SMUT: A Look Inside BellaVendetta.com [Guest Column - Stepping Back]


“If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all.”
Billie Holiday


Do you have a necrophilia, fire, asphyxiation, bathroom or medical fetish? Do corsets turn you on? Feet? BDSM? How about menstruation? Uniforms? Clowns? Allow me to introduce BellaVendetta.com, a place where you can find all of these things and much more. It’s the place for fetishes that no one wants to admit they have.

BellaVendetta.com started in late 2003, and has been growing ever since. Bella (IAM:BgirlyPrincapessa), owner of BellaVendetta.com had been watching the “alternative porn” industry grow and was excited to see tattooed and pierced women being more involved with pornography, but she felt there wasn’t enough self-expression happening. Tired of seeing girls with lip rings getting naked in their dorm rooms and other porn clichés, she was interested in seeing the darker side of girls’ sexualities.

After much deliberation, she took the plunge into entrepreneurship and BellaVendetta.com was born. It probably won't come as a surprise, but Bella had a lot of problems launching her site. Primarily, she couldn't find a billing company that would do business with her because of the content, which meant she couldn't sell memberships. With help from BME's own Rachel Larratt (IAM:MiL0), Bella was able to find a cooperative billing company and now the people of BellaVendetta are ready to show themselves to the world. Celebrating with a launch party on October 26, in Brooklyn, NY, and everyone's invited!

One must wonder if the billing company problem is going to be the last of Bella's problems. Bush's War on Porn certainly poses a threat to the future of sites like Bella's. Bush has enlisted the FBI's help to try to stop pornographers— regular, run-of-the-mill pornographers— the ones who make porn for adults, featuring consenting adults. It's all over the media, and it's something to think about and in this case, rebel against.

Bella Vendetta offers a safe place for people to explore their kinkier side, and within its pages you’ll find some of the most controversial porn on the market. Let's all welcome BellaVendetta.com to the industry and wish them the best for the future; and especially with winning the fight against her own government's goal to close websites like hers.

Bella Vendetta (IAM:BgirlyPrincapessa), portrait by Gina Wilk

BME:  What’s your background, Bella?

BELLA:  I’m twenty-four years old and I grew up all over the northeast of America. I didn’t graduate high school because I felt I was getting a better education by reading a lot and doing various apprenticeships with people I wanted to learn from. I eventually got my GED and went back to the high school I dropped out of and taught a creative writing and a film making course. For the past few years, I’ve done a lot of different things: I’ve travelled around the United States, ran an organic farm and restaurant, attended college, and done costume work for the Berkshire Opera Company and Shakespeare and Company. I own a fashion design company called MyOwnBrain Productions, and am an active member of the Rites of Passage suspension group.

BME:  How did BellaVendetta.com (BV) start?

BELLA:  With the alternative porn boom a few years ago, I began submitting photos of myself to various sites but I didn’t get very good feedback: my sets were too extreme, they didn’t want me using real blood or they thought I looked too much like a skinhead. There were a few who accepted my photos, but I didn’t like the way they did business. I had always had the idea to start my own erotica site, but because it seemed like so much work I didn’t know if I should bother.

I had a boyfriend who didn’t want me to model, so I didn't for a very long time. He and I eventually broke up, and around that same time I was watching my mother die of cancer. She died very young with many things unfinished and so many things she had wanted to do. I thought fuck it, the time is now, I need to just get on with this. My mother always pushed me to go for what I wanted, even if she didn’t agree with it.

BME:  Why didn’t your boyfriend like you posing nude? He ended up having a large part in BV, didn’t he?

BELLA:  He couldn’t understand how I could be comfortable flaunting my sexuality. One day I found out that he had lied and cheated on me. I wanted him to pay for what he had done, for making me feel cheap, for destroying my trust and for every injustice any female has ever suffered. As I yelled at him, I found myself hitting him over and over again. I imagined my fists going thru his skull and into the wall behind him. It was not a pretty scene; a pissed off little Italian girl in boots and braces who has a bit too much rum in her system. He was spitting up blood, blood was sprayed all over the kitchen walls, blood was all over my hands, and you know what? It was hot.

