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Take the competitive drive and physical conditioning of Shaquille O'Neal, combined with the business acumen of Donald Trump and the movie star charisma of Denzel Washington. Then, add enthusiastic on-camera sex style and an 11" cock and you've got the recipe for porn's Man of Steele - Lexington Steele, that is.
Arguably the most popular male performer on the planet today, Steele is the only three-time winner of AVN's Performer of the Year honors, for 2000, 2002 and 2003. He's got 14 AVN Awards total, as well as numerous other recognitions.
Over nine years in the business, Steele speculates he has appeared in well over 2000 scenes.
But his proudest accomplishment is as founder of Mercenary Pictures. Capitalizing on his popularity as a performer, Steele has parlayed that success into one of the most rock-solid gonzo production companies in the industry.
Mercenary has built a reputation on a roster of top-notch contract directors, including Steele, Tina Tyler, Marco Banderas and Jimmy Scaffnetti. The series they shoot include Black Reign, Pole Position, Superwhores, Black Moon Risin', Fresh Out the Box, Handyman, Man Hammer and Top Guns, as well as the Black Viking-labeled gay line.
Eros Zine: What did you do before porn?
Lexington Steele: I was an investment advisor; your proverbial Wall Street stockbroker with a major Wall Street firm, out of Manhattan.
Eros Zine: So, how'd you get in the business -- I mean, here you were on Wall Street…
Lexington Steele: Well, the broker I trained under asked if I wanted to go to this party with him and he said it was going to be a "freak party."
I didn't know what a "freak party" was, so I went and it was actually a gangbang. There were 19 guys and one chick.
So, needless to say, being an adventurous man in my early '20s, I said "Hell, yeah, let's do it!"
From there, I looked into trying to get into adult magazines because I was like, "Hey, I might have something here."
The magazines led to a video opportunity in Manhattan, so by April of '96, I did my first video.
Eros Zine: Are financial people, generally, crazy?
Lexington Steele: In terms of their lifestyle?
Eros Zine: Well, it is pretty crazy to have your boss at work say, "Hey buddy, let's go to a freak party."
Lexington Steele: (Laughing) It's the notion that when people work a lot of hours and work hard, they also tend to play hard.
It wasn't beyond me, for someone to suggest that I go to a freak party. We were all good friends and it was one of those things, like, "Hey, there's this really special party. Wanna go?"
"Well, yeah, why not?" And then you get there, and it's like, "Man! Okay..." and I've got my condoms as always - let's rock!'
But then, you just get in line, as it is in a gangbang, 19-on-one.
But it was the start and it's what gave me the thought -- well, you know what? I had the ability to get an erection in front of people without a problem, you know. And even the notion of waiting my turn didn't affect me either.
This was in '96. This was the spark, and I said to myself, "Look, I can always return to being a stock broker. I have a license. I have undergraduate degrees. I can always return to corporate America..." But the opportunity to perform physically is a window that is not open as long as a corporate background.
Eros Zine: Had you been a fan of adult entertainment before that?
Lexington Steele: Oh, yeah. I began watching adult videos around the age of 13, maybe 14. You know, sneaking a tape that would get passed around the schoolyard by the fellows. Getting involved and seeing it happen -- I didn't actually have sex for the first time until I was 17. I was your proverbial high school jock, and I really wasn't the social butterfly in terms of popularity with the girls. So, my early sexual experiences were with myself.
Eros Zine: But, you knew enough about the adult industry to know that was a career option?
Lexington Steele: It was more of a confidence thing. I thought that I definitely had the physical attributes to do it and then you put that together with the confidence that you can execute. And even without the presence of a camera, I did feel that I could execute in that environment, in the confidence that, yeah -- let me chase this dream while the opportunity has presented itself.
Lexington Steele: Not at all, because here's the thing about it - I'm living my fantasy right now as owner of Mercenary Pictures. Being a sex performer has been an aspiration, but it had not been the fantasy. I aspired to be an adult performer because it was something I felt I could do, but my fantasy had always been to become an executive, an entrepreneur and really, running my company is the living of my fantasy, because as a stock broker, my clients were entrepreneurs -- I dealt with entrepreneurs on a regular basis, so my fantasy was to become one of those guys on the other end of the phone.
