"Wow, you actually came out for a night!"
The calls and clamoring for her attention came from all sides the night of the 2008 XRCO Awards, as my mother Suze Randall made her way to the red carpet, her first night out at an industry function in years. Although she had been absent, her presence still followed me like a ghost when I arrived at any kind of porn party, as I always was asked where my she was, how she was doing and if she'd actually retired or if that was just a rumor. My answers were always a predictable testament to her unpredictable nature: "She comes and goes — sometimes she swears she's done, and then the next week she's booking shoots and wants to get back in the game."
But on this night, she definitely was back in the game — even when she had to whisper in my ear to ask who a particularly familiar model was because Suze has, as she calls it, "oldstimers." I'm pretty sure it was only because my mother was in attendance that we were rushed to the front of the line, given headway for the red carpet and seated at a plush booth inside where the traffic of people was at its highest. From that throne Suze could call out to any passerby to come and pay homage, and pay homage they did.
Suze was at XRCO to accept her award as a Hall of Fame inductee, so when Nina Hartley and Amber Lynn went up on stage to present her award, she was ecstatic. Suze giggled like a schoolgirl as she rushed up to accept while Amber was still in the midst of her speech that praised her old friend and favorite photographer. Suze hadn't seen Amber in many years, so it was a heartfelt meeting when they embraced onstage and Suze pulled Amber's boobs out of her dress. Apparently Suze had done the same thing many years ago at the same awards show when Amber was a top starlet in her prime. It was a fitting reunion.
When Suze grabbed the microphone, made her short speech and thanked everyone for her "old farts award," everyone was at the bar drinking, and few people were listening, which had been the pattern all night. But I was listening, and I was very proud. I smiled to myself knowing that the celebrity up onstage, the woman who had been the most popular attendee at that evening's festivities, was my mother. To many she is Suze Randall: a pioneer, a legend, an artist and an unforgettable personality. But to me, she's Mom.
As I looked around at all of the pretty people — bleach-blonde babes with big boobs, inflated lips and Botoxed foreheads, I could really see why my mother was so much more beautiful than the models that surrounded me. Suze is beautiful because she's never had a nip/tuck of any kind or injected Botox or fillers into her face. Her hands are rough because she's used them to work her way up to where she is now; her face is weathered from years of being outside in the sun, riding her horses and enjoying life. She was able to have a career based on her looks and use it as a springboard to a position behind the camera where her career was based on her talent, toughness and determination.
She was able to age gracefully and not fall prey to the unrealistic standards of beauty that keep so many of us hating ourselves. My mother is beautiful because she has better things to worry about than trying to hold on to a transient quality that leaves all of us, eventually.
And, after all these years, Suze has retained her beauty and popularity. And why not? She helped some of the biggest names in the business look even more beautiful and become even more popular, did it on her own terms and is loved for it. If I can achieve even half what Mom has done in my career, maybe one day I'll find myself up there accepting a similar award. And I hope she'll be half as proud of me as I am of her.