Savanna Samson, Part 1
I tell my friends that I’m doing a Skype video interview with Savanna Samson and that it is, you know, for work. And they pretty much don’t buy it, because from their point of view, chatting with one of the hottest porn stars on the planet falls more under the category of things they wish they were doing instead of working.
Especially when I tell them the part about Savanna asking me how she could make me bigger (she meant the video) or the little strip tease she does at the end (which is still YouTube-safe.)
It doesn’t really get much better than this, unless got a chance to meet Savanna in person at the AIDS Service Center gala benefit Safer Sex in the City at La Pomme in New York City. (Didn't get a chance to attend? Not to worry, you can still make a contribution by clicking here).
Though it’s more fun to watch and listen to Savanna for 20 minutes (trust me on this), here’s the meat of our conversation. Savanna talks about her career, favorite co-stars, motherhood, Howard Stern, her hopes for the future, her favorite sex toy…and more.
You’ve built a reputation as being among the least stereotypical of adult film stars, and you’ve certainly established yourself well beyond that niche in the entertainment industry. Is “porn star” really still your professional identity, given everything else you’ve done?
Well, I like to say I wear many shoes, if you will. I mean, once a porn star, always a porn star, it’s out there for life—but I really have tried to find a way to leverage my name and carry on a legacy of Savanna Sampson in so many other things, like my wine company. And I’m hoping that’s something that my family and my son can bank on in the future. And I’m starting pornstarpoker.net, which is still, again—“porn star”—but not having sex in front of the camera. I’ll be playing online poker, with real money, and people will be able to see me and play with me at the same time. So there are a lot of fun things going on. And, again, I can never regret anything I’ve done. I just use the porn star thing and make it work for me.
You’ve been a prominent supporter the AIDS Service Center of New York for several years. Can you tell us how you got involved with them, and fill us in on the “Safer Sex in the City” fundraiser?
Well, with my being the Vivid East Coast girl—the girl living in Manhattan—[ASCNY] approached me a few years ago. They knew that I had my wine [company], and were wondering if I’d like to donate some wine for the cause and host the show. I loved the idea. Once I got involved, I realized the really great things they do for people out there living with HIV and AIDS, and maybe not being able to afford to get the help that they need. This organization is just fantastic. I’m really proud to be part of it.
Your professional life versus your personal life: Does your professional life complicate your life as a mom? And what do you tell your son and at what age?
Oh, gosh, you know, that’s a good question. My son is nine. He knows the Savanna Sampson name…Of course, he doesn’t understand the whole “birds and the bees” thing, but he knows I’m not like other mothers. I just have to make him understand that I’m not ashamed of what I do. It’s going to be delicate situation. I have a wooden baseball bat that has “Vivid Girl, Porn Star” on it. And he asked, “Why does that say porn on it?” I said that’s what your mother does for a living. He said, “Oh, okay.” … not that he understands what porn is.
I don’t really know what it’s going to be like for him exactly. His father is from Venezuela, and his side of the family, they’re scholars and teachers and doctors, and they walk around with my Savanna T-shirt, and they’re all proud of me.
The whole trajectory of your career is pretty well known to your fans, I know, but maybe not as well known to our audience at SexIs. Could you hit a couple of the seminal moments over the years? You were a small-town girl from upstate New York who wanted to become a ballerina.
Well, I studied classical ballet in a good school. I started when I was 13, and the ballet was my whole life. I passed my advanced exam as a dancer with the Imperial Society of London, England. But I really didn’t have great feet or a “natural turnout” … I don’t have the physical attributes that you would need.
I also moved to Manhattan for ballet but I came from a small town, and I got caught up all the craziness that New York has to offer. And I did everything but ballet. It wasn’t healthy for a while, and then I started dancing at Scores—well, stripped. I don’t even like to call it dancing—and that’s where the Savanna Sampson name began . . . I started doing The Howard Stern Show, and it just kind of like fell into place, the whole adult thing.
I had a fantasy of making a movie, and I ended up writing a letter to Rocco Siffredi in Europe, thinking I could go to Europe and I could make this movie and no one would know … and then it got nominated for best porn film and I kind of got porn fever. So I went to the AVN awards (the Oscars of the adult film industry) … and the next thing you know, I was meeting with Steven Hirsch (co-founder of Vivid Entertainment) and they offered me a contract. They loved the idea of having an East Coast girl. I thought I would have to move to L.A., but they liked having someone in New York. So that’s how it all happened.
How important was your friendship with Howard Stern to your career?
Well, anyone who really knows me to this day, it’s because of Howard Stern. I just won the “Skinchievement” Award that they gave …
Is that a certificate you get or …
No, a trophy, like myself on a big thing, and on it says “The Girl Who Provided the Most Eye Candy Over the Years.” I have to go pick it up from Howard, otherwise, I could show it to you. He’s been really wonderful to me. The first time I was on the show, I showed up in fur coat. And I had this black lingerie underneath, and he just thought that was great!
(Tomorrow: Life as a Vivid Girl, favorite co-stars, and Savanna’s plans for a lasting legacy...)