Work It! Kelly Shibari: BBW Porn Star and Marketing Consultant

Name: Kelly Shibari

Age: 40 in September. I’m owning it now before it hits me.

Location: Born in Japan, currently in LA & Vegas

What do you do, in your own words, and how long have you been doing it? What projects are you working on currently?
I’m a voluptuous, naturally busty Asian porn performer/director/producer who has been happily breaking stereotypes about big girls, Asians, and pornstars all at the same time for the past six years. I run several sites – PaddedKINK(NSFW), a plus-size fetish site; ThePRSMGroup, a social media consultancy for the adult industry, and KellyShibariXXX(NSFW), my personal site for fans of my porn work. Last year, I won the Feminist Porn Award for PaddedKINK, and was featured in Rammstein’s music video for their song “Mein Land”.

I just released my first self-produced “fanbang” film, “Kelly Shibari Is Overloaded“(NSFW), and am preparing to be one of the headliners for BBWFanFest, the first-ever adult convention for plus-size adult performers and models. I also am a recurring substitute co-host for Playboy Radio’s “Night Calls” and Spice Radio’s “YouPorn” shows. And I have a couple of other things up my sleeve for later this summer…it kind of never ends…

What was your first job?
My mom had me fill out Tupperware order forms for her in exchange for my allowance. I was 7. It was the 70′s.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had (or project you’ve worked on)?
Right after college, I worked as an Executive Assistant for a real estate guy in his 80s. Everything had to be typed on an old Selectric typewriter in triplicate using carbon paper even though there was a computer in the office (that never, ever got touched). He also hated certain words and would scream, Mommy-Dearest style. Even now, when I use correction fluid I can hear him scream about how it needs to be dabbed and not painted. Oh, and I can’t refer to a stack of papers as a “pile” – he hammered into my head that “piles” is a medical condition. Seriously. I suggest you not look that up.

What led to you pursuing your current careers? Did you have mentorship or special training for them?

For porn? No. But I did have friends who gently nudged me into considering a career in adult entertainment. It kind of figures, and in retrospect I think I was destined to be in it, given that I had enough people telling me I was erotically charged way before it was appropriate. But for marketing, I grew up in a marketing household, so that’s always been in my blood. Then again, maybe the eroticism was too.

In addition to working as an adult performer, you’re also a social media marketing consultant. Have you found that your work in adult films has prevented potential clients from taking you seriously as a businesswoman, or does this publicity work in your favor?
Yes and no. It depends on the client, and my tenure. In the beginning, sure – there were plenty of requests for “business meetings” that were anything but – and were inappropriate and annoying. I think many women who are consultants have had that happen to them, but when you’re out there as an adult entertainer, it’s even more so. Hiccups like that teach you what to look out for. These days, I’m better (though not perfect) at gauging who’s a client and who’s just trying to take advantage of the situation. The important thing is to be assertive about what you can offer and not distracted by things like trying to get a client to sign up and being a people-pleaser. Being professional and setting the tone of the conversation, and being confident in what you’re bringing to the table, means the person you’re talking to has no choice but to take you seriously. I think that applies for any woman in any work situation.

You’ve made it clear to your fans that you don’t fit the “tragic
stereotype” of an adult performer, and that you’ve got a mensan-level IQ, a healthy family life, and so forth, and this is clearly reflected in your career choices. Do you think that there are other ways that working in the adult film industry has been misrepresented in society? What do you both like and dislike about this work?

Kelly with Till Lindemann of Rammstein

Just because I don’t fit the stereotype, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t run rampant in the industry. There are plenty of girls (and guys) who get into the business because they need to make ends meet, and can’t get out, and make mistakes that can be detrimental. I’ve seen so many performers change over just a couple of years. It’s sad. That’s probably what I dislike about the industry – but it’s not like those things don’t happen outside the industry, you know? Blue-collar workers and stockbrokers, and people in between – many are alcoholics, drug addicts, abusers. We get the spotlight because as an industry we’re vilified.

I don’t think that our industry is misrepresented – I just think we get the negative spotlight directed on us a bit brighter. It’s always disheartening when a mainstream television station does an “expose” only to have it be about how tragic we are. Some of us are. But some of us are actually just smart people with a higher sexual energy.

I think that because I had a healthy family life, had a good education, and was raised right – because I was taught by good parents the difference between right and wrong – and also because I got into this industry after a decade-long career on the other side of the lens, and not when I was 18, that I was able to get into this industry with my eyes mostly open. I still made some mistakes, trusted people I shouldn’t. But I never got into the drug and party scene, always worked on being healthy, and developed my brand as carefully as I could, even if that meant I didn’t do a few scenes that would have been lucrative. I thought carefully about how I am presented in the public eye, even if that’s in a super-erotic way that may not be what conservative culture would consider acceptable. In the long run, making the decisions I have made is the reason I’m pretty happy with the work I’ve put out there.

As a BBW and an Asian American woman, have you found it challenging to work in an industry where performers in these genres are sometimes depicted in ways that seem more disrespectful or degrading than sexy?
My first scene for my first website involved me doing an Oriental massage girl, complete with cheesy accent and happy ending. That sort of thing is funny to me, dorky, and I don’t mind playing along. I think it’s healthy when you are able to laugh at yourself. But when a scene calls for something blatantly derogatory – eating traditionally unhealthy food in the middle of a sex scene “because that’s how much food fat people eat, they even eat during sex”, for example – that sort of stuff is where I draw the line. But turning down those scenes is part of being choosy about what your brand is. Once you do scenes like that, you can’t ask a company to take it down from a site or remove it from a DVD. Then again, if that is what you want your brand to be, I’m not going to cut you down for making that decision – that’s YOUR decision.

