Sharon Mitchell: Punk Rock Porn Star – Podcast 34

Sharon Mitchell: Punk Rock Porn Star – Podcast 34

Three years ago, following the closure of AIM (Adult Industry Medical Associates) which she had founded and managed for over a decade, Sharon Mitchell left Los Angeles and the adult film industry in which she had featured so prominently for over 30 years.

How does Sharon Mitchell remember her early days as a porn star in New York in the 1970s, and on the West Coast in the 1980s. How did she come to form AIM, and what happened to lead to such an abrupt departure from the industry. And what is she doing now?

On the episode Ashley West and April Hall speak to Sharon Mitchell in one of her first interviews since AIM closed its doors, and look back at a remarkable life and career, and consider what the future holds.

With thanks to the photographer, Joyce Baronio, for the featured photograph on this page.

This episode running time is 107 minutes.

We always liked Sharon Mitchell.

For a start, she stood out from her fellow film actors; most of them looked like they’d walked in from being extras on the set of Charlie’s Angels or The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Sharon seemed like she’d come straight from a Ramones gig at CBGBs. Which she probably had.

Sharon MitchellSomehow she combined the look of a runaway bad kid with the girl next door.

She started out in New York as a dancer and actress, and a regular on the New York punk music scene, before becoming a staple in the growing adult film industry as a borderline underage performer.

She was frenetic and busy, starring in films and in strip clubs, taking acting and dancing classes, working as a dominatrix, and singing in bands.

When the East Coast porn industry started to change, Sharon moved to the West Coast where she was equally prolific and successful.

By now Sharon was one the most recognizable figures in the adult film industry, but against the backdrop of this she was battling her own demons resulting in a serious drug habit, and culminating in a brutal attack that left her fighting for her life.

Sharon MitchellThen came the second act. In 1998 following an HIV outbreak in the Adult Entertainment Industry, Sharon Mitchell founded the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving sex workers and the general public in areas of HIV testing, counseling and industry-related educational groups.

For over a decade AIM tested hundreds of adult film performers per month, establishing itself as the industry’s go-to location for healthcare, before lawsuit led to the clinic’s closure in 2011.

AIM had been the culmination of everything that Sharon Mitchell had worked for in her life. She created it, invested her time in it, and believed in it. Its closure was tough on her.

So where does that leave Sharon Mitchell? What does she think when she looks back at her remarkable journey from a Catholic schoolgirl in New Jersey to being a porn star on both coasts, and her role in changing the industry forever.

And that’s something else I like about her. She’s honest and open, and this interview is as candid and frank as any you’re likely to hear.

Sharon Mitchell


  • Posted On: 6th April 2014
  • By: The Rialto Report
  • Under: Podcasts


  1. Lel Jones · April 6, 2014 Reply

    Just finished listening… and love it. Completely compelling, bewitching and insightful interview. The gold standard of interviews is right here. And this one is a stone cold classic.

  2. Rialto Fan · April 6, 2014 Reply

    Sharon – you are a legend in the industry, and this interview will hopefully make people sit up and listen to you. You speak with passion, compassion, and intelligence.

    Why can’t these shows be 3 hours long – I know they’re edited so can we get a ‘directors cut’ at some stage?!

    And what about a book too? Please!

  3. Sandy G · April 6, 2014 Reply

    Amazing interview. I wish there had been more about the break up of AIM, but hopefully that’ll be in Ms. Mitchell’s book (or in a second part to this RR?)

    Good luck with your book and please finish it soon!

    Thanks for being so honest; it is an inspiration to me.

  4. roy karch · April 6, 2014 Reply

    The one and only Ms. Sharon Mitchell An original from day one and always directly from her heart and her soul. Butterflies and Zucchinis and Love.

  5. Cathy Gigante-Brown · April 6, 2014 Reply

    Such beautiful candor and energy. You really captured Mitch’s intelligence and spark.

  6. Carter Stevens · April 7, 2014 Reply

    It is amazing how differently two people can remember the same incident. I don’t want to argue with the lady about her own history, but I gave Sharon the last name Mitchell when she signed a contact with me to manage her porn career. I was using the name Steve Mitchell for acting and Sharon Mitchell had the same ring to it. Well, that’s what makes oral histories so interesting. (plus it’s interesting what 35 years can do to memories.)

