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April 02, 2018

Lisa Ann: The Boss Is Back

This is the cover story of the April issue of AVN magazine. Click here for the digital edition. No matter where her career takes her, Lisa Ann remembers the adult industry was built by the retailers selling movies in small towns across America. It’s why the AVN Hall of Fame superstar is making a commitment to seeing her fans in person at the brick-and-mortar retail level this year during her return to performing and producing after a three-year retirement. "I will be doing a ton of store signings and events," Lisa Ann tells AVN. Twenty-four years after she made her adult entertainment debut, the most famous active porn star in the world wants to get back to basics as she teams with legendary studio Evil Angel on an exclusive distribution deal in what already is the biggest porn comeback of the past 20 years. "Because what brought me to this is in 2017 I decided to one step at a time do some events as Lisa Ann again," says the energetic native of Pennsylvania, who retired with a hand-written letter to her fans in December 2014. "Because I completely pulled back and I was enjoying my sports radio, which I’m still doing now. "When I went out I got that taste of it again with the fan interaction—even at a small store in Lincoln, Nebraska—meeting the people at the old brick-and-mortar store, where it’s still family-run and it’s neighbors that come in and they know all of their customers and you see this engagement when someone comes through the door." Lisa Ann says now it’s more important than ever for today’s stars to support the old-school, mom-and-pop operations that have been the lifeblood for almost four decades. "What’s inspired me was this year of traveling and meeting all these lovely people," she continues. "I will have to say I’ll give Australia credit. I went there twice last year and the mindset in Australia is very different from America. They’re positive, happy people. They’re real easygoing. I have never had better conversations with fans about how much my scenes are missed. "I got hand-written letters about how people felt the day they heard I was retiring. And they really treat me like a sexual superhero, like, 'Wow, I’m meeting the Green Lantern!’ And it gave me this feeling like, ‘Wait a minute, this is so exciting. There’s still this need.’ And through that companies started to reach out to me and ask me if I wanted to shoot again. And through that my rate was established. And through that my brain kicked in and said if these people are willing to give me this much money I should probably do this on my own." Indeed Lisa Ann is orchestrating this comeback on her terms, producing and performing for her namesake studio, The Real Lisa Ann Productions. The first movie, Lisa Ann: Back 4 More, features her in scenes with Johnny Sins, Isiah Maxwell, Prince Yahshua and reigning AVN Male Performer of the Year Markus Dupree. It is hitting the streets from Evil Angel in the coming weeks. A seasoned producer/director who has helmed more than 50 movies and performed in 600-plus, there is not much that Lisa Ann hasn’t already done or seen in porn. Already an established A-lister, she reached a whole new level of notoriety in 2008, when she began starring in a series of parodies for Hustler Video as "Sarah Paylin" due to her resemblance to feisty Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. She played the character a total of six times en route to international headlines, expanding her fanbase tenfold in the process. As her popularity exploded, the 2009 AVN MILF Performer of the Year became the first MILF to get her own Fleshlight. By April 2017, the still retired Lisa Ann became the first performer to surpass one billion views on Pornhub, one of the most highly trafficked sites on the internet. She released her first book in 2015, titled The Life: Playin’ Palin, My Love of Sports and Living to the Fullest on My Own Terms, as she continued to build her credibility in the fantasy sports business. Now she does something that is unprecedented for a porn star—every week as a matter of routine. She hosts two Sirius radio shows—"Fantasy Sports Tonight" with Howard Bender on Sunday nights and "Lisa Ann Does Fantasy" on Monday nights with Adam Ronis. Lisa Ann plans to continue hosting both shows as she releases one new movie a month through Evil Angel, doing it this time around purely for the love of the game. She’ll roll out all her upcoming scenes on EvilAngel.com first and then after 60 days she’ll have the option to add them to the newly revamped TheLisaAnn.com. In addition, Lisa Ann indicated she would be donating a percentage of her movie proceeds each month to different charities. As busy as ever, Lisa Ann also plans to continue hosting her weekly podcast, "The Lisa Ann Experience," and make appearances at select trade shows throughout the year.  