Christy Canyon [Christy Canyon] Interview

Christy Canyon has been in the porn industry since before many of us were in diapers. Her first on-screen performance was in 1984 with the great Ron Jeremy and she didn’t stop doing it for 30 years. Since then, Christy has stayed active in the porn community highlighted by a 2003 tell-all book, Lights, Camera, Sex! about porn’s glamour days. She also has a weekly show on Vivid Radio

Ms. Canyon’s a legend and has, admittedly, seen it all. Earlier this week, Supercompressor was lucky enough to chat with the 48-year-old California native about her experiences in adult entertainment and how the game’s changed since the Reagan administration. Funny and daringly insightful, Canyon never fails to express herself intelligently while maintaining that innocent charm she showed on camera for three decades.

The Golden Age of porn may be a thing of the past, but Canyon is very much in the present and likely will be for a long time. Enjoy the show.

Let’s talk basics. How did you get into porn?
It was so cliché. [I was] 18 years old, had moved out, was working two jobs. The car was always broken, I had five dollars to my name. And some guy in the business pulls up in a white Trans-Am—which was the cool car of the ‘80s—with a gold eagle on the front, and was like: “Hello, you have a great figure, you could be a figure model.”And I was thinking hand or foot model. But he shows me his Hustler layout, and I quickly realized it was different body parts than hands and feet. He gave me his agent’s business card—at the time there were two agents, now there are 2,000—and I didn’t call right away. But then one night, late at night, I got curious and called that World Modelling phone number. The rest is history.

And it’s been thirty years.
Can you believe it? Thirty friggin’ years.

One night I got curious and called that World Modeling phone number. The rest is history.

You have Porn Star Radar, so to speak.
That’s right! We didn’t have the technology back then! There wasn’t Botox and we didn’t have microdermabrasion facials and designer matte makeup. We had Revlon or whatever was available in the department stores! There wasn’t CrossFit…we were lucky to have Jane Fonda’s workout tape and Thighmasters.

Back then, we had these massive lights that they’d have to drag in….you’d be sweating after a scene with those big, bright lights! You could light up the entire night sky with those things.

Would that ever distract you?
No, the sets weren’t perfect and no one cared. The crew was fascinated with the fact that they could get girls, for $300, to suck a d*ck on film. Look at the films from back then! You could see the light-stands in the shot; you could see the guy holding the boom pole. Sometimes when you look back at those films from the ‘80s, you could actually see them in the background. No one cared, people were just lucky to buy these VHS tapes for $80 and watch people have sex. It was so groundbreaking!Oh yeah, porn made VHS huge
I read an article once that the reason VHS won out was that Beta refused to touch adult stuff and that’s what made VHS so popular. But now it’s all scenes and it doesn’t even matter. I think DVDs are going to be a thing of the past.

Is the Internet porn’s friend or enemy?
For performers and owners, I think it’s their enemy! Though, it affects me, because I have my website where people can download videos. I mean, I’ve been on radio with adult stars for the last nine years, with Playboy and now Vivid Radio, and from what I hear, it hurts most performers.

There wasn’t CrossFit. We were lucky to have Jane Fonda’s workout tape and Thighmasters.

I know some of the girls have their own website and produce their own films. They put it out, and a day later it’s on the Internet for free, because someone’s pirated it. It definitely hurts in that sense. Back in the ‘90s, I got royalties, so I knew how many units went out the door. It’s not worth it to put out films that cost $100,000 to make, because people will just steal it.


The crew was fascinated with the fact that they could get girls, for $300, to suck a d*** on film.

It seemed like a superstar era.
It was the era of true superstars where performers really became a household name for porn-watchers. It was kind of glamorous in a really weird way. The ‘80s was more rebellious…but it was glamorous in the ‘90s. We were accepted, yet still hush-hush. You had true stars.

You will never have stars as big as the sexy Jill Kelly, Peter North you had full-on productions, you had catering for the food…now I hear that the girls are like: “Oh, I have to hurry up and eat, because I’m going to set and there’s not going to be food.”


So there was more pampering on set? 
We had wardrobe people and hair and makeup people. Now girls either do their own or have to pay for their own. We would spend all day [back then] shooting photos for the box cover. Hair and makeup, lunch breaks, they put money into the box covers. The box cover was thousands of dollars! We’d go to Macy’s and there would be wardrobe girls who’d buy the clothes and make sure they were intact so we could return them after.

