LAS VEGAS—It turns out Angela White handles the AVN Awards Show stage just as well as she navigates adult movie sets.
In one of her many trips to the microphone Saturday night, the Australian star delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech after winning 2018 AVN Female Performer of the Year.
“I just want to say that like a lot of you here tonight I traveled a long way to be here and the way that I’ve been welcomed into the US industry has been incredible and at times overwhelming,” White told the sold-out crowd at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
“Thank you so much for all of the love that you’ve given me. It really means a lot to me.”
White and her studio AGW Entertainment combined to win a total of 14 AVN Awards, four of which were voted on by the fans in a record-setting haul for the pride of Sydney, Australia.
She led the way on a historic occasion for adult entertainment, teaming with live cam superstar Harli Lotts and raunchy comedian Aries Spears to co-host the 35th annual ceremony, presented by MyFreeCams, that featured two electrifying performances by Grammy-winning rapper Lil Wayne and for the first time was live streamed for tens of thousands of fans around the world on AVN.com.
Dozens of adult entertainment luminaries stepped into the spotlight on the groundbreaking evening that saw emotions running high. The entire cast and crew of Half His Age: A Teenage Tragedy commanded the room twice as winners of Best Drama and Movie of the Year, notable feats considering the delightfully demented feature co-directed by Bree Mills and Craven Moorehead was the first from Mills’ Pure Taboo studio that launched in 2017.
But what sent chills through the audience had little to do with the gold statuettes that were being presented and everything to do with an unexpected moment in the second half of the show.
When Greg Lansky became only the second man to ever win Director of the Year - Body of Work three consecutive times, he invited his friend and fellow director, Kevin Moore, to join him on stage, stepping aside to allow Moore to speak instead of making an acceptance speech.
Moore lost his wife August Ames to suicide on December 5, sparking a national conversation about the harmful effects of cyber-bullying.
In the final days of her life the 23-year-old Ames, who was nominated for 2018 Female Performer of the Year, was at the center of controversy within the industry because of a tweet she sent out saying she was cancelling a booking because she found out her scene partner had previously performed in gay scenes. Her stance was perceived by many observers as “homophobic,” leading to swift backlash on Twitter critical of her decision and also what Ames said in response to the negativity she received.
In an effort to honor Ames’ legacy and prevent other such tragedies, Moore vowed to take action in a moving, powerful speech especially aimed at the performers in the audience.
“You deserve to be treated like gold because without you there is no industry,” Moore said. “This only exists because of you guys. That means respecting your choices. That means who you work with is up to you. It’s your body. It’s your choice. No agent, no producer, no company and certainly not social media decides what you do with your body.
“And for those who don’t treat the performers with respect, you’re part of the problem. To the female performers I want to say thank you—for everything that you do, for everything that you’ve endured and for everything that you are. Because it really doesn’t get said. In the coming months I’m going to be launching The August Project in memory of my wife, which will be a support system tailored for performers in this industry. It will be a resource so that if any of you find yourselves on the edge of a cliff, help is a phone call away.
“Always remember August Ames, Yurizan Beltran, Olivia Nova and Olivia Lua. Never let this industry forget them. This is your night. This is their night, too.”
By the time Moore walked away from the mic many who felt the weight of his words were wiping their eyes.
Backstage, Lansky and Moore stood side by side once again and Lansky—who along with his studios, Blacked and Vixen, accounted for eight AVN Awards—didn’t want to talk about his accolades.
“What I really want to talk about is Kevin is launching The August Project and that’s the most important thing people need to remember about tonight,” Lansky said.
Moore, who was wearing a black “Never Forget” August Ames t-shirt underneath his jacket that he gave out free to anyone who wanted one at the AVN Show, said his endeavor is in the same spirit as The Trevor Project, whose mission is to end suicide among the LBGTQ community.
“It’s huge and one of the women helping me used to work for that [organization],” Moore explained.
“It’s a suicide prevention line. But what we want to do is to make one that’s tailored to the women. The performers. Because part of the problem is shame. Shame with…I have a drug problem. I have depression. I am bipolar and there’s a certain shame associated with that. We need to get past that shame so performers have a hotline they can call and be like, ‘You know what, I want to kill myself right now.’ And they can be talked off that ledge by someone who instead of judging them based on their work, looks at them as just a person now.”
Moore said he would be meeting with the Free Speech Coalition in February about logistics and that he would be one of the three board members of The August Project.
