Resurgence: Kelly Shibari

If you’re not a fan of Kelly Shibari, you will be after reading more about her. Before she set the industry on fire with her talents, Kelly worked in mainstream Hollywood as a production designer for movies, TV, music videos, and infomercials. After taking a four-year break from being in the industry, Kelly Shibari is ready to come back better than ever before. Kelly is a hall of fame performer (UrbanX Awards 2020: Hall of Fame Inductee), and you know that you’re in for something special when it involves Kelly. Now and until she decides to retire (again), we need to appreciate the beauty and the many talents of Kelly Shibari.

*Interview and photos courtesy of StarFactoryPR

At what point did the adult entertainment industry interest you? 

Kelly Shibari:
I’ve been interested in adult entertainment as long as I can remember. Growing up in Japan to parents who were progressive when it came to sex, nudity was never something that was taboo in my home. I guess I just grew up in an environment that didn’t see adult entertainment as anything negative. That being said, I hadn’t considered the option of being in this industry until I was in the right place at the right time – during a strike, hanging out with friends, and finding out they worked in the industry on the side. If it hadn’t been for someone introducing me to the industry, I think I would have just stayed a consumer. 

Before you embarked on a career in the industry, what was your thought process? Were you excited, nervous, etc.? 

Kelly Shibari:
I’ve always had a higher sex drive than most, and because I didn’t see nudity or sex as taboo, I didn’t have any negative thoughts going to my first shoot. I was lucky – I had been hired by a big, reputable studio, who showed me the right way a shoot was supposed to go. In addition, I had nearly a decade of experience working behind the camera as a Production Designer and backstage as a stagehand before that, so the whole experience of going to a set wasn’t new to me. Knowing how things work on a film set, before I ever stepped foot on one in front of the camera, probably was the main reason I didn’t have much anxiety. I knew it was a controlled environment with people I could trust. I was only excited about getting to meet my costar!

What kind of an impact did you want to make in the industry, and has that changed in any way since the beginning of your career?

Kelly Shibari:
When I first entered the industry, I really only intended for it to be a sabbatical from my mainstream Hollywood work – that eventually, the Writers’ Strike would end, and work would return to normal. The industry still hasn’t fully recovered (and the pandemic definitely has not helped things), and I found that I really enjoyed working in porn. So, in the beginning, I really started being a performer for the fun of it. Once I realized I wanted to actually make this a full-blown career, I realized I really wanted to work on projects and remembered that the only reason I hadn’t considered getting into porn sooner was because I didn’t realize there was a market for plus-size performers, and that was because I didn’t see my body size represented on the cable and internet channels at the time (these were the pre-social-media days). Working on projects which existed for mainstream performers but not for BBWs became kind of a goal for me and resulted in a BBW kink site, a sex ed guide for people of size, and appearing in mainstream music videos and gentlemen’s magazines.

To date, what’s been your favorite scene that you’ve done? 

Kelly Shibari: It’s really hard to narrow it down to one. I do think any of the work I’ve done for New Sensations / Digital Sin have been my favorite as a body of work. Eddie Powell’s camerawork and direction is absolutely fantastic, and I’m honored every time I’ve been cast in his projects. And my scene with CJ Wright for his studio under Justin Slayer Entertainment is an unforgettable scene by a director who I wish was still creating content for the industry.

What’s your favorite type of content that you enjoy making the most?

Kelly Shibari: When I first got into the industry, I saw it as a chance to check off a lot of my own personal fantasies, and at the time, it was mostly about group sex. Now that, thanks to porn, I’ve tried just about every fetish I have ever been interested in, I’ve been trying out new things that I hadn’t considered doing before but seem to be a hit with my fans. Lately, it’s been audio-based – my voice seems to get this “so hot, so sexy, yet so relaxing” response all the time, so I’m really enjoying creating audio erotica, some ASMR, guided meditations…relaxing JOIs? I’m apparently your gal for that these days, and I’m super happy to deliver.

The pandemic has really changed our way of life and how we interact now. Do you find yourself using technology more (like your OnlyFans) to interact with fans and come out with new content? 

Kelly Shibari: I do! I’ve also definitely been able to use this time at home to try to get caught up with all of the new platforms. As an older performer with most of her past work in studio environments, I didn’t start 2020 with any of the tools the more adaptive performers have been using and keeping up with this whole time – and my social anxiety means I’m not a great cam model or phone sex operator, so I never really adapted to virtual entertainment. Luckily, my fans have been incredibly supportive and helpful, especially in our one-on-one chats, as well as advice and insight from other performers. I have a mix of new scenes and clips on my OnlyFans, as well as older archive content, which has been helpful during this pandemic since I can’t produce any non-solo content. The whole process has been a lot of fun to learn.