Now, multiple times in a given month, I'm being called by investment advisors from Manhattan and I tell them, "Look, I used to do the same thing you're doing..." and it feels good to be on the other end of the phone.
Eros Zine: You're a popular performer with the fans -- who do hear more from -- men or women?
Lexington Steele: Definitely, I hear more from guys. Guys are more inclined to not feel a reservation about revealing the fact that they watch enough video that they recognize me in person. Whereas, most women would be less inclined to want to admit openly that they recognize the person because you may have to be watching a lot of movies in order to recognize a pornstar in person.
I appreciate when a fan will approach me and I'll spend as much time with my fans as they need, because it's something that you should appreciate, when a person takes their time to want to talk to you. It shows that you're doing something good and it's nice to know that your work is being appreciated like that.
Eros Zine: So, what do you do for fun? Do you have much time for fun?
Lexington Steele: Here's the thing about it -- everything that I do is within the realm of my work, whereas, a lot of stuff that would be considered recreational, I take it to a level of almost -- I guess, the best way to put it is the level at which I train, which is well above that of a civilian.
When I'm lifting, training with my trainer in my home gym, I specifically working my body, training my body, not only to look its very best -- as best as I can get it -- but also, I'm training because I want to be able to perform in a certain way. A lot of stuff that I do in my scene requires a lot of physical strength. On top of that, a lot of stuff that I do in my scenes requires a lot of cardio-vascular fitness.
Eros Zine: I don't think that people realize that it is like being an athlete...
Lexington Steele: Here's the thing about it. What can be found amongst those that are the top performers these days, is that we have taken it to a level of being almost professional athletes because of our preparation away from the set. I can't say that anybody else works as hard as me at physical fitness. It's all a part of my job.
It comes back to the way that I look at things. I look at my body as a thoroughbred or a racing car, and I'm the jockey or the driver of this racing car. When we are not on the track, it's my job to make sure that this car or this thoroughbred is as prepared as it can be, leading up to race day.
It pays dividends, without question. Over my nine years in the business, I have manifested myself as one of the people that will be remembered for very strong scenes and it has a lot to do with just being in great shape.
Eros Zine: So, you're a pretty competitive guy, then?
Lexington Steele: I'm very competitive, but it's just the fact I was always an athlete coming up. I played collegiate sports, I played semi-professionally as well. I've always been an athlete and I just take that into my work setting in order for me to make sure that I'm doing as much as I can to be the best that I can be. And if the best that I can be, places me above others, then that's just icing on the cake.
Lexington Steele: You have to be able to find something in the individual that you're working with, something that you find attractive enough to excite you. Perhaps the girl is attractive enough that her whole being gets you excited. Maybe it's only her breasts that you like. Maybe it's just her bottom. Maybe she has a great set of lips, or her eyes are entrancing.
As a male performer, you get yourself to the point where, maybe, there is only one thing necessary on that woman's body for you to focus on well enough to get yourself excited. These are the differences between the performers that are just a "guy Friday" in a scene or your stars or your superstars.
We're not recreating the wheel. This is not unlike a baseball player being able to step up to the plate and make a connection on that ball traveling 90 miles an hour. It's not too unlike a prize fighter that has to go into the ring and it's just him and there's no one else there to save him, if he's getting his ass beat. You have to be able to do what you need to do to get yourself ready to go. I was taught by Mister Marcus, who taught me about focusing on elements of a woman's body that can excite you; just that one particular part, if need be.
Eros Zine: How did you get your name?
Lexington Steele: Pretty much, when I was a broker, I worked in World Trade Center Tower #2 and I was traveling to midtown, and I was traveling to mid-town to visit a client, and I got off the subway at Madison, and Madison let's you out on the corner of Madison and Lexington Avenues, and I'd already determined that in my transition to adult that I was going to use the last name "Steele" because I felt like it was a good last name for a male performer. But when I saw "Lexington," I was like, wait a minute; when you say it in full, it sounds great, and when you shorten it to Lex Steele, it sounds great as well, and it was original.
Eros Zine: Thanks, Lex! Readers can visit Lexington Steele's website for more information about him and his movies.