Tag Archives: Vanessa Veracruz

Engaging Your Brain: A Review of Lesbian Sex 17

by Rich Moreland, October 2017

In Girlfriends Films’ Lesbian Sex 17, director Dan O’Connell takes an innovative approach to exploring the performer’s point of view on a variety of topics. In this review, I’ve included a sampling of what the video offers.

To order the DVD, click here.

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“With a woman there’s so much to touch and to play with,” Natasha Nice tells Georgia Jones. “I want to cover all the ground!”

Georgia smiles eagerly and Natasha turns the tables, asking Georgia for her thoughts on the same question Georgia posed to her, “How do you like your sex scenes with a woman?”

Depends on her partner, the slim brunette responses.

“If they come out of the gate ready to go you’ve got to match that!”

As I watched the four pairings in Lesbian Sex 17, I remembered being on set for a Dan O’Connell shoot a couple of years ago.

That day I noticed two girls on the veranda engaged in animated conversation. Adria Fox and Jorden Kennedy were awaiting their nod to rock and roll under the lights and had time on their hands. They decided to make use of it with a little “getting to know you.”

Kissing and caressing highlighted with a few giggles, these lovelies began warming up for their scene. When they finally made it to the bedroom, the crew was still setting up. By that time, Jorden and Adria were so into each other that Dan had to remind them to go slow at the beginning.

I wondered how their veranda conversation energized them and I’m betting that any film fan would also. With Dan’s idea of putting the girls together in front of the camera to share their thoughts before the sex begins, we get an inside look.

By the way, Lesbian Sex 17 is not in a BTS (Behind the Scenes) format. There is no interviewer, the girls do that themselves. They talk about whatever they want and lots of good stuff is revealed.

Let’s take a closer at a sampling of what usually stays very private . . .

Style

Each of the pairings have a different style of interaction.

August Ames

August Ames and Penny Pax are giggly and girly with August dominating their interaction because, I think, Penny is by nature more submissive.

Veruca James and Stella Cox are workmanlike and a bit more serious in their conversation. Again, one girl tends to take the lead, in this case Veruca who holds a mug of coffee and directs their conversation.

On the other hand, Natasha Nice and Georgia Jones are playful in a way that reminds the viewer of girl talk around the water cooler. Neither of them overwhelms the discussion though Georgia’s personality presents an unabashed eagerness when the mention of sex comes up.

The other conversation reinforces that the women in this film are well-respected veterans of the business. Chanel Preston and Vanessa Veracruz are a fascinating duo. Chanel’s personality quite literally takes over any room she enters. The statuesque beauty is the personification of presence. On the other hand, the sultry Vanessa holds her own, with points of view that are undeniably strong.

Natasha Nice

Locations also vary. August and Penny are shot relaxing out of doors, as are Chanel and Vanessa. Veruca and Stella sit at a bar while Natasha and Georgia settle in front of a window so the camera can capture the pelting rain that seems to embrace them.

Religion

The topics of conversation are not the same within each pairing, a result of not relying on an interviewer. Some things are discussed in common, however, such as masturbation, first time sex with another girl, and entering into porn.

The viewer learns that these girls were body explorers at a young age and by their early teens had thoughts about snuggling up to other girls. Watching porn as a kid almost seemed like a rite of passage and getting into the business was a breeze.

August Ames talks about her strict home environment and the religious overlay that corralled her. That led to smoking weed and hooking up with schoolmates (girls because she went of Catholic school) to play around with the dirty.

Chanel Preston

Chanel and Vanessa also bring up religion and their home life.

“We would go to church, but I wouldn’t say we were a religious family,” Chanel says. As a consequence, following the faith never played a part in how she felt about sex, so there was never any guilt about it. In fact, religion never played a role in anything in her life, Chanel remembers. It was just something her family did.

On the other hand, Vanessa, who is comfortable referring to herself as bisexual, reflects August Ames to a degree.

