La Cicciolina interrogée par Thierry Ardisson
Life after porn
Traci LordsTraci Lords supposedly named herself after Katharine Hepburn’s character Tracy Lord from the classic rom-com The Philadelphia Story, but her own film debut was rather less auspicious. She became famous (make that infamous) for appearing in porn films and Penthouse magazine when aged just 16. Her first film, made in 1984, was called What Gets Me Hot!After her arrest for making adult fare while under age, Lords moved into the mainstream, appearing in films such as Blade, and television series such as MacGyver, Will & Grace and Melrose Place. She even sang for the Manic Street Preachers on their 1992 single “Little Baby Nothing”.Sharon MitchellSharon Mitchell, formerly a famed lesbian porn performer, is now the director of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, which she established in 1998. She appeared in more than 2,000 movies in the 1970s and 1980s, but her career took a dark turn when she became addicted to heroin, a habit she shook off in the 1990s. In 1996, she was brutally raped by a “fan” and left the porn industry. She founded her health organisation for adult film performers after acquiring a PhD in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in swinging San Francisco.Linda LovelaceLinda Lovelace (real name Susan Boreman) ended her life as an anti-porn campaigner. She starred in Deep Throat, the 1972 film which involved her engaging in sexual practices she later claimed were performed under duress. Indeed, she said her husband (and pimp), Chuck Traynor, regularly threatened her with a gun. After publishing her autobiography, Ordeal, in 1980, Boreman joined the feminist anti-pornography movement. She died following a car accident in 2002.
Interview par Thierry Ardisson de la Cicciolina chez elle à Rome à propos des personnes célèbres avec lesquelles elle aimerait faire l'amour, le sida, la religion.
Ex-porn star La Cicciolina and the divorce from hell
She was the porn star who became an MP, the force of nature whose scandalous career broke every taboo and who helped shape modern Italy. Now La Cicciolina’s 14-year custody battle with one of the world’s most successful artists could land her in jail
The news was buried deep inside the Roman news section of .None of the other papers even bothered with it: Cicciolina to go to jail. In the -sized photo, the tiny, peroxide-blonde, diva whose career has traced the history of in the past 30 years clutched a Victorian doll, smiling the same too-broad, too-bright smile she has flashed at a thousand film cameras, the hard flat charcoal eyebrows crammed down over her cerulean eyes.Far bigger was the photo of “Jeff Lynn Koons” as the paper styled him, Cicciolina’s ex-husband, the father of her only child, Ludwig, and the reason she may, if this week’s sentence is upheld on appeal, go to jail for failing to honour their custody agreement and preventing Koons from seeing their son. In the photo, Koons grins, wearing a pinstriped suit before the giant steel balloon-dog sculpture that stood for months last year outside Palazzo Grassi on Venice’s Grand Canal.It’s a strange parable of the age, this long fight and its bitter conclusion: two grotesques of the age, she with her absurd political career just behind her, he with his look of a travelling brush salesman, manufacturing huge, knowing pieces of kitsch and persuading the art world to pay ever-more-swollen sums for them.
They met in 1987, and getting together seemed a brilliant career-move for both of them: she was 35, ready to crown her career as Italy’s most celebrated porn star with a magnificently improbable liaison; while he, connoisseur of post-modern artworks of jaw-dropping vulgarity, who always teased, like Warhol and Gilbert and George, with the idea of knitting life and art in a seamless robe, now had a partner whose life, like his own work, was all on the outside.The couple married in 1990, separated in 1992 and divorced six years later. She mournfully describes him watching videos all day while she was reduced to conversing with the dog. A son resulted however, young Ludwig. When they split, both claimed custody. A bitter and very expensive legal battle ensued, lasting 14 years and finishing yesterday, with a jail sentence for the woman who, as an Italian MP, once advocated sex for prisoners. No one doubts that there will be an appeal.La Cicciolina, which means approximately “cuddles”, was born in November 1952, “after a long stormy night” as she records on her website, in the poor section of Budapest where, exactly 50 years later, she would stand unsuccessfully for election as a Hungarian MP.Her destiny, she told Italy’s L’Espresso magazine last year, “was written in the stars. I have had a very unusual relationship with sex since I was a child. I was curious about it, I enjoyed it, it made me feel powerful.”Coming of age in the late Sixties, when unbridled sex and female emancipation were considered synonymous, Staller was born at the right time – though not the right place, amid the repression and puritanism of the . But communism, too, had its lighter side.“As a girl I worked as a waitress in a hotel in Budapest,” she recalled, “and the secret service approached me and asked me to seduce foreign guests. I had to go in their rooms, make them talk, then photograph the papers I found in their bags.