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Mustang Ranch rides into porn production

Owners call the new venture “a natural fit”

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Belle (left) and Sara Faye of Mustang Ranch stand in front of a television playing the legal brothel’s first porn video, filmed in December.
Photo: April Corbin

Porn stars get paid to have sex with other porn stars on camera, and the working girls of Nevada’s legal brothels get paid to have sex with Average Joes. The two concepts might not seem markedly different, but in the eyes of the law and the women in the sex industry, they can be.

Take Belle.

She’s worked at the Mustang Ranch for four years. That’s longer than any other working girl currently at the legal brothel, which is located 15 minutes outside of Reno. She says she loves everything about her job. She even jokes that she’s “never leaving” the ranch.

As confidant as Belle is with having sex with strangers, when the brothel’s owners recently decided to expand the business into a production company and begin making porn at the ranch, she was hesitant at the thought of appearing on film. She concedes she had to be “talked into” the project.

Three weeks later, watching the video for the first time at the Mustang Ranch’s Adult Entertainment Expo booth, she admits she’s still “freaking out” a little.

Sara Faye of Mustang Ranch.

“I’m looking at this and seeing everything that’s wrong,” she admits as she watches herself being fondled on a big-screen television by costar Sara Faye.

Faye, also a legal prostitute at Mustang Ranch, had fewer worries going into the video shoot. She’s worked at Mustang Ranch for a year, but for the three years before that she worked in the adult film industry. She has more than 200 films to her name, and she specializes mostly in fetish work, bondage, BDSM and roleplay.

According to Lance Gilman, the Mustang Ranch’s co-owner and mastermind behind the brothel’s decision to begin making films, there are just girls comfortable with working as prostitutes but uncomfortable with having sex on camera. Those girls won’t appear in the production company’s ventures.

Belle came around after talking to Gilman and the brothel’s madam, Susan Austin. Three weeks have passed since the shoot and Belle says she’ll definitely do a full series. “I was more nervous about the talking (in the film),” she reflects. “As soon as we started kissing, that’s when I calmed down and felt more comfortable.”

The first video, One Night at the Mustang Ranch, will be available on the Internet for customers who pay to be members of an online Mustang Ranch club, which has not been set up yet. Gilman and Austin estimate a launch date in early or mid-April.

They expect the venture to be successful. In fact, it was the success of their website that prompted the idea in the first place.

“We’ve gotten over 15 million hits on our Internet site from all over the world,” Austin says. “With that many hits, we should be able to provide something for the gentlemen, especially the gentlemen overseas.”

In addition to earning money simply from the sales of the online videos, the possibility exists that the men who pay to watch the Mustang Ranch videos (which will be solo, pair and group scenes featuring only women) may feel compelled to travel across the world to experience the women in the flesh. It should only help business for the brothel itself and the women inside it.

Wanting to sleep with someone you’ve seen have sex on camera is nothing new, of course. Neither is the ability to. Adult actresses often work at brothels. Sunset Thomas, Isabella Soprano and Sunny Lane have all done worked in adult films and at Moonlite BunnyRanch.

Still, Gilman and Austin say what sets them apart is being Nevada’s first brothel to produce its own porn. While brothels have appeared on television shows, like Moonlite’s Cathouse series on HBO, none have established themselves as production companies the way Mustang Ranch has.

According to Austin, it’s because of the county the ranch resides in. “In most counties it’s not legal to combine (brothels and porn production companies),” she says. “We’re fortunate enough our county fathers had the foresight to write it into the rules and regulations we have to abide by.”

If the Mustang Ranch’s newest venture succeeds, it will add to the legacy of the Northern Nevada establishment, already notable for being the country’s first legal brothel (it opened in 1971). Gilman and Austin purchased the company off eBay in 2003 from the government, who auctioned off the business after seizing it from its original owner, Joe Conforte, who fled the country to Brazil after allegations of tax evasion.

Gilman, who also owns the nearby Wild Horse Resort & Spa, says that Mustang Ranch is the largest brothel in the state, boasting 166 square miles of land. It has a river, running streams and themed rooms inside the ranchhouse — plenty of locations to keep videos interesting.

“We don’t have (to pay) a location fee,” he says,” and the ladies are already there.”

Adds Austin, “A production company is a natural fit.”

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