Candida Royalle: ‘Femme’, Feminism, and a Female Icon – Podcast 35

Candida Royalle: ‘Femme’, Feminism, and a Female Icon – Podcast 35

Candida Royalle joins The Rialto Report to talk about her life and influential career as a pioneer in the adult film industry.

With tales of Brooklyn beginnings, San Francisco in the 70s, the Cockettes, 8mm loops, John Holmes, Bob Chinn, John Leslie, New York in the 80s, Chuck Vincent, Larry Revene, Femme Productions, learning how to skateboard for Pizza Girls…. and much more.

As she looks back on her life so far, what does she feel about the unconventional path she’s taken, the choices she’s made, and her role in shaping the adult film industry?

This episode running time is 106 minutes.

I clicked onto Candida Royalle’s website from a public computer the other day – and got a message saying that her site was blocked due to pornographic content. For some reason I was surprised, though I don’t know why I should be.Candida Royalle

Candida has been in the adult film industry since the mid 1970s – when she started as an actress on the West Coast before moving to New York.

Maybe I was surprised because in some respects you couldn’t meet a more unexpected, even accidental, person in adult film. For a start she’s lived many lives – from her difficult upbringing in Brooklyn, political activism in college, a flower child in San Francisco, artist, singer in theaters and clubs… and then the adult film career. She’s a determined, deep thinker who has strong, complex feelings about the industry she’s been part of for so long.

But she’s bold and fearless too. Whenever faced with a fork in the road – Candida has a knack for choosing the direction that will challenge and grow her the most.

Candida RoyalleIn 1984 she launched her groundbreaking production company Femme Productions with the goal of making erotic films that reflected women’s emotional and social lives. Detractors accused her of removing the danger from sex. But is there anything more subversive than getting housewives and working women to rush out and embrace films that showed explicit sex for the first time? She was now a producer, director, business women and spokesperson for the films she made.

And, as you’ll hear in this interview, today she is starting another new chapter – one that promises to be as interesting as anything that she’s done before.

Visit Candida Royalle’s website here.


Candida Royalle photographs:

Candida Royalle1975

Candida Royalle1975 with then boyfriend Danny at the San Francisco Hooker’s Ball

Candida Royalle1980

Candida Royalle

Candida Royallewith Alan Adrian and Sharon Kane

Candida RoyalleLate 1980s

Candida RoyalleDirecting Revelations, 1990

Candida RoyalleDirecting The Gift, 1996

Candida RoyalleAt the AVN Awards with Nina Hartley, 2005

Candida RoyallePhoto by Arthur Cohen, 2007

Candida Royalle

Photo by Arthur Cohen

Photo by Arthur CohenReceiving an award at the LA Toy Show


  • Posted On: 20th April 2014
  • By: The Rialto Report
  • Under: Podcasts


  1. D Davila · April 20, 2014 Reply

    This is one of the one’s I’ve been waiting for – and by God it’s worth the wait!
    Candida is a fearless and brave person, and this is such a deep bare-her-soul interview. Icon indeed.

    • Joseph Rotella · August 13, 2016 Reply

      Knowing candy briefly in high school and hearing about her life was inspirational I saw her again at one of our mini high school reunions at the Brooklyn diner in Manhattan I only wish that I had talk to her. I respect that she had an astonishing and successful life and wished she had not passed. She was truly an amazing woman

  2. P.I. · April 20, 2014 Reply

    Ms. Royalle was the first adult film star, that I thought was both, a good actress and truly beautiful.

    When I saw her act, she reminded me of all the “femme fatales” I loved to watch in film noirs ( such as TOO LATE FOR TEARS, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, and NO MAN OF HER OWN ). I think Ms. Royalle has the same mysterious and magnetic quality. Plus, her hot legs were an added bonus ( ha-ha-ha ).

    I think Ms. Royalle is one-in-a-million, and a true original.

    Stay strong Ms. Royalle….

    • Anon · April 20, 2014 Reply

      Please don’t forget Jesie St James who in the late 70’s could have been on Charlie’s Angels, not only was Jesie classically beautiful she was an amazing actress with a lot of range. Just watch her in Easy, her facial expressions alone tell a story

  3. Anon · April 20, 2014 Reply

    She was a great actress but just as good as a director, Christines Secret was a masterpiece. I still remember how beautiful tan, harbody Chelsea Blake looked in that scene. This woman was in her 40’s and didn’t have an ounce of fat on her. She wasn’t a true beauty (Jerry Butler in his book thought she looked like the Witch in Wizard of Oz) but Chelsea was very sexy and Candida featured her in several of her films. About 10 years ago I asked Candida by email what ever happened to Chelsea Blake? Candida said she had no idea but she was one of her favorite actresses to work with

  4. Anon · April 20, 2014 Reply

    Actually Candida Royalle featured Chelsea Blake in three of the films that Candida directed for Femme Productions and they were all outstanding films. 1. Urban Heat 2. Christine’s Secret and 3 Revelations. Chelsea came out of retirement to do this film for Candida but for some reason it wasn’t released? IAFD has no information on Revelations. And yes, Chelsea Blake did bare a resemblance to actress Margaret Hamilton who played the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz but bot woman were very attractive and excellent actresses. Chelsea did some low budget mainstream acting after she left porn

  5. TM · April 20, 2014 Reply

    Another excellent, insightful interview of a most intriguing

  6. roy karch · April 20, 2014 Reply

    Candida, ’twas always her brain that I lusted after.
    When I hired Bob Yerkes to lower her down from the 30 foot mansion ceiling, strapped in by the ankles, spread eagled onto a full erection in “Ultra Flesh,” I knew she was more than simply ‘kind of a gas.’ Great to hear her here, Ash ; from top to bottom and inside out. Thnx for keeping it in deep focus.

  7. k marshall · April 21, 2014 Reply

    Again.And again.The Royalle piece as impressive as all
    that came before. Like the others,endlessly fascinating,
    and impossible to stop listening.Again,like no other
    journalism in the field.Like no other blog or podcast.
    And again,all alone out there. Now you no longer have
    a choice:this work has to continue.Sorry;no rest for the
    weary.RR is at the top of its game in a league it OWNS.
    Candida another transformative interview. Thanx.

  8. Ravi G · April 22, 2014 Reply

    Brilliantly honest and moving interview on what it’s like to be an adult film actress.

    Candida – thanks for everything, and I look forward to your new project with eager anticipation. You are full of class.

  9. Cathy Gigante-Brown · April 23, 2014 Reply

    I was so moved by this interview I almost don’t know what to say. I appreciate your candor and Ashley’s sensitive questions. Listening while traveling, I was so drawn to it and kept coming back to it. Again, the choice of music is so exquisite, complimentary and poignant.

  10. Hank Rose · April 25, 2014 Reply

    Ah, a wholesome icon from the good old days who made good as a fine erotic auteur.

  11. Dolores DeLuce · May 1, 2014 Reply

    This is a great interview and blog. I love all the photos. Good job, hope to see you soon. love dd

  12. John A. Mozzer a.k.a. Alan Adrian · June 29, 2014 Reply

    I am glad Candida mentioned the late Linda Hirsch, her psychotherapist, by name. Linda Hirsch was also my psychotherapist during the 1980s. Coincidence? No, of course not. Candida referred me to her.

  13. DC · September 8, 2015 Reply

    so sorry to see you go. rest in peace. you will be missed

  14. DC · September 8, 2015 Reply

    but there are many obits – look at Annie Sprinkle’s facebook..

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