Look Homeward, Porn Angel

Devinn Lane returns to OC, sucks down a few frozen bananas, and talks about life before she became the den mother of porn

Photo by Jeanne RiceWith glistening, red lips locked around a chocolate-and-peanut-encrusted frozen banana, her slightly freckled 36D funbags nearly popping out of her pink top, Devinn Lane's slowing traffic to a crawl on Balboa Boulevard. Chicks look curious, and guys flash shit-eating grins. Devinn, in flared designer jeans and open-toed heels that show off her French pedicure, squats provocatively before the mural at Balboa Market Grocery and mugs for the camera, taking great delight in her food.

"Lick it," yelps the camerawoman. "Stick your tongue out!" A pierced mouth muscle darts forth and works its way expertly up and down the length of the banana's stiffness. A skateboard dude rolling past is distracted and nearly wipes out on the sidewalk. Lane laughs and finally takes a bite out of her banana.

"Mmm, I haven't had one of these in I don't know how long," says the brown-eyed, brunette beauty who lives in the San Fernando Valley. "I used to hang out down here at the Fun Zone all the time with friends or on dates. The rides were great for making out. I liked them all, except for the Ferris wheel. I'm not crazy about heights."

That was back when Lane was a teen, attending La Mirada High School and occasionally ditching class to hit the beach. The OC native's parents moved around a lot, using grandma's address as theirs so Lane could continue at La Mirada. But the future porn superstar spent her free time in the Costa Mesa-Huntington Beach-Newport Beach axis: buying bikinis on Balboa Island, watching surfers at the wedge, or grabbing a cruller at Oh Those Donuts on Newport Boulevard.

That was then. Now 30, Lane is one of the most-recognized names in porn. Since 1999, when Wicked Pictures owner Steve Orenstein signed her to his elite stable of debauched divas after seeing the then Penthouse Pet on an episode of The Howard Stern Show, one in which she roller-skated topless through Central Park, Lane has starred in dozens of adult films for the Canoga Park outfit and turned her ever-increasing popularity into a brand name with a worldwide fan base. She has garnered a number of Adult Video News Awards, porn's Golden Globes, if you will, such as Best Solo Sex Scene 2001, and this year, Best Actress for her work in the Wicked bestseller Breathless.

"Devinn's hot, but also funny and smart," explains Stephen Ochs, associate editor at AVN, the adult industry's trade publication. "She's the thinking man's porn star, almost as talented at comedy and acting as she is at sex. That's why we keep giving her awards."

Lane's Demi Moore-like good looks and genuine charisma help explain the popularity of her Playboy TV reality series 7 Lives Xposed, which airs Sunday nights at 11 p.m. In it, Lane, the self-described "den mother of porn," oversees a camera-laden Malibu beach house peopled with six lads and lasses ready to play hide the salami or go deep-sea diving, San Francisco-style, before a nationwide, pay-per-view audience.

"I get to have sex with everyone on the show," brags the openly bisexual Devinn, eyebrow arching for emphasis. "That's why I picked them to be on. They're all people I found attractive. Some people I haven't had sex with, but if I wanted to, I could."

Such is the confidence of a woman who has "built an empire of sex," as she puts it. At www.wickedweb.com, you can buy everything from Devinn Lane's Succulent Blossom Masturbator with Eight Teasing Petals to Devinn Lane's Vibrating Double Pleasure, a re-creation of Lane's vagina and anus, lovingly sculpted from some space-age material that feels betterthan real skin. Lane's website, www.devinnlane.com, offers subscribers live webcasts with Lane and her porn pals. And if that's not enough, you can always catch one of Lane's live performances at such gentlemen's clubs as Spearmint Rhino in nearby City of Industry, where she'll be headlining Feb. 20-22.

The fruits of Lane's labors are many and sweet. She owns a house and a townhouse in the Valley; is the head of her own corporation; and was able to send her daughter, now 14, to private schools. She has traveled the world; modeled in Japan, Canada and France; and acquired champagne tastes such as Manolo Blahnik designer shoes that can cost upward of $600 per pair. But she retains a bit of OC in her drive, a Nissan Frontier SE-V6, which would look right at home in the parking lot of South Coast Plaza. Moreover, when asked where she wants to dine, she chooses an old familiar, Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant on East 17th Street, down the street from where she used to work as a teller for Downey Savings. Washing down a taco plate with some iced tea, she's down-to-earth, wholesome even, though she smirks when I describe her that way. "I've been called a lot of things," she clucks, "but wholesome?"

* * *

However, it's not all one big porn picnic for Lane, which of course is not her real name. Like many entertainers in adult and mainstream, she uses a nom de porno and asked that her birth name not be used in this story. Lane has her reasons: stalkers, one of whom still sends her creepy e-mails despite two restraining orders. Personal safety is always a concern, and she never makes public appearances without security personnel nearby. Otherwise, Lane claims to have no regrets about crossing that raunchy Rubicon into the porn world, but then there are the folks who have forsaken her.

"Because I was 27 when I got into the industry, not 18 and invincible, I knew I'd lose friends and family," she explains. "I knew I'd be out in public sometimes and people would turn their noses up at me. They'd look at me and say I was probably a drug addict, an alcoholic or a child molester. Which is just pure ignorance."

Though her mom never approved of her career choice, Lane continued to talk to her up until her death from diabetes three years ago at 48, following 17 and a half years of dialysis. And she maintains close relations with her younger brother, who lives in New York.

But her dad is a different story. An evangelical minister in the Church of God, he sounds like John Lithgow in Footloose. No makeup. Church three times per week. Dresses below the knee. No movies. Basically nothing secular. Lane, Aries that she is, rebelled, smoked in the girls' room, skipped school. Her father didn't spare the rod, and her mom, daughter of a minister herself, didn't intervene.

"The spankings were quite harsh," she says. "Which is funny because as I got older and got involved in the world of [bondage and domination], I realized I actually liked spanking. Some sort of sick, twisted thing from my past, I guess. I felt what my father did was abuse, absolutely. I've never raised my own hand to my daughter. I never would. You either follow in the footsteps of your parents or you change. I changed.

"I left home at 18 and never looked back. I still don't talk to my father, and I don't foresee ever reconciling. Of course, he was angry when he finally found out about what I was doing. You know, the Jesus people write to me and tell me, 'You're going to hell,' 'Jesus can still forgive you,' this and that. And I'm like, 'Well, I guess I'm going to have to burn.' I was raised in a hardcore Protestant home, and it's not a healthy environment."

Lane says she's not opposed to spirituality, just organized religion.

"I tell people, 'You don't understand: I'm a product of the church.' I rebelled against everything I was taught and went into life to see what I was missing. I found out I liked a lot of things I was taught were bad and there was nothing wrong with them. I dealt with a lot of guilt for a long, long time. The guilt of being bisexual and not being able tell anyone because it was 'a sin.' All of these 'sins'—I basically became a sinner and felt that I would be punished for all these sins, although I was really a good person."

Some from Lane's past are more accepting. Before lunch at Mi Casa, we dropped in on Lane's old boss Lori Thompson, branch manager at Downey Savings who remembered Lane as a good worker who had already begun stripping for bachelor parties on the side. A solid, middle-class lady, Thompson chuckles as she recalled Lane's stripper name, "Cherry Pie," and confides that she knew the young Lane was bound for stardom.

"Me? I have no problem with it," said Thompson of her ex-employee's career. "I went out and bought one of her videos, actually. Over at Spanky's on Harbor Boulevard. I asked the teller if he had Devinn Lane videos, and he said, 'Right this way.' In Style was the name of it."

"Oh, that's a good one," says Lane, beaming.

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