  7. Sharon Mitchell, Porn’s Original Punk Star, Opens Up on Rialto Report | Fleshbot · April 7, 2014 Reply

    […] Fleshbot sex saint and perpetual skinspiration Sharon Mitchell opens up in a no-holes-barred interview on the T&Amazing podcast, The Rialto Report. […]

  8. k marshall · April 7, 2014 Reply

    Astonishing.Mind bending and gut wrenching.An amazing
    Emotional roller coaster.Always a fascinating woman on
    screen, now is seen anew as the complex person and
    unique personality very few knew. With so many of her
    contemporaries now gone,I’m greatly looking forward
    To her book that’s driving her nuts.(This is almost
    Certainly a good sign….nothing memorable comes
    From slacking) Thanks for this great interview…no one
    Does this stuff any better.

  9. Annie Sprinkle · April 8, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for bringing out the best interviews. Wow. Well done. Bravo. Great job by all. Keep it up.

  10. Kerry Jacobs · April 9, 2014 Reply

    Definitive. Superlative. Documentary gold.

    These podcasts are better entertainment than most of the garbage put out by the re-issuing companies.

  11. Gayzer · April 10, 2014 Reply

    I’m very disappointed and heartbroken to learn from this interview that Ms. Mitchell’s heart has been broken and that she’s had such a difficult recovery from the closing of AIM. I had hoped and expected to learn that she had continued to find happiness and confidence in whatever she was doing. She has been a hero (or heroine) to me, and I think she’s fabulous. I didn’t know that AIM had crashed in on her and caused her heartbreak.

    What was missing from the interview for me was an understanding of what she is doing now to earn a living and if she’s living comfortably. I don’t believe that she deserves to have had her dreams crushed in business, and I don’t understand even with some research on the net what happened with AIM and between them and Aids Healthcare Foundation.

    I wish all the best always to Sharon Mitchell. She’s a survivor who really, truly has demonstrated CLASS.

  12. Hank Rose · April 14, 2014 Reply

    Had a crush on Sharon once. She’s aged well and better than most. A star is always a star first. The rest is politics.

  13. S. · April 15, 2014 Reply

    Sharon Mitchell I salute you, and I keep listening to your show. Yes, you are are the real deal for sure, that’s why you ‘ve gotten the real blows, imho. All the best. S.

    P.S. Ash, let me remind you the words of a fat then thin but always brilliant jew, how’s that fucking documentary going on? All the best, man.

  14. S. · April 15, 2014 Reply

    as an aside I wanted to make another comment, something that came to mind right now.

    this comments section is always unmoderated, no wait to be approved by the blogger crap, no accounts, no forums, anyone… and yet, it’s always up to scratch.

    That to me is testament to the quality of the podcast and the contributors, that quality spilling over to the comments.

    fingers crossed of course. 🙂

  15. nylonsteve · April 17, 2014 Reply

    I loved that lady from rio and its one of my favorites, Sharon has been the cause of me having literally hundreds of “pleasurable” moments and i will always thank her for it.

  16. Xavier · April 20, 2014 Reply

    Luh Ya, Sharon!!! You really ARE the REAL DEAL!!

  17. Brian Rich · June 8, 2014 Reply

    Dear Ms. Mitchell,
    I am an Adjunct Professor with a University on the west coast. I am teaching a course on Victimless Crimes and this week’s topic is pornography. I remember reading about your AIM program many years ago and was impressed by your hard work in supporting your peers and friends in the Industry. I have cited you to my students as a pioneer and someone who has altered in a very positive way the manner STD’s and AIDS is managed in this industry.
    I tried to contact you, but was unable to locate the way.
    I would love a response, but understand if this never even makes its way to you.
    I wish you all my best and appreciate the efforts you have made in bettering a difficult situation. I can only imagine the pitfalls of this industry.
    If anyone is in a position to forward this to Ms. Mitchell personally, please consider that this may be a positive and nice thing to make her feel good.

    All my best.
    Brian Rich

  18. Gregory · September 18, 2014 Reply

    Joy is in my top 5 favorite adult films of all time!!!! LOVE Sharon!!! <3

  19. Stan F · July 22, 2015 Reply

    Late to this party, but what a compelling, honest, candid, courageous interview. Kudos to everyone involved.

  20. Pulsatyr · July 22, 2016 Reply

    Sharon was the most compelling actress of the era. I often find myself watching her scenes, sex or non-sex, only to skip the rest of the film. She didn’t fit easily into any one box, so she wasn’t type cast. Her sexuality was also off the charts. I only wish that there had been more movies with her in prominent starring roles, especially later in her career. She could have elevated films that otherwise had cookie-cutter blondes that were churned out on video. I think of her as an x-rated Vivien Leigh.

  21. jimjptt · February 26, 2017 Reply

    Sharon is a beautiful woman! How can I reach her?