Isiah Maxwell, who was hand-picked to pair up with Lisa Ann in her first comeback scene, accepted her invitation to be a guest on the podcast. "I shared stories, including working at Burger King full time, and part time as an intern at an agency for the first year of my career," Maxwell, a native of Cleveland with more than 600 credits since 2013, tells AVN. "Lisa’s show gave me a lot of insight into different directions I’d like to take my career. She’s always willing to make time to explain how the business works. I admire her strongly for her intelligence and attention to detail she puts into everything." Kenny "Iggy" Strode, a producer for "The Morning After" on 590 AM The Fan in St. Louis, says Lisa Ann has become a go-to guest for their lively sports talk show hosted by Tim McKernan, Doug Vaughn and Jim Hayes. "Lisa Ann is awesome," Strode tells AVN. "We love her to death and our listeners love hearing her on the show. We are hoping to bring her to St Louis in May. "Lisa joins us every Friday during football season. She will also join us if there is a topical item in regards to the adult industry. She brings fantasy draft knowledge, wit, personality and great porn stories. What’s unique about Lisa Ann is that she can tell a great Christy Canyon story and move right into what value players to draft on Sunday. She really is one of our favorite guests and our listeners agree." In this exclusive interview, Lisa Ann goes deep on what she wants to accomplish coming back to porn and how many of her objectives involve giving back to the porn community by mentoring young starlets, among other endeavors. AVN: Why did you choose Isiah Maxwell for your very first scene back? Lisa Ann: He’s such a nice guy and in the three years I’ve been gone he and I kept in touch. I speak with other girls that work with him. I have never heard one bad thing about this kid. He’s just all the way around good. He loves what he does. He enjoys being on set. I interviewed him for my podcast the other night and I asked him some of the other questions I’ve asked male performers in the past. And I said to him, 'How do you get past it when you’re not into the girl?’ And he said, 'Lisa, I’m just happy to be in vagina that day. I’m just a regular guy, really happy to be having sex.’ And that was the answer I’ve never gotten! This is a guy who gets it. I’ve had guys tell me 'I pretend I just got out of prison yesterday. I pretend she’s Cindy Crawford.’ I’ve gotten all these other answers but to him it was real relatable to the regular guy who’s like, 'I’m having sex. She can’t be a 10 every day.’ I was like, 'Oh my god, Isiah, this is why you work in this business and this is why you’re important to this business because you bring that sense of gratitude to set where you’re like, 'Hey, this is a pretty cool gig.’  How much will you perform in all your new movies? For the first movie I’m in every scene; second movie I’ll be in every scene, just because I feel like my fans have waited so long I have to give them as much as I can; and then Evil will be hiring me to direct some projects for them. So I’m going to expand my palette by taking on some of their work as well. Just here and there for something different for me and I won’t be in those scenes. I’ll just be doing more directing. You’ve talked about wanting to bring ‘intimacy’ back to porn. … How did 50 Cent’s cable drama Power strike a chord with you? It’s some of the best sex scenes I’ve ever seen on a regular television show and watching that show inspired me so much because think about it. … On Power you’re not seeing penetration but I watch these scenes and I am totally turned on right now. I don’t need the penetration. This build-up and this connection and this ravishing kissing and undressing, ahh … And that made me go that’s really kind of what we’re missing. Foreplay is gone. We’ve cut out that seven minutes of footage. In the real world guys are not that hard when they walk in the room and girls are not wet yet because lube is not being handed to them off to the side of the screen. I want to teach that again and I think with performers it will help them break away. The one thing I’m hearing in the male [talent] base is more guys are spiking than ever and more guys are taking Viagra than ever. If they have that connection with a girl they can take that day off from taking whatever they take. And any day you’re taking off from putting chemicals in your body is better for you. It’s become lazy on both ends. The girls also assume the guy’s taking something so she doesn’t need to work for it. What’s wrong with kissing off camera or touching off camera or getting to know each other a bit? Or making the camera guy shoot three minutes of kissing so everyone can naturally fall into the state of sex? The girls are tearing more because they’re having rougher sex quicker. A woman’s body needs two to three minutes to respond. And when your body responds naturally you naturally lubricate yourself, your walls naturally open, everything gets prepared, and next thing you know you’re ready to have really good sex. When I hear girls say that sex on set hurts, I tell them you gotta allow your mind to trigger everything within your body to allow this to naturally take place so you’re not hurting yourself. I mean an athlete stretches before an event. Basketball players warm up before a game. But no one warms up before a scene. And that intimacy is the warm-up and that’s going to be something I focus on, too. How will you manage this new production schedule? I’d like to keep on a steady program that puts me on set four days a month; I figure with another four days of processing, editing and detail, that’s eight days a month for me. I’m trying to be very scheduled with everything because I still do my Sirius shows Sundays and Monday nights. It’s something I don’t want to give up. Fantasy baseball is a time-consuming, grueling process that I got very good at last year—my second year playing. First year I did finish in last place. And Dan, I didn’t like the way it felt. So I studied my ass off and I stayed between first and second place for almost the entire season. This was against hosts that have been playing, 10, 15, 20 years. But man I memorized the player pool. I memorized every player that had multi-position eligibility. I listened to baseball talk four hours a day and