Although I consider myself a Catholic, I truly believe that God wants us to have great sex lives, and not just for the sake of producing children, which is why I simply had to interview Kelly Shibari, the very first plus size adult film star to be featured on the cover of Penthouse Forum. During our interview, I lost track of how many porn myths she busted for me; read on to find out more!
EM: Why did you choose to become an adult film star and what do like best and least about it?
KS: I used to be a roadie for a few years after college, and later became a production designer for mainstream films and commercials when I moved to Los Angeles from New York. Then the 2007 writers’ strike happened, which was a longer strike than usual, and affected writers, actors, and crew across the board. Most mainstream film industry work dried up in California.
Many people behind the scenes in mainstream Hollywood actually moonlight regularly as crew people in the porn industry. One of my friends who did that mentioned that I should consider getting into the business. At first, I thought he was crazy, mainly because I hadn’t seen any plus size women in porn.
What I like best is the confidence I get from people who watch my work and tell me I’ve encouraged them to feel better about their own bodies. It’s particularly awesome, especially since I was bullied as a kid for being a chubby kid, so I know what feeling negatively about your body feels like. I’m not necessarily a fat activist, but I do encourage people to be happy. And if my work does that for some women and couples, then I’m super thrilled.
What I like the least is the public perception of porn, especially in the States. I’m half Japanese, and moved to the States when I was 16, so the perception here about sex in general is very different. The Japanese are very reserved on the outside, but are rather sexual people in private, so I grew up in a sex-positive country. So many people here in the States have so many hangups about sex, and also have this misconception that people who are in the porn industry are uneducated, were abused as children, and/or are drug addicts, or worse. Just like any industry, you’re going to find some who have issues. In my case, I’m a college graduate from a happy, upper-middle class family – I didn’t get into adult because I had no other choice, but rather because I did my research and chose to do so.
EM: That’s so true. Do you feel that the porn industry takes you more or less seriously because you’re a BBW (Big, Beautiful Women) actress? Why?
KS: BBWs are finally being taken more seriously, I think. I don’t think we were ever taken “not seriously”, but plus size women in porn have definitely had an uphill battle in terms of being considered something other than a fetish.
In terms of award shows, we used to be lumped in with “specialty” porn, which includes little people, BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism), fetishes, etc. Now many awards shows give us our own category – it’s really a great step towards acceptance of plus size women in all aspects of sexuality.
EM: I definitely think that’s a step in the right direction! Another one is having you as the very first plus size adult film star on the cover of Penthouse Forum! How were you chosen for that?
KS: My NY publicist has ties to Penthouse, and pitched me as an idea last year. It took a while, but the people there were looking to shake things up, and after taking a look at my work both on and off camera, they decided to offer the cover and feature interview to me. I’m so glad the reception has been so great – it certainly was a risk, and I’m honored Penthouse decided to use me for that ballsy move.
EM: They made a fantastic choice in you! What kind of feedback have you gotten since Penthouse Forum was published?
KS: Amazing! I’ve received so much more attention than I could ever predicted. It really has been overwhelmingly positive!
EM: That’s so great to hear. Do you think people are now just starting to look at BBWs as sexy or have they always and their voices are just being heard now?
KS: I think that many people have always thought of plus size men and women as sexy, but it was something that has always been hidden by mainstream media. It’s becoming more popular and easier to find now, thanks to the Internet, social media, etc – and more people are coming out and saying publicly that they like their partners regardless of what size they are, and in many instances, that it’s their preference to be with someone who is larger.
EM: Nothing wrong with that! What would you say to critics who claim that encouraging people to accept their bodies will add to the obesity epidemic?
KS: I really don’t think that’s true at all. It’s all about being happy with the body you have and really learning how to best take care of it. Again, I’m not a “fat activist”; I just encourage people to be happy. There are plenty of messages every single day that tell people of size that in order to be happy, they need to be slimmer. I don’t agree with that notion – I think being emotionally healthy may even be more important than a number on a scale.
One project that I just finished is the very first plus size sex education film, Guide to Wicked Sex: Plus Size, which is a collaboration with Wicked Pictures and Jessica Drake. In addition to the regular “sex ed” stuff, like positions, we’ve included sections on body confidence and communication, which will help couples talk to each other about their bodies and better communicate what they like and don’t like in bed. Good sex is all about communication and feeling comfortable in your skin!
EM: Communication is truly everything, in all areas of life. What are your hopes for the next 5 years?
KS: I hope that I am able to stay in this industry even after I have stopped performing. Regardless of public opinion, I really do enjoy working within this industry – these days, my PR and marketing work with Steme360, Fine Ass Marketing, and The PRSM Group, is keeping me really happy.
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