“We will go from there and start creating a network and hopefully get other people involved,” Moore added. “I know when she died it was amazing how many people in the psychiatric community hit me up and said, ‘I’ll help in a heartbeat. I don’t care what people do for a living.’ I even found ex-people from industry—makeup artists and stuff like that—that have left the business and went and got a degree in psychotherapy and were like, ‘I’m ready to help.’
“So I think it’s building a network. Another problem, too, is a lot of times in this business you get these sex therapists. They’re not therapists, that’s bullshit. You need real medical professionals. You need people to tell you the steps you need to take. You might even need to see a psychiatrist because maybe you do need medicine. You need real serious mental health providers in this business.”
Hundreds of performers wore the teal and purple ribbons signifying Suicide Prevention Awareness that were available at the front of the red carpet in honor of all those who we’ve lost and anyone who is hurting.
This year the adult industry’s most anticipated annual event attracted unprecedented media coverage as reporters from CNN, FOX, the New York Times, Washington Post and Rolling Stone, among other national media outlets, converged on the red carpet that curled through the casino hours before showtime. Executive produced for the 30th straight year by Gary Miller, the AVN Awards once again radiated with star power as a parade of adult industry celebrities made appearances on the red carpet and The Joint stage, along with the Official Trophy Girls for the night, Sofi Ryan and Ayumi Anime. The sightings included 2009 Female Performer of the Year Jenna Haze, the 2010-11 Female Performer of the Year Tori Black and the eight-time Foreign Performer of the Year, Rocco Siffredi, who was introduced by AVN Media Network CEO Tony Rios before he presented the award for Best Drama.
The award for Best New Starlet went to Dallas native Jill Kassidy, who made her porn debut in 2016 after previous jobs at a timeshare company and Starbucks. She accepted her award from the 2017 Best New Starlet Holly Hendrix.
“I just wanted to say thank you to AVN and my fans and [my agency] LA Direct and everyone I get to work with every day,” Kassidy, who wore a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader outfit at the Expo Friday, said on stage.
In the winner’s circle backstage, Kassidy cried.
“I’m so happy, I worked very hard,” she said, gripping a gift bag from Pornhub that contained a Tiffany pearl necklace and some branded sex toys. “I just never had a job that I liked and. … I really like porn and it means a lot to me that people like me in porn and they want to give me Best New Starlet. I did not expect this.”
Hendrix, who also shed tears outside the winner’s circle, gave Kassidy some encouragement, telling her, “You’re Best New Starlet! You hold this title…you worship this title, you are the queen of porn right now!”
Meanwhile, the Male Performer of the Year award changed hands for the first time since 2015, as Russian stud Markus Dupree captured the crown, halting the record three-peat run by Austrian deal-closer Mick Blue.
Dupree, dressed in a black tuxedo, did not pull any punches in his epic, nearly seven-minute acceptance speech in which he thanked his agent, LA Direct owner Derek Hay, the first top girls with whom he shot in America—Adriana Chechik and Abella Danger—director Chris Streams, Greg Lansky, Pat Myne, Mason, John Stagliano, Mick Blue and Toni Ribas, among others.
Dupree said Hay gets results.
“He doesn’t give a fuck about bullshit,” Dupree said, noting that the 2017 Female Performer of the Year Chechik introduced him to Chris Streams.
“You’re the guy who believe in me,” he added, saying no one wanted to shoot him when he first landed in LA in August 2015.
The 29-year-old native of St. Petersburg, Russia, who lived with his grandmother as a teen and started his porn career in 2007, came to Vegas this year with an industry-leading 22 nominations.
In another first this year, AVN awarded the best in cosplay, which has evolved into one of the most influential niches in the billion-dollar business of live cams. The inaugural trophy for Favorite Cosplay Cam Cosplayer went to Catjira, whose enthusiastic members on MyFreeCams are known as The Cat Cult.
“I’m so shocked by this,” Catjira said on stage. “I’m so grateful. AVN added this category acknowledging cosplay in porn and I’m the first person to win this. Thank you AVN and thank you MFC—MyFreeCams—for giving me this platform and all the other cosplay cammers. Thank you for adding MFC Share, too, so we can post all of our content. I love porn and I love cosplay porn and everybody who makes cosplay porn.”
