Lisa Ann is a self-made star, who triumphed by investing in herself and her future. And her amazing story is still being written.
The Fantasy Sports expert and entertainer is by all accounts, and most modern metrics, the G.O.A.T. of the adult film industry. Ironically enough, when Lisa Ann’s adult business career began, most accounts and most metrics didn’t exist.
“When I got into the adult business in the early ‘90s, there was no internet,” remembers Lisa Ann on this episode of the Digital Hospitality podcast.
“I wanted to have a fan club so I could market my feature bookings. I remember going to my friends and saying, ‘I’m buying a computer and I’m taking a night-class at Golden West College to learn how to use PrintShop.’”
Always with a vision and always in looking to take creative control of her image, Lisa Ann learned all she could about computers and graphic design as possible in an effort to better connect with her fans.
In the ‘90s, that was by conventional mail.
“I had this idea of what a newsletter should look like,” Lisa Ann recalls. “The heading, the images, the tour dates – I had a vision from band flyers that I had seen. So here I was, the second Tuesday of every month going to Kinkos, printing them out – which wasn’t cheap – then I’d mail them and make sure the stamps were right for each different country.”
Lisa Ann was not just doing the work on the road to make appearances and dance, she was looking to develop a relationship with her fans that would last many years and now many careers.
“When you’ve taken that many steps to connect to your audience in the past then the internet is a breeze!”
In only a matter of time, she’d prove exactly that.
Lisa Ann Goes Social:
From her teenage years to the present day, Lisa Ann has always been a learner and a grinder. Taking classes and catching flights, the hard work in the ‘90s paved the way for the digital dominance she’d soon harness.
“Me going strip club to strip club and Sexpo to Sexpo was like my grassroots campaign to build this community that I can reach out to!” laughs Lisa Ann.
In the mid 2000s, Lisa Ann was an early adopter to social media and as expected quite sharp from the get-go.
“When social media first started, some people jumped all in. Those of us that did realized the demands, but we established our patterns and knew when we had to work on things.”
Not only did she understand the personalized power of reaching out, responding to fans and building relationships, she realized the ROI for everything from bookings to books when using social.
“It’s cheaper than advertising,” notes Lisa Ann. “Even though you’re spending money to create content, now you have this ability to get out there, have reach and build a personal connection.”
While Lisa Ann is active both IRL and URL, the latter allows her to get to better know her audience, potential business partners and even future friends.
“It’s like the dating app of life!” Lisa Ann points out about social media. “You might not be hooking up with these people, but you want to see what this person is like when they’re out and about, and what they look to do in their free time. All of that builds connections where you never forget that person.”
However, creating all that content and managing all those relationships sounds exhausting, right?
Well it can be. Luckily for Lisa Ann, over a decade of doing her own content digitally and much more time spent putting in the work in grassroots fashion now has her in a flow.
“Once it becomes rhythmic, it takes maybe an extra 20 minutes and it provides a lot of value,” she says in regard to creating content for social media.
This content can range from updating her Instagram stories with videos to engaging with fans via written word on Twitter.
“Users have different viewing experiences. You have to go down each lane and keep it balanced. I have young friends who only listen to music on YouTube – even when they’re in the car!”
While Lisa Ann is a fast learner and a willing teacher, not everyone out there is. These tough times have everyone on alert and everyone on social media. This scenario spotlights not just lagging but also complaining.
“The same friends that resisted me teaching them Hootsuite and social media are the same friends that are watching the news every day and they’re angry!” notes Lisa Ann. “They’re posting angry things on social media and regurgitating the news on social media in their own mindset. I keep telling them, ‘Once you surrender you realize this is out of your control.’”
Sadly, for some, social media has become a place to vent, hate and spew venom.
Even on bad days, Lisa Ann doesn’t look at it that way.
“What’s the point of publicly shaming someone if they made one oops? People have bad days! I DM’d a company once that had an oops and they called me in five minutes!”
At the end of the day it all comes back to people and positivity, whether out and about or online.