what I found was doing fantasy baseball wasn’t something I wanted to do. But when I found out it would keep me on air all year long with Sirius and I also found out how few women do it, I decided it was in my best interest to do. Sometimes you take on a challenge that’s just good for you but you don’t want to. And when you come from doing porn for a living and you’re always having fun, putting yourself to a test like that is mentally awesome because it made me feel stronger as a person. It made me say, there is no financial reward in this other than the fact that I do get to stay on air all year. But there’s no big gain here other than telling myself I can take four hours a day and study and commit and I can end up doing better. Prove to myself, my boss, my peers. Sometimes you have to do stuff you don’t want to do and make yourself feel like a better person, and studying fantasy baseball was just that. I’m applying myself by looking at locations myself, scouting locations beforehand and taking photos. Knowing exactly what I want to shoot in each house before I shoot there. Knowing what colors will look good there, what wardrobe. My details are so much better, so people can pack less when they show up because I know exactly what I want. My crew will know where to load in and where to put the equipment because they’re not going to have to move it twice. I know exactly where I want to shoot. That grueling detail aspect I think came from fantasy baseball. Analyzing it and saying, 'How can I make this work with the best possible way with the least amount of work but the most amount of detail?' Where are you based now—still in New York City? I’m back here full time now. I think everyone should live [in New York] for a year of your life. It was a growing experience for me. After three-and-a-half years of going back and forth I started going through this minimalist phase. I really just wanted to simplify my life a bit. So coming back home to my house and really appreciating it again. I’ve been in the same place since 2005, but I traveled the first 10 years of it and then I was going back and forth to New York. This is really the first time I feel I’ve nested. I’m on the board of my [Homeowners Association] now. I help my neighbors with things on the regular. Part of minimalism and my reading is I realized I was really lacking in community. That was what pushed me to start working with charity and that was what pushed me to wanting to start being more involved with my neighbors. It is a great missing link for so many of us. How do you fit in? You live somewhere where you weren’t born. We think we’re not from here so we have this different attitude. But you can plant your feet and become part of your community through volunteer work, by going to city meetings, by being a part of your HOA. For me it’s been a real balancing effect. It’s made me feel safer in my neighborhood. I know my neighbors. Tell me about your ’30-for-30’ … Before each new season—basketball, baseball, football, those are the sports I do so far—I do 30 Mock Drafts in 30 days. So every day I take an hour to do a Mock Draft. And that allows me to really look over my team, see how comfortable I felt with taking a catcher early. Do I have enough pitching? Did I let someone pass me by? And then my co-hosts, they break down my baseball drafts and my basketball and football. Because they’ve been doing this longer and they give me a report card and then I write notes on the draft. Then when I’m doing my next one I think about what they taught me. I get a master class every day that I work because I’m working with some of the best of the best that are analyzing my drafts and giving me all these tools to be better. That’s why I did so well last year. How is “The Lisa Ann Experience” podcast going so far? One of the things I want to do with the podcast that’s different than anything I’ve done is I’m adding time after because I want to bond with talent after that time. So if I’m having someone on in the business I cushion about three hours after. Last year I got to have on Raven Hart. I made us tea, got out some snacks. We just sat at my dining room table like two people getting to know each other. It’s great to get the interview stuff in first and then it’s great to really be able to tap on more things after, get to know this person. When I interviewed Isiah we took a walk down Ventura Boulevard and got a bite to eat that night and sat outside. How has the porn biz changed since you retired? For the first time ever I’m seeing this business as the new Silicon Valley. With OnlyFans alone girls are able to have fan club members, not have a webmaster, not pay affiliates, update it from their phone, and update whenever they want with whatever they want. They’re in control of their own destiny. And I want to remind them of that. You have a lot just from your phone. You can do a lot of shit. All you need is yourself and your phone. Sadly, the girls don’t need a producer any more. They really don’t need us. They only need themselves and some motivation. So we have to treat them really well or they’re just going to go and start working out of their own home and not want to be on set with us. How do you approach your diet and fitness? I’ve lost now almost 50 pounds since I retired, which is crazy. It’s a whole new body for me. All new clothes. Nothing really fits me but it’s been about changing my life. I eat a plant-based diet. Also I’m not compromising on important things. I used to compromise my sleep a lot. And when you don’t sleep well your body craves sugar all day. You crave bad foods and you eat differently. I force myself