Hyapatia Lee Interview
6 11 2008
I recently was able to secure a brief interview with Hyapatia Lee. Hyapatia is a porn starlet from the 80′s and is considered one of the most important adult film actresses from the golden age of porn. She is known for her Native American heritage and is one of the most uniquely beautiful women to ever perform in hardcore adult films. Several years ago she walked away from the the business that made her famous and settled down in the Midwest. In the interview we discuss her early life, her marriage to porn actor and director Bud Lee, and her life as it is today.
Where were you born?
I was born on the west side of Indianapolis, Indiana.
I read that your mother was very young when she gave birth to you and that you were raised by your grandmother. What was your home life like early on?
I grew up with only my grandmother in the house. My mom was a big fan of race car drivers (I grew up next to Speedway, Indy 500, ya know) and she followed them around on the road. My grandmother was very close to her sister and we went over to her house often.
Where did you live?
I lived in Indianapolis until my mother got married and I moved with my step-father, half brother and mother to Cape Coral Florida where I was in a drum and bugle corps.
Hyapatia Lee High School Graduation
Hyapatia Lee High School Graduation
How many siblings do you have?
I have no complete siblings, only half brothers and a half sister.
What were you like as a young child?
As a young child I was shy with others, but loved being on stage. I did my first solo tap dance at the age of 4. One of those dance recitals, you know. I studied ballet and tap first, gymnastics for a short time, and then jazz or modern dance.
I also read that your grandmother was full-blood Cherokee. Was your mother or father full-blooded Cherokee as well?
My father is half Cherokee and half Irish. Mom is full blood.
Which makes youÖ
That makes me 75% Cherokee, 1/4 Irish.
I read that you eventually lived with your mother and stepfather and that your stepfather was abusive. What exactly happened and how has that affected your life?
As far as my step fathers abuse and how it affected me, that would take a book to answer. As a matter of fact, I have written it. but in a nut shell, it affected me just like psychiatry says it does. One feels dirty and that one is only good for sex.
How long did you live with your mother and stepfather and where did you move to immediately after?
I moved to Indianapolis to live with my grandmother again after having spent 5 years with my biological mother.
Hyapatia Lee Photo Shoot
Hyapatia Lee Photo Shoot
Where was your biological father? Did you have a relationship with him?
My biological father was in Indianapolis although I did not know him. I had to look his name up in a phone book not knowing if he still lived in Indy or not. We do not have a relationship.
Describe your teenage years. What type of a person were you? What were your interests?
In my teenage years I was a theater nut, I did 72 different plays and musicals in 3 years. I was always in two or three things at once. I did all my acting in local community theater and some in my high school.
How old were you when you lost your virginity?
I lost my virginity at 16 to a guy I was acting opposite of in a musical.
Did you experiment with drugs?
I did not experiment with drugs. I was an overachiever, a straight A student.
Where did you go to high school and did you graduate?
George Washington high school, yes I graduated, in 3 years. I got all the credits I needed and they gave me a diploma. I did not have to go my senior year at all.
Did you go to college and if so where? Did you graduate?
I took singing, ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance at Butler University. That is the extent of my college education.
How did you first become involved in the adult entertainment industry?
I started dancing, stripping, in a local club with a girl I had worked with in theater.
How old were you at the time?
What factors in your life do you feel lead you to the adult business?
I got raped 2 months after moving out of my grandmothers house. I lived next to a theater and a man broke into my apartment while I was sleeping. From there I went to a mental patient half-way house and into lots of therapy and therapeutic drugs. I have split personalities which intensified during this time as a result of what happened and a new personality was born Ė Hyapatia.
Bud Lee, Hyapatia's ex-husband
Bud Lee, Hyapatia's ex- husband
How did you meet Bud Lee and when did you marry him?
Through my therapist. We went on the road together as a feature stripper and were introduced to magazine work via the Miss Nude Galaxy contest, which I won, twice. From there it was an easy step to the movies.
I read that he took your last name ďLeeĒ following Cherokee tradition. Is this true?
