- Lex, how did you get started in the adult entertainment industry?
I went to Syracuse University. I graduated in 1993. From '93 until '98 I was a Wall Street Stock Broker. With one of the firms I worked for, my office was located on the 36th floor of the World Trade Center. If I hadn't gotten into porn and stayed in high finance I would have been in those towers on September 11th.
In 1997 I started doing some regular mainstream modeling. Some folks suggested I get involved with adult modeling so by March of 1998 I was in Los Angeles working in adult film. I completely gave up finance because I said to myself, "Damn, I've always wanted to do porno, and I can always fall back onto corporate America." I went out to LA with enough money to sustain myself for three months and the plan that, if I made it, great, if not, I'd return to the Wall [Wall Street]. Things worked out!
- I'll say! Your many awards in the industry include two-time winner of the AVN [Adult Video News] Male Performer of the Year. What's the best part about being an adult entertainer?
I get to work with a huge number of beautiful women who are between the ages of 18 and 22.
- (laughing) You got it made man!
Oh, yeah! I get to travel: I've literally been on 5 of the 7 continents. I've had women from all over the world, from Brazil to Tokyo. You name it. When I do leave the industry, I'll take the memories of the traveling with me. Those are the times I am able to bond and get comfortable with the people I work with. That's important because when that cameraman or director is shooting you in a sex scene, you are at the utmost level of comfort and you can do what you have to do in front of them in front on the camera.
- Has it ever been uncomfortable having sex on camera?
Yes. I got my feet wet in New York prior to coming to LA. The big difference between New York & LA for me was the volume of work. In New York I was shooting one or two scenes a month. To do one scene and to do it well, you think you're the man. But once you move to the major leagues in Los Angeles, it's every single day you have to prove your metal.
In NY, we always shot at the Waldorf Astoria and I always knew the cameraman and the director: the only variable was the girl. In LA, every single day it's a different girl, different director and location, different variables. These are things that can really throw some salt in your game.
- Sounds like a lot of pressure. What's the worst part of being an adult entertainer?
The worst part is the risk to your life. Let's be frank. Everyone is PCR-DNA tested every thirty days. But you are still rolling the dice on a regular basis. How do I know that on any given day my test will come back a "license to thrill" or a death certificate?
But Aids isn't the only problem in the business. Most of the action is shot bareback [without condoms] and STDs are rampant. I've been in this business 4 years; if I don't know what herpes looks like, I don't know what the back of my hand looks like. I don't have it, but, man, there have been several situations where I have looked at a girl, said, "I don't know what THAT is," and refused to do a scene. I was in Budapest, Hungary, doing a scene on a golf course. The director and producer have this girl, and her ass looks like it was on fire! I wasn't going there for anything! I told them get another girl or put me on a plane back to the States. I keep a watchful eye over my body. Because of my job I have to consistently monitor my body.
- You've built a great physique. What are your workouts like?
I work out 6 days a week. I focus a lot on cardio. I start with 2 miles on the treadmill. I'm not jogging- I'm doing a 7 & 1/2 minute mile. I do a lot of abdominal movements. Abs are the most important muscle group in adult film next to one's dick. The reason being is there are a number of positions wherein I'm able to move my hips in a certain way and for a certain amount of time because my abs are so strong. The ability for me to thrust my hips with rapidity is based on the strength of my abs.
- What kind of exercises do you do for your abs?
I do a lot of crunches, lots of hanging leg lifts. There's a vertical crunch machine I really like. I train my obliques with side-bends, grasping a 45-pound plate in either hand. I switch my exercises up and never do more than 3 ab exercises on any given day.
- What about the rest of your body? Do you prefer free weights or machines?
I focus a lot on curls and work with dumbbells. In the industry I am able to do a lot of things other guys cannot do because I do work out all the time. For example, if I take a woman into a reverse cowgirl position [woman riding on top of man, facing his feet] and I decide to stand up-that's tough to do!
Most of these women weigh anywhere from 100 to 125 pounds. When I curl I use the Olympic bar with a 45 pound plate on each side. This way I am able to curl women on camera and into various positions.
My workouts allow me to hold positions for 3 to 5 minutes compared to some out-of-shape guy who can only hold a position for 30 seconds. That gives the director a lot of great footage.
- A lot of the male actors in the industry look like crap.
I'm in the gym religiously at 7:30 every single morning. I wear a skully, a nylon jacket over a sweat suit, sometimes with a vinyl suit over that. I'm attempting to raise my body temperature to an abnormally high rate.
- To burn fat?
Partly, but mainly because I will not experience a melt-down in any circumstance on camera because of the lighting of a set. People have to understand that on a set there are 4 or 5 big lights and these things make you sweat. Many guys start to sweat and they start to break down on camera and that can lead to loss of an erection, which in my business is something to be avoided at all costs.
