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ErosZine: Your last interview with us was just after Stud Hunters was released. What have you been up to since then?
Candida Royalle: Well, for one thing, my book: How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do: Sex Advice from a Woman Who Knows [just released in paperback]. And I just shot a new movie, a comedy called Under the Covers, due for release in September '06.
Eros Zine: Tell us about Under the Covers.
Candida Royalle: It's a sexy comedy about women in the field of sexuality, from a sex therapist to a dominatrix, a sales girl at a woman-friendly erotic store and an author, and the disparity between what they try to present to the public and what they really do in private..."under the covers!" Jamye Waxman and I came up with the concept and story together and I wrote the script. It features a cast made up of local New York talent, mostly new, and two actresses flown in from LA, Syren and Lisa Ann, and we also flew in Johnny Dannon whom I first introduced to the world in Stud Hunters.
Eros Zine: How difficult is it to cast your movies with people who aren't the same porn stars we see in every adult movie?
Candida Royalle: It's not easy! I appreciate the "pros" because they know how to perform for the camera, they're used to this work, can usually perform under pressure, deliver lines, etc. I like the freshness of new talent but they can often freeze up under pressure, especially the guys, and it's hard to find people that both look good and can act! Also, when it comes to my movies, people often come to the set thinking, "Oh, all I have to do is like to fuck," but then they get to my set and there are all sorts of set-ups and a lot of acting and I have all kinds of sensual foreplay I want from them. It's not just strip and fuck on my movies and they sometimes freeze up and have to be told what to do every second. Actually, that sometimes even happens with LA pros because they're so used to going on the set and just fucking and sucking. It's a whole new kind of movie when they get to my sets! It's real movies with sex that is character driven and motivated by the situation rather than a few lines and then just jump in to the standard formula sex.
Eros Zine: What else have you been up to over the past three years?
Candida Royalle: Aside from my book and the new movie, I also continue to create new products with my designers for my line of Natural Contours chic sex toys for women. We came out with a new model called the Liberte and a great Kegel exerciser called the Energie. It's important for women to know that they don't have to go get that icky vaginoplasty surgery in order to tighten their vaginal muscles, all they have to do is do their Kegels. It helps to use a Kegel exerciser like the Energie because the weight resistance makes the muscles work harder and get toned faster. And the more toned a woman's vaginal muscles are the more sensation she'll feel and the stronger her orgasms will be. Not to mention she'll have a nice tight pussy for her man!
I continue my active schedule of public speaking, having spoken at such venues as the New School for Social Research, the 2004 Annual Conference of the American Psychiatric Association, New York University and the New York Rotary Club, to name a few.
And now I'm actively grooming young new female directors to work for Femme Productions. Jamye Waxman will get to direct her first feature this coming winter and Abiola Abrams is directing what will be a first in our line of Erotica for ethnic Couples. I will executive produce.
I'm also creating a whole new web site at candidaroyalle.com with a couple of very savvy women who are also developing branding opportunities for myself and Femme Productions. The new site should go live in July.
And...I got engaged! I'll be getting married this September!
Eros Zine: Congratulations! Wow! It sounds like you've been really keeping yourself busy! But still....Barbara Nitke lost her lawsuit, the 2257 laws are causing people to self-censor and the current administration is anything but porn friendly. Does all the current fear of prosecution stifle your creativity at all? Affect you at all?
Candida Royalle: No, my movies are so vanilla compared to some of what's out there, I'm not concerned. That said, I always take into consideration what's happened in the past, like the big attack on the industry back in the late '80's, early '90's after the Meese Commission. I was active in fighting back and helped form Feminists for Free Expression in response to all the efforts at censorship back then, on both adult movies and other forms of free expression. I know what has gotten the industry into trouble and avoid anything that could one day become a problem again, such as scenes of domination and submission, so I'm careful to show that it's mutually consensual. The problem with a lot of start-up companies and new directors is that they either weren't around then and/or they refuse to learn from the past and push the envelope until the ugly hand of censorship and intolerance rears up again and starts busting down everyone's doors.
Eros Zine: There seem to be way more women producing and directing adult movies these days. How does it feel to have blazed the trail? And to have more female peers?
Candida Royalle: It feels great! I just wonder why it took so long! I started Femme in 1984. It's taken a whole generation of women to get out there and create their own erotic voices in movies! I just wish more of them would do something different. Much of what I see still looks like the same conventional porn created by men for the last century. Come on girls, get creative! It may be that women have to create their own companies. As long as men are running the companies the women direct for, they're kind of obligated to deliver what they're told to. I always worked for myself.
Eros Zine: Do you think there's more female-friendly porn as a result?
Candida Royalle: Not necessarily. But I do think more young girls are watching standard porn. Not sure how I feel about that. More young girls are also getting boob jobs and performing oral sex on guys without looking for their own pleasure. I think Ariel Levy's book, Female Chauvinist Pigs is an important read on this subject. It's controversial and made many rear up in disagreement but I think we should at least read it and consider what she has to say.
Eros Zine: And is there a more broad range of types of porn available?
Candida Royalle: Yes, but again, I'm not so sure how much of it is truly made from a woman's sensibility.
Eros Zine: What are your feelings about the over-the-top porn...the really objectionable stuff?
Candida Royalle: I think if we want to live in a world where free expression is allowed, we have to accept that there's going to be stuff we don't like or agree with. The best way to counter it is to get out there and create what you'd like to see yourself. Then let the public choose for themselves. You can't force people to choose the positive stuff, but hopefully if it's available, that's what they'll go for. On the other hand, if you try to censor stuff, it just becomes more desirable, like "forbidden fruit." I think it's important to censor and prosecute people who make materials that victimize children and animals. The rest of it...if it's with people who are adults and it's consensual, if someone likes to be spat on and slapped, who are we to forbid them to do it? I have the choice not to look. It does concern me that so many men like to see brutal violating behavior like this, but so do some women. And look at the violence in our mainstream non-sex movies. Is it any different? These are the challenges of living in a free society.
Eros Zine: Who do you think is making great porn these days? Any one or two directors whose work you enjoy?
Candida Royalle: Umm....can't think of anyone off hand, but then again, I really don't look at other porn.
Eros Zine: Who do you think will be the "next generation" of producers, directors and entertainers?
Candida Royalle: Abiola Abrams and Jamye Waxman!
Eros Zine: There also seem to be many more female-centric web sites, sex toys, etc. How have things changed over the past few years?
Candida Royalle: There are lots more women everywhere, making websites and other erotic stuff. It's great! I noticed that the women in my new movie, Under the Covers, were real exhibitionists and really got off on performing in front of people. No more "just for extra money" type performers, at least not the ones I hired in New York!
Eros Zine: Is there anything else you'd like to expound upon? Feel free to get on a soap box!
Candida Royalle: I think I'm done with my soap box, thank you. Off to plant flowers now!
Eros Zine: That should do it, then! Thanks Candida!
Candida Royalle: Thank you, Abby, for giving me this opportunity!