Yes he took my last name.
What were some of the adult magazines you posed for?
I was in every menís magazine on the market at least once. Including Playboy and Penthouse.
You performed in a lot of girl-girl scenes. Are you truly bi-sexual in your personal life?
I am not bi, never have been in a relationship with a woman or whatever, but my mother is.
How many children did you and Bud Lee have together?
We had 2 children, both boys.
Why did you get divorced from Bud?
We got divorced for the same reasons any couple gets divorced, we fell out of loveÖ and into hate.
Was he abusive?
Yes Bud was abusive. He still owes me over $20,000 in back child support.
So what is your relationship with Bud like now?
We remain friendly to each other only out of necessity.
Was he ever supportive you and your children? Is he actively involved in his childrenís lives?
He was not supportive while they were growing up, but he did pay for the oldestís college education.
Why did you quit performing in adult films? What factors lead to your retirement?
I got out because of AIDS and companies no longer being willing to work with condoms.
I read that you ďfaked your own deathĒ in 1998. Is this true or just Internet rumor? If it is true why did you do it?
I closed my fan club because I was tired of answering letters for free which lead to the whole ďfaked her own death thing.Ē
The Secret Lives of Hyapatia Lee
The Secret Lives of Hyapatia Lee
I heard that you are also a musician and have performed as the lead singer in a couple of rock bands. Please tell us more about your musical career.
My music career with my band took me all over America, and we released a CD. Before that, I had done a record with a country music record company, SRO. It was fun, but exhausting. I could make far more money dancing for a lot less effort.
Tell us about your book. What parts of your life does it focus on? What can readers expect when purchasing the book?
The book was written with the help of my journals, 12 in all, that I kept through the years. That is the only way I could keep it all straight and remember what I was supposed to be doing.
Where do you live now?
I live in Indiana.
What is your life like today?
I lead a normal life, I suppose. Except for my multiple personality thing.
Do you work or stay at home with the kids?
Now I am a stay at home mom. I have a 7 year old I home-school. I home-schooled my other two also. My oldest was valedictorian when he finally went to public school. He is going to graduate UCLA this year as a physics major.
What are your interests, activities and hobbies?
I do a lot of theater and garden a lot.
How can your fans stay in touch with you?
Fans can reach me at myspace (http://www.myspace.com/hyapatialee1) or at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can purchase my music and book there. I bill through Paypal.
Thank you for the interview.
Interview with HYAPATIA LEE
The Legendary Hyapatia Lee
When you talk about true legends in the triple-XXX business, names like Christy Canyon, Amber Lynn, Annette Haven, Ginger Lynn and Marilyn Chambers , and the lovely Hyapatia Lee come to mind.
Sheís been a fan favorite since her 1982 film debut in Letís Get Physical and she retains an aura of superstardom even today. Hyapatiaís been hard at work lately with her band, W4IK (Double-Euphoric), working on their second CD release and also juggling a road schedule for feature entertaining.
I was very appreciative of her complete cooperation in arranging this exclusive interview. She spoke to me live via telephone from her home in the Midwest and the conversation went something like this....
Go-Go: Welcome Hyapatia and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us.
Hyapatia Lee: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you.
Go-Go: First off, could you tell me what is new and exciting in the life of Hyapatia Lee?
Hyapatia Lee: Well, Iíve got a new 1-900 line, which is about how to get in touch with me, where I will be appearing, where my band is playing. Also native American medicine stories, their hidden secret meanings and herbal healing. You can call that number if you like at 1-900-287-8414.
Iíve also been working on a book about my life in the X-rated business and what prompted me to get into the business. It also deals with the life experiences I had beforehand and what Iíve been doing since I retired a few years ago.
My CD with the band (Double-Euphoric) is going into its second pressing and we are working on a new CD with brand new material and have been playing around the country quite a bit. We played Pittsburgh a couple of years ago at the Metropol, as a matter of fact.
