Diego Barros keeps his camera turned off for our Zoom interview, but somehow the lack of a visual hardly dampens the OnlyFans heartthrob’s considerable charisma. Besides, along with millions of his fans around the world, I am intimately familiar with the image of his smile, his physique, and every inch of his most famous feature.
Speaking animatedly in his Brazil-meets-Britain accent about making big moves in his life and career, Barros’ friendly charm is as evident as his enthusiasm for his new home base of New York City.
“I’m very excited,” he says, stepping outside a bar in Manhattan where he’s enjoying his first weekend as a resident of the Big Apple. “After 14 years of living in the U.K., I’m finally here, and I love New York. It’s an amazing place.”
He’s just arrived from London, where he first moved back when he was still a straight bro from Araçatuba, Brazil. A relatively quiet town, it’s “like four hours and a half drive outside São Paulo,” he says. “It’s very nice. It’s 250,000 people. It’s the capital of cows. Very famous for the farmers.”
But Barros longed to dance, and, following some early success performing in stage musicals in Brazil, he headed across the Pond to London to study. What he discovered there was a previously unexplored talent for entertaining throngs of thirsty clubgoers as a go-go dancer and stripper.
Barros also found the space to come out as gay, and to further express his sexuality through his social media, which took off in ways he hadn’t imagined.
“Back in 2017, I blew up on Instagram, when Instagram was the main social media, and back then I used to post a lot of provocative videos,” he recalls. “That’s how I became, let’s say, famous around social media, because of my provocative videos.” Then, OnlyFans, the online hub for performers creating provocative content, came calling.
“OnlyFans got in touch with me when OnlyFans was not even big, to join the website. And I started doing solo videos, and then I’m like, ‘Okay, do you know what, I’m making a living, I’m making a lot of money on this.’ And then, that’s why I decided to do it.”
Spinning his talents and attributes into scintillating solo sexual content has propelled Barros to the “Top .01%” of all content creators on OnlyFans, and earned him millions of followers across social media. And his live shows and appearances, risqué even by striptease standards, seem integral to his success at sustaining his fanbase.
Attendees at Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend can judge for themselves when Barros makes his MAL debut performing live at the weekend’s official kickoff party on Thursday, Feb. 12, the military-themed Bootcamp. Barros’ featured appearance marks the first of several live performance dates he has lined up around the U.S. this month, as part of a mission to grow his multimedia business.
In fact, Barros will be back on a train bound for another gig before MAL even wraps up — so catch him while you can. Or, you can always subscribe to get to know him better on the internet.
METRO WEEKLY: I think at this moment in the world, a lot of people are making big moves. What prompted you, after 14 years, to move from London, and why New York?
BARROS: So, you know what, for what I’ve been doing now, living in America it’s so much easier, and so much more I can grow as well. The U.K. is a very — oh, how am I going to say it to you? It’s an amazing culture, but it’s very, for what I do, you can’t really grow. In America, things are more open, like in Brazil. Americans have a quite similar mindset — more open, more open-minded. U.K. is a bit stricter country. And then, yeah, I haven’t been doing a lot of shows in America, Central America. And sometimes I get invitations to perform here, but people are like, “Oh Diego, it’s just the airplane tickets, it’s so expensive.” And I’ll be here now. I think I’m going to have a lot more work. I think I’m going to do a lot better. I think here I have more opportunities to grow.
MW: To that point, you talk about booking shows in different places. There must have been a moment, like say two years ago, when the parties stopped for everybody. How was that for you? And does it feel like it’s all coming back?
BARROS: To be honest with you, back then, before COVID… I stopped performing in 2019. Back then I was only doing a couple shows. I had my clothing brand, I was more focused on growing my brand. But it was really hard for us stopping everything. And yes, like you said, everything is coming back now. But I do think it’s not like it used to be before, if that makes sense. I do think COVID fucked up the world a little bit.
MW: It did, I think, for every business.
BARROS: For all the businesses, yes, yes. But yeah, it was really hard. It was really hard. If you’re traveling a lot, if you’re self-employed, I used to work in the gym as well back then — imagine you had to just stop everything. That was pretty hard.
MW: Now, are you in a position now where you feel like you could work from anywhere, like you could have chosen any city?
BARROS: Yes, I am. Because now I do OnlyFans. It’s my main thing. And as OnlyFans, I can work literally anywhere. I’ve been performing as well. So yes, I can just work anywhere. A lot of guys that do what I do, they all move to Dubai, especially the British people because there in Dubai, you pay zero taxes. So they’re all going there. So, two places they go: they go to Dubai, or they move to the U.S.
