A businessman sits at his desk, busily typing in an airy office. His assistant comes in with coffee. She’s wearing a tiny black satin dress and a faux-fur vest. She sits on his lap and in short order he is fondling her bare breasts — until the doorbell rings. A second woman has entered the lobby and demands to speak to the businessman. After a brief conversation in Spanish, he approaches the second woman. The video cuts to her deep-throating his dick. Meanwhile, the spurned secretary returns to her desk, where she is hit on by a young man who gives her a lollipop. Soon, she’s naked and straddling him on a couch. They cycle through some oral sex, precarious-looking doggy-style on a swivel chair and a round on the couch before the scene ends with a facial.
As its title attests, “Colombianas — Peliculas de Santalatina” was made in Colombia, but its sensibilities strongly overlap with the type of professionally filmed content viewers across the world have come to expect from large American porn companies. With more than 10 million views on xVideos, it also seems likely to have driven a lot of traffic to Andrea Garcia’s website. A pop-up ad over the video player at the end of the scene calls her “the most famous producer of porn material in Latin America.” And the profile for her company, SantaLatina.com, declares that it’s “the most famous Latinas porn site in [sic] the planet.”
It’s true enough. Almost all of the other “Colombiana”-tagged videos I found on tube sites such as xVideos lead back to Garcia and her business partner/husband, Cristian Cipriani. The two have been producing and directing hardcore porn together in Colombia — where porn is a long-thriving industry — for more than a decade.
“The first pornographic films recorded in Latin America were made in the era of Pablo Escobar,” claims Cipriani, who was born in Venezuela (where porn is forbidden) but moved to Colombia as a child. “He had a cousin who was called ‘the Poet.’ He commissioned the production of five porn movies, which were made with huge quality standards for the time, with very beautiful women.”
Two and a half decades later, reports Cipriani, “the same ‘Poet’ knocked on my office door and showed me the five movies on BetaMax.” By then, Cipriani was already one half of Colombia’s porn power couple. He’d met Garcia in Medellín sometime in the early 2000s. She had started Kamasutra, a pay-per-view cable channel that focused on sexuality, and she invited him to create a show for it — ultimately dubbed El Sementales (the Stallions) — where he and different callers discussed their sex lives.
In 2005, Garcia began directing porn for 7labios, Colombia’s first hardcore porn paysite, which she founded. (7labios is now defunct, but many of the videos are still available online.) Soon, she and Cipriani joined forces to create 1726 Productions, followed by SantaLatina.com, the company behind “Colombianas — Peliculas de Santalatina.” As a team, they’ve helped transform Colombian porn from a cartel-based cottage industry into a player on the international porn stage with their professionalism, relentless publicity campaigns, internet savvy and continuous output. They’re currently contracted exclusively with PornDoe, a large Latin American porn conglomerate that funds much of their production work in exchange for a cut of the profits.
“We’ve recorded more than 3,000 scenes, created multiple triple-X television programs, and created many series for different companies,” Cipriani tells me. “We’ve worked with about 2,000 actresses, and we’re still number one [in Colombia], with a production of 10 monthly scenes.”
They’re actually more than number one in Colombia. They’re essentially the only game in town. Aside from SantaLatina, “there are very few large outfits” in the country, says Yannick Ferreri, PornDoe’s head of development. “Most are small shops with limited abilities in tech.”
Another obstacle is that Garcia and Cipriani’s work regularly attracts the attention of American porn companies, who often bring their big-time male stars south to shoot with female Latin American talent — both Tommy Gunn and James Deen appear on the PornDoe “Pornstars” page — only to take their scene partners back home with them.
“Any popular girl,” explains Ferreri, “would eventually move to the U.S.,” like the legendary Esperanza Gomez, “the Bombon de Colombia,” who was crowned Miss Playboy TV in 2005 and started making porn several years later. She’s now a renowned international star who works primarily in the U.S., though she’s still the most popular porn star in her home country, too, according to PornHub.