Kelly hanging out at the 2012 Dinah Shore Weekend

People in BBW communities talk about how some DVD titles and scenes are degrading. What they fail to realize is that so much of it is marketing. My friend Rodney Moore has a line of DVDs called “Whale Watching”. It’s definitely shocking to find out you’ve done a scene for a DVD called that if you didn’t know beforehand. But if you look at other porn titles, you realize that most porn use titles that make fun of the girl – “Horny Slutty White Trash Cum Sluts,” “Miso Horny Asian Chickie,” “Ghetto Ass Black Booty,” “Taco-Lovin’ Lesbian Latinas”…right? Porn titles aren’t MEANT to be PC. They’re MEANT to portray girls as fuck toys. So getting worked up over a title is a bit weird. What girls should be more interested in is how they’re portrayed in the scene they’re in, not the title of the DVD. Are they ok being portrayed as a super-horny nympho? OK, do that. Are they ok being portrayed in a scene where they’re in a bucket of canned spaghetti while having sex? OK, do that. But think about it, and if the answer is yes, then commit to the scene, you know?

Of course, it’s always nice when you’re cast in a project with a sexy feminine title…I won’t deny that ;)

What is are some of the most memorable moments of your current career? What are you most proud of?

 I’m proud of the projects that pushed the envelope. Being asked to play Roseanne in “RoseanneXXX” was pretty awesome, since BBWs aren’t typically asked to be in mainstream porn parodies. Other parodies with larger characters were played by slender mainstream performers. Plus, that’s where I met my guy Tim von Swine, who played Dan in the parody. It’s nice when you get to work on a project and you get a boyfriend/best friend bonus out of the equation.

I’m also proud of the work I did with (performer and director) CJ Wright. That was probably the first time I watched me in a scene and thought, “Yup, I look like a pornstar.” CJ’s work is very high-end and everything he does is done with a high production value. I can’t thank him enough for making me look so amazing.

All of my work with (BBW porn star) April Flores has been beautiful. Much like working with CJ, my scenes for April and her husband Carlos Batts has made me proud of being a performer. April is such a shining light and an inspirational person I’m glad to call a friend. She’s allowed me to see porn from an artistic point of view.

Kelly and boyfriend Tim von Swine, whom played Dan in the Roseanne porn parody.

Any of my personal projects – from PaddedKINK (NSFW) to my current self-produced DVD, “Kelly Shibari Is Overloaded,”(NSFW) have obvious significance to me. I did both projects without investors, which meant they both took a while to get off the ground, but it allowed me to appreciate the people in my life that contributed to those successes – from the fans who participated, to Tim (who inspired me to go through with it), to everyone behind the scenes. Being able to do projects especially after having people tell me it can’t be done make me super happy.

What advice would you give to other women building careers outside of the 9-5 world?

1. Don’t listen to people telling you that you can’t. You can.

2. Always remember that first, second and last impressions are all important.

3. Think before you say or do anything.

4. Don’t do anything you’d regret later, even just a little bit.

5. Plan your spontaneity.

5. If you make a mistake, make sure that it taught you something, and don’t forget the lesson.

6. If you cut ties or burn bridges, make sure you are absolutely OK with that decision.

7. Make sure all business is in writing, even if it’s with your friends. Especially if it’s with your friends.

8. If you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. You WILL survive.

9. People WILL break your heart, lie, cheat and steal from you. You WILL survive.

10. Accept your flaws. Perfection is overrated. Laugh at yourself!

11. Always be conscious of your brand.

12. Always make sure you make time to take care of yourself – always taking care of others is draining and nowhere near as rewarding.

13. Breathe. SO important.

What future projects and goals do you have in store?
I have something coming out in early July – I wish I could talk about it, but I’m under gag order (haha). I promise it’ll be another ground-breaker though :)

July also means appearances at BBWFanFest and Adultcon. I’ll be continuing to promote “Kelly Shibari Is Overloaded” with the hopes of getting some adult retail outlets to carry the DVD. I’m also working on choosing a VOD option for the movie.

There are writing projects that I’d like to tend to, and more film projects to do, and another passion project that I only recently realized I should do something with. I’d like to find an investor, but we’ll see how that goes. I’m horribly bad at asking for help, especially when it comes to money. I’ve had enough people tell me I’m articulate and kinda smart recently, so hopefully I can put that plus my sexuality, and desire to make people happy, to a more public use. The brain’s always working ;)

Like Kelly on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Read previous Work It! interviews here.

Comments

  1. The Gorilla says:

    if it was the 70s when she was 7 she is a few years older than 40. not that it really matters. I love a BBW at any age. remember that second B stands for beautiful.

    • Bianca James says:

      If Kelly is 40 now, she was born in 72. So she would have turned 7 years old in 1979, which is still the 70s IIRC.

  2. Briella Knight says:

    I am a small BBW. Not accepted as a thin fetish model and not accepted as a bbw. Can you tell me how to get out there? I am a spanking model but not popular because I’m too big. Thank you

  3. ciao a tutti, sto cercando lavoro assieme alle BBW, potreste darmi una mano ? ciao e fatemi sapere ok !

  4. Jennifer Marie says:

    I am a BBW and have an amazing desire to make videos. Please email me back, I’ve never expressed this to anyone and would love to know where to start. Thank u so much!!

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