By Stephanie Hayes
Lisa Ann is a porn star, yes, and she does not know how she got so lucky. People everywhere know her as the woman who imitated Sarah Palin in Hustler's Who's Nailin' Paylin? and its sequels, movies that arrived wrapped in brown paper on countless American doorsteps during the last election.
Playing "Serra Paylin" rocketed Lisa Ann to a new level of pop culture fame, landing her a job at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Friday and Saturday, Lisa Ann will strip as Alaska's most famous governor at Thee Dollhouse in Tampa.
At 40 and living in New York, she's become a sort of den mother to young women in porn, talking them through the recent syphilis outbreak that halted filming in the industry. She has her own political beliefs, too — not exactly the same at Sarah Palin's. Lisa Ann chatted with us about gay marriage, Palin's style and those dirty, dirty politicians.
Are you worried about the weather right now?
It scares people so much to travel during a storm. I just got caught between two thunderstorms on the airplane and I was loving it. My oldest friend who just turned 100, ever since I was a kid her nickname for me was daredevil. I don't think I'm going to go that easily. A plane crash is just too easy.
Have you been to Tampa before?
I have been to Tampa many times. I've been here to feature dance and to vacation. I lived in Boca Raton for a year and travel all over Florida. The convention center is a good size... but it's a tricky time, weather-wise.
What are your days like?
Sleep, work out and work every day. I've been doing a lot of interviews right now about the syphilis tests. Our business is at a very crucial time. I've been a spokesperson for the industry since I've been in it so long. Before the internet, it was a small group of people in the industry. It was not as cool to be a porn star. It was something you actually wanted to do. In the early 90s, it was a bunch of very intelligent, sexual artists, creative, amazing people. When the internet arose, the demand for so many updates every day on each one of those sites was so high, thousands of people came into the business. A lot of people get into it without understanding the ramifications. There are girls that try to do it and hide it from their boyfriends. Or they say, 'My parents don't watch porn.' Let me tell you, your parents watch porn, and if they stumble across one of yours, it's going to be the most horrific thing that ever happened in your life. Have you ever seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love? Remember the scene in the beginning where Julia Roberts is like, "Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face"? I say that about porn. Porn is like getting a tattoo on your face. You better be ready to own up to it.
So the younger women come to you for advice.
I've been in the business 20 years now and they look at me like, "OK, maybe I should talk to her." I appreciate when girls come up to me. I wont just blindly hand out information to people who I don't think are going to listen to me, but through this scare, I've been talking to a lot of young girls. Hundreds of girls that I've never even met have hit me up on my direct message on Twitter, asking for some ideas. Maybe they don't have a family doctor or don't have health insurance. I'm advising them to go make a donation to Planned Parenthood, to see a doctor outside of the industry, to ask questions, to write down a list of questions and educate yourself.
Seems like issues in your industry could be affected by the election this year.
For sure. And gay marriage is also a big part of my life because I have so many friends who have been living with their partners for years. The simple fact that you don't get to be that personal call if something happens and there's a horrible car accident. Insurance reasons. If they're living together for 50 years, why should we not let them get married?
Were politics a part of your life before Palin?
It was a part of my life. When you're on the road, you're always watching TV. I learn so much from what I see on the news, but I tell people go online and find a couple writers that you really like and follow their blogs. TV to me is like a tease. They only give you what they want you to know. You go online and you learn more. Politics are part of our every day lives, whether people know it or not. Do you know how many guys at the airport have told me they voted for Palin because they thought she was hot? I tell them don't vote.
How in the world did you get this job?
People said, "You look so much like Sarah Palin." I wear my hair back a lot and I wear these glasses. I was aware of who she was. But when Hustler called and said "We came up with the name Nailin' Paylin," I just loved the name. It was the day of the vice presidential debate. I wanted to go home and watch it. It gave me a good two hours to see her mannerisms. Tell me that when she walked out in that shiny black suit, we didn't all lose our minds. I have a lot of respect for Hilary Clinton. She's a wonderful politician, because it always felt like if you're a woman in politics that you would work hard at being viewed for your knowledge and not your looks. Well, here comes the opposite approach. She has fake eyelashes and this shiny black suit. This woman is not trying to fight off that role, and she's kind of going for this sexy role. I don't know if you watched Game Change on HBO. How good was that movie? I watched it the first time it aired on the east coast and no one was allowed to talk. Sarah was really grabbed for the attention that she was going to pull, and that's exactly what she was going to do.
Did you study her life?
I read about her life. I followed her and I had my own kind of weird opinions on her, on having that many children and wanting to have that active of a career. I think that's a strong choice. I've chosen not to have children because I do travel so much and this is my lifestyle and I don't want to bring a child into it.
Do you think it would be awkward if you ever ran into Sarah Palin?
You know, it is what it is. I was more worried about Tina Fey's opinion, because I'm a huge Tina Fey fan. I really like Tina Fey... It would be so awesome to have one photograph of me and Sarah Palin, but I doubt she would.
Do you expect to see politicians in the crowd at your show?
I don't think any of them will come. Let's face it. You're busy all day, you're having meetings, you have a big dinner, you're flat-out exhausted. When are they going to find the time to go to the strip club? Maybe some of the people building the sets, some of the traveling crew, some of the behind the scenes people might come.
Do they ever tell you in secret they like your movies?
Not as much with politicians, because they have to be so careful. Everyone else in the world does. Actors, athletes, musicians. In the business now, it has become acceptable for someone to walk up to you and say "I love your movies," even women… I think it's great that we've owned up to our own sexuality, and this product has been put out there for not only guys to enjoy, but for couples and women.
Are politicians repressed?
I think they're probably the ones that have the weirdest fetishes, but they just keep it on the down low. When they get caught doing something, it's always something super scandalous. I'm cheating on my wife and having a baby with another woman? It's bad. Schwarzenegger. That's really bad. You have a couple families and you're lying to your family and your own children? That's really bad. They're so repressed when you get into a situation like that. As a career, you're probably so afraid to trust anyone. You make these decisions and you're in a bubble. You have security walking around with you everywhere you go. Maybe these bad decisions are the things they do to feel alive.