Lisa Ann’s advice on surviving the adult movie industry

Lisa Ann offers advice for new performers on how to succeed in porn and avoid the pitfalls of the modern day adult industry.

Lisa Ann released her autobiography The Life in December – Loaded
Lisa Ann An adult movie legend

When Lisa Ann began acting in adult movies in 1994, she personally responded to each piece of fan mail.

Her biggest hit in her first year was Cinesex 2, alongside the more experienced Asia Carrera and Kaitlyn Ashley, at a time when the internet was in its infancy and social media trolls didn’t exist.

“The industry is so different now to when I started out in the 90s,” Ann explains. “I was definitely spoiled compared to now. The internet has changed what the industry is putting out these days. It used to be a lot more female-friendly, softer and kinder. The shoots definitely used to be much more about being beautiful.”

“Suddenly we’ve started wanting to see women getting hit and smacked and so many derogatory things”

Many people scoff about the idea of porn as something arty, but Ann – who retired in 2014 to become a sports radio presenter – says that movies to keep on video were more permanent than the instant gratification of free online XXX.

“In the nineties everything was being sold to go out on VHS,” explains the 43-year-old. “That meant there was a lot of regulation in the US for what could be shot.

“Then the internet came along, and now there seems to be a real thirst for different niches. Suddenly people have started wanting to see women getting hit, smacked and so many derogatory things.”

The cover of Lisa Ann‘s autobiography The Life – Loaded
The Life Ann talks about how she “kept her head above water” in the adult industry in her new book.

During her time as the most searched for porn star on the planet, Ann did a range of work to advocate improvements for workers in the adult industry. This included enforcing changes to compulsory STD testing for porn performers, campaigning to de-stigmatise interracial porn and speaking out about the lack of opportunity for black performers, and helping to get porn actors pensions and health insurance.

She also ran Lisa Ann Talent Management, representing performers over the age of 30, who were rejected by other agents despite the boom in popularity of MILF and cougar films.

“It’s understandable how so many people get into bad situations in the business,” Ann continues. “There’s a lot of things in the industry that you’re always fighting. I always had to fight to stay above water.”

“Drugs are very accessible in the industry, so there’s a lot of substance issues”

Ann says the industry does still consist of a majority of responsible businesses, and people that work within the confines of the law – or morals where current legislation doesn’t protect workers as much as it should.

But despite California working on implementing a condom law for adult films, as well as the Free Speech Coalition working to improve the XXX industry, Ann says it’s still currently down to new adult performers to be responsible for themselves.

As we reported last month, despite still being the most searched for porn star in the UK, Ann has won the Crossover Star Of The Year gong at XBiz Awards. And the Adult Video News Hall Of Famer now wants to further improve the industry for newcomers.

“Mentoring the new performers feels like the right thing to do now,” she says.

Here, she gives her advice for new performers…

1

Watch porn

“This one might sound really obvious, but before anybody starts working in the industry they should sit down and just watch a ton of different footage from the major networks. That way, they can choose right off the bat what things they do want to do and anything they definitely don’t. Sometimes a girl will be offered extra money, but she doesn’t really know what it’s for. If you make sure you know what all the terms mean, when a director says it you can stop yourself getting into an unknown situation.

“Make a list of all the people whose style of content you like. Some companies do really pretty things. If you find you like bondage, then build a list of people you like. I tried bondage, I didn’t like it and I didn’t do it ever again. That’s the kind of thing people need to decide before they start, and they should stick to that decision.”

2

Have goals

“When I got into the business, I had three goals and they never changed until I retired. They were to be financially independent, to travel and to be able to make a schedule so I can see my friends whenever I want. I didn’t suddenly decide I wanted a Ferrari.  A lot of people get distracted by such things. Then, if money slows down, they don’t have a back-up plan.

“I’m one of the few girls that had a consistent career for many years, and that’s because I stayed true to my goals and set myself up for the future.”

3

Stay away from drugs

“Parties and drugs are very accessible in the industry, and as such there’s a lot of substance issues. When young people come into money fast, they also go through money fast. So it can be hard to make the right choices.

“Young people often don’t realise that drugs effect your brain forever. I tell girls they can only do pills for so long before their brain starts becoming mush, and eventually that’s going to catch up on them.

“Sometimes I used to see a girl for the first time in a year and she’s wasn’t as bright as she was. It’s really important to stay sharp, as working in the industry you need to be very clear about your decisions.”

4

Take holidays

“When I moved to California in my early twenties I had a contract for a company to do one movie a month. That was enough to pay my rent, my car and bills. Beyond that, I didn’t stress myself too much. I was new to California and I took three months a year off in the summer to go to the beach, train in the gym and spend time with friends.

“It’s important for people to take time out. You only live life once and sometimes young people get obsessed with the money they can earn. They need to ask themselves how much money they really need at 21. You can earn $20,000 a month, but you don’t really need that much if you only buy what you can afford.”

5

Have friends outside the industry

“I was very lucky that my three closest friends were never in the industry. They were in California with me from when I first moved there and it was so good to have them around to remind me of the outside world. The industry can be a bubble, so it was good to have them to keep me grounded when everything seemed to be blowing up in my face. Somebody should always have those people that they can go and be the person they were before working in the industry with.”

6

Take pride in what you do

“When I worked on set, I’d go out of my way to buy really spectacular lingerie, shoes and accessories. I wasn’t going to get to wear a lot of clothes, but what I did wear was beautiful. I still meet people that mention it now. It’s all to do with the entire package that I put together and maintaining being professional. Having a focus on that helped me stick to my ways throughout my entire time in the business and never lose focus on what was important.”

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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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