Interview: Sarah Vandella Discusses Life in the Adult Industry During Covid-19, Overcoming Adversity
Now entering her fourteenth year in the industry with two more AVN nominations under her belt, Sarah Vandella continues to prove why she’s one of the most sought-after performers in the world of adult entertainment.
As one might guess, there’s been a lot of changes in the industry since the outbreak of Covid-19, and Vandella, a huge advocate of masks and social distancing, is happy to share how these new protocols are keeping everyone safe. She also continues to build upon her brand by creating original content and personally interacting with fans through her OnlyFans site.
But the road hasn’t always been easy for the beautiful starlet. Over the course of her career Vandella’s had to overcome many obstacles, including a stint with alcohol and drugs as well as coming to terms with her own “MeToo” experience. Now seven years clean and full of passion and energy, Vandella is focused and more optimistic than ever about the future.
I recently spoke with Vandella about filming and overcoming adversity in the age of Covid-19, her work at a legal Nevada brothel, the future and more in this exclusive new interview.
What are some of the changes that have been made in regard to filming in the adult industry since the pandemic began?
Sarah Vandella: There are new changes and protocols in place for both in front of and behind the camera. It includes sets being limited to only essential people, and tests being required every two to three days in between productions. We currently have two testing facilities that are approved for use in our industry. People are serious about doing the right thing in order to remain working and there’s an overall message in the industry to be safe, wear a mask and don’t be stupid.
Do you have an update on what’s going on with brothels and when you might be back?
SV: Thankfully, The Mustang Ranch is open with their escort license. Personally, I’m waiting until the house is fully open because I prefer being on the property. It’s home for me and I miss it dearly. As of now, I hope to be back by summer.
You’ve often used the word “caregiver” to describe what you ladies do there. Where did that term originate?
SV: Madame Jennifer, who’s an incredibly strong and inspiring woman, calls us that because she likes to think of us as providing care, whether that’s through communicating verbally, intimately or sexually as two people. “Sex worker” sometimes has a stigma associated with it but it’s an important term to throw around to remind people that legal sex work is work and deserves to be treated like any other job. The girls at the ranch are tough and ambitious and work really hard to do things the right way. The important thing is at the end of the day, we’re still doing it legally.
Back when your career began you were involved in an unfortunate situation. Can you talk a little about what happened and why you decided to come forward about it?
SV: The reason I decided to come forward was because of the support and empowerment I received from peers in the business, especially other females, and honestly, I just felt it was time. This incident occurred during my gateway into filming and was at a time when I let my guard down. I was on set as a visitor and as someone who was potentially looking to be on camera. A director came up behind me, put his hand over my mouth and pushed me into a nearby room. This happened while they were literally filming in the room next door. I told myself at the time that this was normal. Just saying you want to do it, talking to an agent, having a body and look and getting tested wasn’t enough. I thought if this was something I wanted to do then I had to prove it. For years I denied it and lied to myself about it. I think getting off alcohol and cocaine [seven years sober next year], getting into therapy, changing my lifestyle and seeing the world with fresh eyes really helped.
Is there any kind of independent organization in the business you can go to when things like this happen?
SV: When I first started you didn’t really hear about it. It’s different now and there are places for talent to go. There’s open communication between talent and agents so that if anything on set is uncomfortable you have the right to politely step away and make a call. We also have a few industry-friendly, third party liaisons that are advocates we can go to and an online therapy group that’s non-bias and confidential. Twitter and Instagram have also become platforms for girls to speak out. Social media in general has made certain people think twice about certain actions. Between all of those elements there’s more of a safety net for performers.
If you could travel back in time what bit of advice would you give yourself when you first started in the industry?
SV: At this moment I’d probably tell myself to slow down. When I was in my early twenties I was always quick to react to everything. When you’re that young and full of energy and maybe have some misplaced trauma that comes out in anger, you can burn little bridges. What else is crazy is that back then I couldn’t take my phone out of my hand to save my life. Now I cherish those times when I can just turn off my phone, put it in the glove compartment and go on a hike or just zone out. So, I’d tell myself to calm down, take a second and stay off my phone [laughs].
What do you think you’d be doing if you didn’t choose porn as a career?
SV: I think I’d probably be doing something along the lines of helping people, like maybe social work. I’m also a creative person so maybe something in the background of the music business might also have been an option. It would have to be exciting. I don’t think I could ever do the nine-to-five.
What’s your wish for the new year?
SV: I’m coming up on fourteen years in the business next year and am so grateful. I’ve got some special visions in mind for my personal platforms. I’ve also been kicking around the idea of restarting my website that will be inspired from events in my life or things that have inspired me, like songs or characters and scenes in movies. I want to do something that’s fun, creative and different. We’ll see what happens.