Meet Lorelei Lee, queen of porn and NYU master’s degree student (fine arts, of course)
BY KERRY BURKE AND RICH SCHAPIRO DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Lorelei Lee, a porn star and graduate student at NYU poses in in front of an NYU building in Manhattan.
One of NYU’S newest grad students is better known for her XXX-tra curricular activities.
When she’s not in class, porn star Lorelei Lee jets to the West Coast to film skin flicks with some of the biggest names in the industry.
It’s a lifestyle Lee, 28, knows well.
The busty blond has been working in porn and juggling life as a student for nearly 10 years.
“It’s not weird anymore,” said Lee, a first-year student pursuing a master’s in fine arts. “I’ve just been doing this for so long.”
Still, the Buffalo native doesn’t spend much time with classmates. She fears even a question as simple as, ‘How was your weekend,’ could lead to some hairy conversations.
Though she may not know it, Lee’s classmates are big fans – of her decision to pursue a master’s.
“It’s wonderful,” said Ayesha Attah, 25, of Brooklyn. “Whatever experience you can draw on, you should. Hers is amazing.”
Michelle Kim Hall, 27, is equally supportive. “Good for her,” said Hall, of Los Angeles. “The woman who won the Oscars for best screenplay [Diablo Cody] was a stripper.”
Lee’s stories, based heavily on experiences in the porn business, have appeared in $pread magazine and the Denver Quarterly.
A 2008 graduate of San Francisco State University, Lee decided to pursue a master’s in creative writing on the advice of former professors, she said. When the porn queen got the acceptance call from the head of NYU’s program, she was elated. “She said they were excited about my writing,” said Lee, dressed in a pink tank top, black mini-skirt and knee-high boots. “I don’t know if she says that to everybody, but it felt pretty good.”
Lee has been in more than 200 films since entering the porn business at age 19, and she’s been nominated for three Adult Video News Awards. She gets paid up to $1,400 per day, and estimates she has made between $30,000 and $60,000 a year.
The worlds of academia and porn have collided awkwardly for Lee.
At a shoot in Los Angeles last month, a crew member asked the topic of a book she was reading. “Two misogynists looking for love,” Lee told him. “The same plotline of the movie.”
Lee isn’t quite sure what she wants to do after she graduates, but she doesn’t expect to leave the porn industry. “I still do get something out of my work in porn,” Lee said. “I think I’m good at it.”
She feels her skills carry over into her writing. “The ability to focus on what’s happening right at that moment,” Lee said. “In these fields, you have to have a lot of personal drive.”