The Return of Nikki Charm
PORN VALLEY—Tiny blonde Nikki Charm got into the adult industry as early as she could. According to an interview done a dozen years ago, after a poseur claimed that she'd worked underage in the industry, Nikki countered, "That was never the truth. I planned and prepared to come into the industry. I planned it from March, 1983 until I came into [agent] Reb [Sawitz's] office in May of 1984. I knew I needed to be 18 because my brother's fiancée, Mercedes Perez, was working as an actress in the industry. I told her I wanted to get into it. She said, 'Great; wait until you're 18. You can get into a lot of trouble if you don't. Not only that, but you'll make a lot of enemies.' I waited, planned and prepared. I worked out two hours a day, tanned my body and came into Reb's office at 18, just about the time when Ginger was over at Vivid and they were doing the big videos. At that time Reb was really excited, 'Watch out Ginger Lynn!' He verified my age at the time. I never worked underage."
But now Nikki's back and ready to assert herself as one of porn's premier MILFs, even though she admits she'd settle for an office job at one of the production companies—"something in sales and marketing, writing, directing"—to re-involve her in the business while she pursues a possible screenwriting and journalism career.
"What I'm doing now is starting a blog called xxxrant.com," she recently told AVN, noting that the blog is not yet operational. "I realized, into my adulthood, that I have some strong opinions and some writing talent, and I decided to put those two things together and try to showcase them on the blog, highlighting adult topics and events. I'm really concerned about a lot of the legal and medical issues that our industry is facing right now, and I'd like to comment on that from a performer's perspective, and also get some more information, questions I have unanswered, from a curiosity standpoint, so some of it has kind of a journalistic edge, but some of it kind of a more fun edge, like attending events and getting little interviews with the girls and guys."
"The other part of the blog that I'm working on, that's really closest to my heart, is my screenwriting project that I'm trying to get a major motion picture studio interested in," she continued. "I wrote a screenplay treatment called 'Homeless Waif' that I registered with the Writers Guild, about the nine months before I went to prison and how I lived on the streets for those nine months, literally, and what the struggle was and what I went through, to just really finally put away all those painful issues. I came home early [from prison] a much more whole person, so it's kind of a story of redemption, really. I'll be attending the Santa Barbara Film Festival for the weekend. I'm just trying to immerse myself in that world a little bit. I'm totally a novice; I don't want to push my way around or offend anybody; I'm just trying to get information and do research right now, so I'll be looking for a writer and an agent for that."
Nikki appeared in about 50 productions between '84 and her leaving the business in 1991, but unlike some ex-performers, she was never bitter about the industry.
"When I got out of porn, there was really no reason," she admitted. "I just wanted to have a different kind of life, and I had my parents where I was like, 'You know, that isn't going to last forever,' and I didn't really have the commitment or determination to really work towards any kind of directing jobs; I didn't really believe in my writing ability at that point, so there was really nowhere else for me to go, and I wanted to get married and all that, and so I did that, and it worked out really, really good."
She returned to performing briefly in 2000, at roughly the same time that she also took a "day job" in AVN's advertising department, but "the pressures were just too much," and she once again left the adult business. However, this time, her life took a downward spiral that ended up with her being charged with 13 counts of burglary.
"I pleaded guilty to one commercial count and one residential count, and a grand theft auto, so they were threatening me with a lot of time," she explained. "I got sentenced to five years and four months. I did the cushiest time you could possibly do, in a fire camp down in San Diego for about 25 months. Well, I was actually there for about 14 months; the other time was going through the hard places to get there, but it was a fantastic experience; it was fulfilling and rewarding and really helped me rebuild myself. It was awesome. It was physically intense, and being on the fire crew is such a cherishable experience that people that are not in prison don't even get the opportunity to do, so I felt it was a real privilege."
The "fire camp" was the Central California Women's Facility at Chowchilla, where she worked in the office of the administrative captain, dispatching emergency crews to fight nearby fires on public lands (such as 2003's Cedar and Paradise fires) which burned over 750,000 acres and nearly caused the evacuation of the camp.
So ... did her fellow inmates know about her porn career?
"Not early on," she said. "It was really funny, because I wrote to Paul [Fishbein]; I kind of wanted people to know where I was at and everything. My whole life, I was kind of an open book, and I just wanted people to know, this happened, that happened, but you're okay; you work through it and you're strong and you move on. When I left porn, it was okay to print a story about it because I wanted to get some letters from my fans, and I actually did; I had one fan who was writing quite regularly and was going to come visit me, but he backed out for whatever reason, probably because he lived in Connecticut; that was a little far away."
"But when those letters started coming in," she continued, "my lieutenant called me up to the office and—because I worked in the office, any time they paged to the office, all 100 girls thought we had a fire, so they would all start getting dressed and saying, 'Which crew? Which crew?' So I went into her office and she said, 'So... you know we open all your mail, right? We have to; it's legal—right? Right?' And she showed me a photograph that somebody had sent in. It was an old photograph of me from my porn days, and the lieutenant had questions for me, and all the other officers, they all thought it was funny and exciting and they wanted to know all about it."
Nikki got out in November, 2004, and began trying to put her life back together.
"Life is so weird now!" she exclaimed. "I tell my friends it's like I had a stroke or something. I've just been working and living my life, raising my daughter and just being a good mom; joined the PTA.. When I first came home, I worked with my brother for a while doing kitchen and bathroom cabinet installation, which I loved; I have that need to create and have the instant gratification of seeing the creation completed. I did a couple of odd jobs here and there, and I just really—I don't know; I didn't feel comfortable in the things I was doing, the cabinet work, data entry operator for a church, which turned out to be nothing but a real scam, so it paid the bills, but it was hard to make peace with. I felt like I was ripping off people who believed in something and it didn't feel right, so I left that company, and then I was really just floating."
"In 2009, I was very sick—don't know why; don't know whether it was stress or maybe a little depression," she continued. "But 2010 came around and in April, something happened, and all these stories just started popping into my head, and one of them had been haunting me since I was a kid, and they were practically writing themselves; I just had to get them down on paper. So finally I had to start doing some research on how do you organize those? How do you take them from the vision in your head and put them on paper in a visual way that's juicy enough for someone to want to read? So it was a real learning experience, and the writing was very cathartic."
But Nikki's taking her reentry into porn seriously. She's already been signed to appear in an upcoming volume of Tom Byron's Seasoned Players, and was recently seen as the production manager for Exquisite Films' latest parody, Reservoir Dogs XXX—which also has Byron in a leading role.
"I like to work with him, so when I found out he was still doing things, I was like, 'Whoo!'" she enthused. "I was very nervous, even before, working with people I didn't know very well, so coming back into it and thinking of that—I'm just a very intimate person and so I need that intimacy with my partner in the scene."
"But there's a couple of select projects I'd like to do," she continued. "I'd love to do something with Nina [Hartley]—absolutely will do something with Nina. I saw that Inari [Vachs] was coming back; I never got a chance to work with her, so we'll see what I can work out, but it'll be just some select projects."
One of those "select projects" will be creating a sort of visual diary on her blog.
"I'm going to take it from the performer's perspective," she explained. "If AIM will let me, I'm going to videotape my test, I'm going to blog about it, I'm going to go through the whole process and just uncover it and let people see, this is what it is. This is how we do it and we're comfortable with it, so I just really want to open up that part of it a little bit."
So look for Nikki in movies to be released this spring, and for more up-to-date info on her, check out her blog posts at xxxrant.com as soon as it goes live, which should be within the next month.