“I’m a little catholic girl,” the Latina hottie mentions, though her Catholic household was not strict. Not so with her grandmother, however, who doesn’t know what Vanessa does, the same thing, by the way, Vanessa once told me in an interview. Unfortunately, her middle sister, who “flipped out” about Vanessa’s porn career, “ratted me out” to the whole family, she comments.

Vanessa mentions what as a writer in the industry I have heard often. The family scene is difficult for most performers. Society thinks what we do is not the norm, Vanessa exclaims, so we’re outcasts.

Vanessa Veracruz

It’s difficult to tell her family she’s more respected on a porn set than working a normal job.

Fooling Around Young

Penny Pax was less rebellious than her shooting partner August, but remembers getting into the carnal with her female classmates in elementary school.

Penny Pax

She talks about messing around in the bushes on the playground and early versions of fingering for exploratory purposes. Hilariously, carrots and ice cubes came later, the quiet porn superstar muses.

Veruca James

Veruca James admits to masturbating very young and makes an interesting observation about 1970s style porn mags. The guys seemed pretty gross while “the girls seemed so much more tasteful,” she says. “Something about women’s bodies is so much more attractive,” the dark-haired miss believes.

The curvy Stella Cox brings up fetishes and talks about having sex with girls who are not into porn. It’s hard to figure out if they’re lesbian, bi, or just into to having sex with another girl, she comments. Then she adds it’s a longer more involved process to have sex with a woman than a man because having sex with a girl “engages your brain.”

What Approach Do You Take?

Stella Cox

One of the questions Natasha and Georgia bring up is how to handle telling people you do porn. Like similar issues covered by all the girls, this question entails communicating with non-porn people.

Georgia says, “It’s always different. It’s how I’m feeling at the moment.” If she’s not feeling real confident, the slender dynamo tells them she’s a model. Should she be more confident, Georgia says, “I tell them I do porn. Homosexual porn, I say it just like that. I tell them straight up I do lesbian porn.”

That, she declares, gets her “mixed reactions.”

As for Natasha, whose cuddly girl-next-door looks endear her fans, the approach is much the same. “I try to figure them out a little bit. I prefer to say ‘adult entertainer.’ I don’t really get any negative responses.”

Georgia Jones

The other issue they explore has to do with attraction to partners. Georgia is chemistry oriented. She likes girls who are “social smart” and “book smart,” can hold a conversation, and be witty with the ability to “snap back at you,” she says.

Natasha likes a “natural woman,” someone “I might see at the grocery store, not super chiseled like in porn.”

Beyond that surface value, she emphasizes that connecting with the person is vital. She wants her partners to be “someone I can giggle with. I’m still a kid at heart.”

Dan’s Girls

So there you have, a sampling of attitudes and conversation . . . but what about the sex scenes? Well, this is a Dan O’Connell production. The girls wear a minimum of makeup, avoid overly suggestive clothes to keep the “girl next door” image Girlfriends Films has heralded for so long.

It goes without saying that the sex is hot and consumes two hours of rollicking fun. Chemistry comes through on every shoot. Lots of kissing and finger banging is always prevalent and sex toys are assiduously avoided unless it’s an exceptional shoot.

Take notice, for example, of Chanel and Vanessa celebrating the weirdness of a film called Messed Up. It appears to deviate somewhat from the tried and true Girlfriends production.

One thing about all-girl shoots the average fan can appreciate: various degrees of shaving are always present. Bald is beautiful for some, but not all. Stylish trimming is never the same from one girl to the next, so there is something for everybody.

What’s the bottom line on this film? When it comes to girl-on-girl action, Dan’s ladies are always top notch. This time he’s added that inside look that informs the fan of what’s really on her mind!

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Whatever Feels Good

by Rich Moreland, November 2015

This is the final installment of my day with Dan O’Connell. The movie is Women Seeking Women #123, a Girlfriends Films production.