Recently I was in LA interviewing with the Playboy Channel and talking about doing some things for their ďHot RocksĒ and trying to get a video together. We also talked about their ďStripsearchĒ show where they would be dancing to the music of the band. I also did a few local TV shows there as well, but now Iím basically working out of the Midwest touring around that area with the band.
Go-Go: So there doesnít seem to be any adult videos in your immediate future?
Hyapatia Lee: Well, you never say, never, but I donít believe so. Iíve retired from the X-rated movie business for about four years ago. Iíve done a couple of R-rated movies, The Whacky Adventures of Doctor Boris and Nurse Shirley, with Paul Bartel of Eating Raoul, and Karen Black. That was kind of a cult film about Necrophilia and itís playing the theater circuits around the country. Itís held over in Los Angeles for two months. Itís kind of a whacky show and they like whacky things like that. I also did Killing Obsession with John Savage from the Deerhunter and The Godfather and thatís on Cinemax and HBO, and itís released on video now.
Go-Go: It seems your band is a very important thing in your life right now.
Hyapatia Lee: Yeah, thatís one of my major things right now. Iím pretty busy right now, as a matter of fact we are playing this Friday and Saturday at a club opening for The Little River Band.
Go-Go: Thereís a name out of the past, what style of music is your band into?
Hyapatia Lee: Pretty much straight ahead rock ní roll with a little bit of Native American influence.
Go-Go: One of your fans here wanted to know about your Native American roots and if you practiced in it.
Hyapatia Lee: That is really cool. I am 3/4 Cherokee and very much into my heritage. I study with a medicine man named Swift Deer out of Phoenix, Arizona, before that, I studied with Gladys Tantaguideon, whose brother Harold Tantaguideon, was the last chief of the Mohicans. Sheís also one of the last full-blooded Mohicans. I studied herbal healing with her. Now with Swift Deer I studied more of the psychological thought processís. Like the native American medicine stories. There are so many hidden meanings and theyíre very educational for your spirits. They help you get power from some inner-wisdom. The 900-line is basically about that. There are s0 many stories from so many different aspects of life. The 900-line talks about those hidden meanings.
Go-Go: Does going out on the road and featuring still hold the same excitement as it once did?
Hyapatia Lee: Absolutely, absolutely! ! Iím going to San Jose next week and I just love to get out and dance, anything to do with music of course. When youíre on stage with the band, you canít move around as much because there is more people up there with you!! (laughing) It kind of spoils it, you know. So I love to get out and dance and be as erotic as I can. Itís a lot of fun to meet the people and get to talk to them too.
Go-Go: Do you think that the business has changed much over the past 10 years?
Hyapatia Lee: Absolutely. From the time I got into the business until now, itís gone through so many changes that it doesnít even seem like the same business anymore. When I first got into it, everything was shot on film. There was no video. A $70,000 budget movie was cheap. It took three days to shoot, they called it ďThe Three Day Wonder.Ē About two years after that, video started to be the big contender and everything was shot in video and it became a one day wonder and a $40,000 dollar budget was cheap. Well when I retired from the business a few years ago, it seemed like they were shooting two movies in a day, pretty standardly and a $20,000 budget was pretty much average. So itís changed a lot in those respects. It translates in front of the camera. In meaning you have less time to get a good script together, to have a variety of actors and actresses and a variety of sets and types of sexual scenes. You donít have the time to develop your script enough to motivate yourself and make the dialogue realistic. Youíre shooting what is written so quickly, because of the budget. You find a lot of glitches and mistakes. You have to have the attitude on the set that, ďOh, it doesnít matter, itís only a $20,000 X-rated movie.Ē Which is very frustrating and definitely one of the reasons that I quit the business, because I really wanted it to be the best product that it could be when I was shooting. If I flubbed a line or if I didnít say it a way that I felt good about it, I wanted to be able to do it again. With that kind of money it was hard. Also the aids issue.
Go-Go: And the use of condoms.
