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Madame Bella Cummins from Bella Hacienda Brothel in Wells, Nevada

Madame Bella Cummins from Bella Hacienda Brothel in Wells, Nevada

Bella is the owner of Bella's Hacienda Ranch, a licensed brothel in Wells, Nevada. She has owned and operated the brothel for over 30 years and joins EMBRACE to share her story of how she became involved and the challenges she has faced owning and running a legal Brothel over 30 years. 73-year-old Cummins is the longest-serving living female legal brothel owner in the United States. In 1987, she acquired the struggling Hacienda Ranch Brothel in Wells, transforming it into the famed "Bella's Hacienda." Leveraging her business acumen and financial expertise, Cummins successfully turned the establishment into the most prosperous adult entertainment destination in Northeast Nevada. Throughout her career, Cummins has faced and overcome significant challenges, including successfully navigating the AIDS panic of the 1980s and the COVID shutdowns of the 2020s. During the COVID pandemic, when the legal brothels were shuttered by Nevada’s governor, Cummins creatively obtained an escort license for her business, allowing sex workers to sustain their income by providing non-sexual companionship services. In an era when sex workers were often disparaged and marginalized, Cummins pioneered a revolutionary approach within the industry. As the only legal brothel entirely run by sex workers, Bella’s Hacienda eliminated exploitative elements, creating a female-led workplace culture centered on trust and teamwork. This environment allowed sex workers to find camaraderie, support, and personal growth, challenging stereotypes and fostering a more positive image of women in the adult entertainment sector. At the forefront of promoting the legalization of prostitution, Cummins founded the Onesta Foundation. Established in 2018 in response to efforts by religious groups to ban legal brothels in certain Nevada counties, the foundation offers a platform for women working in Nevada’s sex industry and facilitates professional development and support for the legal sex work community. Most recently, Cummins is advocating to change the language on sex worker licenses .
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