He told me I looked sexy covered in his blood, I agreed and hit him a few more times until he turned his head and I connected with the side of his skull. I felt my hand break and I got even more pissed off, so started kicking him. I didn’t stop until someone jumped in and stopped the fight. When we were done it looked like a murder scene.

I kept the blood-stained white tank top I had been wearing as a trophy. I wanted to write something on it, and one night it hit me: “BELLA VENDETTA”

It’s Italian for Beautiful Revenge.

Bella Vendetta became a good response to a lot of things after that. I wanted revenge for everything— for our society, our country, our culture. I wanted revenge from every magazine or website that’s rejected my pictures because they were too racy. I wanted revenge and I wanted it to be beautiful.

Medical fetish?
BME:  Do you regret hurting him?

BELLA:  No, not at all: he got what was coming to him. I wouldn’t tell everyone to go out and beat someone up who fucked them over, but I have always been a fan of vigilante justice. It was probably not the most adult way to handle things, but when love and passion are involved there’s not much room for ration. When I broke my hand, I had to quit my day job which pushed me to create BV so it really helped me in a lot of ways.

BME:  What did he say after it was all over?

BELLA:  He cried and ran away. But we’re friends now and he’s actually going to model for BV!

BME:  Who are the BV staff?

BELLA:  The original cast of characters for the Revenge Krew (both photographers and models) were all close friends of mine, who thought it was a great idea and were more than willing to help. I don’t often approach people that I don’t personally know to work for the site; most of the people on there who aren’t close friends of mine have approached me and wanted to shoot for the site. Every once in a while I’ll come across a really stunning model or photographer and I’ll ask them to participate, but I haven’t had very good luck with that.


Autumn

Bertram

Bastard

Dementina

FetishBaby

Su


Just a few of BV's models.

BME:  Why do you think they aren’t interested in working with BV?

BELLA:  Generally when someone you don’t know writes you and says, “you’re pretty, you should model for my website but I can’t pay you” the response isn’t very good. Not that I would approach any model in those words anyway, but I understand and respect anyone feelings if they don’t want to model. The only time I get frustrated is when I approach a model and they say no without even going to the site, seeing what it’s about or hearing what I have to say. Some people hear the words “adult oriented” and immediately think they’re going to be exploited or taken advantage of.

BME:  No one on your site is paid?

BELLA:  No, nobody is paid! That’s part of the beauty of it. Everyone involved is doing it purely for the love of quality erotica. The only people who have been paid are web designers and programmers. Don’t get me wrong, I think people should be paid for their time and talent, so as soon as some money starts coming in from this project I definitely want to compensate people. But it’s been such a beautiful experience seeing people make art/porn/erotica because they really want to.

If I was able to pay models I think it’d make more people want to pose, but I don’t want anybody whose sole reason for posing is to make money. Anyone whose first question is “how much are you paying” is someone that probably won’t fit well into the site. My main concern with money right now is making back what I put into getting the site up. Once that happens I hope to make a little bit of profit, but I’m not trying to get rich off taking advantage of anybody.

BME:  You also have erotica writers, including yourself?

BELLA:  I do a lot of writing for the site. All the news updates are by me unless otherwise noted, all the descriptions of photosets are be written by me and I do a lot of the erotica writing. Writing is something I don’t even think about anymore, it’s just a part of me. The ability to create mental images and convey emotions with words has always fascinated me. It’s just something I need to do at this point. But what I love even more than writing is reading work, and doing performance poetry and slam competitions and things like that.

BME:  You’ve got a lot of writing experience, actually. You participate in a few other publications, can you tell me about those?

BELLA:  Day Xanadu is my personal zine that I’ve been doing for ten years. It’s about my life in general— sometimes there’s political stuff in it, sometimes reviews of others writing, poetry, rants, angry feminist musings and just about everything in between. I usually have one or two contributing artists and/or writers in each issue. It’s the one medium I have where there are no defining lines. It’s an incredibly personal publication. You’ll find things in there about me that I probably won’t even discuss in person, but it’s developed a pretty loyal per-zine following and I’ve grown completely comfortable saying anything and everything in there. I’ve been published in other zines around the world and my writing has also been featured in three spoken word cassettes, read by other people. Raped by a Poet, Best poems of 2001 and on the air of an Italian radio station.

