Vanessa del Rio

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Vanessa del Rio
Vanessa del Rio 1.jpg
Born Ana Maria Sanchez
(1952-03-31) March 31, 1952 (age 66)
Harlem, New York, U.S.
Other names Ursula Pasarell, Nessa, Diane Richards, Violet Reason, Ursula Passarell, Vanessa delRio
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) [1]

Vanessa del Rio (born March 31, 1952) is an American retired pornographic actress.

Early years

Vanessa del Rio was born Ana Maria Sanchez[2] and raised in Harlem, New York, the daughter of immigrants from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Her mother would take her to see movies of Isabel Sarli whom Vanessa credits as a big influence in her life.[3] She describes her mother as "a women in her early 20s and became "a waitress, then barmaid, then go-go dancer" becoming a porn actress because "they paid $150 a day, which was exactly my half of the rent".[4][5] Prior to adult films, she also worked as a streetwalker and call girl.[6][7]


For her stage name, she took the name "Vanessa" from a childhood friend and "Del Rio" from actress Dolores del Río at the suggestion of another friend who was a movie buff.[8]

Del Rio began appearing in adult films in 1974. In the span of about 12 years, del Rio has appeared in about 100 pornographic films.[4] and in several music videos, notably "Get Money" by Junior M.A.F.I.A.,[9] who also refer to her in their song "I Need You Tonight." She is known for having a particularly large clitoris.[3]

Though del Rio retired from adult films in 1986, in part due to the AIDS scare prevalent at the time,[3][4] after a stint as a bodybuilder she returned to feature dancing and doing magazine layouts.[4] Afterwards, she remains somewhat active in the adult entertainment industry through her Web site and by making special appearances at award shows and conventions. During and after her porn career, she appeared on many TV shows as herself, including a 1996 episode of NYPD Blue.[10] In 2008, she made a cameo opposite Bernie Mac in the film Soul Men.[11]

Popular culture

In 2007, the German art book publisher Taschen released a deluxe, heavily illustrated biography, Vanessa del Rio: Fifty Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior.[12][13]

A feature film based on del Rio's life is expected to begin production in 2018 written by and to be directed by Thomas Mignone and starring Vivian Lamolli as del Rio.[14]

Academic and feminist interpretations

Several contemporary feminist scholars, particularly those who are interested in the intersection of race and sexuality, have included analyses of the work and biography of Vanessa del Rio in their work. In her book A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography, feminist critic Mirelle Miller-Young, discusses the impact of racial attitudes in the porn industry and Vanessa del Rio's status as one of the first women of color to achieve name recognition in the industry.[15] Queer theorist and Latina studies scholar Juana María Rodríguez analyzes del Rio's biography to reflect on how del Rio's understanding of violence, pleasure, and victimization in that book disrupt mainstream, middle-class feminist attitudes about sex work.[16]


Selected television appearances



  1. ^ Sophie (May–June 1997). "Interview with Vanessa del Rio". Mentertainment magazine. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  2. ^ George Gurley (2007-11-20). "Don't blame it on Rio". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on 2007-11-24. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  3. ^ a b c Siobhan O'Connor (2007-09-11). "Out With a Bang". King magazine. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  4. ^ a b c d Morales, Robert (1995). "Del Rio of Dreams". Vibe (Dec–Jan): 117.
  5. ^ Frolick, Joe (17 January 1983). "Porn star: Industry changing for the better". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  6. ^ "An Interview With Vanessa del Rio: Legendary Porn Star Talks Changing New York, Subway Perverts, And A Madam In The Governor's Mansion". Huffington Post. July 5, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  7. ^ "Her Name Is Rio". PAPERMAG. June 14, 2010. Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  8. ^ Perez, Rob (January 28, 2008). "Vanessa del Rio Did it...Her Way". Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Jeff Winbush. "The Diva of Sex: The Vanessa del Rio Interview". G21. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  10. ^ "Summary for NYPD Blue episode "Head Case"". Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  11. ^ Adler, Shawn (October 22, 2008). "Sam Jackson Recalls Bernie Mac's Porn Star Fantasy". MTV. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  12. ^ "Vanessa del Rio". Taschen. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
  13. ^ Dian Hanson (2007). Vanessa del Rio: Fifty Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior. Germany: Taschen. ISBN 3-8228-2230-2.
  14. ^ Johnson, Bob (September 21, 2012). "New Vanessa del Rio Feature Film in the Works". XBIZ. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  15. ^ Miller-Young, Mireille. A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography. Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2014. Print.
  16. ^ Rodríguez, Juana María. “Pornographic Encounters and Interpretative Interventions: Vanessa Del Rio: Fifty Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior.” Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory 25.3 (2015): 315–335.
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b Peter van Aarle (1997-06-07). "Historical "Best Porn Movie" Winners". Retrieved 2007-09-22.
  19. ^ "25th Annual AVN Awards Show". Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  20. ^ "XRCO Hall of Fame listing". Retrieved 20 February 2018.

External links

  • Official website
  • Vanessa del Rio on IMDb
  • Vanessa del Rio at the Internet Adult Film Database
  • Vanessa del Rio at the Adult Film Database
  • Dian Hanson. "That's 'Slut' with a capital 'S'". Taschen. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
  • "The Diva of Sex: The Vanessa Del Rio Interview". Generator 21 Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
  • "Vanessa Del Rio did it ... her way". Retrieved 2008-06-01.
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