Exclusive Interview: Lisa Ann

Lisa Ann was born in Easton, Pennsylvania. She began erotic dancing ca. 1990 to pay her way through college, where she became a certified dental assistant. In July 1994, she became an adult actress, but quit in 1997. She spent several years touring as a feature dancer at strip clubs around the country, before returning to the sex industry as an agent, and later also as a performer. Her talent agency, Clear Talent Management, was formed in November 2006, and was later renamed Lisa Ann’s Talent Management.

On October 2, 2008, Lisa Ann was confirmed to star in “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin?” parodying 2008 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin. The movie, produced by Larry Flynt’s Hustler Video, portrays Lisa Ann in sex scenes with other female porn stars parodying well known female political figures, such as Hillary Clinton (played by veteran porn star Nina Hartley) and Condoleezza Rice (played by Jada Fire). This movie was released on election day November 4, 2008.

Lisa, it’s great to talk with you. I’ve been getting a ton of emails asking when I’m gonna have you on…

Really? What is wrong with these people? I love it! Do you think the Sarah Palin sensation is what started the change for me?

I think it started before that. I think the Sarah Palin thing was just icing on the cake. I was gonna touch on this later but we can get into it now. You were in the business before and you left. You came back and it’s almost like you were on a mission to make your mark. I think it not only comes across in your scenes, but I think you project that attitude.

Thank you very much. That’s very kind. It’s awesome. I owned a day spa for four years when I took a break from the industry. I wanted to see what else was out there. I realized it was very dull. I enjoy day spas and I love the business but this is where I belong! These are my people! I enjoy the nutty-ness. I thrive off of the chaos. I can manage it. Some people can’t. They take it very personally. One thing with this business is you need to survive and not fall into the lifestyle – the drugs and the alcohol abuse – or anything that comes along with the lackadaisical schedule we have. You need to pave the way for other people who may be wondering if they get into the business if it’s going to suck them up. When I started the agency and started shooting again it was an excitement for me because I was accepting myself and knew that this is what I wanted to be. I wasn’t doubting myself. There’s always people telling you to do something else. I went to my family and told them I tried to do something else and it’s just not me. This is how you have to accept me and if you can’t, I understand. I’m not going to change myself or try to be something I’m not for anyone. Coming back was something I wanted so bad. I wanted to do this. The beauty of being in the business for a long time is you get to know people. You get to shoot with and for people you already know and like and have a good vibe with. Being on set now is like a day off! I work so hard in the office and that balance of that hard work and getting on set and dilly-dallying and just chillin’ and crackin’ jokes rejuvinates me so much.

I think it’s great that when you started your agency that you were there to not just get them work, but to guide their career and even help them improve their credit ratings. It seems like you highlighted the good stuff but also made your clients aware that they should be prepared for the bad things that could happen.

No doubt. I’m starting to feel that warmth from the industry and from the owners of companies who now look at me differently. I’ve proved myself in a different way – not just as talent, but I’ve proved myself to be a good businesswoman. I care for my talent and my production companies as well. I want what’s best for everyone. There’s always that choice: be fair or be greedy. I always choose to be fair. I can already feel that that’s going to pay off for me.

Let’s jump back a little. You started out dancing around 1990. How did you make the transition from feature dancing to performing in Adult?

I was working at Al’s Diamond Cabaret in Redding, Pennsylvania. We had feature dancers coming in 52 weeks of the year. I was meeting everyone. It was the early 90s and it was the greatest girls ever! We had Teri Weigel and Savannah and Blondage and Sheyla Laveaux – all these awesome people. I would talk to them and I was enamored with the fact that these girls live in LA and they get to dance in different places every week. How exciting was that!? I interviewed the girls for about two years and asked them plenty of questions about the business. I set on my mission and bought myself a one-way ticket. I got a rental car and lived in a hotel for a while and had some friends help me out, some girls I’d met. Girls like Leena. She wrote me letters, gave me phone numbers, made contacts for me, and even had someone pick me up at the airport. She helped me meet the right people and I had a contract before I even shot my first movie!

Wow…

I know! Who does that, right?

That’s a lot to walk in to! Were you ready for your first scene?

I was. I was totally ready because I waited so long meeting the girls. I really waited ’til I was ready. I studied my porn! It was traumatic – it was VHS back then! I realized part of my excitement of being a dancer was knowing that people were watching me. If that is something that fills me as a dancer then it was obviously something that was going to fill me as a porn star. I knew when the camera was on that people are going to be watching that one day. When I’m looking into the camera for pictures I’m always thinking about who’s going to be looking from the other side. That arouses me.

