Kelly Shibari is a plus-size model who does not look like the typical models you see in a spread for Penthouse magazine. Throughout its history in publication, the magazine is known to promote models that fit the conventional standard of beauty—very thin, petite bodies.
Half-Asian and curvaceous, Shibari is 43. She is considered unique in her adult entertainment industry. She has a growing fanbase, which means that there is a change occurring within the community. Normally, plus-size women in the adult entertainment world are a niche market. It’s not something that they feature in their regular movies and magazines. In the past, there has been exclusion of those not deemed to be the right standard of beauty—meaning, the plus-size people were not good enough to be given the spotlight.
If there has been a change in the clothing industry, there is also a change in other sectors. The adult entertainment world is changing because the standard of beauty in society is changing. Curvy woman like Kim Kardashian and Kate Upton are very popular, and there are also the well-known plus-size models like Ashley Graham who are breaking down barriers with each new campaign they get hired for.
Shibari is a model and adult film actress. She is going to be the first plus-size model to ever be featured in the popular adult magazine.The issue will be on the stands a few days before Christmas. The spread is titled “The Girl Show,” and it features Shibari with two slim models in a circus-themed photo shoot.
Kelly Shibari grew up somewhat of an outcast in Japan. She was not confident as a teenager and was a bullied for the way she looked. In Japan, and in Asia in general, the standard of beauty is that women should be small, thin, and very petite. Curvy woman are not very fashionable. Shibari, being half-Irish, was already curvy in grade school, which made her stand out. The other kids would taunt her for being fat.
When she moved to the United States to study for college, she saw that there were other people with similar or even bigger body shapes. It was then that her confidence started to build. She saw that she wasn’t out of place at all.
After she graduated, she worked as a production designer, art director and roadie before she jumped into the adult entertainment industry. Initially, she did it to make money while productions stopped during the Writers’ Strike of 2007.
She had a friend who was already doing amateur pornography, and she was told that there was a growing demand for plus-size performers in the industry. Kelly looked online at some Web sites that featured big women. Being featured in a gentlemen’s magazine was something she had thought of before, but she never had an opportunity to do.
Kelly looked at the Web sites and saw that they weren’t degrading to curvy women. She thought she would like to try it, so she sent in her pictures. She told herself, “If they take me, then I’ll do it,” and they were interested.
Back in 2014, she was hired to pose for Penthouse Forum, which is an offshoot of the main publication. Her issue sold out quickly, and she had great reviews from the readers. The company decided to feature her in their main magazine.
Adding a plus-size woman is a huge change. They had never done that before. Even Shibari was initially worried about the reaction she would receive from the usual readers of the magazine. She’s also received good reviews from people supportive of including plus-size men and women in the adult entertainment industry. She does feel reassured by their acceptance of her size and different standard of beauty.
Overall, she feels great about her upcoming debut on the popular magazine. She knows there will be some haters, and she is prepared for that. It’s hard to please everybody. Her main advocacy is that with size acceptance, it opens the door for other plus-size models who want to go into adult entertainment.
Little by little, the stigma against being a plus-size model or plus-size personality is breaking down. This is a sign that society now considers a different type of body to be beautiful. No one wants to see the stick-thin models of the past. They now want to see woman who are “real” women, women that represent the general population.