“You never want to project negativity on social media,” says Lisa Ann. “You want to be warm for your people! You’re building a community and communities break down when there’s anger and hostility and people don’t know how to process it.”
Dealing with COVID-19:
As known by all, the Coronavirus has our entire nation and world at a standstill. For sports enthusiasts, most of our understanding of what COVID-19 meant for us as fans and also as people proved a major wake up call.
This was true for Lisa Ann.
“The NBA rocked my core!” reflects Lisa Ann on the day the positive tests were reported, and the NBA season was suspended. “It changed my thought that younger, healthy people could be affected by it and I needed to take it seriously.”
In many ways, the quarantine period takes Lisa Ann back to her childhood as she views the time of isolation as a chance for families to enjoy the moments together and grow closer.
“I think families with children are going to benefit from this the most because this is connection time we’ll never get back. There are no parties to say no to, less pressure and less running around. Now it’s just families. I’m seeing that with my friends who have kids who are baking and sewing more! That’s what I did growing up in Pennsylvania. When it snowed for six months, I was sewing my clothes and my dad was raising our garden in the garage. This is bringing us back to a place in time where all that mattered was what was going on with the home unit. The external was just extra. We all got caught up, but this is a master reset.”
Sadly, the COVID-19 has touched sensitive spots in regard to family. Thankfully, it’s also allowed her to heal.
“I don’t have a relationship with my family anymore and it’s been intermittent my whole life,” Lisa Ann tells us. “My parents always break up with me and I always try to make it better. But with this time in the breakup not reaching out during COVID? Okay, we’re done for good now.”
Not to be taken out of context, the tough times have actually created peace.
“It’s okay,” says Lisa Ann with positivity and great resolve. “Not everything works and it’s okay if they don’t know how to love me.”
In many ways, COVID-19 has allowed her to keep tabs on and connect with the rich world of friends she’s made over the course of her life.
“I’ve been connecting with friends on Skype and FaceTime and now we’re like, ‘Why weren’t we doing this all along?’ Through not knowing where everyone is, just engaging with them on social media provides a connection to go through this standstill that we wouldn’t have had many years ago.”
So, Skype sessions aside, how does Lisa Ann keep it all together with her busy life in these times of quarantine and loads of work? We asked her.
How Lisa Ann Stays Centered at Home:
- Working Out – Getting in a good exercise session is important for Lisa Ann. The time allows her to produce endorphins, connect with music and provide time away from her phone.
- Unwinding Early – With a busy schedule, Lisa Ann tries to maintain a 10 PM bedtime. With that also comes a wind-down routine which includes reading a book, taking a shower and turning off all devices.
- Not Watching the News – The news right now is sadder than ever and occasionally to sensational in all these sensitive times. Rather than watch the news on TV, Lisa Ann followers her favorite reporters and doctors on social media to keep up with the world we live in.
- Knowing Her Limits – When it comes to media, what you are is what you eat. Consuming little to-no graphic TV, Lisa Ann likes to keep it light and positive when watching television. This includes a healthy diet of Reese Witherspoon films and 30 Rock or anything Tina Fey. Even sports programs that get too loud, negative or overanalyzed get capped out.
- Keep Your Own Pace – The world and the world of media/social media can be a treadmill at 10. Lisa Ann knows it’s important to keep her own pace. While often busy, she’s not above taking a nap when it’s needed or doing whatever it requires to be at a flow at her own pace.
Although Lisa Ann is keeping her peace during quarantine, she’s also excited for the future.
Once everything returns back to normal, or the new normal as we may know it, she’s focusing on visiting all her many friends.
“I just want to travel to see my friends,” says Lisa Ann of her post-quarantine vacation plans. “That’s all I want to do in my free time for the next year is to connect in person.”
For now, she’s creating content and calling her loved ones.
“Those of us that are creators are still knee deep in it and it’s keeping us alive!”
Rise to Radio:
Social media may have been the first pivot for Lisa Ann in the early 2000s, but it’s not the only once since.