While reading about your management style I found out that you ask potential clients to write a mission statement for their career. Is that something you did for yourself, too?

It definitely is. And the two things I wanted out of my career I’ve obtained, thank God. Those two things were to be financially independent and to travel. I know that sounds like a very small list of expectations, but keeping life simple is really what it’s about. My goal has never been, Oh my God! I have to get married and have two kids and do this and that. I just wanted to be financially independent and travel. I love to see the world and I love to meet new people. By reaching for those two goals I’ve been able to keep going. Sometimes the girls and even the guys will tell me they don’t know what they want. You need to know if you want to set yourself up financially forever or if you just want to live off of this for now. If you’re just gonna live off this for now you better go to school and figure something else out. Once the money runs out it’s gonna be pretty hard for you to show up for work when what you’re making now is gonna be what you’re making in a week or two later. Planting that seed makes them dwell on it, which is good. That will motivate them to figure out what they want. Most people don’t know when they’re younger, but when you’re making this kind of money at a young age you’ve got to step up your game. You can’t be a kid anymore. I’ve got to know that in my next job somebody may recognize me and it might not work out.

Looking at the industry as a whole, do you think the new performers and “living in the now” or do you see them being more responsible?

What’s great is this MILF phenomenon has put an influx of more reliable, savvy women in the business. These women already have plans. Some have already had other jobs. I see them buying houses. I see them taking care of themselves. As for the young ones, it’s always going to be the same: Easy come, easy go. If the industry would change the age to 21, all the kids would be forced to have another job before they got into this business.

Do you think they should change the starting age from 18 to 21?

I think it would help the performers. The fans are always going to want to see 18 and 19 year old girls and I understand that. I wouldn’t take that away from the fans. But, for the long-term, the young ones spend it the fastest and get out the quickest and have a lot of different issues. Going to work at a restaurant for X amount of dollars a week and then getting into this business would be awesome. They would learn how to budget some money, you know? I’m surprised at a lot of things the kids will say to me. They’re not always realistic. I tell them to have as many friends as you can that aren’t in the industry and do things with them. When you do things with them you’ll see that you don’t have to order everything that’s on the menu. I’ll go out with my girls that are 20 and they’ll order like three appetizers, a salad, a meal, a dessert and their bill will be like $120.00! The average person does not do that! When you have friends outside of the business they will keep you grounded. You see what they’re making and how they’re living. It will keep you in check. I enjoy that because it grounds me and I’ve been so fortunate to make great friends outside of the industry that love that I’m in the industry. They don’t judge me. They do their own thing and they help me a lot.

You mentioned the Sarah Palin exposure earlier – would you say 2008 was the landmark year for Lisa Ann?

For sure. I got AEBN’s Performer of the Year. I got MILF Cougar of the Year from AVN. I got inducted into the Hall of Fame from AVN. I had incredible experiences. I shot an interactive DVD that was just released through Zero Tolerance. I have never in my life had more fun on set than shooting that movie! I’m in the right place at the right time right now. I don’t want it to end! I’m on a roll and I’m going to stay on a roll. I’m going to use this momentum and keep it going!

You did receive a lot of mainstream coverage last year due to the “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin” DVD. Was any of it a little strange or outrageous to you?

I’m a huge TMZ fan. When they wanted to interview me I was like, Shut Up! I watch that show religiously. That was awesome. Going on CBS Studios to shoot for Entertainment Tonight was really awesome. Because it was the Palin bit, I didn’t really get that porn star label like I expected to. This was more of a political piece so people were asking me my political views and why I did this or that. It wasn’t as much about the sex and it wasn’t as ridiculed as I’ve seen on some mainstream television.

Did you ever have any hesitations about doing the movie?

Honestly, I didn’t like Sara Palin. I got a chance to do something I felt strongly about. She was just so ridiculous. Such an easy target. During the VP debate she was wearing false eyelashes! What kind of a politician wears false eyelashes? Who does that? It’s like she wanted to be made fun of!

Lisa, thanks for making time for us today! What would you like to say to your fans?

I would like to say thank you to all of my fans for their support and for wanting more and keeping the demand out there. Without them I wouldn’t be shooting anymore. I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing if you keep doing what you’re doing! I’m gonna travel more because they’ve requested I get on the road and meet them. I’m going to keep working for them and I appreciate them and am so glad to have them!

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