are internet based. I'm proud to say that in light of the influx of adult entertainment, Hot House has maintained our commitment to quality productions and world class men. We still bring you PORN STARS like Kyle King, Craig Reynolds and Tony Mecelli.

Bullies? Ignore them

BeBe: You recently took a trip to Austria representing the Sisters at an International event. What was that all about?
Roma: (It was) Life Ball in Vienna. Without a doubt the most opulent, glamorous, over-the-top event that I have ever attended. It's Europe's largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser, and they turn it out! It was my first trip to Europe, and I felt like I was dreaming the entire time.
BeBe: With the large number of suicides lately amongst gay teens in this country, how can the gay community reach out and show our gay youth they are not alone?
Roma: Ugh! This whole bullying thing is such a bunch of bullshit. Why listen to bullies? What do they know? Anyone who bullies someone is just a loud mouth with an opinion, and most of the time they are wrong. And, they lie. Ignore them. You know what's going on inside. You know who you are, or at least you're in the process of finding out. Don't let anyone else tell you who or what you are.  The whole "It Gets Better" campaign and videos are very moving. Reaching out to our LGBT youth via the internet is the best way to go. I remember feeling like I was the 'only one' growing up, but I (then) read books. Today, I would encourage young people to read and do research, especially on the internet. If they can just hang in there, they'll soon realize that high school doesn't last forever. Once you get on your own the world is your oyster, and you can literally do anything you set your mind to. Don't deny yourself the thrills, happiness and success that awaits you.
BeBe: One way of making change with bullying in high school is through legislation, and we recently had a dragster in Glenn Anna Conda Hyde run for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. Have you ever thought of inducing change with your popularity through politics?
Roma: I love Anna Conda. I'm so impressed by her dedication and passion. She was a viable candidate. I don't think the world's ready for me....yet!
There you have it. Kind of makes you want to run off and join a convent, huh?
To watch Sister Roma on The Tim and Roma Show, visit the show's website.

Based out of San Francisco, BEBE SWEETBRIAR is the Omni Present Drag Chanteuse. As an entertainer and hostess, BeBe can be scene every week hosting and performing at countless events and parties in the San Francisco. One of the few drag personalities to sing live while performing, BeBe has literally graced every notable stage in San Francisco, bridging many gay sub-community gaps. She has also been the opening act for Destiny's Child Kelly Rowland, "Ugly Betty's" Alec Mapa and Dance Diva Kristine W. Adding recording artist to her list of performance accomplishments in 2008 with the release of her first single "Save Me", Ms. Sweetbriar will soon release her fifth dance single in 2012 called "Show It Off".. As an actress, BeBe was introduced to film with a lead role in the independent film "Under One Sun" with her character dealing with religious, racial and gender issues. Additionally, she appeared in the campy musical "Devious, Inc" (Australian Film Festival, San Francisco Short Film Fest) also adding additional vocals to the musical soundtrack. Both of these performances led to her selection for a lead role in Aisha Media's next short film series, "" to be released in 2012.