By Robin Bougie

Vanessa Del Rio--a.k.a. "The Latin from Manhattan"--was an incendiary screen presence during the heyday of theatrically released porn films in the 1970s and early '80s.

As the jizz biz switched to home video two decades ago, Vanessa's stardom adapted accordingly and she became one of the adult skindustry's true legends--a gorgeous, sexually insatiable firecracker whose name on a box cover guaranteed sales for the studio and a wild viewing experience for the audience.

Vanessa remains a beloved porn icon despite not having made a film or video in some time. She spoke with to bring her fans up to speed on her present whereabouts, as well as to shed light on some of the more obscure aspects of her career and to offer definitive advice on how to fellate numerous phalluses simultaneously.

How did you get into the line of work we all know and love you for?
My first was China Doll in October 1974. A friend invited me to go to Europe. Of course I wanted to go, but I needed to pay the rent before I left. Another friend asked me of I wanted to do a porn movie and I said sure, why not... how much does it pay? She said $150, exactly my half of the rent! The rest is my story.

You worked some projects with director Roger Watkins, who is now best known for his brutal horror movie Last House on Dead End Street. You were in some of his X-rated films, as well as his R-rated comedy Spittoon. What was he like as a porn director?
Oh Roger! I remember him well; we had a brief very hot affair during the making of Her Name Was Lisa. Spittoon was a blast to make, my first straight movie, and it was a silly horror! I had five kids, all of different ethnicity, and had cold cow guts on my chest from the scene where I am butchered.

I read a post on a graffiti message board once about a guy living in Prague asking who Vanessa Del Rio was because graffiti artists were spray painting her name all over the city in the 1990s. Did you hear about that? It must be strange when your celebrity allows your name to take on a life all its own.
I never heard of that one but that is way cool! Would love to see some of it if anyone took pics!

You played yourself on an episode of NYPD Blue. Was that fun?
Oh it certainly was, and I must say I was intimidated! There I was getting a 4 A.M. call and being taken to the makeup trailer. As I'm sitting getting my face done, in walks Dennis Franz form the left door and Jimmy Smits a few seconds later from the right door... the look on my face must have been priceless! They were all very nice.

I kept flubbing my lines and sounding like I had a grapefruit in my mouth. Kim Delaney (Picture: 1 - 2) was really nice to me and said, "Don't worry it happens to all of us." The next day, Jimmy could not get his line right and was hitting his head against the wall in a funny way. I felt ok after that.

Speaking of New York, Harlem was your original stomping grounds, right?
Yes, I was born in Harlem then moved to Da Bronx at fourteen. I still live in New York.

What is your earliest standout memory of seeing a sex/nude scene in a movie or magazine?
[Laughs] Funny you should ask! Tijuana Bibles, baby! Those little '20s cartoon characters and Donald Duck with a huge hard-on! I would rub myself against the corner of the sofa arm or the bathroom sink. They made me so horny; I wonder why I like comic art so much! Also, my parents had magazines of nudist camps under the bed that I found, just plain ole nudists doing nothing but sitting round the picnic table.

It was a different time, huh? You were a pretty sexual youngster I take it.
I started fucking when I was fourteen. My first boyfriend indoctrinated me to the wonders of fucking. We used to go to this porn movie house, and the manager didn't care if you were underaged if you paid the two bucks. We sat in the balcony and I jerked my boyfriend off all the time. They used to show triple features, and the types of films they showed were the kind with fucking in underwear and under covers. Not hardcore, but it was hot for the times.

I bet. What's your take on what a lot of the newer girls are expected to do in your average modern porn film? For instance, would you do a bukkake scene or a double anal penetration?
No! It's not sexy or sensual or even horny or nasty. It's just a gimmicky publicity stunt to best the last one... where will it stop? I don't think men really think it's sexy or any of the above, just fucking weird, shocking, and mindless and, in my opinion, it says a lot about what the girl thinks of herself.

A sex scene should have some sort of fantasy and/or reality element to it, and degrading yourself for the sake of besting someone else is strange to me.

As for two dicks up my ass, well one is just fine if I'm in the mood! Although one in the pussy and one in the ass is nice! I did a miniscule gang bang with seven men and that's the limit because it can stay intimate and within the realm of what a real liberated woman may fantasize about. And that's hot! Five hundred men? Well, it's boring and very painful, I would imagine.

There is a fine line between degrading yourself and keeping to being a freaky woman that knows what she likes and does what she likes. A face full of jizz from five hundred men? Ugh! Let's be real! Ha ha!

Is it true that you took up body building? Did that have anything to do with your clit growing? I noticed that in your later movies your clit seemed to have grown all freaky huge. In Beyond Desire it was massive! I know the wrestler Chyna is a body builder and her clit gets bigger than some cocks I've seen.
[Laughs] No comment!

Ha-ha, okay. Well, how was it working with porn directors Joe Davian and Anthony Spinelli?
Joe was a nice man as far as I was concerned and I did a few S&M films for him. He gave me motivation by whispering in my ear to act out in a prison scene where I had to whip the guards. I heard he "disappeared." I remember he had a concentration-camp tattoo on his arm.

Anthony Spinelli had to be the most professional director I have worked with. He would talk with you before and during the scenes to get the best he could in the shortest amount of time. I received an award for the film I did with him, The Dancers. He also directed me in Between the Sheets.

Was that you I saw getting fisted by Louis "Shortstud" DeJesus in an old 8MM loop? Not many people can claim they've been fisted by a dwarf!
Yes that was me, darling! And, yes, not many people can claim that I suppose! Many people have asked, "How could you work with a dwarf!?" And I say, "Why not? He's only shorter than most of us! Get a life!"

Who were the hottest co-stars you worked with in the '70s and '80s?
John Leslie, Jamie Gillis, George Payne, and Jerry Butler. Women, I would have to say Samantha Fox (Picture: 1) and Nina Hartley (Picture: 1).

Was there anyone from your past that wanted to put butter on your tits?
Is he still around? Shawn Costello, a.k.a. Armanda Barton! The naked director! Where is he? Would love to talk with him, what fun it was to work with him!

Ha-ha, he put me up to that when I told him I was interviewing you tonight. Let's talk about something deep, like cocks going into bumholes! What's your take on anal?
I was known in the business as a good anal type. I like it. It's easy if the guy is doing it in the correct position. However, once in a while one guy would come along who didn't handle you right and you go flying--painfully.

Jamie Gillis did that to me once. OUCH! I flew across the room.

The best position for me is doggy style. My head has to be low and my rear has to be pointed up. I have had to do it in the missionary position, and that is the hardest position to do anal sex in. When I first tried it like that, it hurt unbelievably.

Speaking of sex technique, one of my message board pals, Scott Favarille, desperately wants to know what your technique for sucking multiple cocks at once is.
Open wide!

images of Vanessa Del Rio courtesy of

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