I recently commented on an article at another website, that I wondered what happened to Kristara Barrington, who became one of the top Asian ladies in the adult film industry during the videotape explosion of the early-to-mid-80s, which also marked the end of porn’s “Golden Age” of 35mm productions.
Also billed as Kim Charoensuk, China Lee, Kimberly Wong, Mai Nguyen and a few other aliases, Kristara (the name she finally settled on and became best known by) was cast in roles that both did and did not, have to do with her ethnicity, which was believed to be at least part Korean. Her real first name may very well be Kimberly, as that and “Kim” were what she was referred to by in the 1985 porn documentary Fallen Angels.
Over the past several years, the prevailing rumor is that Kristara became veterinarian and has been practicing in Southern California. One claim was that she went to school and opened up her own veterinary clinic with money that she socked away while doing porn. If that’s true, I doubt that she practices under the name “Kristara Barrington,” a stage name I always wondered where she got from and why an Asian performer would choose. There has been speculation that she took the name “Barrington” from a Chicago suburb, where she is reported to be originally from. There is a Charoensuk Animal Hospital in Bangkok and Charoensuk was a name she used early in her porn career. It can’t be ruled out as her real name but it may have been a name she lifted from the vet hospital (assuming it was around in the early-80s) because she may have had had her sights set on a career in veterinary medicine before she started doing porn, but that’s just more speculation.
There was also some speculation that when Kristara began her porn career in 1983, she was still underage, which may be true. While some of her bios (such as the one at the Internet Adult Film Database) state her date of birth as being November 22, 1963, other bios (such as the ones at IMDb and Wikipedia) state it as being November 22, 1965. Whether Kristara was underage when she started in the biz or not, after the Traci Lords scandal broke in 1986, some adult video distributors also pulled Kristara’s and a few other actresses’ early videos from shelves as a “precaution.”
Even though Kristara retired from the adult video industry in 1987, material that she had done prior to that, continued to be released for a few years after her departure, giving the impression that she was still active in porn beyond that point. I’m sure her legacy will always live on. I just wish I knew whatever happened to her.
October 2013 Addendum: The most “recent notification” at Kristara’s unofficial website “places” her in Chicago, working with friends and family, doing bookkeeping for a relative’s Korean grocery store. Sounds likely, but, of course, until that’s confirmed by a very reliable source, it can’t be considered any more than just another rumor.
in which she’s referred to as “Kim.”
Kristara was often cast in “non-Asian” roles, as she was in 1984’s Taking Off (video box cover at left), a 35mm film production that was becoming a dying breed in the porn industry by the mid-80s. Right: From the February 1984 issue of Hustler magazine. This must have (or at least should have) been one of Kristara’s very first nude photo shoots because, taking into account her alleged November 1965 date of birth and when the issue issue hit the stands; she would have just barely been of of legal age the time of the shoot.