BME:  How many models, writers and photographers do you have?

BELLA:  It’s constantly changing, but currently there are about twenty-eight models and forty photographers. I have a lot more waiting for paperwork and other legal nonsense to go through and a lot more models/photographers on my “dream” list that I’ll ask once the site is up and running.

BME:  How do people apply to be involved in the site? What kinds of things do you look for?

BELLA:  There are sections on the site where you can fill out an application to be a member of the Krew. You don’t need to have a professional portfolio, and you don’t have to be published anywhere else, but you do need to have a sample to share with us and let us know what you’re capable of doing. There’s no real formula for what we’re looking for because we have really diverse people involved. Some of the writers write for major publications, some have never published a story in their life. Some models are well established and some are trying this for the first time. The only thing that’s a must is creativity.


Laura (IAM:.onyx) is one of BV’s main writers.

"His arms pulled me into him, as I nuzzled the side of my face into his chest. His hands motioned down my back and over my ass, squeezing it softly. He slowly moved his hands over to my hips and began sliding them onto my inner thighs. Kissing my neck softly as the warm water fell down his scalp through his hair and onto my back. I turned around facing the corner of the shower reaching my hands up as far as I could reach, with my back arched and my bottom angled up I leaned into the wall…"

I’d never written erotica before BV. The closest thing I’d come to writing erotica was when I was thirteen and I’d write short stories about boys that I had crushes on— what I’d want to happen and what had happened. I’m not sure if that counts as erotica though. I know one of my English professors would be very surprised to hear that I was writing professionally— she had wanted me to go to an E.S.L. (English as a Secondary Language) office to get some help with my errors!

When I heard about BV, I wanted to help in any way I could. They needed writers, so I tried it out. Since I started writing I’ve had friends of mine suggest I write for gay and lesbian magazines or to start a book of my own consisting of my short stories. I write as often as I can. Every time I get an idea I start typing feverishly. I never have storyboards for my writing— it just comes out naturally. Thank god I’m a fast typer! So far I’ve donated eighteen stories, and the feedback is great.

I write the way I like to read erotica. For example, when I read romance novels I always search for the sex scenes and only read them. I like fewer introductions and buildup and instead just getting right into the good stuff. I expose what I've experienced, dreamt of and longed for. In the future, I’d like to do a little bit of modeling. My dream photo shoot involved lip sewing, but for now, I’ll leave everything racy to the written word.


Juicy (IAM:PiercedPuff) is a twenty-two year old from New Jersey and is one of BV’s star models.

When I was eighteen, I started taking pictures for fun to send into BME. They were mostly of play piercing sessions or BDSM play because that’s what I wanted to see on BME or in BME/Hard galleries. My style of modeling is somewhat paradoxical. I get anxious when I have to call to order pizza or talk to strangers, but I have naked pictures on the internet! One shoot I’ll feel like stepping on someone’s throat and spitting on them, and the next I’ll want to wear my Eeyore toe socks and cuddle with teddy bears. Modeling gives me a lot of self-confidence and has allowed me to come to terms with the things I don’t like about myself. I can now walk around without makeup on or wake up in the morning with my hair silhouetted around my face like a helmet and still feel beautiful.

I met Bella at a suspension convention and asked her if she’d like to take my picture. I’d modeled before; I’m on a few sites like www.insex.com and www.citykittie.com, and am even in a ModCon book. After meeting her, I modeled for her production company www.myownbrain.com and she became one of my few close friends and a personal inspiration. She embodies so much that I want to be: I love that she makes me stand up for myself and she’s taught me that it’s okay to tell people who hurt me to fuck off.

You can currently see galleries featuring me in a carpentry porn set, catheter blood bath set, an emo love set with Bella, rooftop liquid latex, getting beaten on a boat by Bella and bowling alley porn with Bella. In the future, I want to do a set where my boyfriend kidnaps me with his van filled with Eeyores and candy, a daddy’s little girl scarification set, tons of play piercing shoots, and I’d love to take dirty pictures at my movie theater after hours, and a Star Wars porn set with light sabers.

