So many of today’s YouTube stars seem to make their marks posting videos of inane things like makeup tips, squeezing zits, or simply blathering about themselves ad nauseam. But there’s one special lady who caught our attention, not just because she’s a gorgeous badass, but also because she’s doing something cool. Meet Sarah Jane Woodall, aka Wonderhussy, the Las Vegas-based nude model/writer turned YouTuber who spends her days cruising the desert in her Toyota 4Runner, camping, sampling hot springs, and exploring abandoned mining camps, ghost towns, and derelict brothels.
We caught up with Woodall on the phone in New Mexico, where she was helping one of her online followers collect rare acorns; afterward she’s headed back to Nevada to check out a Facebook-formed Area 51 raid “to see them aliens,” for which over two million people have signed up. “It’s gonna be a shitshow,” Sarah tells us. Be sure to check out her YouTube channel, Wonderhussy Adventures, to see for yourself.
Where did the moniker “Wonderhussy” come from?
I used to write a column for a local paper, which had started a website that was an “adult” guide to Vegas — what’s it like to go to a brothel or a strip club, etc. But the paper was so conservative, I couldn’t post photos with nudity, I couldn’t say anything interesting. So I started writing my own blog so I could say whatever I wanted, and I came up with the name “Wonderhussy” because it’s sort of emblematic of, “Fuck this — I’m gonna say what I want to say and be who I want to be! People think I’m a shameless hussy? Well, I’m gonna be the best damn hussy there is.”
How did you transition from writing to YouTubing?
I couldn’t monetize my blog using Google AdSense, because it was considered an “adult” website. I guess because I posted nude photos, or maybe the keywords I used? But I was driving back from Burning Man and I passed this abandoned building. I pulled over and went in, and as I was shooting, I was describing what I was seeing and figuring out in real time that it was an old brothel. I put the video up on YouTube and it got a really good response. People started emailing me, saying, “That’s called URBEX [urban exploration]. You should do more videos like that.” And right around that time, I discovered I had all this money waiting for me in my YouTube account from the ads that were appearing in the videos I’d posted over the years.
So now you do this full-time?
Yeah, man, I do YouTube full-time! But it’s not very lucrative, and it’s kind of an idiot’s game. They know everyone wants to be a star, so they own all your content. They can shut you down at any time, and you’re basically busting your hump just so they can make money, and then they throw you a few crumbs.