Do you have a favorite porn star now?
You know, I see girls like Jessica Drake and Lisa Ann, who has made three comebacks. She’s awesome. She just gets better and better. Nicki Bends, Jesse Jane. There are also plenty who will simply just disappear. Eight years ago, when I was on Playboy Radio, girls would come in and say: “I’m going to be the next Jenna Jameson,” and no one’s ever going to be the next Jenna Jameson. She and Tera Patrick were the end of the true era of the superstars.As for male porn stars—all the big names seem like they’re from the ‘80s. Ron Jeremy, for instance.
He is a legend. There will never be another Ron Jeremy. There will never be another Peter North. I mean, there are still great guys now who are hot and sexy, but these guys were the true blues. You know, they actually had to do their sex scenes…they didn’t have Viagra and all those pills and injections.

Jenna Jameson and Tera Patrick were the end of the true superstars.

There was some real passion.
There really was! And who knows where their minds were during shooting. I must’ve worked with Peter North and Ron Jeremy a million times—the pool was so small back then. They always got the job done. Who knows what they were thinking, though.

What was your favorite moment or time on set?
It would probably have to be the first time I was with a woman, which was on film Ginger Lynn. We went to all these fabulous locations: we got there at 8 a.m. to get that free breakfast, we got the hair and makeup, we did a scene, we laid out by the pool. It was a cool group of girls during my era. I loved the social aspect of the whole thing. I’ve never really had a job where I had to show up on time.
That’s the best kind of job! Hang out with your buds and all have sex together!

You’ve got a radio show now, but what’s life like for most porn stars after it all ends?
Everyone is so different. I mean, girls from my era are either M.I.A. and never to be seen again, or they take time off, get married, have a kid, come back. Or they’re like Ginger and I—we seem to be here forever doing different things. My best friend, Victoria Paris, from the late ‘80s, she got a job at a veterinarian’s office.There are just so many different ways it can go. There are some girls who meet with their fans, and there are some girls who just get married and don’t want anything to do with porn. They have kids. Then there are those girls who are just gone. Samantha Strong was from the ‘80s and it’s like…what the f*** happened to her?

It sounds like you’ve lasted so long, because you just generally love it. 
I do! I mean, I don’t know if I’d make a film again unless it was for Vivid…I’ve  just been having so much fun doing radio for the last nine years.

It’s like auditory porn.
It is! Tori Welles is on it two nights a week and I think her other job is construction! Julia Ann has never really taken a break since the ‘90s; she’s on once a week, but she’s very passionate about animal rescue.You have stars like James Deen and Sasha Grey who’ve jumped to mainstream movies and back again—and it seems like there’s less of a stigma.
I don’t think someone in the adult business will ever fully make it and be accepted by the mainstream. Not because they aren’t great! I mean, I remember Ashlyn Gere was just a fantastic actress. She was on X-Files, which was groundbreaking in the ‘90s. You’re just always going to have that stigma. [Brands like] Downy, Tide, Coca-Cola will never sponsor a porn star in a TV show.

Sasha Grey has done crossover, but I don’t think she can survive on her crossover roles. She’ll never be Julia Roberts, unfortunately. I know some girls were just on Sons of Anarchy, but they all played porn stars. I think there will always be a stigma and I hope I’m wrong and I hope someone breaks the mold.

I must’ve worked with Peter North and Ron Jeremy a million times. They always got the job done.

Do you have any advice for porn stars?
Don’t ever do anything that you’re not comfortable doing. I never did anything on film that I wasn’t comfortable doing. There was an era where girls did a lot of Gonzo and the whole thing changed. It got hardcore. I remember these girls would come in and be like: “Yeah, I just did my first scene and it was a double anal!” And I’m like: “Really? Two at the same time?”

And they’d be tricked into doing it! I don’t think that era is around anymore…that era of trickery. But don’t do anything you’re not cool with. If you’re not comfortable, get the f*** off the set.

So follow your heart, follow your genitals, and don’t let anyone tell you what to do?

Article originally posted in October 2014

One thought on “Christy Canyon [Christy Canyon] Interview

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