Over the years, we’ve watched Sandra Shine’s journey take her from being one of Viv Thomas’ most beautiful and iconic models, to becoming a successful agent and make-up artist, and then a talented movie director. It’s incredible to discover photosets of Sandra on VT dating back as far as 2001; she’s grown more and more stunning over the years, and her appearances have enlivened many classic Viv movies, such as ‘Prim and Improper,’ ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Pink Velvet 3,’ as well as earning her a well-deserved Babe of the Year trophy in 2011. Since then she’s gone from strength to strength, setting up her model agency while simultaneously learning her craft as a camera operator and then taking on directorial duty.
Last year’s ‘Models Unleashed’ – a fascinating glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera – gave us a hint of Sandra’s creative potential, as she had major input into all aspects of the shoot. Now today’s new movie, ‘Vine,’ sees her take the directing reins in confident and convincing style, exploring an unusual location and encouraging some gorgeous girls to have naughty fun in the sun!
I’ve had a massive girl crush on Sandra for the longest time, so it was a thrill for me to talk to her about her career, and her experiences working with Viv Thomas.
Sandra, you were one of the most popular models Viv ever shot – what was it like working with him? Do you have a favourite movie from that time?
SS: Everybody in the business knows that working with Viv was always top class. Meaning great scenarios, beautiful locations, and he only shot top models. The very first time I shot with Viv was at the dawn of my modelling career, I had just turned 18 and he took me to Spain, to a beautiful villa. It was a wonderful place. Back in those days he shot on film, not digital. Yes, it was that long ago! Viv and his wife, Avril, said they thought I might have a very successful career, and it turned out they were right. Viv followed my career over 13 years in the business, we shot a lot of scenes and movies. I always loved shooting for VivThomas.com. Viv always treated the models very well, shooting with his crew was a lot of fun. I think one of the reasons why the scenes are so good is that the models loved shooting them. Viv really had an eye for seeing which models were genuinely into girls, and he kept shooting them all over and over again. It’s hard to choose one movie or scene that is my favourite, but I had my very own movie, ‘Butterfly,’ that everybody loved and so did I. It’s basically about me and my sexual fantasies coming true. It was directed and shot in a very nice, romantic way. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s time to watch it!
Please tell us about your model agency – why did you decide to start it?
SS: I’ve been in the business a long time and I know a lot of clients and models. I travelled in the States a few years back and I kept getting requests from the photographers to organize models for them when they were in Europe. Then in 2005 I started my own website www.SandraShineLive.com and I shot a lot of Hungarian and Czech models. Since I gave the models work, I just thought it was time to start a model agency site to serve both sides. The site – www.SandrasModels.com – is only for professional use by registered photographers and directors. Since I came from modelling myself, I think the models trust me absolutely and I treat them the way they want to be treated. I am friends with my models.
Do you still model?
SS: Due to a back injury I stopped shooting for a few months, about three years ago. I had enough content of myself for my website to last for a while, and in the meantime I started doing camerawork for Viv and I really enjoyed it. So I never went back to modelling again. Never say never, but now I’m a very confident director and camerawoman and I’m not planning on going in front of the camera again. We will see though…! I really enjoyed being a model. I started as a fashion model when I was 16, then at 18 I started to take my clothes off. Then I slowly went into lesbian scenes. I think lesbian movies are so sexy. In the modelling work I loved travelling, being in professional make-up and sexy clothes, I could live out all my sexual fantasies in front of the camera. I was a Penthouse Pet in the US numerous times, and I’ve been on the cover of all the top magazines. I think my success comes from the fact that I love what I am doing.
How did you learn to direct? What do you enjoy about it?
SS: I always watched and asked questions about production wherever I went for shooting. I learned a lot from Viv on location. I always had good ideas about scenes that everybody loved, so we shot many of my own ideas. I learned about camerawork from the photographer and videomaker who shoots for my site, Gabor Orban. Then I started experimenting and learned a lot on my own. I think that’s how it goes. If you are interested in something you keep doing it and you get better and better. I enjoy this new way of being creative in the business. Now I’m not in front of the camera but behind it, and I can still fulfil a lot of my own fantasies with other models. Models love to pose for a camerawoman. And sometimes they get turned on when I say, “Wow, this is so damn sexy!” and the scene gets even better.
Please tell us about your movie ‘Vine.’ It’s an unusual location for a movie – what gave you the idea?
SS: ‘Vine’ was my very first idea for a whole production that I came up with. Basically the idea came from Viv’s fondness for the vine! [Viv is a celebrated wine connoisseur, his custom built cellar was the highlight of many a trip to Portugal!]. Then I heard of this little family vinery in the countryside so I went there to check it out. When I went there I saw the scenes immediately. I fell in love with the location and the story, and the style of shooting and cutting was born already. I would love to go back there to shoot some more, maybe a continuing story… I knew that Viv always wanted to do a movie on that subject, so I was so happy when I found this location. I selected the models, wrote the full script and shot it. That’s how simple it was. I did the camerawork and directing at the same time, that was something completely new for me and sometimes it was hard to focus on both at the same time. The thing I love most about the movie is the style of the scenes. I’m really curious to hear members’ feedback, hopefully viewers will be captivated by the ambience. I’m even up for a forum chat with them if they have any questions. Just an idea! Since it’s my first full production I would love to hear what they liked and what they would suggest doing differently. I like to learn every day. I had a hard time choosing the right editor; at one point I was planning to learn how to edit videos myself. Then finally I managed to find someone. That’s why it took so long for the movie to come out. But I’m happy with the result now.
What would be your dream movie to make?
SS: I have an idea for a continuous story of about 10 films. I would love to share it but I’m afraid somebody else would do it, so I will keep it quiet for now! One thing I can share is that I really love shooting sea view scenes and shooting in unusual places with unusual scripts.
Have you ever considered making a movie with all Viv’s classic models from the past?
SS: Wow, I would love to do that! I know real fans love to see their favourite models, even 100 times. And to put Viv’s dream team together for a big movie would rock! If I could be the director-camerawoman I would be grateful for that. I’m just wondering who is still active from the dream team… It’s been a few years! Thank you so much for asking me questions that made me think about nice memories from the past. Kisses to all!