Gomez is also still dabbling in camming — the true porn industry in Colombia. In fact, Colombia is the world’s second-largest player in the adult webcam market, after industry behemoth Romania. There were an estimated 30,000 cam models working out of Colombia in mid-2015, and the industry has only continued to grow. That makes camming one of the biggest employers of young women in Colombia today, with hubs located in Medellín, Cali and Bogotá. If anything, many adult Colombian models merely use porn to feed their camming careers. “They use porn to become famous, and then have many followers on their webcam platforms,” explains Cipriani.
Why camming? Because that’s where the real money is. “In Colombia, a good [webcam] model could make more money than a doctor, lawyer or someone that went to school for years,” Xbiz reported late last year.
Many models use their earnings to put themselves through school, then exit the industry to continue making good salaries with their new degrees. Camming not only brings employment and capital into Colombia — it’s also helping to create a new generation of educated professionals.
For trans women in particular, the benefits of working behind a webcam can be pronounced. “They’ve been so marginalized from the economy, especially in the developing world, that for a lot of them, their only options are in sex work,” says Tim Rogers, an American journalist who has lived all over Latin America and written about webcamming in Colombia. “That puts them in a very dangerous position. If they’re just working the street corners, they’re getting in cars with strangers and doing a lot of other things they can’t quickly extract themselves from.”
Webcamming, on the other hand, happens behind closed doors, in safe studios or in the model’s home. “If people start getting aggressive in their rooms, they can block them quickly,” Rogers says. “If they don’t like the way things are going, they can turn off their laptops. There are easy ways they feel like they can extract themselves from situations that are uncomfortable that they might not have in real life.”
“Since we’re on the other side of the screen, nobody can touch us or hurt us,” adds Molly Brooke, a Colombian woman who’s been webcam modeling for the last three years.
“It is much safer to work [on cam] without having to interact in a physical way with someone unknown,” agrees Lucy Alvarez, who’s been webcamming from Antioquia, Colombia, for six months. She adds, “At the beginning, I didn’t enjoy it. I saw it only as something that I must do to improve my current economic situation, but as time passed, everything changed. Now I feel love for [what] I do.”
It’s also not always about sex. “The sex component in camming is losing importance, and components like friendship, social interaction and entertainment [are] becoming the main focuses,” notes Anthony Rivera, co-founder of AJ Studios, the biggest webcam company in Colombia.
Most webcam site visitors watch shows first to masturbate to, but they might stay to talk to the model. If she establishes a good rapport, clients might come back to see her perform again, spending money every time they return. Thus, as Rivera told blogger CJ Asher last year, “The perfect cam model is something like 60 percent personality and 40 percent physical. This is a relationship service, so charming and creative personalities are a must. The rest is secondary.”
The bigger issue is visibility. Porn and camming are legal in Colombia, but in a predominantly Catholic country, they’re not necessarily welcomed. That means porn professionals can still get pushback from authorities. For example, last year police shut down LALEXPO, an adult trade show in Cartagena founded by AJ Studios, on its second day. Law enforcement claimed that the show didn’t have proper licenses, and that the display of “inappropriate videos and photos in the surroundings of the convention center and in front of the mayor’s office were also taken into account to suspend the event.”
Event organizers reopened the show the next day and later issued a statement decrying discrimination against a perfectly legal industry that had spent months making sure all licenses were in place. Furthermore, they said, “The claim that ‘explicit pornography’ was on demonstration is a complete falsehood.”
“The webcam and adult industry in general is being stigmatized now more than ever in Colombia,” Rivera says. “So [our] goal is to change the perception the mainstream and general public has about our industry. To accomplish this, one of our projects has been starting a professional trade association for the adult industry in Colombia.”
Adult entertainers across both traditional porn and webcamming sides of the industry are banding together behind the new organization, dubbed ASOCEA (Asociación Dolombiana de Comercio Electrónico Para Adultos). Ferreri of PornDoe says that there is “a great deal of camaraderie” between the two sectors. “We’re a heavily stigmatized industry,” he says, and it’s important that its players stick together.
If they do, global domination isn’t out of the question. As Cipriani points out when I ask him where most of the country’s adult entertainment is being sold, “The answer applies to the entire planet: Online.”