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Eye Contact and Touch

It’s worth a mention that Dan believes his scenes must be a natural extension of two girls who might be real life lovers. Feelings and emotions, rather than gonzo-type hard banging, highlight his filming philosophy. The result is a Girlfriends‘ product that differs from other company’s more trendy girl-on-girl scenes. Sex toys are nowhere to be found, everything is generated by the performers’ hands and mouths.

Aidra and Jorden Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Aidra Fox and Jorden Kennedy
Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Like organic foods at the supermarket, there are no additives to gobble up the real sex of the scene.

As Vanessa Veracruz remarks after completing her shoot, Dan has his own approach to expressing girl/girl eroticism. “It’s definitely more about sensuality, connecting instead of just being a sex act. Dan usually tells us he wants a lot of eye contact, a lot of touch, a lot of feeling.”

The thoughtful and provacative Vanessa Veracruz talks with me.

The thoughtful and provocative Vanessa Veracruz talks after her scene

It’s all very appealing to this Mexican-American performer because she does only girl/girl shoots.

A self-identified bisexual, Vanessa explains that Girlfriends’ preferences are not characteristic of other companies. “It’s awesome shooting for them . . you really connect with a girl that your are working with. We don’t have enough of that in a scene.”

Aidra Fox who chats with me before picking up her check, offers that Girlfriends is a favorite studio for her.

“The moment you walk on set it’s super nice. The crew gets along with everyone and when it comes down to that actual scene, it’s always easy.”

The twenty year old Midwesterner praises Dan.

The sexy and charming Aidra Fox after her shoot

The perky and charming Aidra Fox after her shoot

“He’s always puts me with good girls, someone that is very into their job, very into me. . . It’s just real sex. He lets you do the positions that you want to do for however long you want.”

Most important for her is Dan’s easy-going manner.

“He doesn’t really tell you how to have sex. He lets you do whatever feels good, whatever feels right and natural.”

Like some of the other performers Dan hires, she came into the business “only doing girls,” Aidra says. Though she enjoys “the rough stuff” in filming, the dimpled brunette also likes the “really sweet stuff” Girlfriends offers.

Big Papa Bear

While the performers are being paid, my associate and I settle on the veranda with Mike Towers. An affable guy, he lives in Santa Monica which is a decent drive from where we are at the moment. Mike has perfected his still photography and cinematography having been in adult for over twenty years. Samples of his work can be found here.

As I listen to Mike talk with my assistant, I drift back to what Dani Daniels said when we did a short interview before her shoot.

Getting a few valuable minutes from Dani Daniels

Getting a few valuable minutes from superstar Dani Daniels

“Dan’s like big papa bear. His brain is awesome. He can come up with stories that I couldn’t come up with in a year. I love working with him. He sets are comfortable, you always get to work with a girl you want to work with. He treats his girls great.”

Dan O’Connell began Girlfriends Film to create his own vision of adult film and Dani’s words I’ve heard from others in the industry. But it’s Dan’s demeanor that is the real story because it sets the tone for an entire business model.

Dani elaborates.

“He’s got a great attitude. He’s calm, always about connection . . . real sex, real chemistry. There are very few companies that will turn on a camera and say, ‘Ok, have sex. Do whatever you want.’ I feel like my best scenes are from Girlfriends Films.”

Papa Bear setting up his shot.

Papa Bear setting up his shot.

After everyone leaves Dan joins us and the possibility of a brew and dinner comes up. My assistant and I are good to go. We’ve more to learn about Girlfriends and what better way than by relaxation and good companionship after an active shooting day.

We head out with the setting sun. The fading warmth of a fall day is only surpassed by the welcome mat of a Girlfriends Films set.

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gfs logoHere’s a final note about Dan O’Connell. In 2012, Dan won the XBIZ “Man of the Year Award” and in 2015 he was inducted  into the AVN Hall of Fame, an extraordinary honor. Over the few years I’ve known Dan, he has always been the consummate example of class. He, director B Skow, company president Moose, and others at Girlfriends Films continue to work with purpose to elevate the studio’s reputation in the competitive world of adult film.