I love posing for BV because I’m not conventional. “Alternative” photographers are sometimes not even into the stuff I am. Most people aren’t into real blood play and they’re not often into taking pictures of me when I’m really scared and crying. Bella is, and that’s one of the reasons why I love her. I’m only interested in modeling now when I can have fun with it. I don’t want to pretend to get tied up and have the cheesy look of surprise on my face for some porn site, I don’t want to get half naked and sit on some bed pretending to cry. I’m a creep and I want to take creepy pictures. I want to put my hair in pigtails and have Bella tie me up until my mascara is genuinely running down my cheeks and blinding my eyes, until my muscles are actually cramping because I can’t move and I am squirming, I want to be able to beg her to stop and honestly be scared when she laughs at me. Bella would never ask me to pretend to look scared, she’d make it happen. And that is why I love Bella Vendetta.


BME:  Can you give me a beginner’s guide to BV? What kinds of things can you find within its pages?

BELLA:  There's about forty different kinks, and we're still growing! Some of them are:

80s Trash: Roller-skates and prom dresses, leg warmers and cheap plastic jewelry.
Bathrooms: Public restrooms, bubble baths and shower scenes.
BDSM: Bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism.
Blood Sex: Play piercing, vampirism, and cutting. Currently all the blood play is real blood. Any sets involving special effects makeup or fake blood is in other categories.
Boots and Braces: Steel toes, suspenders, face smashing, shaved heads, white laces and bleached jeans.
Clowns: rubber chickens, face paint, clown shoes striped socks and big red noses.
Deprivation and Asphyxiation: Choking, strangulation, sensory deprivation of any kind, blindfolding and auto erotic asphyxiation.
Food: Food smearing licking, worshipping, insertion and cooking.
Foot Worship: Forced foot worship, foot portraits, cute toes, shoes, pedicures and foot bondage.
Genderfucking: Crossdressing, role playing, strap-ons, sissy boys in tutus and butchy women in suits.
Graveyards: Cemeteries, fucking gravestones and making imaginary love to the dead.
Menstrual art: This section is aimed to revolutionize menstruation. It's revenge for any commercial girls have seen telling them their period is dirty and for any man who wouldn't make love to them while they were on the rag.
Necro: Zombie porn, the undead, crime scene victims, sex where one partner plays dead and murder sets.
Pinups: Glamour shots, rockabilly kings and queens, classic beauty and cheesecake glam. Vintage girdles and nylons with backseams, fingerwaved hair and open toed pumps.
Smoking: Cigar, cigarette, blunt, joint, pipe, bong and gravity bong smoking.
Uniforms: Nazis, nurses, flight attendants, postal workers, military personnel, police officers, cheerleaders, waitresses and catholic school girl uniforms.
Water Sports: Golden showers, urination and women who can pee standing up.

(L to R) Age play, BDSM, smoking and menstruation kinks.

BME:  That’s a lot of different subjects. How did you come up with all of them?

BELLA:  I came up with about eighty-five percent of them, and they all turn me on and it’s the kind of smut I want to see. The rest have been ideas models have had or that fans have written in with. The main idea of the site is to show what gets the models off. No one is does anything they don’t want to do.

BME:  How do you avoid fake situations— how do you make sure that the girls kissing girls are actually attracted to each other, and that the blood play is real etc?

BELLA:  I believe that a key factor in anything being fake is money. Because there’s no money involved people are only doing things they actually want to do. There is some fake blood on the site, but we make sure to keep it separated from the real blood play. The girls kissing each other are actually into each other— they’re friends or lovers and they’ve planned to do a shoot on their own accord for no other reason than they think it will be hot. Nobody is paying anybody else to act like they’re interested.

BME:  What has been some of the feedback on the site?

BELLA:  People love it! Girls write and thank us for making a site they can look at and not feel bad about, and men write and say thank you for making the kind of site they’ve been dreaming about. Photographers and models tell us that they really like what we’re doing and often tell us that they’d love to be a part of it.

BME:  You have some very risky subjects though— you must get some negative comments.

