In a few short years, Montreal-based adult technology platform ManyVids has risen from an idea to the top adult clip site in the world.
But CEO and occasional camgirl Bella French had full confidence in her vision. After all, it was an excellent concept: create a platform where any camgirl can host her own content, and make it a hub for the sexiest women in the world. Today, ManyVids is a multinational pro-sex technology conglomerate that specializes in live-streaming, e-commerce, and video-hosting.
“We are first and foremost a tech firm,” French says of the company she now runs with her cofounder tech pros, Sed Dehan and Gino Sciretta. “We want adult performers to have the best tools for success.”
French no longer cams as much as she used to; her main focus is running the company. Since her days as a buxom blonde bombshell, she has reduced her breasts and gone back to her natural hair color. In other words, she’s returned to herself.
Aside from overseeing a cutting-edge digital platform, French is devoted to advocating for sex workers, which is why this year she revealed herself as the company’s co-founder and CEO in the documentary We Are Many. One of her latest projects? A 1-800 hotline for adult entertainers to call when they need help.
Following a shocking string of suicides last year by prominent women in the adult industry, French was compelled to do something. After shutting herself in her office to cry silently, she returned to her 80-plus employees to brainstorm a solution. The hotline was born.
“It’s one of my proudest accomplishments,” she says in her charming accent. “I care about the models. They are our business partners and we want them to be treated with respect.”
We sat down with the savvy French Canadian to talk business, entrepreneurs, busting ass, obstacles, and boobs.
You’re the CEO of a major technology company. Why keep this awesome title a secret until now?
There were a few reasons why I waited. First of all, I’m a workaholic. I love to work, and I had no interest in putting myself out there publicly because that would take up a lot of my time when I wanted to be working on the platform. Secondly, I didn’t want attention taken away from the company and put on me instead. I knew that if I was out there, then my history as a camgirl would bring too much attention. I wanted the focus to be on ManyVids. As we evolved, it became harder and harder to do business hiding myself. I realized that unless I put myself out there, I could not advocate for the changes I want to see in the adult industry. I’m really passionate about that stuff, and I couldn’t do that hiding behind the computer.
You had a sizable following when you were camming, right?
Yes. I started camming in the fall of 2012 and I did it pretty seriously for three years. When I started ManyVids, I had to cam less to focus on the company. However, now that I’m public I am camming a bit again.
How did your company begin?
Before creating ManyVids, I went to business school and then I opened two of my own clothing stores. I was born an entrepreneur. I love building projects. At one point, while camming, I decided I needed my own website. With the help of my boyfriend Sed Dehan, I created bellafrench.com. We barely invested any money in it. It was ghetto. But it still did really well. It gave me the idea to create a larger platform that could host lots of mini websites within it. We knew it was going to work because we had the proof of concept! That’s how the idea started. We knew that there was a lot of potential in the cam world. So, I cammed and saved money, while Sed worked on code with his friend and our third partner, Gino Sciretta. I wanted to have the most cutting-edge platform for camgirls to succeed on. I’d heard too many stories of webmasters and coders who would try to get money out of camgirls to build them websites. It happened to me!
Wait, coders would try to take advantage of camgirls by offering them sites, like weird, online pimps?
When I was camming, I had a guy message me, bragging about the amazing websites he was building for various models, including Coco Austin, and he asked me to get on Skype to talk it over. I agreed because I was curious. But basically, what he was trying to do was sell me a templated website, which is the easiest website to do, for $6,000. No thank you! Other models told me similar stories.
There are creeps everywhere. We can’t avoid them!
It’s so bad! I actually think there is a huge misconception about adult performers, and the assumption is that we are all ditzy, dumb girls. It’s simply not true. Camgirls are sex entrepreneurs capitalizing on their charm and beauty. They’re monetizing the fact that men worship female sexuality. They offer the girlfriend experience from the comfort of their apartments. Genius!
How did you get into camming in the first place?
There was a big flood in my Montreal clothing store. The water tank in the apartment above had broken and flooded my business. The tank was connected to city water, so it just kept filling up and pouring water into the store. I lost $250,000 investing in that store. It was brutal. My insurance wouldn’t cover more than $50,000. I had borrowed money from all sorts of places to start the store, but more importantly, my father lent me money and I swore to him that I would pay him back every dollar. I was not going to break that promise by declaring bankruptcy. I was never too interested in the adult industry, but I knew Gino’s girlfriend made a lot of money camming. I started doing research. My first reaction was shock. I was never going to do that!
You were a prude!
Yes, like a lot of people, I had a misconception about what the industry was. Two weeks later, I caved and just decided to do it to pay back my debts. My plan was to get out the minute I had enough money. But then I got hooked. I ended up loving the cam world.
Did you pay off all the debt?
Yes! It took me close to three years, but I was also paying for my life and getting a lot of plastic surgery then.
Yeah, you used to have massive boobs. That blonde bombshell look. Why the physical changes?
I always thought Ice-T’s wife Coco Austin was incredible, even before I started camming. I got more surgery as I was camming, but before then I had dyed my brown hair blonde and enhanced my breasts to get that Coco look.
I met Coco Austin when my band was playing with Body Count. Her ass is crazy in real life and her hair cascaded down her back like an upside-down vanilla ice-cream cone.
My fans loved the big boobs. At their biggest, my boobs were 1,200cc implants, but now I have reduced them to 800cc. It’s like I was a different person, as though my sexualized side amplified into one human being. I had so much fun being that character.
I can’t imagine having boobs that huge!
In your everyday life, it gets a bit much. You get so much attention. I love sports, especially running. Even now when I go to jog, I have to wear two sports bras and Band-Aids on my nipples. People don’t realize what a big commitment it is to have huge boobs.
And we thank you for your dedication.
Photography courtesy of ManyVids.