- I never even thought about that, man!
I'm a pro at this. I have to think about these things.
- Where do you train?
24-hour fitness in Northridge. Actually North Hills, California.
- There are some people who would say that all pornography is violence towards women. What's your take on that?
There are certain productions that do cater to that and aim to degrade and denigrate womanhood. There is a market for that and these people are supplying that market. But that's not what I do. What I do is sex.
I work with Anabolic and Diabolic Video. Their videos are not about degrading women. We're shooting the act of sexual intercourse; it's not about brutalizing women. It is about having sex with that woman in ways that the common man cannot. A lot of guys watch me because they feel uncomfortable doing some of the stuff I do on camera to his wife or girlfriend. I satisfy a need these men have. I remember the Friday nights at home alone, without female companionship. Make no mistake: I make movies for men to masturbate to. I understand that.
- We thank you Lex!
Granted, if couples like it -- that's great! I fully understand that, when I'm working, gentlemen out there are superimposing themselves upon me, into the scene, so that they can enjoy the scene. They live vicariously through me. Some guys watch basketball. They can't be Michael Jordan, but they can watch his games. You can't be Lexington Steele, but you can watch his movies. On top of that, I have fans that look for me. I had my favorite male stars when I was younger. I wouldn't rent a movie unless a particular male actor was in it. Today I am that guy for many men. I owe it to them to get my ass in the gym so that I don't look slack in my movies.
- In bodybuilding the guys at the top do well, but the guys at the bottom often have a rough time making a living. Is it the same for male actors in heterosexual adult films?
I've been earning over 6 figures for 2 out of the 4 years I've been in the business. But I'm lucky. There are maybe 4 or 5 guys who make similar money in the business.
There are guys who make decent money because in porn you've got guys who are established. They're working 3 or 4 scenes a week at about $500 a scene. That's good money compared to the general household income in the United States. All things considered though, it's fast money. Fast money is easy-come, easy-go. So these porn stars may not be living the sustained lives with strong foundations that people earning similar money in quote-unquote "legitimate" jobs are. I'll be honest with you man: there is rampant drug use in this game!
- You mean recreational drug use?
Like you wouldn't believe. The tolerance for this is disgusting. It's despicable how you can see a girl come into this business and 3 months later she's lost weight, her tits are deflated, her ass is gone. I've seen guys in this business lose it all because of drugs. My take is this: if you know a certain drug is going to fuck up your livelihood, why do it?
- Right. Stay away from it!
Exactly. But this is a business that attracts people who are weak minded. Take weak-minded people, fast money and the opportunity to abuse recreational drugs and you've got a terrible combination. People don't remember that there is life after porno.
- Your physique is your livelihood now.
I consider myself a pro athlete. I'm paid because of my body.
- Are you a religious man and if so, are there any contradictions between being a religious man and being a porn star?
Yes, I am religious. I am Christian: Baptist. I grew up in as close to a Cosby-show lifestyle as you can get. Doing porno, on a repeated basis, I am committing adultery; I'm not married, so I'm fornicating for a living; I'm paid to have sex, which means what? I'm prostituting by definition. These are things I have to reckon with with my God on a daily basis. I knowingly do these things.
My decision to do porno has forced me to take my religion within: because of my job I am stronger in my relationship with God, because now I take God with me everywhere I go; if I don't, I'll fail! I didn't know that god blessed me with an abnormally large penis that allows me to make porno. But I feel blessed. I believe I am blessed because I am meant to please one woman for the rest of our lives together. True, I haven't met her yet.
- Well, there's still time for that.
I believe that these things are happening, that my life is as it is, because there is meaning and a plan and the outcome is that I will be a better man for it and am thus blessed.
- Does your family know what you do?
Yes. My father passed in '99. My mom knows what I do. For a long time I felt she didn't really understand the magnitude of what I was doing. My first year or two, she thought I was doing HBO, Cinemax, risqué-type T&A "porn." Emmanuelle type stuff! (Laughing)
I had to sit her down, Thanksgiving, 2000, and explain to her that I'm not the guy you see at 11 o'clock on Cinemax. I'm the guy that people go into the bookstore where people are told not to go on the bad side of town. I'm that guy on that tape that the guy in the trench coat wants to rent.
- How is your mom dealing with it?
She supports me. Her main concerns are that I don't get anyone pregnant or get Aids. She appreciates the fact that I am open with her. As I put it to her at the time, "I'm not a bad guy; I'm the guy who does the things that are spoken of in hushed tones." My position as adult icon does not necessarily lend me mass public respect, but it is a position in which I know people enjoy what I do. Do you know how good it feels when a guy comes up to me and says, "My wife and I conceived our baby after watching one of your films"?
