KELLY SHIBARI — “This is a great way to get laid by people who are never gonna call me!”

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two part interview with Kelly. The second half will be published next week.

W! Well, hello, Kelly! We have been trying to get together for a really long time. It’s good to finally catch up with you. Let’s go ahead and do the standard “tell us a bit about yourself” stuff for the sake of our less-informed readers.

KS Ok, well, do you want the whole thing?

W! Whatever you want.

KS Ok, well, my name is Kelly Shibari. I’m a BBW adult model; I’m the only Japanese one.

W! Really?

KS In the United States, yeah, so… There’s that aspect. And then there’s the brainy, nerdy aspect which is the fact that I own a social media and social networking company called Hourglass 8, where I coach and consult with companies and individual talent, you know, girls who want to learn to use social media to market and brand themselves better online, and I help them with sales and things like that. And then, um, there’s so many! I’m also a producer and I own my own website called PaddedKink.com which is a BBW kink site, and which is the only one of its kind online right now.

W! Really? That seems amazing.

KS Yeah, so those are some of the aspects of me.

W! That seems like you have a lot of different markets cornered right now. That’s really amazing. I didn’t realize you were the only performing/modeling Japanese BBW.

KS Yeah, there are heavy models in Japan who are Japanese who perform. But chubby porn’s not that popular in Japan. Not really full-on BBWs, but more of like chubby, plumper types. That’s become like this niche that’s become very popular in Japan in the past couple years. I’m the only Japanese BBW performing in the United States. Like, the only English-speaking BBW performer. And I mean there are some Asian BBWs who come and go, they come, they make one or two titles and then they kind of disappear and then maybe six months later they come back and do another one, but I seem to be the only who’s kind of consistently working.

W! Right. Ok. How long have you been performing and modeling?

KS Three years. Actually three years this month.

W! Well, happy anniversary!

KS Thank you.

W! I wanted to talk a little bit about Vegas because we were trying to get together in Vegas and we were both so busy and crazy running around that we didn’t. But I wanted to ask, how was AVN for you?

KS AVN went really well. I tend not to go to award shows in general just because the industry doesn’t really acknowledge BBW as a niche that needs to get awards. But you know, hopefully there’s something gone, I mean AVN did a big piece in December called the “Big and Beautiful” issue, and put April Flores on the cover, who I absolutely love. And they made me the centerfold, which is kind of appropriate because I do so much work online as it is. But they actually made it a fold-out, so I actually was a centerfold.

W! Oh, cool! That’s fun. Everybody wants to be a centerfold.

KS My Breasts and Bondage Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser went really well in Vegas, as well.

W! When I was in Vegas in January, it was my first time there ever.

KS It’s crazy.

W! Yeah, it was insanity, like the whole time! And I was so exhausted by the time I left, I thought they should call it “the city that sleeps less than New York.” Because I live in New York, and we sleep a lot more than they do out there.

KS Well it’s more… New York is the city that never sleeps. Vegas is more like, a 24 hour night club. Or like a 20 hour night club.

W! That’s maybe more appropriate.

KS The entire city has a hangover during the day. It serves its purpose.

W! I guess that was the thing at the convention. Everyone was up really late but we also had to be up really early so it was impossible.

KS Right.

W! But I noticed in an interview somewhere where you said that you really miss New York. Did you live here?

KS Oh yeah, I lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, off and on for about six years. Yeah I lived in Hell’s Kitchen for about six months and then I moved and settled in Bay Ridge.

W! Yeah, Hell’s Kitchen apartments are tiny.

KS Yeah, but I kind of like it because I like going up on the roof and seeing all the other tall buildings.

W! Yeah, I actually had some good friends who had rooftop access in Hell’s Kitchen and it was really nice.

KS Yeah. I’m not a huge fan of L.A. Most people who know me after a while know that I’m not a huge fan of L.A. I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily rough around the edges; I’m just honest. You know, I’m kind of blunt. I tend to say things… If I’m going to say something about you behind your back, then it’s probably something that I would have no problem saying to your face, too. And that’s who I am. L.A. is the kind of city that is more about appearances and not wanting to ruffle any feathers in public. So, the problem with that is that I never really know what people are actually thinking, and that’s hard.

W! Yeah, I bet. That’s difficult. I always had the same problem in Chicago. I felt like everyone I met seemed really nice and then I realized later that they weren’t.

KS Yeah, and then you find out later that, you know, they don’t like you. And my take on it is, look, if I stepped on your toes or if I hurt your feelings, then tell me, we’ll deal with it, and we can both move on. Don’t tell me that everything’s great and hope that that small irritation inside… because you know a few weeks go by and that small irritation turns into this big problem because you’ve never broached that.

W! I guess that’s kind of a New York thing to just speak your mind. I never really thought about it that way but I think that’s very true.

KS Well and the flip side is, you know, if somebody steps on my toes, I will call them out. And I think that then we can just resolve it and move on, but the L.A. attitude is that they’re not used to that, so when I do say something people construe it as some huge drama that gets blown all out of proportion.

