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Las VegasIn a place where blond extensions, clear Lucite stripper shoes, and fake boobs are in abundance, Belladonna is the only porn star at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo sporting a buzz cut. "My hair got fried from dyeing it too much, so I just shaved it off," she told me. She might also be the only porn star who can carry off such a dramatic style and look stunning doing it. She's never been a stereotypical beauty: a brunette with a gorgeous body decorated with tattoos and unenhanced by plastic surgery, she's got a beguiling smile and a space between her two front teeth. As an award-winning performer who directs her own line of videos (see: My Ass is Haunted and Fucking Girls), she's known for her uninhibited, hardcore anal sex performances and her aggressive scenes with other women. When I went in search of attendees to profile, I made a beeline for her signing station. If I was going to find cool porno fans to talk to, they were going to be hers.
"She's my hero because she can deep throat Lexington Steele's 13-inch cock all the way down to his balls. She's nasty, she's dirty. And she's friendly," says Dawn D'Amico, a mega-fan of Belladonna who lives in Philadelphia. We chatted as Dawn waited in line with her friend Dan Kirkman to see the object of their fandom. Dan, a 38-year-old former school custodian and bouncer from Bellingham, Washington, says, "She pushes the envelope and brings the fans a product that's second to none. She has an unbelievable imagination. And she does it all as a female in a male-dominated industry." A porn watcher since his teens, he favors Belladonna's brand of gonzo videos, along with other titles from Evil Angel, the company that distributes Belladonna's movies. Dawn was once a retail porn buyer who didn't like most of what she saw. When she stumbled on a Belladonna movie, she was hooked. Today, she buys and watches only Belladonna movies. They both dislike features, studio contract stars, and what they call "Barbie girls."
After only a few minutes of talking, it became clear that these are no ordinary fans. Both are paid members of Belladonna's official website (enterbelladonna.com) who have met her before at other appearances and waited in a long line all three days of the convention to see her. Dawn even had a hand in a Belladonna movie after winning a contest the star held on MySpace. The prize: the honor of naming Belladonna's first film where she returned to fucking men on screen after a two year girls-only hiatus. "The name that won the contest was Cock Happy," says the 34-year-old, who produces a live sex trivia game called Kinky Quizzo (kinkyquizzo.com) at bars throughout Philadelphia. "I came up with that because she always looks so happy when she sucks cock. Plus, I know she likes short, concise titles." (Dan played another role: he bought Belladonna a pair of shoes as a gift and she wore them in the boxcover photo of Cock Happy.)
Their adoration is serious, but also quite specific. "I adore Bella and some of the people she's worked with because they are individuals and they are honest and straight to the point in an industry where there's still a lot of fakeness," says Dan. "I came to the show last year and I went around to all the booths and asked girls, 'Have you worked with Belladonna? If you have, would you work with her again?' Girls that haven't worked with her wanna work with her. Girls that have, wanna fuck her again." He feels she always raises the bar in her performances and pushes other starlets to do the same: "When I see a woman challenge Belladonna, I'm intrigued and will look for other work that girl has done. Because it's hard to challenge Belladonna." Dawn likes that Belladonna does things other performers won't: "She snowballed Kurt Lockwood and stuck her fingers in his ass, and I thought that was awesome. I am dying to see them do a strap-on scene together." (Snowball: He comes in her mouth, she kisses him and passes the cum back to him.)
This is Dawn's first time at AEE and Dan's second trip; they both seem nonplussed about the scale of it and much more interested in focusing on Belladonna. For Dan, some of the show is a turn-off and it's ultimately all about respect. "There are fans here who have no respect for the girls. They think, 'She does porn, she's a whore.' You'll get a lot of people at this show, some get ass shots when they take pictures, but these guys, they always want something more. 'Show us your pussy, show us this,' and you've got some girls who'll do it. I respect [Belladonna] as an individual and her work and she respects her fans. Some of the fans are disrespectful to her, and that pisses me off." He'd like to get into the industry behind the scenes because "it would be nice to have more men who aren't chauvinistic and disrespectful to some of the women."
When they've finally made it to the head of the line, Belladonna recognizes them both. They hug and take pictures with her. Dan tells her he likes the tiny pink tutu she's wearing. They chat briefly, then step aside so the line will keep moving. They've seen her every day since the event started, so they're not interested in lingering.
Although Dawn acknowledges that as a woman at AEE, she's in the minority ("there are a lot of old perverts here"), she knows that Belladonna has more than her share of female fans: "It surprises me because of the hardcore nature of her movies. Sometimes I can't even watch some of the things she's done. She did this one scene where she stuck all these lollipops in this girl's butt then took them out and ate them and [another scene where she put] the baseball bat in her ass." I asked her if watching Belladonna's movies has influenced her own sexuality. "Oh, definitely," she says. "Although, I don't care how many different things she puts in her ass, I still won't do anal," she says, firmly. "But I have fucked a guy in the ass."