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Born in Munich, Germany, Banks moved to Britain and then to the United States when she was seven years old, choosing U.S. citizenship when she was 18. She held various jobs before entering the adult industry; clerk at an arts and crafts store, file clerk and secretary. Then at age 21, she quit her job as an insurance auditor, and responded to a modeling ad in the newspaper.
Banks began her career in 1999 doing nude modeling for a number of adult magazines. Her first film was University Coeds 18, in which she performed opposite Brandon Iron. In 2000, Banks appeared in Max Hardcore's Pure Max 1 performing anal, fisting, cum swallowing and multiple golden shower acts. She entered the industry under the name Mirage, but began using the moniker 'Briana Banks' on the advice of fellow star Lita Chase in 2000, after having the first of two breast enlargement operations, taking her breasts up to a cup size of 34DD. Her first appearance as 'Briana' is in the film Decadent Whores 9. She appeared in Penthouse magazine as Pet of the Month in June 2001 and is billed as having the longest legs in the business (36" inseam).
In 2002 Banks had an action figure made in her likeness. The Los Angeles based company Cyber F/X used laser-scanning equipment to create an exact computer model of her body and head. The computer model was then used by Sota Toys to create the action figure. She has a ribbon tattoo on her lower back and a tattoo of a spiderweb on her elbow.
Banks was a contributing author in the 2004 book How To Have a XXX Sex Life: The Ultimate Vivid Guide. In the book she and other Vivid contract stars give advice and tips about sex, as well as relate anecdotes from their personal sex-lives.
On 13 October 2006, WTAE-TV News in Pittsburgh, PA reported that Banks was filing a federal lawsuit against a sex toy manufacturer, claiming the company violated an agreement to make molds of her genitals. Banks' lawsuit claims Doc Johnson Enterprises made 10 unauthorized products from those reproductions. Banks claimed the agreement was that the company would only make two. Banks seeks more than $75,000 in damages. The lawyer for Doc Johnson Enterprises said the suit is a desperate attempt for Banks to get her name in the news. The story also referred to Banks as a "local porn star", leading readers to believe that she resided somewhere within the Allegheny County region of Pennsylvania.
- Penthouse Pet June 2001
- Hot D'Or Cannes 2001 - Best American New Starlet
- AVN's "Best Renting Title of the Year" 2003
- AVN's "Best Selling Title of the Year" 2003
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