Images courtesy of: EnterBelladonna.com, Private.com, Getty Images
Belladonna, born Michelle Sinclair on May 21, 1981, defies as many porn stereotypes as she has helped create. For starters, she made brunette and tattooed sexy long before Tera Patrick and Joanna Angel did, she's happily devoted to her husband and child, still speaks to her mom, and makes some of the most nasty, clinical, slap-happy porn this side of Max Hardcore.
Because of this, Belladonna's is one of the few names already known to newcomers to the porn industry, and they line up with her civilian fans for autographs. For many - Dana DeArmond, Aiden Starr and Alexis Texas, to name a few - working with Belladonna was a dream come true.
Belladonna entered the porn industry in 2000 at age 19, having spent many formative years in a Mormon household with six siblings in Utah. One of her first movies, directed by the late Jon Dough for Anabolic, was Bring 'Um Young, an ass-friendly version of Barely Legal that managed to be reminiscent of the man who led the Mormons through the desert. That year Bella also appeared in Barely Legal #5 and scored her first movie title, Elegant Angel's Buttwoman Iz Bella.
In fact, her name as part of the title is one of the few surefire means of selling a movie, even if she appears as Belladonna, Bella Donna, or simply Bella.
She quickly established herself as a fearless performer whose skill at making women comfortable with not only their own asses but also general rough treatment helped make her a darling of the international porn world, which tends to prefer its sex a little edgier.
Her Euro appeal was solidified early in two films for Rocco Siffredi in which she was the only American featured: Rocco Super Motohard (on which she met future fiancee Nacho Vidal) and Animal Trainer #10 the next year. In both movies, Europeans were amazed by her American enthusiasm and her continental depravity.
But it was a 2003 interview with ABC journalist Diane Sawyer that brought Belladonna to the attention of a mainstream audience. Described by the adult industry press as a "hatchet job" and by Belladonna herself as "sometimes accurate, but a lot of it was out of context," the interview proved a crucible for the young performer, and she emerged from the media glare much more self-assured but also protective of her image and her health.
Today, Belladonna mostly films her own movies and keeps some of the adult industry's most rigid STD test requirements, not allowing anyone to work whose test is more than three days old.
"I had sex with a celebrity, a rock guy," she said, "and I got an STD from it. I called the guy and he didn't know what chlamydia was. I told him I had an STD and he asked what an STD was."
After the end of her personal and professional relationship with Nacho Vidal, Belladonna chose her work and limited her exposure. She moved back to Utah for the birth of her daughter in 2005 but, upon returning to Los Angeles, re-energized her own production company with a distribution deal through Evil Angel.
Naturally, you can see Belladonna in hundreds of new and compiled movies from dozens of companies, including her first scene in Vivid's martial arts themed Action Sports Sex #9, in which Belladonna takes a load to the face with aplomb.
Today Belladonna films weekly scenes from her home and occasionally appears in projects for other directors, like John Stagliano's Fashionistas series. An actual MILF rather than its convenient porn counterpart, Belladonna is powering into that role with the same ferocity that characterized her ingenue career.
And being recognized as a porn star in L.A. is getting less and less awkward.
The first time Belladonna met another mom and told her, when asked what she did, that she "made adult movies," the response was both a surprise and a relief.
"Really?'" Belladonna said, imitating the mother. "'My husband wanted to do that, too! That's great money.'"
With nine years in the can, as it were, Belladonna has become a beloved figure in porn. But we wonder how many frontiers there are left for someone who has done everything so voraciously and who has made so many taboos accessible simply by being herself in such films as the Fetish Fanatic series.
"More and more I'll move behind the camera," she has said and, despite the panic started by her brief (three weeks!) "retirement" from performing in 2008, we'll be happy with whatever Belladonna decides to show us.
Watch Belladonna movies on Video on Demand now or buy Belladonna DVDs.