Their formula for success works. As a business, Girlfriends maintains high ethical standards and treats employees and performers alike with respect.

 

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Let’s Go, I’m Ready

by Rich Moreland, November 21015

This is the third part to my adventure on a Dan O’Connell set. If it’s Girlfriends Films, it’s an enjoyable day with good people.

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The Veranda

The Veranda

Two on the Veranda

Break time and my lovely assistant notices Jorden Kennedy and Aidra Fox on the veranda getting into each other.  Reminds me of Julie Andrew’s ditty in The Sound of Music “Getting to know you, getting to feel free and easy when I’m with you.” Precisely.

Jorden and I had talked earlier and she loves shooting for Dan, but for reasons the other performers didn’t mention.

Jorden Kennedy Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Jorden Kennedy
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

In her brief time in porn, the twenty-three year old has appeared on-screen a handful of times for the company. They’ve told her, “We really like how good you are about dialogue and improvisation.”

The compliment fits Jorden’s professional agenda. The college grad likes Girlfriends “because there’s a story” in their shoots. “There’s back story, characters, and you get to act and I thoroughly enjoy that.”

Well, there’s not much acting going on outside right now as she and Aidra are getting deeper into the Julie Andrews theme!

 

We Know What You Like

Aidra Fox Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Aidra Fox
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

The impact of Jorden and Aidra’s playful interaction is evident when the crew sets up the next bedroom scene. Dan is going over what he wants and Aidra pleads, “Can’t we just come in and have sex?” All that bullpen action on the veranda is paying a dividend.

The girls continue their fooling around on the bed while everyone else is still getting their individual act together.

Corralling their attention, Dan gives the girls their instructions, seemingly unneeded because Jorden beams, “We know what you like” and Aidra chimes in, “Let’s go, I’m ready.”

And finally, so is the crew.

The girls get their directions, but they know what Dan likes

The girls get their directions, but they know what
Dan likes

More Touch than Kiss

The tone of this scene is the opposite of the romantic flavor of the Dani/Vanessa episode earlier. These girls are going for rough and tumble.

Like schoolgirls, they're listening to instructions, but they're ready to dive into a great scene

Like schoolgirls, they’re listening attentively, but they’re ready to give Dan a hardcore show

But Dan reins them in a little with the directive, “more touch than kissing.” At the beginning he wants some restraint because that fits the format for the opening minutes.

Once the sex really gets underway, Dan lets them go. The girls do indeed know what he prefers and the scene has an energy that electrifies the room.

Because porn is a formulaic list of sex acts, there is a limit to what performers can do. Jorden and Aidra’s enthusiasm uses up the variations with time to spare. Dan tells them  quietly, “I need ten more minutes.” Never missing a beat, the girls go into improvisation mode.

For clarification, the Jorden and Aidra scene is distinct from its Dani/Vanessa counterpart. These girls are into spitting, spanking, aggressive finger play, and crunching body movements, working each other over pretty well with heavy breathing and lustful expressions.

Aidra, in particular, smiles broadly and often, redefining the meaning of a sexual frolic.

Aidra gets the action started Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Aidra climbs on board
Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Unlike a constrained Vanessa an hour ago, there are no demons to exorcise here!

The girls wind things down with cuddling, a favorite Girlfriends Films romantic conclusion to hot sex.

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The final look at a day with Dan O’Connell is next. I get an opportunity to chat with Vanessa Veracruz, Dani Daniels, and the irrepressible Aidra Fox.

 

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Box Cover

by Rich Moreland, November 2015

Here is the second installment on my visit to a Girlfriends Films shoot. It’s about the box cover, the image that captures the consumer’s eye.

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I’ve been on shoots before, but I’ve never seen a box cover being photographed. Because stills in adult film are routinely shot with few, if any retakes, I am surprised at the time invested in the cover. On the other hand, a well thought out shot sells the movie, so repeated takes make sense.

The equipment waits patiently for the cover takes.