Before the internet and long after, Lisa Ann would catch flights across the country to make appearances and make connections as the most sought-after star in the adult industry. Before her introduction to a legion of fans on VHS or in person, it was actually the radio that gave Lisa Ann her first taste of fame, media and navigating the industry.
“When I was 18, I was working at some strip clubs in Philadelphia and North Jersey,” reflects Lisa Ann on her early days. “At that time Howard Stern had a show nearby, and they’d hire strippers to do the ads. My first experience in radio was as a teenager getting to be on The Howard Stern Show! I’d get residual checks for years!”
Working with Howard Stern before her fame in the adult industry would actually foreshadow her incredible pivot and inspiring success once she left that world behind.
Pursuing a lifelong love of sports and making the most of her enthusiasm, following and charisma, years after appearing on Stern, Lisa Ann arrived at Super Bowl 50 as an aspiring member of the media.
An amazing opportunity, a daunting task, an unlikely friend would pave the way for a bright future ahead.
“I met Dave Palet for the first time at Super Bowl 50,” Lisa Ann looks back. “We were both working radio row and I was still trying to plant my feet. When I was first making the transition to sports radio, I was fearful. I didn’t know how people felt about me, if they’d judge me, what they wanted from me or if they’d accept me.”
Fortunately for Lisa Ann, Dave Palet – best known from The Dave & Jeff Show – would show genuine kindness to comfort any doubt about her new career. Just the same, his humanity would soon introduce her to a whole new audience.
“We all go through doubt time which can be good because it’s humbling, but when I met Dave, he was just go genuinely nice!” smiles Lisa Ann. “I went and looked his show up and I started to listen. We stayed in touch, he asked me to be on the podcast and their approach to interviewing me really humanized me.”
As addressed, appearing on The Dave & Jeff Show was a major moment for Lisa Ann and the many listeners who would fall in love with her positivity, care for others and passion for sports.
“People were putting their judgements aside, seeing that I was a cool chick and that I worked hard! The flood of that engagement on social media was so supportive and we just got closer and closer. Going to their anniversary party was so great because I got to meet so many people in person.”
The relationship with The Dave & Jeff Show helped Lisa Ann to meet other members of the sports and radio community in a whole new light. With Dave and Jeff both incredibly active in charity and giving back, Lisa Ann’s love of others and attendance at events provided the perfect platform to both be herself and be accepted for the wonderful person she is.
“I love people and I found that doing charity events was the perfect neutralizer for me,” Lisa Ann says. “Who could be crappy to me when I’m doing a charity event? One day I would have been dancing at these clubs but now I get to be normal and meet everyone else. Nothing I ever did changed how I ever interacted with good people – and it shouldn’t! No matter how famous you become when you meet good people you can feel it! Your internal compass gets warm.”
That internal compass would lead her to many great people at many events to come.
“My friends know I like to go to events alone,” laughs Lisa Ann. “I like to walk around and talk to everybody and when you’re alone everybody talks to you! They don’t feel like they’re ever interrupting you and your guest.”
The warmth of friends she met through The Dave & Jeff Show both at events and online made it clear: sports radio was where Lisa Ann wanted to be for Act II of her professional career.
After getting her feet wet in the world of sports radio following her connection with The Dave & Jeff Show, things were slowly but surely starting to take off.
“In 2013 I was doing a show on Playboy Radio which led me to meeting my boss now at Sirius who was in NYC,” recalls Lisa Ann. “He said, ‘We’ve got a fantasy football show that was three Playboy Playmates and we’re looking for a female voice, do you know fantasy sports?’ I said, ‘I don’t but I can learn!’”
And learn she did.
Still having a house in California, she’d rent a studio apartment in NYC to be closer to the Sirius headquarters in an effort to gain experience and build relationships. Traveling coast to coast to get on the radio, get home and still make time for dancing gigs and appearances was costly and came with a lot of wear and tear, but for Lisa Ann it was all worth it.
“I know I’m unique and I knew I had to have face to face time with my bosses,” she looks back. “I wanted to learn all that I could and being so close in the city I reached out to every host. I did so much guest work so that I could learn cadence and treated it like it was full-time.”