to be lying down at 9:30 even though my show ends at 9 PST. I detach. It’s harder on Monday nights. I read before bed now instead of watching TV. I listen to really soft spa music. I don’t take my technology set to my bedroom. No computer, no nothing. I’ve learned how to get in the mindset enough to fall asleep. But when you’re resting well you eat better. You’re able to work out harder. You’re more efficient. You make better decisions throughout the entire day. When I first retired I ate Paleo for the first two-and-a-half years. So I had already removed any sugar, dairy and any pre-made foods. Now I’m just removing the meat portion and learning about more vegetables. Every Tuesday afternoon I go to a farmer’s market. I buy from local farmers. I’ve learned about dragonfruit and Asian pears and all of these different farmers are there so I get to understand it and my palate has expanded so much. I don’t even miss not eating meat. This is also an easier life not traveling like I used to because I can prepare my food. I can go to the farmer’s market. The one thing I couldn’t give up was eggs, because I love eggs. So what I did I found a local farmer that I deal with, a woman that I buy from. They’re grain-free eggs. Her chickens are raised a very specific way?no hormones, no antibiotics, no grain. So those are the eggs that I buy. And you’ll notice that the yolks are a lot more orange and the whites have a different texture. They’re much easier to poach. Fresh eggs that are not chemically enhanced are so much easier to poach. Sleep is so important. And getting off your phone at a certain time. Not doing social media in bed. Not having outside interactions in your spirit. How did you expand your sports radio presence with regular spots across the country? A couple years ago I decided to reach out to stations that I had interviewed with in the business and ask them if they would want to have a free segment on Fridays. And I was trying to build something called Fantasy Football Fridays. And that would allow me to start early in the morning so I start at 5 a.m. here. And I patch in with about 10 different shows and I do them all at different times. So what I have to do is I have to learn their local team. So with Houston I had to learn all about the Texans. Because for the first couple minutes of the spot I’d talk about what Texans players would be good in a matchup this week in fantasy and how I think their team will fare. And then the second half of the segment is their callers text in and ask, 'Start him or sit him?' questions. 'Do I start Eli Manning or do I start Aaron Rodgers?' Then we go back and forth with all these rapid-fire questions that I answer and then I have about a 45-minute window to prep for my next one. I do Tampa, I do Houston, I do St. Louis. I do a bunch of spots on my channel on different shows as well. By doing it now those shows have had me come out to their city to host a fantasy football event. I got to go to a preseason Houston Texans game. So I’m getting to see stadiums I’ve never seen before and I’m getting to meet people and it’s just been incredible. What’s your mission upon coming back? I’m hoping that I can inspire. I’m hoping that I can come back and inspire because I think there’s a lot of things people involved in this business can be doing just like I’m doing. I really do. I think there’s opportunities out there. We get blinded by the judgments of others. We get blinded by what we see on social media. But when you go out there, people are a lot nicer than what you expect. People were so warm to me in the fantasy sports world—people at the channel. I may have had a glitch with one or two people but they weren’t really associated with my channel. They were just internet bullies, but when it came to everybody my boss introduced me to and all these people being willing to do shows with me. You know what’s cool is my co-hosts get trolled a lot. And my co-hosts write back. They’ve taught me to make light of it. They’ve taught me to not worry about what other people think. They’re like, ‘You can’t control if someone’s going to tweet us. What do you care?’ But you know, I was worried about it. I was hyper-anxious about it in the beginning. There were some shows I wouldn’t even go on because I told my boss they all have families and they all have kids. If we tweet that I’m going to be on this show they’re going to get all this weird shit. And my boss is like, ‘They really don’t care, Lisa. You are who you are.’ And by proving myself—like studying fantasy baseball—they realize like, she’s committed. How can we give her shit? She’s in second place. How else do you want to share your knowledge with the new crop of talent? What I realized is everyone that acquires success leaves and doesn’t come back. No one is here sharing their knowledge. Retired [ballplayers], they go and meet rookies. You see this a lot in baseball. Player gets signed. His favorite player comes to the field that day to Spring Training and meets him and inspires him and works with him for a couple months, tells him what he needs to do on the road, tells him what he has to do to create good habits. No one is coming back and doing that. So it hit me with all the sadness the business has seen. You know what, this is a very important time. It’s very important for me to come back and tell these girls I am not in any way ashamed of what I did in my past. I’m not going to let you be lazy. I’m going to help you move forward and I’m going to show you that it’s not as bad as you think out there. Just be prepared. Save your money.

 
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