If there were ever an interviewee we’ve presented here who needs no introduction, this lady is the one. The title “porn star” is often throw around pretty loosely, especially in the Internet age. However, not only has XRCO Hall of Famer Ginger Lynn earned that title, she embraces it. Making her debut in late 1983, Ginger began at a time that most pundits consider the end of the “Golden Age” of porn and the beginning of the home video boom. Ginger quickly became one of the top stars in adult entertainment during the mid-1980s, which later led to featured roles in B-movies, some of which became cult classics, such as Vice Academy and its sequels. She was eventually able to land some parts in more mainstream productions, something that is not always so easy for actresses know for doing porn. Some of Ginger’s mainstream credits include the film Young Guns II (where she met her future, now former, boyfriend Charlie Sheen) and the then-top-rated TV shows NYPD Blue and Silk Stalkings.
Ginger had been on my list of potential interviewees since early 2016, which was a time she told me she was working on her memoirs, so we agreed a later date would be better for an interview. Fast forward three years to last summer, when I proposed to Paul Ragsdale of A & P Productions to do a group interview with the ladies in the cast of his upcoming film Slashlorette Party, which included Ginger in a featured role. Ginger wasn’t available to do the group interview, but we agreed to do a solo interview in the very near future, and that future solo interview is what you are about to read.
GINGER LYNN: As may be expected, I receive a lot of scripts via e-mail from people I don’t know. My manager sorts through the offers and ideas and presents them to me if he feels I may be interested. On the day that the script for Streets of Vengeance was received, my manager brought it to my attention. I read it straight through and then immediately got back to Paul. I loved the script, I loved the character, and Paul and Angie were so real and down-to-earth that I jumped in head first, and the rest is history still in the making.
CHRIS: Tell me about your upcoming role in Slashlorette Party.
CHRIS: You know I couldn’t do an interview with you without going here, so ….you’re considered an icon in the adult entertainment industry. You began your career late in 1983, which was near the end of what was considered the “Golden Age” of porn. You were among the biggest names of the early video era, along with other such ladies as Amber Lynn, Christy Canyon, Taija Rae, to name a few. When did you first realize you were among the biggest stars in the adult industry at that time?
GINGER: In the late 80s, when I was beginning my adult film career, I was a young girl from the Midwest with dreams of being famous as a rock ‘n’ roll star. That didn’t happen as I can’t sing or play and instrument, but porn did happen. I didn’t really choose to be in the adult film industry as much as the adult film industry chose me. Although I was cast in many, if not most, of the big feature films of the time, it never really hit me that I was a star of any sort. The industry was small at the time, and most of us performers knew each other quite well, so it just seemed natural that we would all work together on a regular basis in all of the big movies being made at the time. It was years later that I realized people really enjoyed my work, and that I had become more than just a porn performer, but a porn star …which still blows my mind. I had an amazing time and career in the adult arena, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m a happy ex-porn star.
CHRIS: Since you started when you did, I assume you didn’t really have to make that “transition” from larger and longer production X-rated films to videos shot in one day. Did you ever feel that you “missed out” on the Golden Age and that it would have been better if you had been born several years earlier and began your adult film career back in the 70s?
GINGER: Not at all. Of the 69 films I made from December of 1983 until February of 1986, over 40 of those were shot on film. When straight-to-video hit the market, the producers were still used to filming with a full script and shooting multiple days. The movies I shot on video were still being produced in the same manner as film productions, so I missed out on the no-script, one-day wonders. I believe I was in the adult industry at exactly the right time. If it weren’t for video productions, I would not have been as well-known. The transitional period between film and video was, in my opinion, the platinum years.
GINGER: I don’t recall ever having any bad blood between myself and any of the performers I worked with. You have to remember we were outlaws. We were those who broke the law, broke the rules and stood together as pioneers.
CHRIS: Were any of your friends or family back in Rockford aware of your success in the adult industry?
GINGER: I’d have to say that practically everyone in Rockford knew of my recent career choice, however, I wouldn’t say that they were as aware of my success as they were of my being a porn star. It was difficult for my family for the first six months, after which we sat down as a family and discussed my career choices. After much deliberation, they finally accepted it, but it took a bit more time for them to understand. As for my friends, all the guys who I knew in high school suddenly wanted to “date” me, and many of my girlfriends thought I was gay and wanted to sleep with them. In the beginning, it was a cluster fuck, but in time it all just came to be the norm for them and for me.
CHRIS: Did you ever want to completely leave the adult industry behind?
GINGER: Although I left the industry after only being in it for a little over two years, I’ve never wanted to leave it completely behind. My time in the adult film industry helped to turn me into the woman I am today, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I loved my time in the adult industry and would never turn my back on my history. I’m proud of all of the work I’ve done in the entertainment world including my time in porn.
CHRIS: Did you find it difficult to “crossover” and get roles in some mainstream productions because of the “porn star” stigma attached to you?
GINGER: My first audition for a mainstream film was for Beverly Hills Cop II. I wore a white dress to the audition, and as I entered the casting office the first question I was asked by the receptionist was “are you wearing underwear?” I was quite confused, but answered “no,” and was then told I’d have to go in as is. The role I was auditioning for was a waitress in a club, a totally non-sexual role, for which I hired an acting coach and studied for two weeks. My next stop was to meet the director. The first thing he asked was if I would be willing to take a nude photo. I said “no.” He then asked for a topless photo. I again said “no.” When asked to read for the role, I read it as I had rehearsed for the prior two weeks, after which I was asked to read it as though I wanted to be fucked more than I had ever wanted to in my life. I walked out of the casting office in tears thinking that the mainstream film world was sleazy as fuck. I’d never been asked by a producer or director to get naked for them in the adult world. I’ve been a slut all of my life, and I say that as a personal compliment, but I’d never been whore, and I wasn’t about to start now. My second audition went quite differently as did most of the rest of them.