After three years of doing double-time on both coasts, an opportunity to be full-time in the world of radio would soon arise.
Lisa Ann’s Big Break:
With an understanding of the business, things were beginning to take shape.
“After the third year, I moved back to LA and got the equipment so I could do the show from home,” Lisa Ann says. “Every two months I’d do a trip to NYC so I could meet with the hosts.”
While her base was finally back in LA, her heart was still with Sirius in New York.
“After a vacation to Italy for a month, I made a plan. I knew that I wanted to be full-time in NYC on radio by 2020. I wanted to let my bosses know that anything they needed I was game for. I would take classes – I would do anything.”
Getting back to NYC, an amazing opportunity would arise.
“The Morning Men’s Show on Mad Dog Sports Radio were taking off for a week and asked if I’d replace them for a week,” Lisa Ann reflects. “That was 6 AM to 10 AM for a real fun radio show that’d I’d don a ton of appearances on. I knew their audience, I knew their Tweeters, I knew their followers, I’d been to their events, so I wasn’t nervous because I was talking to people I already knew.”
A relationship with the audience was key in confidence, but that didn’t mean the fill-in gig was anything short of a grind.
“This is a 6 AM show!” Lisa Ann recalls of what would be her big break. “I’d go to bed at 8 PM, wake up at 3 AM, watch the night games, drink my coffee in bed and do my social media to let people know I’d be on. I’d walk to the studio in the dark, I’d do the show, and then I’d get notes from my bosses. They’d give me everything I needed to work on, and they’d tell me I was very coachable.”
The grind, feedback and positive attitude all proved well worth it.
“Those shows were stressful, but it was what I needed! I needed that crash course.”
The crash course in radio also proved it was where she wanted her time and talents to be.
“I’m on camera enough, but I love being on radio more,” Lisa Ann says. “I don’t want to chase a TV sports career, I’m past that! I’ll be 48 in May and I enjoy the fact that I’m not stressing anymore about what I look like. When you’re on camera people are always telling you how you should look and my friends that are on air are always so stressed out. [Being on radio] is such a comfort.”
With a dynamite job filling in for The Morning Men’s Show on Mad Dog Sports Radio, Sirius was ready to make Lisa Ann an offer. Following some advice from a friend, she knew what she had to do to make it last.
“My friend said, ‘You can either be so good after your first-year contract that they can’t fire you or you can just let it be a flash in the pan.’”
We know what she did.
After a year in, it was obvious Sirius was in on Lisa Ann and Lisa Ann was in on Sirius. Becoming a force in fantasy football she knew where she belonged, but she also knew she had to learn more to work more.
“My first year I only did football, which meant I only worked for six months,” she looks back. “I wanted a regular gig and I realized very few women cover fantasy baseball. It’s a pretty geeky thing. I had to study baseball. Though I’d been to stadiums in my travels, I didn’t really understand the game. So, I studied the game.”
She studied relentlessly at that.
“My co-host took me to Mets games, I did tons of mock drafts, and I got thrown into fantasy leagues. I set up leagues for my shows and I still play. I bring value because a lot of the people in fantasy sports aren’t great on social media or as into it.”
While Lisa Ann has pivoted once again by being a voice in fantasy baseball, fantasy football is still her bread and butter.
As expected, Lisa Ann can’t wait for the football season.
“I’m gonna smack talk all day Sunday!” Lisa Ann laughs. “It’s the best. Fantasy sports really keeps people together. It gives old friends three or four months to stay close.”
While Lisa Ann, like the rest of us, use fantasy sports as a time to connect with old friends, it’s her day-to-day life that suddenly has the warmth, love and stability she’s always wanted.
The road to success for Lisa Ann was a grind, and it’d been that way for almost half of her life.
“Coming from the adult industry, I started dancing when I was 16 with fake IDs,” Lisa Ann looks back. “I was always hustling, and I was on my own.”
At Sirius-XM she’s still hustling, but she’s no longer on her own.