You’ve made history in the industry, such as being the first plus-size model to appear in Penthouse Magazine, as well as having your own Fleshlight, and being inducted in the UrbanX Awards Hall of Fame in 2020. How does it make you feel that you’ve accomplished all of these things and being recognized for your hard work? 

Kelly Shibari: I consider all of them amazing bucket list items that I was incredibly lucky to experience. You only live once, you know – or at least you only remember one lifetime at a time – so you might as well make as many memories as you can, while you can. I’ve been that way since I was 15, and now that I’m 48, I’m now able to slow things down and cherish all of the fun things I was able to do – which I think is the best payoff for a life as many-chaptered as mine.

What’s the most challenging or difficult aspect of being in the industry?

Kelly Shibari: Dating, hands down. Some people are able to do relationships while in porn, but I personally have never been successful mixing my performer lifestyle with a personal life with a partner. What works best for me, these days is to have a blanket policy to not date while I’m a performer. I had recently taken a four-year break from performing, and during that time, I definitely had a lot of fun with partners in my personal life…but I know none of them would have worked the minute I got back to performing. As a confirmed bachelorette, I’m pretty happy with my current arrangement – my “boyfriends” are all of the fans who I get to interact with on my OnlyFans and SextPanther, and my friendships with them are real and authentic. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What are some things that you want to do in the industry but haven’t yet? 

Kelly Shibari: I have to admit I’m pretty content these days. If we ever get out of this pandemic, I’d love to be considered for work with studios again; I’d love to shoot overseas as well. But my drive to accomplish something new and newsworthy every other month is out of my system these days – I love seeing what all of the new performers are doing!

When you’re not working, what do you like to do? 

Kelly Shibari: Being a former tech theatre kid means you’re always someone who wants to play with power tools, so when I’m not working as a performer or as a publicist, I’m currently remodeling my house. The pandemic put a damper on some of the bigger projects – I’ve given up on my back yard for now – but I’m having fun researching the newest interior design trends and seeing what I can apply to my own personal surroundings. Which I suppose ends up on camera, so maybe I’m still working when I’m not working (laughs).

What does a typical day look like for you? 

Kelly Shibari: My internal clock has gotten accustomed to getting up sometime between 5 and 6am naturally these days, so it’s nice not to need an alarm clock for that. I spend the next couple of hours getting caught up on the news / current events from the night before, check on my clients’ social media accounts, and check my to-do list for the day. Then the morning stuff – shower, tea, stretching – then settling in with my laptop to tackle that to-do list, which includes tasks from my PR clients, research for upcoming client meetings, and coordinating with other team members for client projects. Then, responding to messages on my fan accounts from the night before – OnlyFans and SextPanther. If there are any one-on-one chats scheduled, those happen in the afternoon / early evening, so I can devote all my time to each chat without interruption. I usually eat around 4pm, kind of a light lunch/dinner combo thing. Once I’m done with work for the day, I’ll unwind while getting caught up on Japanese TV. I do yoga about 3 evenings a week, then in bed by 9pm, though I’ll still plunk around on my personal social media until about midnight. 

In the last few years, how have you grown as a person and as a performer? 

Kelly Shibari: I think my four-year break really allowed me to reassess what I wanted to do and what was important to me. Surviving your own cancer surgery and then losing your last remaining parent days apart makes for a lot of stuff you have to deal with, and I feel like my need to make big splashes just isn’t where it was before. While that may seem depressing at first glance, it actually means I’m finally content with where I am right now in my life. It’s an interesting place to be, and I think my ability to slow down and relax a bit has allowed me to connect even better with my fans and make some really unique content as a result.

Which performers would be on your Mount Rushmore of the adult entertainment industry?

Kelly Shibari: Tera Patrick. Katsuni. Randy Spears. Sean Michaels. 

Do you regret or would have done anything differently in your career? 

Kelly Shibari: I tend not to call them regrets, only lessons, and since those were personal lessons, it’s best left personal.

Where do you think the industry will be in the next few years, and what can people expect to see from you in the future?


Kelly Shibari: I think that online/virtual platforms will become more and more popular and that more and more people will start to normalize adult entertainment. I cannot predict how anything will go right now, given a turbulent election season and a pandemic going on – but I have a feeling we’re definitely going to start to see laws and regulations discussed over online content, particularly over privacy and facial recognition. AR / VR will keep progressing, and I really hope it helps not just adult entertainers but just plain ol’ humans, connect better. In terms of my work, I have a feeling that I will continue to create content for my fans the way 2020 has gone – on my online platforms. It’s really the only place my fans will get to see any new content made since I took my break in 2016, so I encourage everyone to sign up and see what I’ve been up to!

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