MW: Between social media, booking shows, booking events, and travel, there’s a lot entailed in keeping your operation running. Are you doing this all alone?
BARROS: Yeah, everything I do alone. I like to get in touch with the clubs. I like to close the deals and stuff. I do have, of course, an accountant to help with my money. I’ve got two apartments in Brazil, I do have someone that takes care of that. But when it comes to social media, getting in touch with the clubs, my OnlyFans, I like to do everything by myself. I like to do everything alone, yes.
MW: And you perform alone. This is what I’ve read, because I haven’t seen everything that you do, that you’re committed right now to performing solo in your videos. Is that true? And why have you chosen to exclusively perform solo?
BARROS: About doing solo videos, a lot of people ask me that. It is because I like doing solo videos. I think what I do is very sexual, it’s very provocative because I use toys. I interact a lot with people during my shows, and I think — this is my point of view, of course — I think doing solo, there’s always something more to see.
Solo is always that mystery, like, “Oh we want to see more.” It’s missing something. You know what I’m saying? That’s why I like to do solo. It’s always like, “Mm, he made a video fucking an ass toy, but I’d love to see how the real person…” It’s always the next step. And I like that. I like a little bit of the mystery. And also I interact with people a lot when I do my shows. It makes my shows a little bit more special. It makes it more exciting. That’s my point of view, but never say never. You never know. Talking five years ago, I never thought I’d be doing what I’ve been doing now. So maybe in two years time, like, “Oh, you know what, I’m going to do a few collaborations.” To be honest with you, I don’t have a plan to do that. But you never know.
MW: You talk about being provocative on Instagram. Were you provocative in your sexuality as a younger person? Or is that something that you came to later in life?
BARROS: Always. Always. I’m going to tell you something. You remember that film Striptease, with Demi Moore?
BARROS: So my older cousin, he had a videotape. I was there on holiday at his house, and then I think they left and stuff, and I went to his room, and I watched the film. Since then, I absolutely fell in love with this, you know, the provocative stories. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is a huge part of the music, the main music of the film. “Sweet Dreams” is still my favorite song of all time. If you go to my Instagram, a lot of my strip shows, I still dance to “Sweet Dreams” because of the film. That’s why most of my videos are wearing a suit and a tie, because that’s how Demi Moore used to perform when she would strip. That film is where I started my passion about doing provocative stuff. That’s how everything started. And then I remember watching Dirty Dancing, and other films, like Moulin Rouge. I was always very into cabaret stuff, provocative stuff, like strippers, go-go dancing. I love all that.
MW: I also read that before go-go dancing, you danced Axé? Is that what it’s called?
BARROS: Yeah. So before doing all that provocative stuff, I’ve done a couple of musicals. I’ve done Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I was Judah. I’ve done Aladdin. I was the Aladdin. I was 18 years old. I’ve done Cats, I was Mungojerrie. I used to dance Axé, to Axé music. It’s a Brazilian dance. It’s kind of like samba, but it’s a little bit more high energy. So I always used to like dance stuff. And then I got into more go-go, stripping when I moved to London, when I started doing provocative stuff on social media.
MW: If you don’t mind my asking, when you were doing stage performing, when you’re dancing in tights as Cats, did your dick ever get in the way?
BARROS: My dick? No, because back then I used to wear underwear. [Laughs.] I don’t really wear underwear anymore. I don’t really like it. I like freeballing. Of course, I’m always wearing jeans so you can’t really notice. But if I go to the gym, I always like my vests very long so you can’t really see it. But not really, not really, because I used to wear underwear back then. But I used to have a big dick back then as well.
MW: I mean costumes can be really tight. It seems like it could be a real issue.
BARROS: Yeah. So it’s not any problem. And a lot of people ask as well, “Diego, when did you find out that you have a big dick?” Because I grew up in a very straight environment in Brazil, but I remember me and my friends from school, we did a jerkoff competition, and then I remember they’re like, “Fucking hell, D, you’re like a horse. Oh my god, you’re going to kill your wife.” Because back then I used to be like, let’s say, straight. I came out when I moved to London.
MW: So you fully identify as LGBTQ?
BARROS: Definitely. Yes, yes. Back in Brazil, I was completely straight. I grew up in a very straight — very straight — family, very religious family. And then I moved to London, actually, with my girlfriend. We moved together to finish studying, and then she [went] back after six months, and I decided to stay. That’s how I started exploring a little bit my sexuality.
