Golden Goddesses

Golden Goddesses
Front Cover: Serena

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Remembering Candida Royalle: 1950-2015

"When I made my choice to start into production, it was a great way to embrace my name and everything I had done and just say, 'You know what? I'm not going to run for it. I'm going to take my fame and do something I'm proud of.'" `Candida Royalle, 2012

Last evening, I read the sad news that Goddess Candida Royalle passed away from cancer related causes.  Starting in 2007, I had the opportunity to speak with Candida on several occasions as she had agreed to share memories, personal experiences, and select parts of her life story for A Life Measured in Inches and Golden Goddesses. Intelligent, articulate, insightful, sincere, gracious and thorough, I was greatly appreciative of her time.
   In 2012, while visiting New York City, Candida invited me and a couple of friends to join Candida, Gloria Leonard, and some old friends at the West 79th St. marina in Manhattan for a few sun drenched hours. It was a spectacular afternoon, one in which I will never forget.
   In compiling Golden Goddesses, interview sessions with Candida stand out as some of the most fascinating and informative, as Royalle spoke with reverence and sensitivity with respect to her her childhood, teen years, feminism, her foray into adult films and eventual transition to directing with a focus on couples, eroticism and romance when she launched her own company Femme Productions in 1984. Royalle was an integral part of Club 90, a small group of women and friends who connected through their mutual experiences as adult performers and have retained their unique friendship over the years.
   Diligent and industrious, the last couple of years, Candida was busy developing a documentary film titled While You Were Gone, The Untold Story of Candida Royalle.
   One of the true giants of the erotic and feminist movements, Candida's Royalle's legacy will burn eternal through her stellar work, her gutsy actions, and the power of her own words. R.I.P.
   The following quotes are excerpted from Golden Goddesses.

"I think that pornography itself is a reflection of how we have perverted our sexuality and for the most part, what would be described as 'male' pornography makes sex look rather dirty, and mechanical and loveless. I think it's a reflection of what we've done to our sexuality through positioning it was something dangerous and bad, needing to be controlled and suppressed. I spent all of those years looking into my soul and trying to look objectively at having been in movies, and whether or not this was good or bad -- was this bad for society? I had to flesh it out for myself and I couldn't live with this burning question in my mind. 'Oh, my god, did I take part in something horrible?' I don't think it was, but I don't think we'll see in our lifetime a society that doesn't condemn it even while millions of people consume it."

"I had gone into therapy to understand why I did what I did. After much reading and exploring, and looking at it through a historical perspective as well as my own personal perspective, I decided there was nothing wrong with performing sexually with others for others to view, and enjoy, and learn from. I felt that the pornography that existed reflected a society that had great conflict about sexuality and that there was no woman's voice. We were not getting a whole lot out of these films ther than easy jerk-off material. Of course, that got me to thinking that it would be interesting to create movies that had a woman's voice that actually had good information, and that people could actually learn something. I knew there would be people who would love movies that are more intelligent with more craft and artistry. At the same time, women were starting to become more curious because of the feminist movement. We had received permission to explore our sexuality and quite significant: home video and cable television were introduced in to the culture. This really gave people a place to view and explore these movies and their fantasies at home. I saw all that come together and I thought it was a viable market that the industry was ignoring."

"I've sacrificed pieces of my life. I have very little relationship with the Italian side of my family any longer, a whole piece of my fmaily that was a major part of my life when I was growing up. While i sometimes makes me sad to think about the huge family I lost, I accept it as an unadvoidable consequence of choosing to break that rules and live according to my own beliefs."

"I worry about all of the young women coming into the adult industry now, and not having the wherewithal to go into therapy. I'm sorry, you can't do something that's this controversial and taboo without having some conflict about it, and in some way, it stays with people for the rest of your life. Even through we know that there's nothing wrong with what we did, a lot of people are going to judge you for it. If I had the wherewithal and the inclination, I would start some kind of place for women to come and get counseling because they're going to need it. It's not as if I'd be telling them, 'You're a sick person' or ' you're a bad person.' Just talk about it and make sure you're OK with it because it's the only way to stand up to people's judgements. You've got to have self-respect, self-love and self-understanding."
~ Excerpted from Chapter 7., "Femme," Spotlight on Candida Royalle, Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema, 1968-1985. © 2012 Jill C. Nelson

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