A former dog groomer who started camming in 2015, Catjira has become a widely recognized brand in the cam community. Members find her cosplays of Harley Quinn and Negan from Walking Dead especially entertaining. Backstage, she admitted accepting the award in front of 4000 people was “really scary.”
“I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t prepare anything. I didn’t think I was going to win,” said Catjira, who graced the cover of the November 2017 issue of CAMStar.
Speaking of cam girls with cult followings, the petite phenom Kati3kat became the first repeat winner of the AVN Fan Award for Favorite Cam Girl. The June 2016 Miss MFC—a coveted title awarded monthly to the model who accumulates the most tokens—said the “KKC” (Kati3kat Crew) always has her back.
“The Kati3kat Crew are the guys that come every single day no matter what time I sign on,” the 23-year-old native of Portland, Ore., who cams from Washington, told AVN backstage. “They’re always there for me. I could be sick, I could be up at 5 a.m. on a Friday and they’re there for me. The support is unreal. It’s crazy—they’re amazing. I can’t put it into words…They’re the reason that this [trophy] is in my hand.”
The cam community came out in force like never before to this year’s show—MFC’s enormous contingent occupied the entire third level of The Joint, where the MFC Share blimp supplied aerial shots throughout the broadcast.
Aubrey Kate, the 27-year-old star from Orange County, Calif., repeated as the winner of Transssexual Performer of the Year and Favorite Trans Cam Star; in addition Kate won Transsexual Scene of the Year for her performance with Adriana Chechik in Adriana Chechik Is the Squirt Queen from Toni Ribas/Evil Angel.
“Honestly, I was not expecting this at all and I feel like a few girls deserve this,” Kate said. “I put in my all this year. I did double anal. I did a six-guy gangbang. I did things that I normally would not do and I gave it my all. … I just did everything I could and this just means so much to me.”
A handful of outstanding sex scene awards were presented on stage—the first of which went to Katrina Jade and Kissa Sins for their Best Girl/Girl performance in Jade’s showcase for Evil Angel Films, I Am Katrina, that was directed by the gonzo legend John Stagliano.
“This is so fucking rad,” Sins said as she picked up her engraved trophy backstage, adding the notorious “Buttman” gave them some direction and then got out of the way.
“He told us everything not to do and then we just did everything we fucking wanted to,” Sins, who also was AVN’s own Backstage Insider doing video interviews along with Red Carpet host Christiana Cinn, continued. “She’s my real wife and we just did what we wanted. He just let go of control after a while because he could not control us. I’m just happy. We made girl/girl violent.”
The beaming Aidra Fox pranced onto the stage to accept the Best Oral Sex Scene award for her frenetic blow-bang in Mason’s Facialized 4 for Hard X/O.L. Entertainment. In the scene that must be seen to be believed, the excitable native of Milwaukee, Wisc., inhaled Jason Katana, Donny Sins, Filthy Rich, Hunter, Mark Zane, Brad Hart, Robby Echo, Wrex Oliver, Rob Banks and Chad Alva.
Backstage, the four-time AVN Award-winner said she remembered “mostly just the fact that was the first time I’ve ever taken so many penises at once.”
“So that was really, really awesome and also the men. I was really excited to work with all of them,” Fox said.
Speaking of sensational hardcore, Lana Rhoades and Markus Dupree won the Best Anal Sex Scene trophy for their scalding performance in Jules Jordan’s Anal Savages 3, which also won Best Anal Movie; and the line claimed Best Anal Series. Between Jordan’s own productions and the studios he distributes, JJV left with its name on 15 AVN Awards.
The 2017 AVN Hottest Newcomer winner Rhoades said she had a feeling her hook-up with Dupree would get some traction.
“You just know whenever you do like an amazing scene,” Rhoades told AVN backstage. “After the scene I felt extremely proud of both of us. Some things are just like magic.”
Dupree confessed that anal sex “brings out the animal inside of me.”
“The most important thing is passion and it’s what I try to show the people—is pleasure and passion and girls cumming. Most important is that she have pleasure,” Dupree added.
In what may have been the most intimate carnal coupling of 2017, Angela White connected with five-time AVN Male Performer of the Year Manuel Ferrara in the first creampie scene of her 15-year career for Angela 3. Their incredible performance received the Best Boy/Girl Scene award.
“There are very few performers that can bring the best out of other performers and Angela is definitely one of them,” the always charming Ferrara, dressed in a white tux, told the audience.
