You may not approve of what she has done, but you are not likely to forget her. In January 1995, the seemingly puritanical nanny state made its mark in the world of pornography. A Singaporean woman purportedly staged an antic of herself having sex with 251 men. It was the biggest gangbang in recorded history. Annabel Chong became an overnight sensation.
Annabel Chong was born Grace Quek on 22nd May 1972. She is an only child of a couple of school teachers. She was a top student at Raffles Girls School and scored straight A’s for her O Levels. She did her A Levels at Hwa Chong Junior College and later went to King’s College in London where she read Law. Till then, Annabel Chong seemed like she had a typical career path fit for a member of the elite carved out for her.
Then, when she was in London, she got lost near a rubbish dump one night. She was robbed and was gang-raped. After that traumatic incident, Annabel Chong’s life went into a meltdown. She decided to drop out of law school. Her parents stopped funding her. She survived by doing nude modelling, exotic dancing and later moved to America and with her parents’ approval, enrolled in the University of Southern California to do Gender Studies. While Annabel Chong was in USC (where she excelled academically), she dabbled with pornographic movies until she decided doing something big – a staged gang-bang with 251 men.
Some authors explain the concept of a record-breaking gang-bang as the equivalent of Messalina’s challenge. Roman empress Messalina was the 3rd wife of Emperor Claudius. She married Claudius at the age of 18 and when Claudius ascended the throne, she became by default, the most powerful woman in Rome. According to legend, Messalina had such an insatiable appetite for sex that she once disguised herself as a prostitute and worked for her own pleasure in a Roman brothel. Like the wicked queen in Sleeping Beauty, she was jealous of one celebrated prostitute by the name of Scylla. The two women entered a copulation competition and the prostitute gave up after the 25th man while Messalina went on.
As the decadent ways of ancient Roman faded into history and Christianity raised a new standard for morality, Europeans became more conservative and competitions like those between Messalina and Scylla were unheard of during the Middle Ages. Then, in the 1980s, a prostitute in Amsterdam purportedly took in 125 men. However, her feat was not recorded on film and could not be verified.
It is obvious that Annabel Chong’s antic was inspired by Messalina’s challenge. The props at the scene of the gang bang included columns and statues of Roman goddesses. In spite of all that, the film was meant to be a gonzo production – a precursor of reality TV. But how real was it. Annabel Chong came clean in subsequent interviews. Only 70 men turned up. More men would certainly have turned up if there wasn’t a camera recording their acts. As it went, 5 men took the stage at one time, the first man who was “ready” got to penetrate Annabel Chong while the others watched. After 10 minutes, the next 5 would get on the stage and the last 5 would have counted as 5 men having had penetrated her. The men were recycled and took their turns. 10 hours later, the count of 251 was reached. In spite of the inflated figure, Annabel Chong had to nurse a sore vagina with ice packs. Physically, it probably felt worse than the gang rape in London.
70 or 251, it was still an outrageous antic. Why on earth did Annabel Chong, a top student from a prudish country like Singapore do it? In an interview with CNN, she stressed that she was merely making an attempt to subvert the normal parameters of sex. In another interview, she said that she wanted to switch gender roles and be the female version of the stud. I doubt many feminists will agree with her. But the effect of that antic was phenomenal. Many challengers emerged, but in this case, it was all about being the first and not how many. It was a cleverly planned publicity stunt no doubt, I do not for one moment believe that it had nothing to do with the trauma she suffered after being raped in the UK. From the documentary, I can tell that she was obviously suffering from depression and she probably saw this as a twisted way to get her revenge on men who had violated her. So what? I enjoy being treated like a piece of meat. So what? I’m making a spectacle out of it. So what? I’m exploiting men, making them pay to see me get gang-banged.
Unfortunately, Annabel Chong was not paid a single cent of the promised $10,000 for her performance at the gang bang. In contrast with $12,000 that some pornstars get for spending the night with rich and famous men, Annabel seemed to have suffered for nothing. But according to some sources close to her, the whole thing was just a serious joke. She had no plans to make porn her lifelong career. She was no slave. She could quit any time.
Indeed, she gave up on big productions and went indie, creating her own website with “serious” bits discussing life and her daily activities (like a blog, ranting about her butthole being on fire after eating some really spicy curry) and the adult “members only” section featuring nude pictures. She also had a chatroom and a “merchandise” section. The photographer who helped her with her pictures revealed that the site was very successful and he was thinking of starting more similar sites featuring other girls in the industry. Then, suddenly in 2003, Annabel Chong dropped out of the industry completely. Some had likened her creation and destruction of Annabel Chong to a tediously constructed Tibetan sand mandala.
Years later in 2011, Complex magazine ranked her at #41 in their list of “The Top 50 Hottest Asian Porn Stars of All Time”. I believe she’ll never look back at the years she spent in the porn industry with regret.