A Day in the Life of Dana DeArmond
MEET THE ALT-PORN STAR WHO REDEFINES THE WORD NEUROTIC.
IT’S 11:30 IN THE MORNING, and Dana DeArmond should be here. “Here” is the Lamill coffee shop in L.A.’s Silver Lake district, where it’s hard to tell one urban hipster from another. I finally locate her out on the furthermost reaches of the sidewalk tables. There, eyeing the customers distrustfully, she gives me a wave and a weak smile as I stroll to her table.
DeArmond’s MySpace page says it best: “If you see me out somewhere…keep in mind…I am painfully awkward.” Compounding that assessment is a recent breakup with fellow alt-porn stud Daniel and a host of neuroses she’s collected throughout her life. Dana brings a lot of issues to the coffee table.
I sit down as she flirts demurely with the gay waiter who brings her cafe au lait. He reminds Dana of her formerly closeted dad, I learn. However, the goodwill she feels toward him will assuredly evaporate if he doesn’t drop our check when she wants it. “I have to ask people several times to get my check,” she maintains. “I have a lot of problems with food service people. They kind of freak me out.”
It’s nothing personal. EVERYONE freaks Dana out. You could turn Dana’s usage of the word weird, which refers to anything that makes her nervous, into a drinking game. An online video of Dana filmed three years ago when her house burned down shows the alt-porn star salvaging a magazine cover featuring her as a pierced-punk outcast. Nowadays she forgoes this heritage and the booze and parties that went with it in favor of iPhone apps and cable TV. Still, whether it’s accompanying a friend to AA or eating here, SOMEBODY who knows Dana sucks cock for a living will eventually recognize her. That’s not always what Dana wants.
“I was trying to make more straight friends, like non-porn people,” she tells me. “But it’s a little bit hard now because people know what I do for a living because of MySpace. The reach of that is so far. People talk to me, and I realize they don’t ask me what I do for a living. And I’m like, ‘Omigod, they already know who I am.’ And that feeds my paranoia.”
A smartly attired blond passerby attracts Dana’s attention. The girl is the sort who inspires masturbatory fantasies, Dana’s included, it would seem. “Ooh, I’m gonna eat you,” Dana coos. “Miniskirt and motorcycle boots, hell-O!” Thank God for sex, then. It’s Dana’s way of relating comfortably with the world.
“I was never raised to be striving for spirituality,” she offers. “I’m on a higher sexual level than most people, and I think that is something that’s very tangible and real. I’m not going to start fucking praying to trees and weird bizarro shit like that to trick my brain into thinking that I’m gonna go somewhere else after I die or something.”
Dana’s iPhone rings. A picture of her industry gal pal Aiden Starr appears on the display screen. She’s gonna meet us here. “A day in the life of Dana is not complete without Adrianna Nicole or Aiden,” Dana declares. “I see them probably more than anybody else ’cause they live so close to me.”
Dana didn’t expect to be living so close to them, but Daniel abruptly ditched her and moved out while she was on a business trip to London. This left Dana and her mom, who had intended to merely visit, to pick up the pieces instead.
“I chose to move out of the apartment because I didn’t want to live in the same space,” Dana explains. “I enjoyed the fun that I had with him, but I can’t exactly forgive
him for fucking losing his mind on me when I was out of the country and breaking up with me via e-mail. I’m going to have to pay to have my old house cleaned. I was actually really comfortable with being alone. I just thought it would be more of a normal image to project to be in a relationship.” Now approaching 30, Dana reels off a litany of resentments against her ex, a guy seven years her junior.
Normalcy is Dana’s unattainable holy grail. As if on cue, Aiden Starr arrives in a miniskirt, tank top and thighhigh boots to yank normalcy even farther from Dana’s reach. Earlier, Dana had compared Aiden to a petite, surly pony who’s given one too many rides to preschoolers. This doesn’t quite match my take on her—ponies don’t freely offer up their e-mail to solicit their pro-dom services.
But the two make a good team, immediately gossiping about mutual friends. Aiden has some incriminating evidence regarding one such friend stored on her iPhone. She shares it with Dana, but all I get from Aiden is, “A friend of ours treats people like hotels.” She declines to mention if said friend left mints on their pillows.
After some catching up, Dana pulls aside the waiter for her check. She needs to buy some home furnishings at Wacko/Soap Plant, Hollywood’s premier outlet for eccentric bric-abrac. But first Dana has to clean out her car. “My ex-boyfriend left all his fucking garbage in the house,” she grumbles. “All this fucking weird shit, like fucking old pots and creatine and muscle milk.” She pulls her Prius to the dumpster in back of Lamill’s and chucks Daniel’s stuff while no one is looking. With that, she’s off to Wacko.
Driving there, Dana glances longingly at an Obama billboard. Then she and Aiden gossip about Michelle and Beyoncé. Entering Wacko, Dana finds her attention drawn to shelves of transgressive literature, imported figurines and kitsch memorabilia. She gets a Japanese Lucky Cat and some Tom of Finland refrigerator magnets, but bypasses some hip-hop-oriented action figures designed by a former boyfriend.
“He wanted me to model for him, and I wouldn’t,” she shares. “Turned out to be a source of tension. He has mommy issues.” On the other hand, Dana and Aiden bemusedly acknowledge the Jenna Jameson and Wicked Contract Girl action figures hanging on the wall.
Will a Dana doll hang alongside them one day? How would that make her feel? She passes them quickly without comment.
Dana pays for the merchandise, then jumps into her car. Along the way to Fred 62, a chichi diner in nearby Los Feliz, Aiden and Dana size up several Angelenos on the street. A bulky guido (nice body, tacky combover), a scrawny twentysomething female with no figure (Aiden insists it’s a dude) and a large black male in a J.Crew sweater (Dana says he’s white) all get theirs. Earlier at Lamill’s, I recall Dana mentioning, “I’m not gonna look down my nose at somebody because they can just turn around and look at me and say, ‘Well, you have sex for money, and you’re a prostitute.’”
At Fred 62, Dana talks about her Sphynx cats, Heinrich and Svenya. She’s trying, unsuccessfully so far, to toilet-train them. Dana’s lips curl as she gazes at the two half-filled ashtrays, and she asks the waitress to remove them. An uncle of hers recently died from a chronic lung disease, further strengthening Dana’s aversion to decay. “I like the idea of people not realizing I’m almost 30, because if you take care of your body, you can look young forever,” she insists.
Finishing up lunch, Dana drops Aiden off at her car back in Silver Lake before going to the post office. She’s mailing her Apple hard drive to her brother, who’ll transfer the files to a brand-new laptop. “Geez, there’s a lot of people here,” she notices uneasily. This means sharing space with strangers in line, triggering her anthrophobia once again. Some kids are playing in front of her. No way is she ever gonna have kids, though she won’t get her tubes tied. “I’d rather get other surgery done, like botox,” Dana remarks. “I need what’s down there for my profession.”
Having shared enough of her life with a total stranger, she needs some me-time. “I made my life so I don’t have to come into contact with lots of people except for once or twice a year when I sign,” she mentioned earlier in the day. “It’s not like some weird shit where I’m talking to people, and we’re just not understanding one another because I’m bizarre, and they’re maybe more normal.”
Fair enough. Once excused, you can’t even count to ten before Dana DeArmond has again hidden herself away from the world’s judgment.
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Photo Credit: JAKE BARBER, JULES JORDAN VIDEO
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