The equipment waits patiently for the cover takes

Dan O’Connell pairs the girls on the cover according to their scenes. What astonishes me is the discussion among Dan and girls that surfaces as Mike Towers clicks away.

This part of movie-making is not solely director dictated, at least for Girlfriends Films‘ founder.

One of many shots taken to find the boxcover.

One of many shots taken to find the boxcover.

In an atmosphere akin to an open forum, Dan asks the performers for input to make this vital shot unique. Among the ideas bandied about is Vanessa’s suggestion that she kneel at Dani’s feet in an act of submission. It takes hold for the moment but we won’t know until the final product comes out if the cover designers liked it.

Try This

After Dan endorses Vanessa’s suggestion, the other two girls, Jorden Kennedy and Aidra Fox, experiment with different poses. They are sensuous with each other which makes for a terrific erotic exchange. Actually, they were getting along very well on the porch (warming up to get the juices flowing, if you know what I mean) while waiting for their scene to be shot, so anything here is simply an extension of that.

Jorden later tells me that Dan encourages input from the girls and she is more than willing to contribute.

Talking with Jorden

Talking with Jorden after the shoot

“What if you did this or tried this. Like with the praying or the kneeling or flipping your hair back or with Dani pulling my hair,” Jorden says as she describes how the cover exchange involved everyone. “That’s very normal of him. He’s very open to suggestions.”

Then she adds for emphasis, “He’s outside the norm as for as taking suggestions.”

What this tells me is that Dan O’Connell invests his performers with a stake in the movie they are creating.

Reinforcing my thought, Jorden summarizes the Girlfriends Films attitude.

“Dan actually cares about the scene looking beautiful and passionate because he cares about the viewers as well as us to make sure that we’re having a good time as well. He wants us to enjoy ourselves as much as the viewers.”

Incidentally, she hits the word “us” with emphasis, the mark of ownership Girlfriends’ performers take in their work.

Hands

Though the cover is actually two pairs of girls that offset or counterbalance each other, blending them together into a cogent artistic expression becomes the dynamic that sells the film. Everything relies on Mike’s talent in catching the right expression at the right moment.

Dan’s chief concern reflects Mike’s: what to do with hands. They have to be placed appropriately to convey sensuality. Of course, no arm behind the back can be completely hidden, it suggests an amputee. So hands cover breasts, then don’t, then go to tummies and arms, then search elsewhere . . . all for just the right pose.

What to do with hands?

What to do with hands?

Many clicks later, Mike has what he needs and I am eager to find out which shot will be the cover winner. It goes without saying the girls are panties only because full frontal nudity carries possible obscenity implications that differ from state to state.

However, there is more to this moment than just a photograph. It brings back memories for me and relates to a conversation Dan and I had a few years ago.

We shared stories of our conservative upbringing, his in Montana, mine in small town Southern Maryland. For both of us in that long ago pre-computer time, lingerie ads were about as erotic as our teen-aged eyes ever got to see, especially if you were trying to survive a religious household.

Unless, of course, the lazy days of summer meant the carnival midway and hanging around the hoochie koochie tent with only your imagination as your friend.

For a moment I am a kid again among the sideshows, listening to barkers lure passersby inside to see real flesh and hoping for a furtive peek at what I wasn’t supposed to see.

A playful look at the box cover babes! Dani, Jorden, Aidra, and Vanessa Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

A playful look at the box cover babes! Dani, Jorden, Aidra, and Vanessa
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

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The third installment in this series looks at the scene between Jorden and Aidra who change the tone of Women Seeking Women from romantic to aggressive.

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After the First Kiss

by Rich Moreland, October 2015

During my recent trip to LA, I was invited to a Girlfriends Films set by Dan O’Connell who founded the company several years ago. My visit with the crew and performers is in four installments, this is the first.

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Dropping in on a Dan O’Connell shoot is to be surrounded by pulchritude and comeliness, or for those who don’t want their vocabulary expanded, hot girls. When my associate (who is quite a looker herself, I might add) and I arrive, Dan is setting up a take staged in the front yard of the house he is using for this 123rd version of Girlfriends’ popular series, Women Seeking Women.