Now, let’s be honest, we all know before. I think I started hiding a little bit more, because of my family. But then when I got to London I [realized], “Oh, you know what, things are more open here.” And that’s why I stayed. That’s where I started my gay life, in London. But to be honest with you, I am LGBT, I stand up, but back then — now I’m so comfortable with my sexuality — but when I started dating guys, I used to be a little bit more low-profile. But now I’m 100 percent open.
MW: Is it difficult to maintain a relationship? Do you try to maintain relationships? Or, do you just enjoy being single? Because you’re traveling, and you’re doing a lot of stuff that not every guy’s going to be comfortable with.
BARROS: I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not the kind that’s like, “Oh my god, do you date, are you looking for a relationship?” Because I think when someone is desperately looking for a partner — “Oh my god, I need to find a partner!” — that’s when you’re going to find the wrong person. When it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.
I believe for me it’s all about connection. I don’t go by type, “Oh my God, that guy’s hot, let’s date each other because we’re so good-looking.” You need to have that chemistry. Sometimes people ask me if I’m gonna be in a relationship. It’s not because I don’t want to be. It’s because I didn’t have that connection yet. It didn’t happen yet. So, that’s my opinion. I’m not looking for a relationship. I think it’s going to happen at some point, if it happens.
MW: I totally agree with that.
BARROS: I do make an effort, but some people are like, “Oh my god, I’m looking for a boyfriend.” I don’t know. When you’re looking for a boyfriend, you just end up with the wrong person. I like things more natural. When you go to a bar, meet someone, like, “Oh, let’s exchange numbers. Hey, let’s go for dinner.” Things are more natural, [instead of] like you’re hunting for someone.
MW: At this point, do you ever just drop into a bar? Is it hard for you to hang out and not get people, I guess, all over you?
BARROS: You know what, I’m so chill. I don’t mind people coming up to me, I don’t mind people chatting. I’m very chill. When I go to a bar, I don’t mind meeting people, to interact, socialize. Especially now, I’m an immigrant. I’ve been living in London, I left all my friends and family. I’m the only one. So I like meeting people. I don’t mind at all.
What I mind, actually, is, let’s say if I’m in the gym working out, and someone will like stare at me, and follow me around the whole time. Like, mate, just come say hi. Don’t keep staring at me like a creep. That’s the only time that I get a little bit uncomfortable. But when in bars, people come and chat to me, I like it and I chat back as well. I love meeting people.
MW: That’s good to know. So have you been to D.C. before?
BARROS: No, it’s going to be my first time. I’m really excited.
MW: You’re coming, of course, for Leather Weekend. Have you had many leather experiences? Do you consider yourself part of the leather community?
BARROS: Right. I’m very open-minded. Very open. I’m so glad that I got invited to the MAL Weekend. But this is going to be my first time, to be honest with you. What I do, my shows are very provocative, so usually when I get invited to perform, it is already a fetish party, it’s a fetish event. I always wear very fetish-y stuff — but like proper leather? That’s going to be my first time.
MW: Do you have an outfit ready?
BARROS: Oh, yes, baby — yes, I do. But even though, tomorrow I want to go to the gay area [in New York City] where all the shops and stuff are, and I just want to look a bit around to see. I already got my outfit, which is really nice. But I want to have two, because I have two [performances].
MW: So here’s my last question for you, Diego. What are you pushing towards in 2023?
BARROS: 2023. Oh my god. Moving to New York was a big step. Moving to New York, really. And then, I’m so happy that I’m getting so many invitations to perform around the U.S., because I’ve been an influencer for such a long time and it’s so nice now to do all the shows and get to connect with people. Because back in the day, I was just that guy behind the computer, now it’s nice to get there, meet, and open my mind about, like, in D.C. I’m going to do leather, and then I’m doing the White Party in Palm Springs in May. So that’s what I’m looking forward to, getting to meet people, to get around more. I think that’s my main goal. And, of course, to continue to do well at what I do, which is my own business with OnlyFans.
KINETIC’s Bootcamp featuring Diego Barros is Thursday, Jan. 12, from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Soundcheck, 1420 K St. NW. Tickets are $15-25. Visit www.kineticpresents.com.
For more information about MAL Weekend, visit www.leatherweekend.com.
Find Diego Barros on OnlyFans at https://onlyfans.com/dibarros1. A subscription is $15 a month.
Follow Diego on Instagram at @diego_rodrigob.
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