The scene emerged from the most contested category in porn today as more than 800 pre-nominations for Best Boy/Girl were submitted to AVN in August—15 of which were nominated.
Backstage Ferrara kept it real, revealing that he believed they had an excellent chance to emerge victorious.
“This is going to sound super cocky but there was no way another scene would win before us,” Ferrara said. “It was so special. It doesn’t look like a sex scene. It looks like just people in love having real sex. That’s how I felt doing the scene and after the scene, staying connected and together like that. It was very, very special. She said I was the best scene she’s ever done and also I felt the same way. I think that’s the best scene I’ve ever done.”
Ferrara, who is from Gagny, France, and was studying to be a physical education teacher when he found porn, has performed in more than 1900 movies in his 20-year, Hall of Fame career.
One of the newest members of the AVN Hall of Fame is none other than White, who not coincidentally is part of the Class of 2018 that was announced at the beginning of the broadcast.
She produced, directed and performed in every scene in Angela 3, which also won AVN Awards for Best Double-Penetration Sex Scene with Markus Dupree and Mick Blue; and Best Group Sex Scene for her gangbang with Xander Corvus, Toni Ribas, John Strong, Blue and Dupree. Chris Streams shot the movie.
In addition, White took home awards for Best Solo/Tease performance, Best Editing—she edited Angela 3 herself—and in the fiercely competitive category of Best Star Showcase.
“I couldn’t have done it alone,” White said on stage. “I really have to thank my crew who went above and beyond.”
In addition, her AGW release Angela Loves Women 3 was named Best All-Girl Movie and her Angela Loves…series earned Best Continuing Series, while she also collected the Fan-Voted awards for Most Spectacular Boobs, Favorite Porn Star Website, Most Amazing Sex Toy—for the Angela White Fleshlight (a second time)–and Favorite Female Porn Star.
Backstage in a quiet corner with 2015 Female Performer of the Year Anikka Albrite, White was breathless. “I’m overwhelmed. I haven’t even taken it in yet,” she whispered to Albrite, who, along with her husband Mick Blue had made their way backstage to personally congratulate her.
White moved from Australia to the San Fernando Valley in the summer of 2016, signing with Spiegler Girls agency, which had her booked from the get-go for months in advance.
She rode a wave of momentum into 2017, racking up dozens of sex scenes, landing feature roles and sought-after titles such as Girlsway Girl of the Month in April and Vixen Angel in June.
When it came time to accept her crowning award for Female Performer of the Year, White struck a sensitive chord.
“Thank you AVN for this beautiful honor and to all the nominees who are here tonight. And to August [Ames], who tragically could not be here tonight. I am proud to have been nominated alongside you. There are a number of people I have to thank: Mark Spiegler, my agent, my friend, you are one of the truly generous souls.”
The live feed flashed to Spiegler sitting near the stage with tears in his eyes.
“I am so happy to be part of the Spiegler sisterhood,” White continued, before singling out Spiegler’s right-hand man, George, who met the super agent when he was his personal banker.
“And George, thank you for your love and support. Did that come out wrong?”
Once again the live feed switched to a reaction shot, finding George in the audience appearing to sense the gravity of her remarks.
“There’s so many people and I’m so nervous and I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude I don’t want to forget anybody,” White said, pausing to consider her words. “Let’s begin with Greg Lansky. Where is Greg Lansky? Greg Lansky, you believed in me from the very beginning and I will never forget that. You elevate those around you. Thank you.
“Thank you to my dear friends Jason and Renee for making the trip over here. It really means so much to me. Thank you to Tanya [Tate] and Alex [Raymond] at StarFactory PR. Thank you to all of the directors and companies that booked me this year and allowed me to express and explore my sexuality, thank you. Thank you to all of the performers who collaborated with me. You helped me grow as a performer and as a person. Thank you to all of the various crews I’ve used—the camera operators, the production assistants and makeup artists…”
Watching the monitor from her perch backstage, Kissa Sins broke down and when White appeared seconds later, Kissa told her, “That was amazing, beautiful. I’m inspired.”
As Performer of the Year winners, White, Dupree and Aubrey Kate received special gifts from live-cam site ImLive.
“What an amazing night for many performers,” said ImLive spokesperson Carole Wood. “The show was highly enjoyable and we wish each one of them congratulations. For many years now, ImLive.com has had the honor of giving the three Performers of the Year a special gift to add to their much deserved awards and this year was no different with each receiving a piece of jewelry from Tiffany.