Dan lets me know what the line-up is for today's shoot.

Dan goes over the line-up for today’s shoot.

Vanessa Veracruz’s dark eyes and engaging smile greet us with a “Hi.” The starlet is playfully checking out the faces in the window. My guess is they are part of the story line because Dan likes to spin a plot around the sex. Later we’ll watch Vanessa kneel to pray wearing only her white lingerie for an interesting mixture of sex and religion Dan has in mind for the shoot.

What is striking about this moment (and what follows once we are inside) is how the girls hang around each other as if this were a sorority house. It’s obviously a relaxed atmosphere for everyone.

Dan reviews the general directives with Dani, Jorden, and Aidra. Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Dan reviews the general directives with Dani Daniels, Jorden Kennedy, and Aidra Fox.
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Leaving the heat of day, we go indoors and quickly meet cinematographer Mike Towers and once again offer a “hello” to Girlfriends’ favorite PA, Sabrina. She was with B Skow when we were on his set a couple of days ago.

More Romantic

Before pairing Dani Daniels and Vanessa in the first sex scene, a brief episode involving a phone call is shot. The crew films it with Dani sitting on a toilet and Vanessa on her bed. The set is really the master bath with an open door to the bedroom so communication is easy between Dan and the girls.

A break is called and Dani readies herself while Vanessa kicks back patiently awaiting the action.

Dan and Mike setting up.

Dan and Mike setting up in the bathroom to film Dani.

Sabrina and Mike are setting up the lighting which includes Impact flood lights. They demonstrate for me how the lights can be angled to get the effect they are seeking.

No one is hurried, though everyone works efficiently.

Dan and Sabrina getting set up.

Dan and Sabrina testing the angles for the sex scene.

The girls are all set, we are quiet, and Dani walks into the bedroom.

“After the first kiss, we’re not going back to the dialogue,” Dan announces softly, then follows with more direction.

He tells Dani to be considerate of Vanessa because of the prayer scene filmed just a short time ago. “Be tender with her,” he says. Then he reminds Vanessa that her character is unsure of what she wants “because of this religious thing” and instructs her to resist Dani’s advances.

Mike and Sabrina preparing for the prayer scene.

Mike and Sabrina preparing for the prayer scene.

Vanessa gets into her role with expressions of reluctance laced with conflicting desires. Doubt versus longing fill her eyes while she offers her submission to Dani.

The curvy lass climbs onto the bed and approaches Vanessa with hushed conversation and wanton looks. Kissing, a Dan O’Connell favorite, follows.

The performers’ caressing and mutual pleasure is so believable that I feel like a voyeur rather than a writer visiting porn set. By that I mean, I have willfully suspended my disbelief, the mark of a powerful scene.

Dan reviews what he wants in the shoot.

Dan reviews what he wants when Dani moves on Vanessa.

Dani and Vanessa are established adult actresses who understand the dynamics of a girl/girl scene. Dani smiles sweetly, Vanessa rolls her head in ecstasy and the rest of the shoot moves forward with the gentleness Dan wants in this episode. He later explains that “taboo” drives this scene; it’s an internal struggle for Vanessa with her “inner demons pulling her into sex.”

Dani plays the aggressor to a tee, moving catlike over a shy Vanessa.

The actresses are facing Dan who is beside the bed which allows Mike to keep his position near the foot board. The boom tilts above the girls to pick up subtle dialogue.

Talented performers! Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Talented performers!
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

The scene is like a well-rehearsed musical composition, moving to its conclusion with a kind of rhapsody that good porn is capable of producing, but rarely does.

When we’re finished, I corner Mike and Sabrina for a short course in lighting, learning about balance, shadows, and how to emphasize skin tone.

Dan interjects that “lighting is more important than the cameras you use.”

Cool. Makes a non-camera person like me want to take a pic or two.

 

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In part two of this day on the set, I get my first look at what sells a porn film, the box cover.

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