Lisa Ann: The very different life of Britain’s most-searched-for porn star

Ann on why she’s retired from porn for good despite being seen as a superhero, death threats and finding solace in fantasy sports.

Lisa Ann poses as Serra Palin – Loaded
Serra Palin Lisa Ann starred in Who’s Nailin’ Palin? Image Photo Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

7am, January 5, 2015. It’s -10C in midtown Manhattan and New York’s usually busy streets are still eerily quiet before the city that never sleeps wakes up.

Wrapped up in layers upon layers to keep warm, Lisa Ann is carrying a bag full of books to the post office. She’s done this pretty much every day since her autobiography The Life was published in December, as she decided to personally run her own web store for the book.

The scene is a far cry from the career she built in the adult movie industry – an industry that made her the most-searched-for porn star on the planet at the peak of her success.

The Life tells the story of how, aged 42, Lisa Ann shocked the XXX world by announcing her retirement in December 2014. Since giving up porn, she’s established a successful career as a sports radio host. It’s a move which sees her nominated for Crossover Star Of The Year at Friday’s Xbiz Awards.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing since retirement for Ann.

Lisa Ann released her autobiography The Life in December – Loaded
Leading lady Lisa Ann was the UK’s most searched for porn star in 2015, despite retiring the year before. Image Photo Lisa Ann

On New Years Eve 2014, after receiving her first death threat from an anonymous source, Ann had six policeman searching her house with guns drawn.

“It was the most traumatic thing I’d ever experienced,” Ann tells Loaded. “It really made a mess of me. People just don’t think about the impact something like that has on people’s lives.”

The death threats continued and resulted in Ann hiring a detective to attempt to trace them. Despite turning her life upside down, and living in fear for much of 2015 as the search for her terroriser carried on, Ann doesn’t feel angry with whoever was behind them.

“I just wanted to make it to midnight with no death threats”

“It’s not that they hated me,” she explains. “They hated the fact that I finished the race. My plan was to be in the business to set up my future, save some money, get another career going and then get out.

“What’s funny is that the darkest moments in life show you who you truly are. And what it made me understand is that, no matter how much I miss the people in the adult film business, I no longer belonged there.”

Ann says that she’s changed more this year than any other in her life. She spent this New Year’s Eve at home again, but in very different circumstances.

“I just wanted to make it to midnight with no death threats,” she explains. “To be able to go to bed and wake up in a new year that I’m not starting in such a fearful place.”

Lisa Ann released her autobiography The Life in December – Loaded
Won’t turn her back Lisa Ann says she doesn’t resent the porn industry. Image Photo Lisa Ann

It’s obvious when talking to Ann that she’s switched-on, a million miles away from the public stereotype of a porn star.

In her book, which Ann started writing two years before she retired, Ann alludes to the fact that she’d began to feel like she didn’t fit in the porn industry any more.

“The business is so different to how it was in the 90s,” she explains. “The scenes used to be a lot softer and kinder. Then the internet came along with a thirst for different niches, where women get smacked for quite abusive scenes. I realized I didn’t really fit in with how the industry changed.”

During her time in porn, Ann was an advocate for a number of safety measures to protect performers, announcing in 2010 that she would only be shooting scenes with condoms after porn star Derrick Burts was diagnosed with HIV. She also worked to improve STD testing system in the porn world.

“It’s something now I’ve retired that I want to continue working on,” she continues. “I want to open up discussions about regulation, or at least educating people who come into the business. It’s understandable how so many people get into bad situations.”

The Life also portrays how Ann struggled to keep her head above water in an industry that seemingly, despite boasting a majority of responsible colleagues, has a minority who will happily stab performers in the back for an extra buck. Fortunately, Ann managed to keep control of her own career, and even took a break in 1997 during an AIDS scare.

Despite such a turbulent relationship, the Pennsylvania-born star doesn’t resent her time in the industry for a minute.

“It’s a very small community; it’s very intimate. So it’s like being in a gang. I look back at what I did in the business and only realise now how much balls it took.

“I’m so proud to have been part of something so unique and something that everybody else wishes they could do. It’s funny, but to the young generation I’m like a superhero.”

