Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 | 2 a.m.
As a teenager, sizzling porn princess Dana DeArmond, now 35, grew up in Orlando, Fla., as a figure skater and worked as a street dancer at Disney World. She later became a striptease dancer in California and wound up doing bondage role play on the Internet before entering the world of hardcore movies.
Since 2005 as an onscreen performer, she has amassed an astounding 1,000 X-rated movie scenes. The leggy brunette was named Siren of the Year in 2008 and won a 2012 AVN Award for Best Girl/Girl Scene in “Belladonna: Sexual Explorer.”
This year in Las Vegas, she is nominated for five awards, including Best All-Girl Group Sex Scene for “Twisted Fate”; Best Boy/Girl Sex Scene for “Haunted Hearts”; and Best Girl/Girl Sex Scene for “A Mother Daughter Thing.”
Interestingly, her agent Mark Spiegler initially tried to convince her not to pursue pornography. Today, Dana hosts “The Dirty/Nerdy Show” on Sirius XM. Known as “The Internet’s Girlfriend,” she’s directed two documentaries in which she helps young people break into the business. She is a guest lecturer at the University of California in Irvine and Santa Barbara.
Dana admits to be unconventional and reclusive. “I’m the porn star of the people. I’ve been called the porn unicorn,” she says, noting a million friends during the days of MySpace. I talked with Dana at her California home as she packed for her Las Vegas visit and red carpet hosting duties Saturday at the 2015 AVN Awards, both of which will be televised on cable TV later.
So first of all tell me your actual duties on the red carpet.
I’m hosting the red carpet show, so all of my friends, associates and colleagues come by and I chat with them. It’s not like a regular red carpet show because I really don’t ask them what they’re wearing or whatever. It’s some great back-and-forth banter. I did it last year; it was fun.
I was just really running on adrenaline, and I was really excited about it all. I’d been signing at the convention at the Girlfriends Film booth every day beforehand, so to watch the tape back and see where my mind had gone on the carpet, it’s hilarious. I don’t remember a lot of things that I said, but it’s the charm of me. The gold just spews out of my mouth when I ask questions.
What’s the overall appeal of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas?
The fans get to come and see us all up close; our whole livelihood and basically our existence as porn stars is based on having fans. We’ll meet everybody, and they can come and see us and talk to us face-to-face. A lot of these people, I talk to them on my webcam or they join my website.
They’re really nice people. I like meeting my fans. It’s a once-a-year event because I’m not touring or anything. You get to hang out with all of your friends, all of the porn people, all in one place.
Despite what you do in front of the cameras, you’ve described yourself as a shy person.
I am shy. I would actually describe myself as an extroverted introvert. I can turn on the sparkle, there’s something there, but generally I keep to myself, and I stay in my house with my cats.
What happens if you interview two actors on the red carpet on either side of you who have been your lovers?
I’ve been lovers with most of the people at the AVN Awards, so that’s hardly a problem. I go into the room and I have banged everybody there anyway, maybe except for three people who are brand new to the business. I feel like I’m on really good terms with them all, so everybody likes me.
I know that makes me sound like a diva, but I’m generally a liked person in the business, so I don’t really have very many problems with people. I don’t date people in the business, either, so that’s good. I don’t have any awkward tension. AVN is just a party — one long party, a long, never-ending party where you have to take mandatory naps and make yourself go to sleep.
What are you going to wear for your hosting duties?
I have a general idea. I have a dress and a backup dress, but then I might get another dress. These are our Oscars but not the Oscars, so I don’t know if I’ll like any of them. I have a pretty unique personal style. I don’t wear anything sparkly, nothing like that.
I just wear what I think makes me look good and what feels comfortable and sexy and will look good in pictures. That’s pretty much what it’s all about, looking good in pictures. Last year I wore a floral gown. I go for prints. I’m very modest.
Explain that dichotomy to me as to how you’re modest in real life and yet you’re extroverted onscreen.
I feel like I dress modestly, but then I go to strip clubs and throw tons of money at girls, but I’m dressed like I’m going to pick up children at soccer practice. I wear a lot of J Crew. I’m comfortable with being crazy, but people would never look at me and go, “Oh, that girl is a porn star.”
I try to keep it classy, but I drink a lot of whiskey and that means dollars and strippers. I’ll party at Sapphire after the awards, make it rain on some strippers. It’s going to be a very full weekend ahead for me. I love Sapphire. It’s like the Costco of strippers — 70,000 square feet.
You should be a comedienne.
I do some comedy stuff. I work with comics and funny guys. I do bits every now and then. I’m already successful as a porn star, so I don’t think I’ll bother struggling as a comedienne.
Why did your agent Mark Spiegler tell you not to become a porn star?
I think he thought that I was really innocent, honestly. When I met him, I was 23 or 24, and I was not really prepared for adulthood maybe. I am kind of on the shy side when I’m feeling out situations, when I don’t know what I'm getting myself into. I was very hesitant dealing with Mark in the beginning, but he’s like family to me now.
He’s very ingrained in our lives, his Spiegler girls; he’s like an extra parent. I have a good relationship with my parents already, and then I have this third parent. My mom comes to visit, and Mark takes us out to dinner. It’s very nice.
And what does Mom think about the antics you get up to onscreen?
Dana DeArmond is my real name, so my parents are very open-minded and have a very good sense of humor about it. One of my mom’s co-workers heard me on a sex podcast and commented that I seemed really nice and smart and funny and had a good head on my shoulders.
