Experts & Friends

C is for Candida

By on July 24, 2014

C is for Candida Royalle, an ex-porn star and pioneer in the adult film industry. C is for Candice, my close friend and mentor. C is for colorful, which is not only her personality, but the way she dresses in Spring and Summer. C is for cats, Candida’s beloved companions. C is for a cause, one that Candida needs help in completing. And C is for….

Candida Royalle: Photo 2014 by Jamye Waxman

Candida Royalle: Photo 2014 by Jamye Waxman

C is for Confidence

I first met Candice, aka Candida Royalle, in the Spring of 1999. I was the producer of an Internet talk radio show on the now-defunct called LoveBytes with Bob Berkowitz and she was a guest (and later fill-in host) of the show. An ex-porn star turned adult video director, Royalle pioneered the genre we now call couple’s erotica. In 1984 she and another woman began Femme Productions and together they knocked the socks off the male standards around porn. From there on out, she had made history in an industry that always made history (porn helped sustain the video recorder, the VCR and even the Internet).

After her directorial career began, Candida started designing and promoting her own sex toy line, Natural Contours. The line was the first of it’s kind to feature sleek, modern designs and became a trendsetter in the adult novelty industry.

When I met Candida, we liked each other right away, and over the course of that first year we became instant friends. She invited me to her 50th birthday party. She asked me to be on the board of Feminists for Free Expression. She invited me to hang out in New York City. To this day, one of the best things to happen at my job at eYada (and there were many great things) was meeting Candida Royalle.

In the year’s since meeting Candice, she has become not only an inspiration and role model, but a dear friend and family member. I am in awe of her style, her drive and her fearless and fierce energy and determination. She is a rock, a rock star, a brain, a babe — and she is down to earth too. She lets nothing discourage her from continuing to do the things she is passionate about. It is her nature to prevail through the good times and the bad, with the latest bout of bad coming in the form of cancer.

C is for Cancer

I don’t really like giving cancer its own bold title, because cancer sucks, but it has been a large part of Candida’s life for the past few years. Candice was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer in the summer of 2010, and while those of us closest to her were shocked to see this vibrant, healthy, vivacious woman have to battle it out with biology, we knew she’d fight hard.

In the instant when Candida got word that she would have to decide how to live out the rest of her life, she knew she had to decide what was most important to her. For Candida, a woman who had created a second family, one that involved friends like me, Veronica Vera, Annie Sprinkle, Veronica Hart, Michele Capozzi, and other names that don’t have their own homepage on the Internet, there was still a familial component missing in her life. Candida’s mom had left her when she was a toddler and finding out more about her biological mother became a cause she couldn’t kick. Her future unknown, she set out in search of the mother she never knew.

Candida and Me

Candida and Me

C is for Coming Home

For the past few years, Candida has been struggling to find the project that would be the  bookend to a story that is long and beautiful, complicated and convoluted, and full of strength, sadness and success. The backstory to her documentary film project is best said in the press release for While You Were Gone:

Candice was only 18 months old when her mother left home, leaving a scar in the heart of a girl and the woman she would become. Through her unorthodox childhood in New York City and her early training in performance arts, through her starring roles as Candida Royalle in adult films and her pioneering work as a producer of erotic films, through her design collaborations and her writing, through her public speaking and her battle with ovarian cancer… the question was always there. Why did you leave me?

C is for Community

Having known this woman for almost two decades, I know how important this final chapter, this homecoming, is to Candice. While she walks the path to her past alone, she can’t complete the story without her friends and fans. Candida never asked for much. She’s done it her way, all the way, but this time she can’t do it without community.

If you’ve ever been turned on or inspired by Candida Royalle, contribute to her kickstarter campaign here.


What’s your favorite Candida Royalle film?