“At the age of 18 I was agent Katicabogar [the Hungarian for ladybird], spy and comfort girl to Arab businessmen and politicians.”It’s not surprising she was picked for the work: photographs of her as a teenager show a striking beauty with a long straight nose and severe blue eyes, blonde hair swept back behind her ears. The avaricious, lustful grin that became her trademark was still a few years in the future.In the course of her work she met an Italian travel agent, married him, and vaulted gracefully over the , moving to Rome. The marriage, which may only have been for immigration purposes, quickly fell apart, but with her exotic looks, Staller soon found work as an advertising model for leading Italian brands. Then, in 1973, the sexually precocious Hungarian ladybird stumbled on the man who was to change everything., who had been kicked out of for spying on the girls’ toilets, was a photographer looking for a lucky break, and in an Italy still beset by clericalism and in the clammy grip of , the two of them set about causing trouble.“He was a kid without a lira to his name, with a broken down old Peugeot which sometimes I had to push to get it going,” she recalls. Together they launched a midnight programme on a station called Radio Luna with the unblushing title It was a sex-chat show, a revolutionary idea at the time, featuring live contributions from listeners, and it took off. Staller came up with the term “cicciolina”, an affectionate diminutive of the word for “fatty”, thus “cuddleable” or “pinchable”, as a nickname for her genitals. When it caught on, she took to applying it promiscuously to all the dirty-minded men who called in. Finally the name stuck to her, “La Cicciolina”, she of the pinchable pudenda, and a brand was born.The pair of them began systematically dismantling Italy’s taboos, publishing photographs of the model in sexy poses, staging the first appearance of a totally nude woman in an Italian public place (La Cicciolina, naturally, in a discotheque), the first naked breast to make it on to national television, then, in 1979, Italy’s first soft-core porno film. Within five years, soft had turned hard, but the star remained the same.Today, La Cicciolina describes it as a natural and also enjoyable progression. “From when I was an adolescent I realised I was so sexy that every man wanted only and immediately to possess me: without sentiment, just out of libido. I don’t regret any of it.“You see, the character of Cicciolina, both naive and malicious, was not an act. It was really me. I was a spontaneous girl who liked to have sex, to show off eroticism, to shock the prudish… I liked to put on shows, to excite people, to make them smile. Making porno films was good work, and I’m not afraid to say that many times, on the set, I enjoyed myself.”She regretted none of it – but, at other times, she seems to regret the whole thing. “I repeat, I regret nothing – but I believe that I was never loved,” she says.No white knight ever showed up. Instead, in 1987, as she reached the far boundaries of what Italy would accept, a political grouping known as the Radical Party stepped in to make an honest woman of her.The Radical Party was as much a child of the Sixties as La Cicciolina herself, exasperated with the vice-like grip in which the Catholic Church continued to hold the country, but equally contemptuous of the grey, Stalinistic verities of the other great alternative, the Communist Party. The Radicals, led by fat and flamboyant Marco Pannella, famous for being repeatedly arrested for smoking joints in public places, was for all those modern Scandinavian sort of things that the Church wouldn’t countenance – abortion, contraception, dope, divorce and (why the hell not?) pornography, too.In the most brilliant publicity coup of its short history, the party adopted Ilona Staller, and, although she was placed way down the list of candidates, she received enough personal preferences – 20,000, second only to the party leader Pannella – to sweep into parliament, and history.Staller is proud of what she achieved as an MP. “I was an MP in the Italian parliament from 1987 to 1992,” she says, “and I fought the fight for sexual freedom, the fight against every form of censorship, for sex inside prison and sexual information in schools, for education about Aids….” In other words she began to take herself seriously. She had lived a life which, in any other age, would have led to ignominy and disgrace. She had committed every sort of gross act – even today, “Cicciolina with a horse” pops up readily if you put her name into Google – for paying audiences, and every man she had ever met had screwed her rotten, one way or another. But now, thanks to the Radical Party, it all made perfect sense: she was a missionary for the new society.Perhaps Staller didn’t realise that this was just another form of exploitation, this time in suits and in parliament; more exploitation, for different and more abstract ends, but barely less cynical than that of the porno barons who had been making money out of her for the previous 15 years. For the Radical Party, she was a living, grinning stunt who put the party on the map. But five years was quite enough. In 1992 she tried to make it on her own, forming the “Party of Love” with her old photographer/manager Schicchi and Moana Pozzi, Italy’s other legendary porn star.But in truth, Staller was no politician, and the Party of Love was no party. It failed to pick up more than a handful of votes, and died.