- It must make you feel great. You told your mom you weren't the guy seen on cable and, indeed, you aren't. Is there racism in the adult movie industry?
Here's the breakdown: porno on cable is the next big thing. There are areas in the country where you can't do mail-order porn, it's a violation of state lines to mail it. Therefore the importance of porn's access to cable networks in those areas is amplified exponentially. So, if you're in a state where you can't get porno at a video store, you can get it on cable.
Cable recognizes this and they also recognize that there are areas in the United States where people won't subscribe to the cable or pay-per-view if it features a black man having sex with a white woman. The subscriber refuses to watch that on cable; the cable operator doesn't purchase that movie from the distributor; the distributor tells the movie company, "We're not going to buy that;" the producer and director say, "We're not going to hire Lexington" because they can't sell that film.
Yet I'm a Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) actor and I have 75% of the spoken dialog in the largest, most popular adult movie produced in the year 2000. The film is Westside and it is gaining fame internationally as a B-movie. The year before that I'm performer of the year and take home the "Best Anal Sex Scene" award. So, outta 15,000 releases, I'm deemed the best performer in the business and I haven't done a dialog feature production since Westside? Tony, if I was white I'd be on the cover of every box from VCA, Wicked, Vivid, Adam & Eve, Metro and Sin City [major big-budget porn companies]-but as it is, these companies are opting for a policy of segregation by not challenging the distributors.
- On your web-site you say you've also received a lot of flack from fellow African-Americans who consider you "a sell-out, an Uncle Tom and a Clarence Thomas." Why?
There is a crabs in a barrel mentality that the people in this business operate by. I have been successful in this industry because of what is between my legs but also because of what is between my ears. My career has really accelerated in the last 4 years. There are people jealous of that. There are people jealous because I won't work for peanuts. I won't work for $300. That said, if I feel like I didn't earn my $800-$1,000 per scene, I will discount my earnings. That's why directors in the industry respect me.
I am a black man but my degree of intimidation isn't very high. I end up doing a lot of interracial scenes. Is it my fault these companies are hiring me? No. You've got to see some of these guys showing up for an audition: 40 in hand [alcoholic beverage], sandals, button-down plaid shirt looking like they're about to whip out a 9mm. In this industry, my work isn't based on black or white but green [dollars]. If I'm going to make more money working with a girl who looks like Britney Spears versus one who looks like Janet Jackson, I'm going with the greener pasture. I opt for the larger dollars because each time I perform I roll the dice as far as my health is concerned.
- Let's talk about your diet and Liquid RX.
Everyone has room for improvement, and mine is when it comes to diet. In the morning I take a couple Xenadrine and a Ripped Force Fruit Punch. Then I'm working, so I don't have any appetite until 7 o'clock that night. For dinner I'll eat some chicken, fish, rice, vegetables. When I eat, I eat clean and healthy. I stay away from bread. Sometimes I go overboard and eat Chinese Food.
One of the supplements I use is Tribulus [Tribulus Terrestris]. It increases my penis' sensitivity. It makes you feel like you have no skin on your penis!
Liquid RX is a sexual multi-vitamin in a tonic form [www.LiquidSteele.com]. It's not a magic pill; it's no sexual steroid. This product contains hundreds of times the percentage of the daily recommended allowance of the nutrients that are necessary for peak sexual performance: zinc, ginseng, yohimbe, etc. But these are safe levels. I think Liquid RX is as safe as creatine. It's important to me as a sexual athlete that all these things are natural substances. When I leave this game I want my body to be as healthy as it was when I entered.
- Imagine it's one day in the future and you're a father. Your son or daughter comes to you and says, "Dad, I want to be a pornographic movie star." What would your reaction be?
In no way would I recommend this job to my best-friend, let alone my children. Every day in this business you must decide to risk your life. When I came into this business in '98, 5 women were infected with HIV from one guy. It was a scary time. I would positively forbid my daughter from working in this industry. There is a measure of self-respect a sex performer gives away every single time he or she is on camera. I wouldn't want anyone so close to me to give away anything so important and valuable. When I have kids I will instruct them that their bodies are temples, and I don't want anyone walking up into and defiling their temples.
- Is being a porn star rough on your romantic relationships?
Very much so. You know a lot of women who recognize me from my films want to be with me. But my thing is, Hey, I do porno. Why do these women who aren't involved in the business want to have sex with me? Why do they want to knowingly risk their lives? I'm not attracted to those women.
- How much longer do you have left in the industry?
Can't say, but I will say this: when I retire I'm going out at the top of my game. I stay on top by staying in the gym. I shit you not, my workouts have given me a five year discount off my age: I'm 30 years old looking like I'm 24 or 25.