“Now I’m working for people that I genuinely like,” Lisa Ann exclaims with gratitude. “They love their families, they’re good to the community. They make me feel good and their energy is great. When you walk in the Sirius building everyone says hi and everyone is pleasant.”
It’s a major change, and a well welcomed one.
“I’m not used to that. When people say they’re born again? I get that now. There’s this newness to life. When you like the people around you, you want to work harder and you want to go out of your way.”
While people often claim we grow the most outside of our comfort zone, there’s something to be said about the growth and excellence that comes from being made comfortable.
“As great as I think the Sirius Team is, they make me want to be greater,” Lisa Ann tells us. “I’m really happy to have found a place where I’m really happy and comfortable in my own skin. I get to watch football on my couch all day and write notes! Can you believe it’s my job to sit here and watch all these games? That’s pretty awesome for someone who schlepped suitcases through airports for almost 30 years.”
Not only is it an awesome job, it’s an empowering one.
“Every time I visited my parents, they told me I ruined my life by doing porn,” Lisa Ann says solemnly. “They told me I would never get another job and that nobody was going to ever love me.”
Living a life of navigating a tough relationship with her parents, the family atmosphere of Sirius and the evolution within herself have Lisa Ann stronger and more grateful than ever.
“As I built the strength of not having that rollercoaster ride in my life I realized, ‘Wait a minute, I’m self-made,’” she announces. “They didn’t have to bail me out of jail, I never got in trouble, I never hurt anybody, I never sold drugs or did anything illegal, I saved my money, I’ve done nothing but improve my own life. I’ve realized that this job at Sirius helped me get over so many years of them convincing me that my life was over. I have a job, I’m in corporate America, I have people that really care about me and check on me. It’s just loving.”
A true triumph.
“I remember all that negativity. I’m glad it’s over, but it still gave me a lot of doubt and that was years.”
The Next Chapter:
The journey for Lisa Ann has been an inspiring one, and perhaps it’s proved most enlightening over the last five years as she’s pivoted to a new life and a new career.
Having already penned an autobiography, the sequel is in the works as we speak.
“My entire dining room table is covered with printed chapters and I feel like I have the stories I want to tell,” she says. “So, what I’ve been doing is really enjoying Master Classes! I’ve been taking all the creative writing classes so now I’m really shaping my next book to make it palatable. What I’ve realized is that unless you’re a person like Howard Stern or for me Michelle Obama, we can’t all put out a big book. The younger generation wants something quicker.”
While Lisa Ann adores the likes of Michelle Obama and Oprah, she’s found another source of inspiration for the format and direction of her next book.
“Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants,” Lisa Ann notes as the length and style she wants for her next book. “That’s kind of what I want the feel of the book to be.”
While her first book covered four decades, the shorter sequel that covers five years could be even more impactful.
“These past five years since my last book I’ve changed and evolved more than all those years before,” she reflects. “How is that even possible! After I wrote my first book I really started journaling and I’m so glad I did because there was so much detail. From being broken down to nothing to that rebuild and now that things are great? It’s that transformation, that battle is worth fighting.”
Like all of us, most battles are won and lost in our head. That’s why Lisa Ann isn’t just getting inside her own trials to connect with readers, she’s giving it a glance from their perspective.
“I’ll record a chapter, then I’ll walk around the city and listen to it so I can figure out how it will sound in somebody’s head when they’re reading it.”
Still learning, still growing.
While COVID-19 has all of us walled up in quarantine, it doesn’t have Lisa Ann any less busy. Working on her second book, she’s also impressed the Sirius staff so much that she’s on-air five days a week.
“I’m thanking my bosses every day of the week,” Lisa Ann says. “This just can’t be my life.”
If you’re into online sports betting you can also get up to $1,000 matched on https://www.bovada.lv/ by signing up with Lisa Ann’s promo code: BVLisa1000
Get to know more about The Real Lisa Ann on her website at https://thereallisaann.com.
Nothing tops the evergreen content created from @davejeffpodcast Charity event on 8.1.18
— ShawnPWalchef (@shawnpwalchef) October 14, 2019