But she just couldn’t watch my work because, after all, she was my mother, and she just put her hand on her shoulder and goes, “They all have mothers, you know.” My mom is the funniest lady. My mom’s really into comedy, too. I have good parents. Probably too good for me. I should visit more often.
How often do you travel to Las Vegas?
I shoot there every now and then, but I mainly reserve my big week in Las Vegas for AVN. I went to see Tool in concert last year at Planet Hollywood, so that was a leisure trip. I like STK at the Cosmopolitan. Every now and then, I’ll hop in for a night or two and then get the hell out of there. It’s overwhelming for me. I like dive bars and a quieter scene.
How many movies do you shoot in Las Vegas? How much porn filming is going on in Las Vegas?
I’m not sure. There’s probably filming going on everywhere. Just like CES, anyone can get their hands on a camera today and anyone can make porn anywhere. It’s statistically impossible to know how much porn is being made in L.A. or Las Vegas or San Francisco or Florida. Somebody is making porn right now this minute somewhere.
How many films have you made this past year, and are any of them nominated?
Oh my gosh, I don’t know how many. I lose count because the time that they’re filmed and their release dates, you kind of lose track. I’ve been consistently shooting. I probably shoot about eight movies a month, eight or 10 or 12. I probably make 100 movies a year.
I’m nominated for five this time around. I’m actually really excited because “The Universe Is DeArmond,” a movie I shot with James Deen, is up for a Best Showcase Release. It’s usually just a movie about a girl, but this is more about a movie about James Deen and my dynamic and our relationship and how we are — it’s a pretty unique movie.
I’m really happy because those guys get pushed aside a little bit, and he’s a good dude. I’ve known him for pretty much my entire career; I like him. We do really fun movies together. … He’s pretty much my co-worker/soul brother who I have sex with — I feel very spiritually connected to him.
I’m nominated for a lot of things, but I forgot what they were. I should have done some pre-interview research on my own damn self. But that’s what happens when you make 100 million porns a year. All I know is I get nominated every year.
What have you won so far?
I won an AVN Award in 2012 for Best Girl/Girl Scene with Belladonna for a movie called “Sexual Explorer.” I cried onstage because I really was not expecting to win. It was great.
Do you love what you do as a career?
I do. I love it. I’m very fortunate that I got into the business at a time where people could still make a name for themselves and brand themselves. It’s a little bit more of a struggle for new people, I think. They don’t get the recognition retention of somebody who got in the business in the early 2000s because of how the Internet is and how much information is available and how much pornography is available.
Unless you’re one of those “It Girls” and lightening strikes for you, it’s pretty tough to make a long-lasting, good brand in the adult business these days. I came in the business when I was a little bit older, too, so I think I had my life a little bit better figured out.
I didn’t go, “Oh I’m famous,” and let everything go to my head. Well, I guess I’m not famous, maybe that’s why. I’m famous-ish. I’m famous adjacent. I live around famous people; I live in L.A.
The unique thing is that you aren’t the image or have the look of a “traditional porn star”?
No, I’m all-natural. I’ve been the called the Parker Posey of porn before. She does independent films. I definitely have my own style. I’m a take-no-prisoner sort of girl next door who everyone wants to be friends with — I started marketing myself back in the MySpace days as “The Internet Girlfriend” and tried to be friends with everybody.
I’m a real person, I’ll be your friend, you can read my blog. I kind of started the phenomenon of girls marketing themselves to their fans directly back in the early 2000s. I had like a million friends on MySpace.
As a porn star, do you watch porn movies that you aren’t in?
I do watch porn movies, but mostly gay porn because I don’t know anybody in those movies. I have a hard time watching my friends onscreen. I also don’t want to poison the well. I don’t want to watch anybody else’s work and try to emulate their style. I don’t want to form judgments about people I work with or things like that. I avoid watching porn starring people I know. I watch a lot of gay porn. I love it: guy-on-guy. Probably guy-on-guy-on-guy.
People must say you are an interesting creature for sure?
Porn is pretty hot. I know every single person in the straight porn business because I’ve been in it for so long. That makes me a great red carpet host because I already know everybody’s name when they come say hello to me because I’ve banged them all.
Does a time come when you’ll get out of this business? What would you then do?
I don’t really have plans for leaving the adult business. I would probably always like to work in some regard with adult films. I’m also very interested in doing charitable endeavors. I’m involved in AIDS Walk. We’re trying to come out with more health and safely education for people in the industry and people trying to get in the business. Try to help people to understand not only how the adult business works or their own sexuality or human sexuality because a lot of arguments come up like, “Porn shouldn’t be viewed because young people will learn to have sex from watching porn.”
I disagree with that. If people want to get sex education from porn stars, I think that we should provide that, and that’s something that I would be interested in doing. I would like to go speak to people at colleges about sex education.
There’s a self-reformer advocacy committee where we talk about how we can make the business better and we work with the agents and talent and the free speech coalition and we try to all agree upon what is going to be best for the industry. I like being involved in that, too. I really like raising money for charity.
What else will you do while you are in Las Vegas?
I’ll definitely be at Sapphire after the AVN Awards. Hopefully people will buy me lap dances and I can make it rain on strippers. I will be signing every day of the Adult Entertainment Expo at the Girlfriend Films booth, so people can come see me there. I’ll be posting my schedule and signing times at @DanaDeArmond on Twitter. I’m going to be posting a lot of Instagram selfies with all my adult star friends.
We have a very full schedule of partying ahead of us. And we have to stay hydrated. Partying is hard work if you’re doing it right.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
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