W! Yeah I feel like L.A. thrives on drama.

KS Yeah, so I’ve been in L.A. for ten years and I really am still not a huge fan of this city.

W! That sucks.

KS Yeah, and once again, that’ll probably piss off a bunch of L.A. people, but, you know…

W! Yeah, just make the best of it. I feel like maybe part of your willingness to just say what’s on your mind might have a lot to do with the fact that you’re really a highly intelligent person and you don’t want to deal with bullshit. I read that you have an IQ in the MENSA stratosphere, and that you hold multiple degrees, and it made me wonder what made you make up your mind to go into porn, or the adult industry in general.

KS Um, I’ve had this question asked so many times that I actually at one point just made it a blog post.

W! Oh, really? Well I could just read that if you want.

KS No, I had a couple things happen. I spent a great deal of time working behind the camera, before I even considered adult. At the same time that the writers’ strike hit and all the work pretty much dried up overnight, I had a huge breakup with a boyfriend. So it was kind of a multiple reason way that I got into the business, which is one. I didn’t necessarily get into it for financial reasons, but there was no work anyway. I wasn’t really looking for a full-on relationship, so I made the decision that, ok, I’m in my mid-thirties, um, you know. When things like that happen and work dries up and it’s not your fault but it’s an industry-wide thing, you think ok [. . .] why don’t I just take a break and take this opportunity to do something kind of fun? And at the same time I didn’t want to get into a full-blown relationship, and you know, a girl’s still gotta have some fun. And, so, I had a bunch of friends who worked already in the industry and they explained that everybody gets tested, you know, and so after doing a little bit of research, I thought ok. I mean, I don’t want to sound crude, but I thought, ok, this is a great way for me to get laid by people who are never gonna call me afterwards.

W! Yeah, no string attached!

KS Yeah they’re not gonna call me and bug me and be like, “Hey! How are you? Hey! Can we go on another date?” I mean I was not interested in anything like that at all. But I also didn’t want to do like the bar scene and just random hookups because especially in a city like L.A., that kind of stuff is dangerous. So, that combined with the fact that I kind of wanted to take a lifestyle sabbatical anyway… I’m a big fan of taking as many careers and as many life experiences as possible before you get too old. Even before I moved to L.A. I’d already done two separate careers, both in entertainment, but still, you know?

So when this came along I thought, well, this isn’t maybe a natural progression but it’s an understandable progression.

W! Wow, so a lot of thinking went into it.

KS Yeah, and then that was just the first year and a half and then I got bored. And that segued into, cause you know, at a certain point you go, ok well I’ve already done everything I can as far as one caliber of work is concerned, you know maybe it’s about time that I get back into the game of relationships. Um, but work really hadn’t still returned to L.A. in the way that it was a few years ago. So, I said ok, why don’t I just start producing my own content? And one thing I happened to have in the industry is marketing, because I have a background in that.

W! Yeah, so… then you started PaddedKink.com

KS PaddedKink.com launched in December.

W! Right.

KS We’d been working on it for about six months before that, or a year before that, and then about five months ago I ran into a company that had a network site. And they were kink specific. And they had the technical knowledge. I just don’t have much knowledge in that area. I mean, I know plenty about marketing. And about producing content but when it comes to actually making a website and doing all the technical background work? That’s something I don’t know. So instead of spending the next three or four years trying to do a bunch of trial and error, um, I looked at this company’s network places. I planned with a company that had been around forever. They actually had been around before Kink.com. So, then, I was introduced to them and they said, we’d actually be interested in having a plump site. Because we’ve never heard of one, so then we just started going from there.

W! So have you always been interested in kink, or is this something that developed after your involvement in the adult industry?

KS I’ve always been a submissive sexually and I’ve always kind of played here and there with kink before I got into adult. Probably starting like in college. So when I was picking my adult name, I mean there are a bunch of amateur things that I’ve done out there under the name “Olivia.” But that seems to just be one of those names that everybody picks. You know? So there were like three or four other performers also named Olivia, so I said, “You know what?” I also had no last name, so I left amateur to start doing more pro work, obviously, the problem was that I had no last name that would make me more marketable. So I picked a kink last name which is Shibari, which is Japanese rope bondage. Even before, and that was almost three years ago, when I started doing more adult work it was kind of always there in the background because of the name.

W! So did you find that people… I feel like in American kink culture, the Japanese rope-tying arts aren’t as popular so people aren’t as familiar with it. So did you find that people recognized the name? Respond to it by wanting you to be involved in kink projects?

KS Well the interesting thing about kink in general online is that 99% of the sites out there seem restricted to the image that all people in kink are skinny and beautiful and look like models. One of the large companies out there is obviously Kink.com, and the majority of girls on the site are not real lifestylers; they’re girls who are hired to be on the scene. And on the flip side, if you actually look at the people who are in the lifestyle, you realize that the majority of those people are actually plus size, or at least not model skinny. And so, I had been recommended over the past three years to apply to kink sites like that, with rope bondage, and I’d gotten responses back like, “You don’t fit our size model.” So I thought, well, you can either complain about it or do something about it.

