Kelly Shibari: “There Are No Fat Girls in Porn!”

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Kelly Shibari writes at www.fleshbot.com – When Hollywood went on strike in 2007, I had been working as a Prop Master, Set Decorator, then finally a Production Designer / Art Director in mainstream film and television for over ten years. All the work I had depended on in Los Angeles for almost 10 years dried up, as work went out of state and out of the country.

It was the second big wave of strikes in the new millennium – the first one, in 2003, resulted in the creation of reality TV, as mainstream actors all went on strike and Hollywood sought out non-actors to keep productions going. I’d survived the first wave because I was lower on the production totem pole. I didn’t survive 2007.

“What should I do, go back to New York?” I asked my friend, who was a weapons specialist for the film industry, with whom I’d hooked up with a few times when I was single. I could go back to New York and try re-establishing myself as stage crew and stage manager…maybe. I also knew my New York network wasn’t what it was, which worried me.

“You should do porn,” he replied.

“There are NO fat girls in porn!” I said. And I meant it – all the porn I’d ever watched had slender women. The only fat women I’d seen in any semi-nude pose (other than in museums) were those gag/joke postcards you’d see at the beach. You know – those “wish you were here” postcards with the 500lb woman in a bikini? Yeah, those.

“There are companies that shoot gorgeous bigger girls. You could make it work,” he said. He showed me some websites where plus-size women weren’t a punchline, and in fact looked gorgeous. I agreed to send in pictures, and if they said yes, I’d do it…but again, I was worried.

The natural assumption of Asian women is that they’re petite, fragile flowers. Most Asian women know otherwise, but that’s the stereotype. In none of the updates on the site he showed me, I didn’t see any Asians.

I was also already 34. Not only would I be considered “too old” to be a starlet in porn, I was probably too old to do anything in that industry without having had tenure. But they accepted my application, and I flew to Florida and did the first set of pornographic scenes for The Score Group.

I’m now starting my seventh year in the adult industry. During that time, I’ve had many successes and probably just as many disappointments. I’ve dealt with my own share of drama, both with those within my industry as well as with the public. But the number one thing I’ve always maintained is to be true to myself – and that means I’m a brainy, nerdy, slightly dorky (ok, mostly dorky) chubby Asian chick who doesn’t mind being naked. Over the years, the insecurities I had about my size have been stripped away as fans publicly and privately tell me how much they like my performances. I’m now a much more confident person in terms of my size, and I’ve been able to pay that forward by sharing my story and my thoughts.

Being confident, brainy, nerdy, dorky makes sex so much fun, and apparently someone that’s inspired others to own their own size and sexuality. I’ve been able to use my status as a performer to run fundraisers, speak at marketing conferences, produce and direct my own projects, including PaddedKINK (a fetish/kink site dedicated to “women of size”) and “Kelly Shibari Is Overloaded,” a sex toy molded after me, win a few awards, get nominated for more… At the end of the day, I’m just a “Bucket List” girl who just wants to live as many amazing experiences in one lifetime as possible, regardless of size – and it’s helped other girls feel more confident as a result.

Couples make up a large portion of my fan-base. Many couples, where one or both partners are larger, find that my porn is “acceptable” adult entertainment in their homes. Girls don’t feel like they’re inadequate when their guy is watching a porn film where the girl on screen is built like them, and having sexy fun, instead of being made fun of – and many guys are coming out of that proverbial “closet” and admitting they like fat girls! It’s a confidence-booster in the bedroom for sure, and if I’m helping them feel not only better about themselves but then having some awesome sexy fun…woohoo!!!

I also know that I’m not the only one – BBW porn is an ever-expanding (haha) niche, and I’m grateful that I’m allowed to have the fun, pervy opportunity to represent it. It’s also why I am choosy about the scenes I do. I would never perform in a scenario that would be degrading to larger women, though some of the titles I have been in might be questionable. For more info on my thoughts on that, read my post about the “Hungry Hungry Hottie” controversy and labels in porn.

Part of being in the public eye representing sex-positivity also means I have to responsible for how I present myself. Not limited to the kinds of scenes I will or will not do, I also practice self-care. Regular STD tests, protection with non-industry partners and even taking a break from the world for self care (my closest friends know how much of a spa junkie I am!), are important to me. Taking care of myself, and showing how important that is to my fans, helps remind all of us that safe sex and self care leads to the best time possible in all things.

It took a couple of careers is find what my “fit” is. These days, I still perform, direct, and produce, but I’m also part of an amazing PR and Marketing Firm, and have started my journey into how to coach the plus-sized public on how to communicate, develop better relationships, and have more amazing sex. I’m able to take everything I’ve done till now – from working behind the camera, to performing, to using my writing and marketing skills, to use in my new direction. I’m having so much fun!

It took me till I was in my mid-30s to gain my personal confidence, and till I was 40 to find what all of my different directions ultimately led me career-wise. What’s the lesson? Find what works for you, even if that takes time! Don’t be discouraged if your first choice isn’t what is “right” for you…keep trying different things, but bring to the table all of your other work and life experiences. I’m still evolving, and it’s an amazing journey – and the best part is that I get to share all of this with you!

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