Despite this superhero status Ann once claimed that if she hadn’t made it in porn, she’d have tried to become a sports agent.

“To the young generation I’m like a superhero”

The beginning of her retirement came when she took a role interviewing porn starlets on American radio channel Sirius XM in 2013. Having been a sport fan from a young age, she began talking about sports with her callers. The rest is history.

The cover of Lisa Ann‘s autobiography The Life – Loaded
The Life The cover of Lisa Ann’s autobiography shows she’s still proud of her porn past despite turbulent times. Image Photo Lisa Ann

She’s since been given her own Sirius XM fantasy sports show, Lisa Ann Does Fantasy, and also features on a weekly drive-time programme, Morning Men.

“It’s fascinating to be in corporate America after being my own boss for my entire life,” says Ann. “But the opportunities have been endless and everybody at Sirius has been so supportive.”

“I want to be able to run with the big dogs of the sport world”

The transition into fantasy sports wasn’t an easy one, and saw Ann take up weeks of studying how each sport’s different fantasy leagues work.

“I was up to speed on everything sports-related other than baseball,” she explains. “What I didn’t know was the fantasy dynamic, how the different leagues work and all the scoring systems.

“I wanted to prove to my bosses that it was worth hiring me, but I also want to be able to run with the big dogs of the sport world. If you give me a project, I’m going to put everything into it.”

This work ethic is proven by her most famous role as Serra Palin in Who’s Nailin’ Palin?, a spoof of Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign.

Lisa Ann in the studio at Sirius XM – Loaded
Not a face for radio Lisa Ann in the studio at Sirius XM. Image Photo Instagram

It was so successful, she went on to do five sequels: Obama Is Nailin’ Palin, Letterman’s Nailin’ Palin, You’re Nailin’ Palin, Hollywood’s Nailin’ Palin, and Who’s Nailin’ Palin? 2. That’s a whole lot of nailin’.

As Palin, she also made the world’s mainstream TV screens when she reprised the role in the video for Emimen’s single We Made You.

The role required Ann to travel the world to shoot and promote the films for Larry Flynt’s porn company, Hustler. The original saw her star alongside fellow porn performers Nina Hartley, who played Hilary Clinton, and Jada Fire, who appeared as Condoleezza Rice.

“It shows that people still want to see good basic sex”

“It was hard to shoot,” she laughs.  “We had to keep firing out these funny lines during the sex, so we just kept laughing. It was a lot of fun and I feel very proud to have been part of a such a huge project for Hustler.”

Despite the fun side, working in porn had an impact on her finding a long-term partner. She was briefly married to a bouncer when she was 28, before dating Rob Kardashian in 2009. Her most recent partner was 18-year-old gridiron player Justin Brent.

“I’m craving the nesting thing now,” she explains. “So this year I might take on the adventure of going on a couple of dates. It’s going to take a little bit of time but it’ll all work out when it’s meant to be.”

Lisa Ann at the Sirius celebrity fantasy football draft – Loaded
Life-long sports fan Lisa Ann has been a fan of sports from a young age. Image Photo Steve Yeater/AP Images for Sirius XM

“It’s going to have to be a very unique person who can completely accept my past. And not a person that thinks I still live a type of life where I’m going to have wild sex parties with them. I barely even drink anymore.”

It’s hard to believe that Ann, who PornHub recently announced was the most popular porn star in the UK in 2015 despite retiring, would have any trouble finding a partner.

But what does she think makes her continue to be so popular on-screen?

“It has more to do with what I represented than me personally. I was doing what I wanted to be doing on film, and nobody was forcing me to do anything.

“What my popularity shows is that the world still wants to see a girl who knows what she’s doing, who wants to be doing it and is smiling.

“I didn’t want to be smacked or choked. And what that shows is that despite all that other stuff that’s out there, people still want to see good basic sex.”

Lisa Ann: The Life is available here.

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Loaded reporter Robert McCallum has written for many leading culture magazines and websites about music, sport, science, politics, fashion and arts. Follow Robert at @therobmccallum

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