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Chicago Sun Times: Five questions with Traci Lords

I needed a cougar in this movie and made a list of all the actresses everyone wanted to be with at age 20. Of course, Kelly LeBrock came to mind,” says director Kevin Smith. “Then I thought, ‘What about Traci Lords, as a wink to her old life?’

“Her agent said, ‘Kevin, if it has the word ‘porno’ in the title, she won’t do it,’ ” Smith laments. “So I invited her over to talk about it in my living room. The moment she walked in all, I could think was, ‘If I was still 16 and a virgin and knew that one day Traci Lords would be in my house, I would die a happy man.

“Of course, I’m still not having sex with Traci Lords.”

He did cast her as sexy Bubbles in “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” Now 40, Lords is a wife, mother, and hasn’t been in the porn industry for over 20 years. “I put it behind me, no pun intended,” says the woman with the long blonde hair and body-hugging wrap dress.

Q: Were you really reluctant to star in a movie with the word ‘porno’ in the title?

I was reluctant, but there was also the passage of time. It’s been a long time now, so it’s not so scary. I was very serious about doing nothing that had to do with porn during my crossover years in 1986. I think I proved my point with movies like “Cry-Baby.” Now I have a body of acting work, pardon the pun. And when Kevin called me I’d just had my baby. They said, “Kevin Smith wants to work with you.” I said, “Makeup and hair, thank goodness.” Then I said, “The movie is called what?” I was prepared to say no, but then I went to his house and read the script, and it made me laugh.

Q: And, uh, no nudity for you ever … right?

I also told Kevin, “Listen, I’m lactating and you’re not getting my boobs. Not going to happen.” Kevin said, “We can do without them.”

Q: How did you create a real acting career after your time as an underage porn star?

I believe my change of life comes from discipline. And I’ve been amazingly blessed with a nice army of people behind me who believed in me. I also think that I’ve made good choices as a mainstream actress and knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. I also think I do have some talent. Life is about being clear in what you want to do and trying to do better each time. I’ve remade myself several times and I’m proud of what I’ve done.

Q: Tell us about your husband, Jeff Lee. What was it about him that caught your eye?

My husband is an iron worker. He was moonlighting 15 years ago as a bartender. I’d see him when I went to this bar to see a friend. He was just this incredibly sweet guy with the greatest shoes. I thought he was gay. He also had this great soft-spoken manner. I learned he was straight, from Colorado and loves great shoes. Over the years, we became friends. I was in a relationship at the time with a bad boy. But my future husband was patient and waited for me. We had a baby last year, and motherhood is just unbelievable. My son is the love of my life. In fact, I was shocked I was pregnant. My husband and I went to Vegas, and what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. I was doing a film called “Point of Entry.” Nice title. Does it ever stop? But my breasts kept growing and growing. I had Pam Anderson’s rack. Then we realized I was pregnant. Now I want to raise somebody who is good. That’s all.

Q: What is sexy to you about a man?

Kindness to me is sexy. There’s a whole lot of ugly going on right now in the world. And there is something to be said for someone who is genuinely goodhearted. A man who makes you feel safe is also the sexiest man in the whole universe.

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