The first mainstream film I appeared in was a low budget B-movie called Wild Man. On my third callback, I met the director, Freddie Lincoln, who turned out to be a friend of mine who also dabbled in the adult world. I read for him, and he cast me immediately. From there, I went on to appear in the Vice Academy series, which allowed me to gain some mainstream credibility, and to be cast in more B-movies.
CHRIS: You’ve probably been asked about this topic many times before, so I’ll just touch on it and move on. Could you briefly summarize your time dating Charlie Sheen?
GINGER: I met Charlie on the set of Young Guns II. I had a nice sizable role and worked on the film for three weeks, although 99.99% of my work ended up on the cutting room floor along with most of the female roles. I was just happy to be there with such an amazing group of talented actors. Charlie and I hooked up after a week or so, and our relationship bloomed right from the start. Charlie is one of the kindest, most caring, intelligent, articulate, wonderful human beings I’ve ever met. We were together for two years straight and then on again and off again for several more years. He was my first true love.
GINGER: Cancer was a bitch, but losing my sister and my father a few years ago within a few months of each other was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever gone through. My sister, Kari, was my only sibling, and my father was my best friend.
CHRIS: Back in July of 2007, you came out of semi-retirement and appeared in a wrestling match for the adult website Ultimate Surrender, which features real, unscripted, wrestling with a sexual twist added. Why was it you chose that venue and signed on for a match against a younger, larger, and more experienced opponent, no less?
GINGER: As a twenty-two-year martial artist, I went into the ring feeling quite confident. Bobbi Starr (the girl Ginger wrestled) gave me a run for my money, though. She was 20+ years younger than me, taller than me, and a veteran of Ultimate Surrender. I won the first round, which pissed Bobby off as no one had ever untied her panties before. As soon as the second round began, Bobby, against the rules, kicked out my right knee which I had had surgery on six weeks before. I had another surgery after the match, recovered and went on to practice my art for years to come, but hung up my Ultimate Surrender G-string.
CHRIS: Have you ever thought of returning to the wrestling mat since or will that remain just a one-time thing?
GINGER: Once was enough for me. Four knee surgeries later, I’ve chosen yoga over martial arts from here on out. Unless, of course, I’m attacked (laughs).
CHRIS: I see your body has always been 100% natural. Not even any noticeable tattoos. Unlike today, that seemed to be the norm for ladies in the adult industry in the 70s and 80s. Was there ever any pressure to get any cosmetic work done early in your career?
GINGER: For the most part I’ve always been very comfortable with my body and face. I’m a homegrown girl, and I don’t feel the need to change anything. There was never any pressure from myself or anyone else to make changes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
CHRIS: Do you run and have complete control over your website GingerLynn.com?
GINGER: I do run and have complete control over my all of my websites; GingerLynn.com, GingerLynnArt.com, and GingerLynnAuctions.com. (All links below, following the interview text.)
CHRIS: Let’s talk about your art. Were you influenced or inspired by anyone to start painting?
CHRIS: Have you had any solo art exhibits?
GINGER: I haven’t had any solo exhibits, but I did appear with my art at a festival here in Las Vegas. I don’t really think an exhibit would be my thing. I’m too sensitive, and I hate critics. I paint for myself. I love it and I do just fine with my website.
CHRIS: Where are some of the more prominent places your have works on display?
GINGER: I have a gallery in my living room. I’ll send you some photos.
CHRIS: Were you allowed to paint during your brief stint in federal prison?
GINGER: No, I wasn’t allowed to paint in federal prison, but I did learn how to light a cigarette from a light socket, how to make a weapon out of a toothbrush and a razor blade, and I saw heroin for the first time. I learned how to mix and fix the heroin to shoot up my cellmate, so that she didn’t get caught shooting up because she was always so slow and high. If she got caught, we would both go to the “hole.” What a shame. Somehow, for some silly reason, I do not feel that I received any rehabilitation. HMMM.
CHRIS: Do you still knit?
GINGER: I do still knit. Lately I’ve been knitting blankets with people’s favorite sports team colors, which are available on eBay.
CHRIS: Do you have any other hobbies or interests that most people don’t know about and would probably be surprised to know?
GINGER: I love to do anything creative. One of my favorite passions is to cook. I love to cook, and I’m good at it.
CHRIS: With that, I’ll thank you again for taking the time for this interview, Ginger. In closing, anything you like to leave friends and fans with?
GINGER: I have a new podcast that will be airing the first week in October. The show is called The Ginger & Ro Show, which will be available anywhere and everywhere you like to listen to your favorite podcasts. We will also be up on my Youtube channel.
CHRIS: Oh, one last question: What’s the strangest thing an anonymous sender has ever sent to you in the mail?
GINGER: The strangest thing an anonymous sender has ever sent me in the mail was a wedding gown, a ring and a proposal. Still single, but in a loving 10+year relationship. Oh, and one person felt the need to send me their pubic hair. And, most recently a woman sent me a box of her old clothes, purses, and shoes. I’m so confused (laughs).
One of the questions in this interview referred to Ginger’s 1991 four and a half month stint in federal prison, in which she replied by covering some of the “skills” she acquired while there. In this segment from Bryce Wagoner’s 2017 documentary, After Porn Ends 2, Ginger goes into detail about what landed her there.