INTERVIEW: The Real Dennis D

An excerpt from my interview published in Icon Magazine's Spring 2011 issue.

You've probably heard of Los Angeles-based investor and new “Million Dollar Listing” cast member Dennis Desantis. For starters, he's involved with various high-profile businesses such as Eva Longoria's restaurant/nightclub Besos and Dr. Tea's Tea Garden. You may also have heard his name a couple years ago regarding a certain young actress’ fender-bender in his pricey ride. To pursue current and upcoming successes, Desantis has battled the reputation that comes with being a former owner of an adult entertainment company. Is the placement of this hurtle fair? Everyone will have his or her own opinion, so let's hear from the man himself.

Did you start from scratch or come from money?
 I was born in Brooklyn, right outside of Coney Island. A rough neighborhood. My father was a telephone man. My mother never worked, she was just a housewife. I started with nothing. Everything was pretty much self-made. I didn't have any celebrity parents or any connections; I just started from the ground up.

Of course I have to ask about your links with the adult entertainment industry.
 Alright, well, first, back in Brooklyn it was really tough making money. I opened up a pool hall, I opened up a pizzeria and I opened up a bar when I was 21. I was always used to owning my own businesses. Then I had to start from scratch again so my friend was like, "Hey, why don't you come work in the adult business with me?" I was like, "Hey, whatever, let's do it." This friend of mine owned the company; I went in as a salesman and saw how much money could be made doing it. I jumped in with two feet and did it for a long time. It was an amazing business; I definitely learned a lot. I met a lot of interesting people. It was a great moneymaker for a long time.

I've heard if you touch the stuff and your name isn't Jeremy or Jameson, Hollywood blacklists you until you're cast in an independent Steven Soderbergh film. How does one leave or transcend that industry?
 Well, there's a difference between those people and me. I owned the company. I never performed in a movie. I never held a camera and filmed on a set. I did most of the sales, sold the rights, stuff like that. I wasn't heavily involved like those people were so I think that's the difference. It was all about business to me.

Read the full interview in Icon's Spring 2011 issue!