BELLA:  Of course. Most of the hate mail I get is about the age play, necro fetish and substance abuse sections. There was also a message board that had a pretty heated discussion about how nasty the menstrual art section was. I just tell people that I'm sorry they have a problem with the content, but if they want some more vanilla pornography they should try burningangel.com (which I also model for) because it’s my favorite alternative porn site.

BME:  You seem to have tapped into an unseen market. Who do you see as your competitors? BME/Hard? Suicide Girls?

BELLA:  I don’t think that BME or Suicide Girls are competition actually. Both sites are doing completely different things than BV is. I can’t find any other site where there’s such an extensive collection of fetishes and hopefully this will help us succeed. One of the things I really love about the adult industry is that there is no competition because there’s room for everyone in the industry.

Bella, portrait by Gina Wilk.
BME:  You were very public with the problems you were having getting the site up and running. You were even considering taking down BV. What changed your mind, or what convinced you to keep going with the site?

  I was feeling very burnt out about the whole thing. I was working ten hours a day, every day, on the site and it felt like it was never going to be launched. I couldn’t find anyone to do the billing, models were flaking out left and right, I had an intern who was making my life more difficult instead of easier, I was chasing after people for paperwork and photos they had promised and the relationship I was in was completely falling apart because of out different stances on pornography and sexuality in general. It just didn’t feel worth it anymore. I started the site as a personal journey for myself, and in the process it felt really good to help other people explore themselves and feel accepted too. But at the time, it just felt like nobody really appreciated all the work that was going into everything. So I sent an email out to everyone in involved with the site and asked them if BV had done anything positive for them, and if so, what was it, and did they want to continue with the site and why. The response I got was overwhelming. Every single person wrote back with long explanations of how much they have learned through this whole process, how much they love the site and the community surrounding it. More than a few of the emails brought me to tears. I realized that just because people don’t always openly express their support and gratitude doesn’t mean it’s not there. Everyone had very long and complex explanations as to why they were involved in the site in the first place. The shortest response I got was from one of my models in France, and she said in her broken English, “I so sorry you have problems. Please do not give up, for me, Bella Vendetta is freedom!”

After all was said and done I felt like I really just needed to finish what I started. I’m not the type of person that gives up, I was just having a moment of weakness. But I think it was important for me to step back and reevaluate why I was doing this and figure out the direction I wanted the project to take. It always seems like just when you want to give up everything falls into place and a fresh opportunity presents itself.

BME:  Who came through for you at the end?

BELLA:  Everyone involved with the site came through in a big way, just being honest and sharing their experiences with me. On a personal level, the web designer, Mitcz, really came through for me, reminding me how important this was to me and all the work that had gone into it. Surprisingly enough, my sister and my aunt both thought I should keep the site and not give up, and it felt good to have some support from family members. Shannon and Rachel Larratt (IAM:glider) and (IAM:MiL0) also helped me a lot. I am forever indebted to them because of that. One of my new models really came through and helped me work really long days resizing photos and picking up where my flaky intern had left off.

BME:  Speaking of your web designer, for the launch of the site you did a complete overhaul on the site. It looks great.

BELLA:  The site design was completely redone by Reverend Mitcz (IAM:mitcz).A lot has changed since the original design. I went through a lot of people trying to get the right feel for the site and I had a really hard time finding a professional designer that understood what I was going for, and Mitcz has really done my vision justice. He’s been wonderful to work with on many levels. He’s a good friend, knows the porn business, marketing and design inside and out (he’s also the chief designer of vivid.com) and he’s got a seriously twisted mind. Our site isn't quite ready to sell memberships yet because we’re having a hard time finding a billing provider that’s okay with our content. We’re working on it every single day, so as soon as we find one, we’ll be open for business.

BME:  You're having a release party- who's invited, who's coming, what's happening?

BELLA:  We’re having one hell of a celebration! Everyone is invited!!! Lots of the models and photographers will be there and some of the Krew members are coming all the way from Los Angeles to attend. Lots of the models are performing that evening; there will be a burlesque show, a rope bondage demonstration, a fire performance, a play piercing performance, a strip show, live band, a flesh hook pull raffles, giveaways, and merchandise for sale. It promises to be a fun filled action packed evening. It's in Brooklyn, NY and I'd love to cram as many people as possible into this space to witness the insanity that I’m sure will ensue.