Hyapatia Lee: Way back when it seemed like where movies being shot with condoms sporadically here and there. Then for a while you had companies saying ďNo, no, no, condoms,Ē at all. Now some companies are using them, some are not.
Go-Go: Do the actors sign a release in case of infection!
Hyapatia Lee: It goes back to the girls they are working with. Itís her choice basically, it comes down to her. The video company also has something to say about it. Most of the time they wonít let more than one or two condom scenes in the same movie, they find it to be some sort of a turnoff or something.
Go-Go: For the new fans out there, could you briefly tell us about your arrival in the adult business?
Hyapatia Lee: I started out doing musical comedy in dinner theater in the Midwest and one of the girls in the chorus was a dancer at one of the night clubs in town. I was always curious about what it would be like to be a nude dancer. I asked her a lot of questions and started working at the same club. There was this contest called the Miss Nude Galaxy at the Ponderosa Sun Club and she dared me to enter and I won! ! Some people asked me if Iíd like to make X-Rated movies and pose in menís magazines. I did pose for some of the magazines, but I was skeptical about the movies until I got to meet some of the people in the business and talked to them personally. I got kind of an insiderís point of view and thought that at that point Iíd give it a try and one thing led to another.
Go-Go: How many adult videos have you appeared in?
Hyapatia Lee: Iíve always been under contract in the business, whether it was Caribbean Films, Vivid Video or Essex Video. Iíve always been under contract to one specific company, so I didnít work for so many film companies like so many people do. Which is why there arenít as many movies of mine out there comparatively. For example, I think Nina Hartley has something like 600 videos there and there are 48 originals of mine, not counting the compilation tapes.
Go-Go: Do you have an absolute favorite from your library of videos?
Hyapatia Lee: The Ribald Tales of Canterbury which was one of my very first movies. That was a really big budget movie, over $300,000 and we shot it in Scotland for nine days. It was a takeoff on our childhood Canterbury Tales. We even used the universal costumes from the musical Camelot in it. Those were the good old days! ! ! Most recently there was The Masseuse. I really enjoyed working with Randy Spears, heís an excellent actor and the script was so well written.
Go-Go: Most people outside the business see the video producers and directors as people who exploit women and make a nice profit. Do you feel you were exploited in any way or were you the one in control?
Hyapatia Lee: Itís not really an exploitation of women as much as itís an exploitation of sex, if itís exploiting any thing and thatís a big ďif.Ē I do not feel I was taken advantage of by the business per se in any way shape or form. As I look back, the business Iím thinking of rented me comfortable limousines and Bob Makie
When I was pregnant and still wanted to work, albeit non-sexually, they would fly me to Europe, Australia and New Zealand to appear at video stores and sign autographs. I think where the negative connotation comes from in my mind, is when I go back out into society and society has all kinds of nice little boxes they want to put me in, because what I might have done in the past. They have the idea and preconceived notions that they want to put you in and thatís while youíre in the business.
Once you get out of the business, itís as if the entire world will never give you a chance to be anything else, even though youíve been retired from the business for X amount of years. They assume that if they were to give you a chance to be something and put their company name behind you, itís an endorsement on what you did in the past.
Itís so ridiculous, they donít give you a chance to grow. I think itís because of societyís attitude towards people who have been in this business, that have caused people in this work so much strife, and pain, and has been the major contributing factor to the suicides that weíve had.
Go-Go: Are you satisfied that you got what you wanted to out of the adult business
Hyapatia Lee: I have no complaints about the business. I got out when I wanted to get out. I might have done better by getting out earlier. One of the main reasons I got out was I was experiencing a divorce and my ex-husband is still involved in the business. So I think as people tend to get divorces, sometimes nasty things happen and when you work together, thatís bound to carry over to the profession. Other than that I have no animosities or regrets really.
Go-Go: To wrap it up, what does the future hold for Hyapatia Lee?
Hyapatia Lee: Iím really working heavily with the band on our second CD, and playing around a lot of the Midwest. I play with a band in LA. when I go there, so virtually I have two bands. Itís keeping me busy and Iíd like to do more of that. I really enjoy that a lot.
