Interview with Mimi Miyagi
Mimi Miyagi was born in Davao City in the Phillipines in 1973. She is known for her work in the adult film industry which she retired from in 1996. Recently, she accepted the Hall of Fame “Legends of Erotic” award many years after her retirement.
Mimi was the second of four siblings growing up in a very poor family.
“I grew up in a bunk bed in our kitchen, since our house was so small, growing up poor did have its advantages. It gave me ambition!”
At six years old, she moved to Los Angeles with her family but was sent back to Mindanao for High School. Her family enrolled her in a Seventh Day Adventist academy in remote Bukidnon province, hoping she would absorb Filipino values.
After finishing high school, she enrolled in an Adventist college, but dropped out her second year. She returned to Los Angeles and obtained a scholarship to the American College for Fashion Merchandising, but dropped out without graduating.
Having little money, she answered an ad for “partial nude modeling” and found herself in the adult film industry shortly after.
Today Mimi should not be so easily judged by her past. Those who are smart enough to invest the time to get to know her will find her a reliable friend, a devoted mother, and a smart and savvy business woman. She accepts her past and is unashamed of it. During her run for Governor of Nevada in 2006, she said “I have nothing left to hide, everybody has seen all of me already.” One of her slogans was “I’m bare and honest at all times”.
Mimi, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood and where you grew up?
My childhood was typical of that Filipino child of a parent working overseas. Mother went to US to finish her residency as a doctor, during the 70′s I was told America desperately needed doctors. After 6 years of waiting for visa, my sister and I was able to move to US to be reunited with my parents finally. Our family struggled to make ends meet, as they left everything to flee from the Marcos dictatorship and what holocaust type atrocities he was doing to the Filipino people.
I didn’t go back to the Philippines til my early teens. Most of my elementary school childhood was spent in California, USA. Raised the typical Asian standards in regards to necessity to excel high with grades and learning to play the piano. My father was a part time minister, so values of humanitarianism was instilled in my heart.
I love fashion and arts dearly. Though at the time financially our family was struggling due to the recession. My parents had to move to Guam for work. So I got into the adult industry to help pay for my way through school, and eventually got more work in acting/modeling. I quit school hoping to come back to school after saving some money, then touring the country performing as a feature dancer as “Mimi Miyagi” took over my life, and made a business career out of it for a long time.
When you first answered the add for “partial nude modeling” what did you think when you were first approached to do adult movies?
Yes I started out as a go-go dancer and doing strip tease videos. When Ed Powers asked if I was interested in doing adult film acting in his new series called Dirty Debutantes. At 18, I wasn’t thinking much except it was going to give me enough money to buy a car to get back and forth to school.
Do you remember your first performance on camera? Were you nervous?
Yes I remember my 1st performance and yes I was nervous. Luckily Ed Powers was gentle and good at direction. His patience helped alot from the actors side.
How does the adult industry differ from how if does now? Better or worse?
The adult industry has grown tremendously adding a great financial distribution to United States for sure when speaking of the economic influence. It definately has become more professional and accepted in the mainstream. Adding acceptance from Hollywood to integrate adult film stars and workers into the light of entertainment as a whole.
We have talked about how there are few opportunities for asians in the general media and less for asian women. Do you think you were at a disadvantage back then because of this?
Yes in the early 90′s Asians had a very difficult time getting work in entertainment industry. I’m happy to see equal oppurtunity for our minority has become more widely accepted in getting roles.
Years later you won the Hall of Fame “Legends of Erotic” award for your role in the adult industry. How was it to be recognized by your peers?
I still really don’t know what the award was for. But it was fun!
After you retired from the industry you went on to publish a number of magazines. Can you tell us about them?
Oriental Dolls was the 1st magazine that signed me to an exclusive deal to represent them as the publisher and I worked with the editor closely to modernize the look and feel of the photoshoots. They also gave me the ability to give my ideas regarding marketing it. Raising the distribution exceeding by the hundreds of thousands through the readers purchasing the magazines. Later a spin off called “Asian Hotties” was added. When the internet came into competition, the magazine phased out. These days most consumers go to the internet for their adult content.
You are also very knowledgeable in computer programming and web design. These days you run a number of websites. How did you learn this?
I was always into computers since 9 years old. So learning to program and design on my own was fairly easy. I did go to UNIX adminstration school to further advance my studies in computer science, it was very intellectually stimulating too.
You are also very involved in charity work and put a lot of your own personal time and energy into it. Tell us about the some of the projects you have been working on lately.
Since 2006 , my parents started a school in Lanao Del Norte in the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. It’s in a very remote jungle area where severely impoverished children have hardly any access to food and education. I actively do online fundraising when necessary to keep the school running. This year I joined JCI, a chapter of the U.N. to help doing missions for humanitarian mission relief work. I also had my own mission relief truck bringing food to the suffering to villages for about a month in February 2012. Our charity MLD School is elementary students ranging from Kindergarten to 6th grade. I’m also involved in Domestic Violence victims and homeless in Las Vegas. I believe in lending my support in US also.
Pics from the school visit: https://www.facebook.com/
Pics from Typhoon Sendong humanitarian relief aid work: https://www.facebook.com/
In 2006 you ran for Governor of Nevada. Were you taken seriously and how did you do?
I wasn’t taken seriously obviously due to the type of industry people associated me with. It was good times though!
These days you are very outspoken about the state of the economy on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook. What are some of the particular topics you cover and those that you find most frustrating?
Most of my interest are of human rights. So many are suffering homelessness and starvation due to inflation and mass job losses. Many of the factories have shut down or moved overseas and this transitional period many people weren’t prepared for it. I see alot of college students upset they have big loan debts with no job after finishing college. It’s really sad. My biggest gripe is seeing the lack of empathy by our government. There’s states where they’ve made it illegal to distribute food to the homeless. When did it become a crime to be a Good Samaritan? I feel so many of our rights are slowly being taken away from us. The gap between the poor and wealthy is growing so fast like a 3rd world country, and it breaks my heart to see the agrigate being physically abused by some abusing their power. I hope to see our constitutional republic back. Simple and more freedom back.
You do not seem to have aged. You are known for your energy, your smile and your honesty and openness. You do not regret the past but if there is something you could go back and do again, what would it be?
Thanks for the compliment, I’m almost 40 you are very kind regarding my looking still youthful, aww you’re so sweet. I have no regrets as my past decisions career wise. Everything happens for a reason and the journey I’ve taken as a human here on earth is the greatest experience, and going forward in my journey I have so much to look forward to every day for tomorrow.
What do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I’ll probably be working more in the Philippines where my parents have become successful business people. my parents are aging and really need me to be there for them. I’m always concerned for their health.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Thank you very much for inviting me to do this interview! I just wrapped up acting in an independant mainstream movie called “Speed Dragon” which Bai Ling and Bill Zucker star in directed & produced by Dan Frank. It’s my 3rd non-adult movie so far. Recently I just got back from promoting “Little Bruno” in Hollywood. Pics from behind the scenes :
More details are on Upward Rising Developments website: http://www.upwardrising.com
Where can we go to find out more about you?
There’s my official site http://mimimiyagi.com/