  22. Charles · April 22, 2017 Reply

    Sharon and I were friends, in an almost sort of way, in the old days. Must have been late seventies or early eighties. I forgot how we met, but I do recall visiting her in the East Village, perhaps ground floor or a half level down. She was always smart, always kind, always fair and honest and decent to me. I am glad to know that she achieved in her life something more than being a porn movie star. In my own quiet private way I wish to say thanks and best wishes, close to 40 years later.

  23. Sean Elliot · April 25, 2017 Reply

    Sharon and I knew each other and obviously ran in the same circles. But it was at least to me a love from afar. She was always fun to be with when I’d see her. I remember shooting the slow mo scene in “Scoundrels” with Tigr ( Chelsea Manchester) and another actress and Sharon ( who wasn’t in the movie) was nearby to be close to Tigr ( love you Chelsea.. we won best scene in the best picture of 1982 btw). Those two were thick as thieves in the early 80’s in New York. I loved just looking at Sharon. At the time she had that beautiful butch short spiky black hair. A body with not one ounce of fat. Fantastic abs and that was when nobody worked out except a few actors like Ron Hudd and John Leslie..And when you smiled, Sharon you had a gleam in your eyes( besides the bumps during the night, lol). I was totally in awe of you. Wish I wasn’t because I would have demanded to work with you. I’m going to listen to the podcast now and I wish nothing but the very best, hon. You were tops to this young actor. Xoxo
    Sean Elliot

  24. Punchy the Clown · September 21, 2017 Reply

    Wow! She is still so hot.
    Often wondered what happened to some of the porn superstars of the golden age and now I know.
    Thank you!

  25. tawni · October 19, 2017 Reply

    Vanessa Del Rio released an amazing deluxe biography with great stories, hot and fun photos, and bits of film memorabilia. I would love to Sharon do something like this. She has great stories. Still a beauty!

  26. edward kern · November 5, 2017 Reply

    Sharon, whatever happened to TANYA FOXX who you worked with for so many years. what is she going now?

  27. Lit · December 9, 2017 Reply

    Ms Sharon Mitchell
    Uniquely sexy
    A great raconteur

  28. Donald · August 26, 2021 Reply

    Miss Mitchell I truly admire you and respect you tremendously you are so comfortable in your own skin and that says alot about you! May you be blessed in all of your endeavors and the Lord in Jesus Mighty Name loves you no matter the profession you choose in life and this comes from the heart from me to you! Not meaningless words but very 💓 heart felt once again from me to you. Much love and peace to you with the Lord’s prayer and blessings.

  29. Chris Bostic · March 2, 2022 Reply

    I remember her mostly from a small part she had in a horror movie where she portrayed a nurse. She looked comfortable in the outfit and carried the scene well. She had a presence. Her face possessed an unconventional beauty that paired up well with a smoking hot body. My other limited knowledge of her work comes from a few lesbian scenes she did in her movie career.

    Sorry to hear her clinic closed. I know she was proud of what she built and should be.

  30. Loegria15 · March 30, 2022 Reply

    Boy, I can sure relate to being raised around older people – my parents were born in the 1920s, had one kid before me in 1957; and I was born in 1964. Not raised in the RCC, though. I always envied the kids who got to leave school early for “catty-kissem”, as it was called then. But yeah, wanting grow up fast so you could do all those interesting things grown-ups did and STAY UP LATE (that was my big desire) was a thing with me too. My dad never caught me looking at his Playboy mags, but I’m pretty sure both me & my older brother looked at them one after the other, hahahaha!

    I’m a newer commenter and appreciate this site very much – thanks for the education! 😀

  31. Daniel · April 11, 2022 Reply

    I started watching Every Which Way She Can and loved the opening lesbian wrestling scene. So nice. Sharon looks cute in this picture but unfortunately is not one of the naked wrestlers.

    I love the crowd watching it and getting into it. It’s hilarious but is more reminiscent of Urban Cowboy than the Clint Eastwood Orangutan movies.

  32. MISTYK the DJ · April 20, 2023 Reply

    This woman is a rock star and a survivor! One of your best interviews yet! I used to work in HIV/STD testing/contact tracing and I give her my respect for trying hard to make a difference! Much love!

  33. Alex Morraco · May 12, 2023 Reply

    Ashley and April,

    Excellent podcast with Sharon Mitchell. Her story was extreme
    to the core . Her story from the beginning to today is so honest,
    compelling , and passion for helping others. A beautiful woman
    with a beautiful soul.

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