LOS ANGELESWhile a straight-up Porn Netflix would be great, its largely implausible, says Paige Jennings, the porn star-turned-impresario of Vuli.com, an artfully-designed landing site for both original and licensed adult content that was developed in 2019 and is now in beta. Business model-wise, maybe think of (Vulis) ultimate vision as Amazon Prime for Porn (where consumers buy whole shows or scenes). Jennings, who shot to fame in early 2015 as Veronica Vain, the subject of an adult industry bidding war that found the former Wall Street intern leveraging her finance degree, the real-world business acumen gained from stripping and sugar-dating in Florida and New York, and a lifetime of leering looks, has worked with designers to build an elegant site that she hopes will not only make money but also raise both the aesthetic and ethical standards of the adult industry. For example, Jennings writes in one of two manifestoes on the site, “We wont sell any content that caters to pedophiles or those with otherwise obscene, abusive and potentially harmful tastes. We wont sell content that clearly depicts a minor, even if the actress or actor is of age. Over time wed like to incentivize producers to pay performers higher rates as well as to keep shooting women under the age of 21 to a minimum. To visit Vuli.com and its blog, penned by Jennings herself, is to read between the lines of recent adult industry history. Of course, there have been a few services claiming to be some version of a Netflix of Porn, with one of the earliest being WantedList, a company that, since its founding in 1999, would mail porn DVDs as part of a subscription model. At its height in the early 2000s (and before Netflix and the rest of the world turned to a streaming model), WantedList had as many as 25,000 subscribers, according to AVN, won numerous industry awards, and even acquired several of its competitors. Part of the reason that the adult industry does not have its own Netflix is because, as Jennings points out, many studios already have their own streaming services. In effect, why Netflix is losing market share to upstart competitors like Disney+ and CBSAllAccess is something adult entrepreneurs have already figured out by running their own channels. Not only that but, at its current size, Vuli cannot be a Netflix of Porn, Jennings says, owing to the sheer volume of licensing required and the perceived conflict of interest studios would fight in renting their material to the platform. So Vuli has its own original content as well as full-length scenes, presented in a more elegant clip store format that Jennings hopes will be appealing to both discerning women and men. Jennings, too, is discerning, and acknowledges that part of her drive to succeedto make the transition from performer to mogulstems from a chip on her shoulder. That chip may come from the fact that I had to even do any (sex work to pay the bills) in the first place, she says, telling XOJane at the beginning of her career that she was aware, due to her sexuality, that people didnt take her seriously. Like many porn stars who both love the adult industry and also are frustrated by its ample room for improvement, Jennings hopes to use Vuli to redress wrongs in the porn biz. As such the site, with some but not an overwhelming amount of Paige/Vain branding, cant help but be an extension of her personal vision. Still in its larval stage, Vuli already boasts several dozen tastefully-presented clips and featured porn stars (including scenes from Jennings/Vain herself, like PornPros Veronica Vain: Fuck Wall Street) and Vulis original series The Golden Key, starring Charlotte Stokely and Gianna Dior. Vuli currently offers early adopter packages for $25 that reward startup pioneers with six months of extended access. Even casual visitors are treated to Jennings raw thought process, which blurs the line between Vain, the calculating sex worker, and Jennings, the idealistic entrepreneur. And isnt this hybrid personality completely at home in the adult industry? There were times in my life when I wondered if sex was all anyone would ever want from me, Jennings writes. As her now infamous pre-porn story goes, she had transferred from the University of Florida to New Yorks Fordham University and had been offered a job at the same Wall Street firm at which shed been interning. Like many professionals whose adult industry moonlighting was discovered by mainstream colleagues, she was asked to leave her job. Then, as part of a flurry of work with the reality show Sex Factor, an association with Kayden Kross, and a promotional tie-in with the Sugar Dating site Arrangement Finders, Jennings, as Vain, entered the adult industry at near-peak visibility. She worked steadily, took breaks, and frankly detailed her ambitions on her YouTube channel, Redhead Redemption, and on her Instagram account. In addition to Vulis licensing and financial hurdles, Jennings decided to remove her breast implants in late 2018 (so excited to not be in pain) and, in the midst of the pandemic work stoppage, released the milestone The Golden Key (directed by Hank Hoffman) in May 2020. So now Vuli stands as both an intensely personal site that also isnt, and a Netflix of Porn that also isnt. What it is, or is yet to be, is dependent on Jennings herself: a dynamo with the brains and the fanbase to be a mogul on her own.
written by: Gram Ponante