W! Yeah, fuck those guys. Who needs that?

KS So at the time I segued out of doing triple x porn mostly. I mean I still do it sometimes, a scene here and a scene there, but I’m happier doing more kink work. I think it’s more interesting. So, then I had to get the word out in the kink community that I was thinking about getting a site like this together, and the response was amazing. People were saying, “Wow, if you put a site like that together then we want to be a part of that.” The guys were responsive, too. So once we did that kind of market research, we said, “Well ok let’s see how it does.” And the responses we got, I mean, we launched right before Christmas, and we’d already tripled our membership in January from what we got in December. February’s already looking really good. We haven’t had a bad response yet.

W! Great.

KS So, obviously we’re gonna have some criticism, but that comes from being a branding site. And models have been coming out of the woodwork wanting to be part of the project. It’s kind of interesting, in that we launched the site, and even though we have a lot of members we’re still trying to break even on my initial investment, so the nice thing is that the community is being very supportive, and I’m getting a lot of models coming out of the woodwork saying they just want to be part of the project.

W! Wow, yeah, that’s really cool. It’s like it has some soul to it.

KS Yeah, you know like, to them, they’re making a statement. I mean, I’m not really trying to make a social statement. It’s more out of a selfish thing, I mean, fine, if you’re not gonna hire me then I’ll just make my own damn site. But, um, it’s turned into this thing where there are a lot of girls and guys who are interested in being part of the site.

W! Well and you know, why not make a social statement if it fits the bill?

KS Yeah absolutely.

W! I think that’s really great because I think that in the past maybe decade or so the adult industry has gained somewhat more acceptance in the mainstream, and so it would seem like the next step would be to open up the idea of what is acceptable in the adult industry. And make people open up their minds a little bit. And I think it’s fantastic that you’ve got a site that is pushing several boundaries at the same time. Why not? Fuckin’ do it.

KS Yeah it’s just that for the longest time, in an adult situation, girls like me were just made fun of. Like in Jackass 2 where get a skinny guy and they get like a big girl to jump in his lap and stuff. And it was this big thing. And even in the mainstream we’ve got Lane Bryant, and like Hot Topic came out with Torrid, and people are starting to recognize that there are larger women. And my take is that obviously there are larger women who are unhealthy, but there’s the same percentage of skinny women who are unhealthy, too.

W! Oh yeah, definitely.

KS I work out on a pretty regular basis, you know. I mean I do eat my fair share of macaroni and cheese and fat food, but I try to eat as healthy as possible, I don’t drink a lot of soft drinks, you know, and I do try to work out on a fairly regular basis when I can, and even as I may be biologically overweight, every year I go and get my physical, and when my numbers come back they are very healthy. I actually have low blood pressure. So when a society looks at fat people and says, “Well you’re fat therefore you’re unhealthy,” it’s kind of a misnomer because there’s plenty of skinny people, and plenty of regular-sized people who are not healthy. Size doesn’t determine how healthy you are.

W! Right. And spending all your time in the gym and drinking water and eating lettuce, um…

KS Yeah, it’s not healthy because you’re not getting any protein or the vitamins that you need. And there are plenty of skinny people who are skinny because they do harmful things to their bodies. I mean, they only drink coffee and smoke cigarettes and don’t eat at all, or you know, they’re bulimic. And they’re throwing up everything that they eat. Or they’re getting put on pills when they really don’t even need to be. You know like the celebrity, the extremely skinny kind of Angelina Jolie look is not because you’re a healthy person, it’s because you’re doing something harmful to help that along.

W! And it’s amazing that the more time I spend around people who are in the adult industry, the more I realize that many of the women are much smaller than they appear on camera. And sometimes they look great when you see them in a movie, and they look normal, and then you walk up next to them and they’re these teeny, tiny people. And it’s kind of… weird.

KS You know the best thing that really happened to me, and I’ll say that my ego’s pretty healthy, because I know that I suffered through elementary school and junior high with kids calling me fat, that I’m at the point now where people call me fat and I just go, “Yeah? So?” But I also know that I’m a nice person and I’m pretty and that that’s ok. I’m a little overweight, but so what, there’s plenty of guys out there that like this.

W! Yeah, they’re all signing up to your website.

KS So I’m not that bothered about physical things, but… The best thing that could have possibly happened for my ego was going to one of these adult conventions. Because you find out that skinny girls have cellulite. Skinny girls have stretch marks. Skinny girls have weird, saggy skin. You meet these girls at a convention, and you walk away going, “You know what? I look better than probably a third of the girls who were there.” And just knowing that, like, skinny girls get cellulite, made a huge difference to me. Cause people always think that cellulite means you’re fat.

W! Yeah, that’s the conventional wisdom, but I’ve looked this one up. It’s totally not true. If you’re gonna get cellulite, you’re gonna get it, and it doesn’t matter what size you are.

KS Right. And I know plenty of big girls who maybe have some dimples but they don’t have anything like what you would consider bad cellulite.

—Check back next week when we post part 2 of our interview with Kelly!

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