Film Courage: Can you think of a moment (let’s say) the first five years of you living in Los Angeles that helped shape your career? Like I know you had talked about making inroads or unbeknownst to you that someone you used to work with remembered you fondly and was handing your picture. But maybe another story that maybe you weren’t expecting …it was your first five years and it kind of changed things for you?
Robin Riker: Well…I know that something happened in the first five years that reinforced my ethic and my sense of integrity in this town. And it was when a very well-known personality had taken a shine to me and knew that I was looking for an apartment and offered to set me up in an apartment “no strings attached” and…well I happen to know a little something about strings [laughs] and I refused. I mean I graciously refused. And I mean I met the person at the apartment to see what it was like and I took a girlfriend along with me just in case and it was beautiful and it would have been wonderful!
But I would have been bought in some way and still by saying “no thank you” I still needed to find an apartment. But the power that I felt in (once again) counting on myself, I’d like to pay my own rent and buy my own groceries thank you very much because that leaves me my own woman and that was really empowering. When I shared that story with some other people long ago they were like “Are you crazy? You could have taken it and…” “No! I wouldn’t have.” It would have compromised me in my world of morality. It would have been the wrong thing to do and so I didn’t do it. And again, I had to still find another apartment. But when you believe in yourself and you take a chance things come and it came.
Because honestly maintaining your integrity and your sense of self-worth is the most important tool that you have here. Absolutely the most important. It goes back to many other things that we’ve talked about because if you have faith in yourself and you know who you are in the world, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does because you know who you are. And often the people who come from the smaller towns have an even a better sense of who they are because they grew up in a much less superficial world where hard work and values were valued, you know? So to me that’s your state of mind and your sense of self-worth are the most important things that you can have. So that was for me an opportunity to put up or shut up. This is either what I believe or it’s not what I believe and here’s an opportunity…an easy way to…it would have been easy, it would have been very easy to just take that opportunity but I didn’t…this isn’t the way you go forward in my estimation.
Film Courage: That’s a real elephant in the room in terms of the entertainment industry and it happens to men, too. Not just women.
Robin Riker: Of course it does.
Film Courage: And it can happen from other men or other women, whatever. But I think it’s hard for a younger person who then some how feels very special because this person has chosen them and it’s hard for them to see anything beyond this.
Robin Riker: Right. And we want to be chosen! That’s why we come to Hollywood “Choose me! See me!” You know? And temptation.
Film Courage: Right. And someone in power [choosing them]. And I’ve known of people on both sides of the coin who have gone the way of being taken care of and there are implications. I don’t think young people totally realize this.
Robin Riker: And then…if you got what you got…did you get it? Or was it just given to you because of something that you bartered with? And that’s the other thing I say too with everybody (most everybody) loves to have a good time sexually…so I was speaking at a college at this one point and this one girl came up to me and said [whispering] “So what do you think about sex and the casting couch?” And I said “Look. If you think you would have fun in bed with this person, have sex with them, have sex with them for that reason alone but do not think for one moment the you are going to get something out of it other than fun because you (no matter what sex you are, no matter who is propositioning you), you have something that this person can get anywhere else and they (if there a person who says they have a job for you or some other way of elevating you, have something that only a handful of people have to give. You have nothing to bargain with but if you think you might have a good romp, go ahead! But don’t expect anything out of it, you know?” And that also leaves you in power of your own life because you made the choice, not because something was dangled before you. But because you decided you would like to do it because it would be fun, not to get something.
Film Courage: Right. And I think there is this whole Scarlett Letter thing where “Oh…she did this for…” and sometimes I can’t always believe it as it feel like a made up story. That’s the ultimate putting the Scarlett Letter on someone. “Well, this person got this thing because of doing this.” And half the time it’s not even true.
Robin Riker: Right and spoken out of jealousy (like you mentioned before)!
Film Courage: Right. And it could be that the other person actually did something similar. It’s an interesting thing that goes around and it’s not openly talked about but it exists. I agree with what you’re saying. If [a decision to be in a relationship] is not about any type of barter trade agreement [laughs] then that is one’s personal choice. But surviving the gossip of “this person did this, for that” is a very toxic thing.
Robin Riker: No. You don’t want that. Again, I don’t want that on me. Get that off of me!
Film Courage: And remaining upbeat and finding hobbies.
Robin Riker: Right. Living your life! Live your life everyday. Try to do something everyday that has nothing at all to do with show business.
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