The country’s preeminent porn and brothel star has given it up.
The porn acting, specifically. No more starring in adult films for Sunset Thomas.
But about the brothel …
“I’m still working at the Chicken Ranch,” says Thomas, once featured in “Cathouse” on HBO and star of at least 250 adult films, who is still a star attraction at the brothel over the hump in Pahrump. “It’s so close to home. It’s only 45 miles away. I love that.”
Over the past four months, Thomas has spent two-week stints at the Chicken Ranch. Call in advance to see if she’s on the bill out there. This week, she is padding around the 15th annual Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel, toting 8-by-10 photos of her at the Ranch, which she will sign for fans or even the benignly curious.
On Saturday night, she’s walking the red carpet at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on the arm of her friend and sometimes fashion confidante Jimmy Emerson, the drag star who replaced Frank Marino in the lead role in “Evening at La Cage” at Riviera before that show closed last summer.
“I love Jimmy,” Thomas says. “I go to him for makeup tips.”
Thomas’ participation in AEE at the Hard Rock (which rhymes with one of her favorite terms) is mostly to represent that industry as one of its enduring personalities, and also to tour the convention space with my ever-ubiquitous colleague Robin Leach. She’s a member of every relevant hall of fame connected to the adult-entertainment industry, including that of the AVN. In 2001, at age 29, she was the youngest inductee into the AVN Hall of Fame, the Cooperstown of Coitus.
Thomas is featured in a book due this spring, a collection of portraits taken by photojournalist and filmmaker Jane Hilton titled “Precious.” Hilton canvassed brothels across Nevada for a collection of nude, intimate images of women from the largest and tiniest brothels in operation. The book is going to be premiered at gallery shows in London and New York. For that tome, Hilton visited every brothel in the state, even those with only two or three women on the clock.
Though Thomas says her film career is certainly over, ending in 2009. For her final scenes, she held an open audition for her fans, with the winner being awarded a scene with the adult-film legend. A guy named Chris won the contest. He did well in his role, Sunset says. He liked the experience enough to hang around the set for two additional days of filming, which would be considered loitering or trespassing if he weren’t an approved cast member.
The whole experience was a fitting sendoff for a woman who has starred in such adult movies as “Special Delivery,” The Oh! Zone” and “Bare Market,” to name-check the tamer titles.
But Thomas is less eager to leave behind her work as a hired sex partner. She spends two weeks a month at Chicken Ranch, a commitment she entered into four months ago and lasts through the fall.
Why would she forgo a mainstream career for repeated dalliances for money at Chicken Ranch? The money is good, doubtless, though Thomas does not like to discuss payments.
“We’ve been very busy, and I’ll leave it at that,” she says and is gratified that the Horse is furnished with a game and laundry room for the girls. This is a rarity, evidently.
Mostly, though, Thomas still thrills in the human interactions.
“It’s all about my fans,” she says with a giggle. “I can’t seem to get enough of them.”