Out and Proud
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Recently out HIV+ Black trans sex worker and director Vanniall to be featured in San Francisco Film Festival.
Porn performer, content creator, director, and Petit Mort cover star Vanniall recently came out publicly as HIV+ in a widely shared Huffington Post article. As a Black trans sex worker, this was no small decision and one that carries a lot of weight for both her as an individual and our community as a whole. Despite her initials fears, many in the industry were very supportive – with adult industry testing org PASS even reaching out to her and then signing a pledge against HIV+ discrimination. There have been shows of support from corners of the sex industry – full-service workers, content creators, porn performers, strippers, and organizations have all spoken up for Vanniall and her decision to come out as HIV+. In the year after her diagnosis she’s only grown her career. She was nominated for a Transgender Erotica Award for Best Self Producer and an XBIZ Award for Best Trans Premium Social Media Star, and was invited on stage to present categories both events. She was cast in an upcoming mainstream reality TV show Hot Haus Season 2, hosted by Tiffany “New York” Pollard, currently filming in Vegas. The culmination of her work and talent is her selection for the 2022 San Francisco Porn Film Festival.
This will be Vanniall’s first ever film screening and she had two selections that she has directed and starred in – an episode from her reality TV parody “The MostlyPics House” featuring Smash Thompson, and a compilation created from over 100 of her solo cam performances called “WOW That’s What I Call Cumshow!” Despite her initial trepidation at coming out, in her words, “I was surprised at how supportive much of the industry has been – and I was told that my article helped PASS come to the decision to endorse the pledge against discrimination. Most people can agree that safety comes with transparency and also support – and we can support all members of our community making a living in a healthy way.”
Many people have contacted me not just to offer support, but to talk about their own diagnosis, thankful that more space has been made to talk about it. It’s touched me to connect not just with other sex workers, but also with fans who’ve told me they didn’t feel like they could be sexy anymore, but seeing me owning it helped them know that they can own it too. I couldn’t think of a better outcome than to be able to touch people like that.
As she showed in her deep dive with Petit Mort Mag, Vanniall is committed to showcasing a different type of pleasure – one that is rooted in the fearlesses and joy of a Black trans experience and seeks to change the face of the porn industry.
She continues: “Acceptance of true diversity in casting is wonderful and I hope we’re getting there, but I’d also love to see more support behind the creators currently driving the industry forward. Many creators are making quite good money with their self produced content, like I do on my OnlyFans, and I think if the major studios started letting those creators direct for them they would see a big increase in viewership. They may feel threatened about their roles as producers and directors, but I think partnerships with indie talent in crafting and sharing distribution of major productions is the future.
I know I personally would love to make more feature length productions, especially with fun genre plots and practical effects – there’s an audience already waiting for it so it’s just a matter of finding a right company to make those fan dreams a reality.”
Mainstream recognition may not be the be-all, end-all for creative accomplishments, but it speaks volumes about the levels of diversity and inclusion in porn industry to have creators like Vanniall showcasing their work. These steps, small as they may seem, shape the way we view and consume porn, the way we conceptualize pleasure, and expand our own ideas of what is beautiful, sexy, and fun, while breaking down internalized beliefs and stigma towards sex workers living with HIV.
Vanniall is an award-winning Black trans adult performer and content creator. She’s starred in numerous scenes for studios like Adult Time or indie producers like Mondo Fetiche. Her self-produced content has won her Best Trans Clip Artist in the Xbiz Awards and been featured in festivals like the San Francisco Porn Film Festival.
A U+ advocate, she has written for the Huffington Post and was recently declared the “New American Sex Symbol” in a front page article in Petit Mort Magazine. In addition to producing scenes, she’s currently working on a mainstream reality project for Out TV and enjoying spending time with her supporters on OnlyFans. Originally from South Carolina, she now lives in New York City with her three black cats and a coffee addiction.
WORDS BY VANNIALL
PHOTOS BY ASHLEY LAKE