The Strange Tale of the $780,000 Vagina
Ah, losing your virginity: the holy grail of teen attainment—an occasion preempted by boys buying condoms years before they're ever conceivably going to use them and girls flaunting their stuff at school, viciously cock-teasing all the desperate boys in their year, before eventually gifting their hymen to the low-level drug dealer who lurks around the school gates.
The process usually involves a few hard lemonades, a five-minute fumble in the back of a three-door hatchback, and a girl's virginity splurged all over the back seat with not a penny spent (bar the drinks and an ill-conceived head full of wet-look hair gel). Last week, however, a 20-year-old Brazilian girl named Catarina Migliorini auctioned off her virginity for a cool $780,000 presumably not realizing that the kind of man who would spend that amount on taking a stranger's virginity is likely to be more Kim Dotcom than Ryan Gosling.
The Virgins Wanted website held two auctions—one for Catarina and one for a guy called Alex Stephanov, who sold for a depressing $3,000, just barely enough to cover the flight from his Australian home to Brazil, where his buyer awaits, ready for him to park his pink Cadillac in the side alley for the very first time. The two virgins are the subjects of a documentary shot by Australian filmmaker Justin Sisely, who's currently facing potential sex trafficking charges from the Brazilian government for the "sale" of Catarina's innocence.
I called Justin to chat about the film and find out why he wanted to document two people looking to get their cherry popped for a price.
VICE: Hey Justin, what was the reasoning behind making a documentary about people losing their virginity?
Justin Sisely: I was interested in change and I wanted to look at the development of change over a period of time. I came up with an idea and a process that would generate change, and this was it.
What sort of change were you looking for?
I was looking for a life change and for someone's life to change after participating in the film.
Aside from the obvious physical change of losing their virginity, how exactly are the subjects' lives going to change?
Well, they'll be known for participating in the film and they’ll earn themselves some money from the auction of their virginities.
Isn’t that negative attention, though?
I don’t know. I think it all depends on the individual and how they use the attention as a platform to further their career in the entertainment industry. Depending on their personality, it could be a really negative thing that they’ll never be able to escape. It just really depends on the person.
Fair enough. The girl is from Brazil, but you’re based in Australia. How did you find her?
We originally had an Australian cast; two females before Catarina—one of which you'll see in the trailer—and one male before Alex. We had a lot of media attention throughout the process and a lot of international applicants applied, but their family and friends would hold interventions and say, "do you realize what you're doing?" and they'd pull out. So we decided to pull someone out of their environment to get past that problem.
The girl sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in a recent interview you said you were unsure whether she was still going to follow through on her plan to donate the money to charity. Are you still unsure?
Yes. The plan is still there, but I wouldn't imagine she'll be giving away a huge percent. I know she's going to give a lot to her family and set herself up first.
Are you seeing any of that money?
No. We’re literally not making any money on the sale of the virginity—that’s illegal. But we make money on the sale of the film.
When's that going to be ready?
Next year, depending on what network we go with or if we decide to go theatrical or not. We've had a couple of invites from Cannes and the Montreal film festival, but I’m kind of leaning toward a three part theatrical series.
Is the guy still going to be in the film? He doesn't seem to be getting nearly as much attention as the girl.
Yeah, he definitely will be. The gender comparisons and their motivations behind doing the film are really interesting. He's the hero of the film, in my view. He’s got a huge character and a huge back story, which is really riveting. You couldn’t write a character like him.
What's his story?
Basically, he migrated to Australia when he was 16, had a really tough upbringing and was agoraphobic and socially awkward. He’s come so far throughout the documentary through getting involved with society, which, I think, has really helped him be a better functioning citizen. His story shows huge development and change.
What do you think about the news that you might be charged with sex trafficking because of the virginity auction?
I think it’s difficult to face sex trafficking charges when the people in the film have reasons and have given their full consent. I think it’s pretty stupid.
Your website says that the sex is going to happen ten days after the auction, so does that mean it’s happening this weekend?
No, we’ve got a big job in Brazil first. I can’t tell you what it is because we’re under contract, but she’s going to have to remain a virgin for that. As soon as she comes back, though, which will be sometime between the 12th and 17th of November, it should happen.
Great, I guess. Thanks, Justin.
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