Go-Go: Do you have a fan club address that your loyal fans can reach you at?
Hyapatia Lee: I sure do. Itís 15127 Califa St. Van Nuys, Ca 91411 and you can also listen to the 1-900-287-8414 number and it gives this address also.
Go-Go: Well Hyapatia, Thanks so much again! youíve been great and weíll see you when you get to town.
Hyapatia Lee: Youíre very welcome, itís been my pleasure.
June 18, 2008, 6:05 AM
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HYAPATIA LEE LukeisBack:
I donít remember exactly where or when it was that I first saw a box cover with Hyapatia Lee on it, but I do remember thinking that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her physical beauty however, covered up a very fragile mental state, and the painful life she had lived through. Now, Hyapatia tells all the dirty and dysfunctional details, from her childhood, her teenage years, her start in porn, her marriage to Bud Lee and how she has come through it all, scarred but whole. Her book, The Secret Lives of Hyapatia Lee is an excellent read, and is written personally and solely by Hyapatia herself, no ghost writers inflate the scary parts, they are scary enough without hyperbole. I was lucky enough to do an interview with Hyapatia after reading her book. She is a wonderful, giving, loving, soulful lady, an amazingly resilient personality, who lives a happy life after living through one that was just the opposite.
I was thrilled to read and review your book and do this interview. I know you donít have a website, but you are quite busy on myspace. Have you met a lot of friends on myspace?
I have spoken to many of my old friends on my space and wish I could find more. I really liked everyone in the business and I miss many of them.
You didnít hold anything back in your book, even when it meant revealing such personal details as living with split personalities. That was very brave of you.
The book was impossible to write without telling the "why" of everything. In revealing the most intimate details, I have cleansed my mind, sorted a few things out for myself, and hopefully inspired some other people. I hope I have helped foster an understanding for people with mental illness. Many people just didnít understand me at all, and I really wanted them to "get it".
Do you still have "other" personalities living in you?
Yes, I do still deal with the alter egos, but not quite as much anymore. However when I am under stress, they do tend to rescue me. The have helped me to deal with life and I think that is why the mind splits, to help cope with situations that otherwise would be too overwhelming.
You had a very difficult life in your young years. Do you think you would have been an adult star if you had lived a "normal" happy childhood?
It is hard to say whether I would have gone into the adult business if the things that happened in my life to make me split did not happen. My guess would be probably not.
Sometimes adult stars who have left the business or retired, say they should never have been in XXX. How do you feel about your life as an adult film star?
I have no regrets, other than moving into that apartment when I first left home. I do not regret my time in the business as it was fun, fulfilling and I think ultimately, healing.
When Bud Lee was your boyfriend/husband he sometimes directed you in movies. You say in your book that Bud got those jobs because of your influence, that often he didnít work at all and you were the main source of income. These days we use the term suitcase pimp. In your opinion does that term fit Bud during your relationship?
Yes, I do agree that Bud could be called "a suitcase pimp".
Since you and Bud share children, are you two on good terms?
Bud and I only talk if it is absolutely necessary. We really donít have a relationship at all and both of us would be happy to never see the other ever again.
Do you still practice your Native American ceremonies?
I do still practice my Native American beliefs and I have passed them on to my children. Whether they end up finding comfort in them remains to be seen. My eldest is an atheist presently.
How can people get ahold of you?
The best way to contact me is my my space page. I sell my autographed book and CD there and I hope to have a few other items available soon. MySpace.com/HyapatiaLee1
If someone would like to receive an autographed copy of your book, how do they go about that?
$20 will cover the autographed book, and priority mail costs.
Stanford, IN 47463
How is your life today?
My life is filled with contentment. I am basically happy. I am in a play (the leading role) in Indianapolis and I am really enjoying getting back into theater again.
Even though you have been out of the business for a long time, you still have many fans. Do you have a message for them?
My message to my fans would be: I love you all and I wish you happiness, health and prosperity in all you do.