BME:  Back to the site. What do you think will be the most popular section?

BELLA:  Honestly, I have no idea. I think a lot of people come for the blood play because there aren’t many places you can find it. I hope that someone will come looking for a particular section and then discover they like looking at something they never considered sexy before.

BME:  What's the best thing about running BV?

BELLA:  It’s fun! It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me honestly. My favorite thing is getting letters from fans, models and photographers thanking me for making a site that lets them be who they want to be, or for making a site filled with the kind of smut people actually want to see.

BELLA:  With the United States government cracking down on porn sites, in their War on Porn, BV is in danger. Are you worried about this? How much does this effect your decision to launch BV and how will you avoid being prosecuted for owning/operating BV?

BME:  Yes, I believe my site is in a lot of danger. Sites are getting shut down left, right and centre. All this legal nonsense recently definitely made me wonder if right now is a bad time to launch the site, but I think right now is actually the perfect time. This is what the world needs: people who aren't ashamed and who aren't afraid to push limits.

I don't think I can fully avoid being prosecuted. I have to be prepared for at least some legal repercussions, and luckily all of my legal paperwork is in perfect order. Maybe what this industry needs right now is someone willing to stand up for what they believe in. Who is the US government to tell us what we are allowed to find sexy and what is “obscene.” I find it obscene and offensive that so many other “alternative” porn sites are altering the shoots they have up for fear of legal problems. I want to accurately represent this subculture, not hide behind a lot of pretty pictures, not tell my models that it's wrong of them to have age play fantasies, etc. This is a community of consenting adults making art to share with the world, and I'll stand by that 100%.

BME:  With that, what's in the future for BV?

BELLA:  World domination. Straight up.
I want to change the way the adult industry is run. I want to make a safe place for people to show off their smutty side. And I also want to do a line of video and a lot of live performances. I can’t get into it too much because the details are surprises that I’m not ready to let out of the bag, but I see the live performances as a three ring circus but with nudity and the videos will be quality with actual story lines and amazing performances by our talented Krew.

BME:  What specific changes do you hope to see in the adult industry?

BELLA:  I’d like to see more realism and seeing women running things more often. It’s such a male dominated industry, which is funny to me, because it thrives on women. It’s all about what men want to see women doing, so I’d really like for people to become interested in what turns these women on. I think the majority of the adult industry is a lot of men telling women what to do because they think that’s what other men want to see. But I know plenty of men who don’t like blonde girls with cum on their faces. If that's what turns you on, that’s great, do your thing, but that’s not what turns me on, and I know there's a market for "intellectual" pornography, if you will. There's a fine line between erotica/art/porn as it is already, so I’d like to see that blurred even more. I’d like to make people question themselves, “Wow, does this really turn me on?" There's no thought process behind most porn: it’s penis and vagina and it's meant to get you off as quickly as possible. What's really refreshing to me about this whole alternative porn movement is that it’s actually making people think. BV is all about doing things differently. I’d like to kick things up a few notches.

Although BellaVendetta.com enters into some of the “faux pas” subjects of pornography, it’s always done in a safe and responsible way. All of the models posing are of legal age, and most importantly— they’re doing it because they want to. No one is waving dollar bills in their faces and bribing them to do things that they don’t feel comfortable with. It may push people's sexual limits, but does it in a harmless way. I wish Bella and her Krew luck and success with avoiding crack downs by the US Government and FBI, and hope they have a long and prosperous future in the real alternative porn industry.

— Gillian Hyde (IAM:typealice)


Gillian Hyde (IAM:typealice) is a vagabond, though her roots run deep into Nova Scotian soil. She’s lived and worked on three continents since 2001, and has never lived anywhere for longer than eight months since the age of 16. She loves fonts, puns, being barefoot and office supplies. Calm to her is the roar of the ocean.

Online presentation copyright © 2005 BMEzine.com LLC. Requests to republish must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published online October 11th, 2005 by BMEzine.com LLC from La Paz, BCS, Mexico.

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