What's the biggest personal change you've ever made and how did it affect you?

This is actually a difficult question for me because almost everything I do or happens to me personally affects me and my life professionally.

One of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do would be making the decision to part with the love of my life. Love is magical. Being loved is a feeling that is so beautiful and euphoric. Love can move mountains, as they say. Finding love and your soulmate doesn’t happen every day but love can hurt and does not conquer all. (The enduring expression is: “If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you it was meant to be.”)

When I got married, it was for the long haul. Never in a million years did I think I would be a statistic of divorce or failed marriage. My relationship was a very heated, high voltage, extreme high-and-low lifestyle. We were both very high strung and passionate (Italian and Portuguese, go figure) and overly passionate about our craft and talents. We were both perfectionists, we worked together, lived together, loved together. He was my best friend, my lover, my companion, and one of the most amazing talents I have ever known. We traveled the world working together, following our dreams, and had the time of our lives as most would think. I didn’t need anyone else and became secluded and separated as such.

I didn’t want to do anything without him. I gave up my independence. Our lives revolved around each other. He counted on me and I wanted to save us, save him. I know you become one when you enter into a lifetime commitment with someone, but I really lost myself, my identity. I lost pursuing me and my dreams and we were headed down a road of destruction for many reasons. Together we were either an army of greatness, or an army headed for war.

One day I made a decision that I needed to be a better person to myself—for myself—and for my family. Bottom line: It was time for me to make a change. That change and that decision was one of the hardest. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about losing the love of my life, or how I could’ve saved us, but sometimes love isn’t enough.

From this I learned what was important to me: I learned how to stand up for myself, create a healthier lifestyle mentally and physically, work harder. I learned how to be alone, to become a stronger independent woman and hopefully a role model to others. I learned to follow my dreams and be me, to become more knowledgeable and take control of situations and make my own decisions, to trust myself and to be a better person--body, mind and soul.

All those things my parents taught me when I was young I needed to put back in my life—so I did. Here I am and I still believe in love.

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