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Jan 19 2011

CNBC Names Top Porn Stars

CNBC.com recently featured the top 12 performers in the adult industry in an article called, “The Dirty Dozen: Porn’s Most Popular Stars.”

By Chris Morris, Special to CNBC.com

Popularity in the porn industry is often fleeting. Some performers experience a meteoric rise and fall in the course of a year. Others connect with the audience on a different level and manage a multi-year ride at the top.

Though there is no real formula for success in this industry, these 12 performers have proven to be more than just a flash in the pan, with tremendous staying power over the past few years. What’s more there are no signs their careers are in danger of waning anytime soon.

So, with the industry’s annual expo underway in Las Vegas Jan. 6-9, we’ve assembled porn’s dirty dozen—the most popular porn stars, based on our reporting and analysis.

Ashlynn Brooke: Brooke has been working in adult films for nearly five years, earning multiple award nominations. She also appeared in last year’s “Piranha 3D,” which has helped escalate her earlier porn films.  These days, however, she’s focusing more on work behind the camera, directing parody-film versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Wonder Woman”.

Jenna Haze: The 28-year-old Haze is arguably the most popular performer in the porn today. She has been nominated for the “Female Performer of the Year” award for three years running at the AVN Awards (porn’s equivalent of the Oscars).   Haze also picked up a similar nomination at the 2009 Xbiz Awards. Meanwhile, she is one of the most popular stars with members of the Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network (AEBN)

Jesse Jane: Jane is, for many, the face of modern porn. She was one of the top-line stars of the smash “Pirates” films (two of the biggest porn movies of all time).  Jane is also hosting this year’s AVN red-carpet ceremony and received performer of the year nods in 2009 and 2010. She’s nominated for the same category in this year’s Xbiz Awards, which she will also host.

Lisa Ann: The 38-year-old Lisa Ann had a run in the 1990s as a porn actress, but quit in 1997, eventually returning as an agent.   In 2008, though, her meteoric rise to fame came when she portrayed Sarah Palin in a porn parody. She has since gone on to be one of the most popular on-demand stars with AEBN.

Evan Stone: Ron Jeremy is the industry’s most famous male performer, but 46-year old Stone could be his successor.   His sense of humor makes him one of the most popular leading men in the industry among female performers – and fans enjoy a male actor who doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Tori Black: A three-year veteran of the industry with more than 200 film s under her belt, Black began as a Penthouse Pet.  She won 2010’s AVN performer of the year award and is nominated again in 2011. The story’s the same with the Xbiz Awards. And, like Haze, Black is one of the top stars at AEBN. Among her highlights in 2010 was a spin as Catwoman in Vivid’s incredibly popular “Batman XXX: A Porn Parody”

Bobbi Starr: A finalist in “America’s Next Hot Porn Star,” Starr failed to win the 2007 pay-per-view reality show, but that hasn’t slowed her rise. She has racked up more than half a dozen awards and may be the industry’s next crossover star, having been cast in the upcoming film “Drive” with Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks and Christina Hendricks.

Lexi Belle: One of the younger superstars of the industry at 23, Belle has earned top-performer nods for two years running from AVN and Xbiz.   She is, perhaps, even more popular with the Web audience, which has made her website one of the biggest in the industry.

Kayden Kross: Kross has been a contract star with both of the production firms Adam & Eve and Digital Playground, making her one of today’s most in demand stars.  She will cohost this year’s AVN red carpet with Jesse Jane and is nominated for best performer for the second consecutive year.

Belladonna: While Belladonna appears to be stepping back from performing in porn films, this 29-year old actor/director/producer has one of the most loyal fan bases in the industry. Both straight men and lesbian women have kept Belladonna among the most popular stars – even when she shaved her head. She has been nominated for 42 AVN awards (and won 10) through the course of her career.

Sasha Grey: Grey’s not actively making porn films at the moment, but her push into mainstream acting – including a lead role in Steven Soderbergh’s 2008 film “The Girlfriend Experience”, and a recurring role on HBO’s “Entourage” – has kept her porn works popular.  Several companies are also putting out compilation titles with select scenes of her uninhibited past, which fans continue to buy.

Joanna Angel: Like Belladonna, Angel owns her studio – meaning she makes money from sales, not just performances.  The punk look she and her actors share has given rise to a new segment in the industry, dubbed alt porn.