by Rich Moreland, November 2018
This is the final installment of my day with Dan O’Connell. The older woman/younger woman theme of the shoot that afternoon paired Sarah Vandella’s porn maturity with Elsa Jean’s youthful appeal.
Much to my pleasure, Sarah put aside some time to chat about her career and the importance of seasoned performers in adult film.
All photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.
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In the world of adult film, veteran performers are a treasure. Any girl who has shot for over a decade is wise to the tricks of the trade and has incredible staying power. Best of all, she knows how to keep her brand fresh and exciting.
With those thoughts in mind, meet the lovely Sarah Vandella, a pure delight.
On a beautiful fall afternoon, Sarah and I took a few minutes before her scene with Girlfriends Films’ director Dan O’Connell to discuss a subject that permeates porn today: the rise of the cam girl and what that means for the industry as we’ve known it for the last two decades.
Before getting into Sarah’s opinions and insights, a little background info is appropriate.
Born in the early 1980s, Sarah’s parents blessed her with a spontaneous, easygoing attitude that influenced her adolescent years. When adulthood greeted her, the sex industry appeared on Sarah’s agenda. She worked in a porn shop at twenty-one and was dancing at twenty-two.
This engaging beauty shot her first scene in 2007 at the age of twenty-four.
Older, Powerful Woman
We talk about being an over-thirty performer, the MILF image, if you will, by porn standards.
“Since I have entered my thirties, my sex drive and desire has grown into a new area,” Sarah begins. “I’m definitely more open-minded when it comes to certain things than I was in my twenties. Once you have a little experience coming into your thirties, you’re just adding to your resume in terms of being an actress.”
Does this evolution create a better performer?
“I definitely think that women in their thirties can be considered better performers. However, there are some incredibly sexually attuned ladies in their twenties that make just as great performers.
“There’s definitely something to be said for a woman with a little more experience.”
She amplifies her comments by suggesting that an older, powerful woman is pretty sexy, citing the “step mom thing” (a version of MILF) as one of porn more popular taboos.
The New Porn Girls
The conversation shifts to cam girls. Are they the new porn girls?
Sarah’s reaction reflects what I’ve heard from a couple of directors.
“To take any average cam girl and try to turn her into a superstar won’t work,” she says. But the daughter of liberal parents concedes that there are exceptions who have done some “mainstream porn stuff,”, commenting that “the cam girls that turn into performers are the special ones.”
But shooting for studios is demanding and not for everyone.
“I don’t feel that just any basic cam girl can overnight or over a year’s time become the next Ginger Banks. I don’t find that to be reasonable.” [Ginger Banks is a webcam model who produces her own porn vids]
The native New Yorker goes on to say that these girls “have a built-in fan base” and are “available to their fans” online, of course. As a result, some have reached porn star status. “They make their own videos and have them available on their sites.”
Sarah quickly adds a personal note. “I wouldn’t call myself a cam girl because I never cammed until I was a porn star.” Now she does cam “on occasion,” this blonde stunner says.
Intimacy and Connection
Has camming changed the adult business?
“First of all, porn has changed, as you know. We don’t have adult stores anymore. Distributors are dying. Everything is online now. Thank God for fans who still support the websites,” Sarah says.
Technology has forced the adult business to reposition itself. Where does the cam girl fit into this new business model?
“Cam girls provide a certain level of intimacy and connection that not every porn girl has. When you’re camming you’ve got to open yourself to conversation, to sex play, to help instruction, to be that all-around fantasy girl. Porn stars aren’t available to their fans that way.”
As we’ve suggested, camming is much different from shooting video, right?
“Absolutely,” Sarah says. But there is a positive in camming. Fans have high expectations for online models, she points out, and that pressures established porn performers to “keep up with these girls who are giving these fans so much attention.”
To emphasize response, Sarah explains the cam girl advantage.
“They’re just so easily accessible. They’ve made it their priority. I really admire a lot of them, truly. I think they’re hard working girls. They keep their schedule; they never flake. They can’t afford to. It’s their show, their name and their brand, and also their income.
I suggest that camming may be the ultimate empowerment. Sarah concurs, but insists that camming “can be brutal, just like being a dancer,” the other job that cultivates the personal touch.
From her perspective, it’s not easy dealing with the grind of her three entertainment personas—part time dancer, film actress, and sex worker—Sarah says. However, through it all rewards do show up.
“There’s days when you get to the club and nobody wants a dance from you. Nobody cares that you do porn. Those days are rough. Then you get that one guy who is your biggest fan and he buys ten dances from you and it makes your night.”
It mirrors the online girl’s experience, she believes.
“Much like camming, you can be sitting there in your little room and waiting and waiting. You’re beautiful and you’re ready to go and time keeps on ticking until the next day, and that’s your lucky day.”
This well-established porn model offers one more thought.
“Like we said a few minutes ago camming is the ultimate empowerment in terms of being in control of your finances because you don’t need a studio, you don’t need an agent. You don’t need to get in your car and drive anywhere. It costs you nothing to put make-up on and put on a cute outfit and get your toys ready.”
All in all, she concludes, “I feel a lot of these cam girls are hustlers and want to make their money while they can. They’re smart about it. Those girls never quit and I really admire that.”
Get a Little Messier
Finally, how does Sarah maintain her on-screen freshness because sometimes porn is a yawner in its repetitiveness?
“Indeed. It sure is,” she responds, then describes her formula for success.
“I keep pushing myself and my boundaries as a performer as long as I’m comfortable with them. So, maybe going a little harder, a little rougher, different positions, or going in the opposite direction and being more sensual and connecting more with my partner. Giving that softer side.
“We continuously switch it up and push ourselves in all directions so we’re never doing the same thing.”
I joke about creative oral sex and Sarah comments with humor, “A blow job is still a blow job, but you can do a seductive blow job and a not very seductive blow job.”
Spoken like a true veteran.
“I think that when a girl keeps pushing her boundaries, she tries to go a little harder,” Sarah adds. “Maybe she tries to deep throat a little more, get a little messier with it. As long as you’re showing genuine interest and desire to be there on-set, that’s the key [to staying fresh].
“Yes, oral sex can be repetitive. But if it’s a Riley Reid or a Maddy O’Reilly, you want to keep seeing their new scenes because it’s so fucking hot and you love it,” Sarah notes with appreciative excitement.
What is in her future porn-wise?
“I really admire ladies like Julia Ann and Lisa Ann who have put their time into the business. They have evolved with age.
“So, you never know. I’m open to it all. I would love to have a movie deal, do feature work and/or gonzo. I’m a lifer. I never want to stop,” Sarah proclaims with her dimpled smile that I’m certain her fans have come to love.
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Sarah Vandella’s porn resume has produced seven AVN Award nominations, an XRCO Award and one from Urban X.
She can be followed on twitter @MssSarahVandella