“Amazing job to all that were involved and we are already looking forward to next year’s event and to continuing our support of the industry throughout the year by honoring the performers at our regular celebrity porn star events, Thank you AVN for a great night and well done to all.”
Bree Mills spoke for her talented cast and crew when it came time to celebrate the Best Drama and Movie of the Year, Half His Age: A Teenage Tragedy.
Written by Mills, the movie stars Charles Dera as hunky gym teacher Mr. Davies, who is cheating on his wife with one of his students, Lola, played by Jill Kassidy. But when Mr. Davies fucks Lola in the men’s room after class one day and another student Heather (Kristen Scott) secretly records it on video, Davies’ world spirals out of control in horrifying ways. There are two surprising fight scenes in the movie, which created dramatic tension in no small part due to skillful handheld camerawork.
“We shot this over six days in July,” Mills told the audience. “It was the first feature that we shot for Pure Taboo, the Little Studio That Could. And during the course of those days we discovered and really owned our craft in terms of the storytelling and the cinematography and the way that we work with actors and the power of acting in adult. And I want to make sure it’s clear when I say the power of acting in adult what I mean is the empowerment of adult actors.
“We are at a great advantage in this room because we have the ability to tell amazing, complex, captivating, motivating, entertaining stories and we can include the ultimate sexual expression. So I want to leave you with this. I want to thank my co-pilot Craven Moorehead, the entire cast and crew.”
A Boston native who moved to Canada as a teen, Mills brought several years of mainstream experience in the music and e-commerce worlds to her position at Gamma Films.
Backstage she said casting Half His Age—additional supporting roles were played by MILF Performer of the Year Cherie DeVille, Small Hands and Xander Corvus—was that “I wanted to work with talent that I knew had it in them and they just needed an avenue to let it out. So all of these performers I had seen and I knew that I was just going to give them a little more, a little extra and see what they come up with.”
When Lil Wayne returned to the stage for his final medley, he went shirtless with black sunglasses and kicked off the set with his platinum-selling hit “A Milli,” followed by tracks such as “Go DJ,” “Got Money,” “Hustler Musik” and “I’m the One,” among others, as more than a dozen dancers from the Hustler Club joined him along with about 100 porn stars.
Then when Mills returned to the stage 10 minutes later to hoist the Movie of the Year trophy, she concluded “this is the icing on the cake.”
“I’m not going to make this an episode of Porn Script Theater, those of you who know what that is," Mills said. "I’m just going to take the opportunity to once again thank this incredible cast. You guys let us drag you through every emotion—no matter how crazy or outlandish or outside your comfort zone—you all did it with enthusiasm and passion."
She continued, “To this crew, my god you guys are my family. Matt Holder, Lisa Sloane, Stllls by Alan, my co-pilot Craven Moorehead, Billy Visual, Jonathan B, Woody All-In, AJ Bucks, Curious Judas and that dude…To the team back in Montreal, thank you for giving us the trust to make something new and something different and something daring and something that challenges the status quo of what adult content can be.”
Kristen Scott, who won her first AVN Award, Best Supporting Actress, for her twisted role, said becoming Heather was a departure for her.
“I’m used to being the teenybopper that gets corrupted,” Scott, a native of San Diego, told AVN in the winner’s circle. “My natural energy is to be fun and happy and silly. This is so overwhelming. It just really surprised me.
“The character was so much fun to get into especially with Bree Mills, who would go through what kind of person we wanted to portray. We would shoot ideas back and forth about how we wanted this person to come across. Just going from a point of being the manipulated and oppressed younger sister to then being the girl who is manipulating the whole situation and kind of directing all of the craziness that’s happening in this whole movie—it was incredible.”
Small Hands also won his first AVN Award for playing what he called in the BTS reel a “scumbag” who bangs his step-sister (Scott).
“I love acting so I did not find it challenging,” Small Hands said. “I thought it was a fucking blast. To be absolutely fair, to be around such talented people I’m the least talented in the room, so I’m having fun. I’m just trying to keep up with Kristen and Jill and Charles and Xander and Craven and Bree are so fucking brilliant that I’m just trying to keep up. I’m just holding on, like let’s keep up baby. I’m stoked. I’m really appreciative.”
Tommy Pistol let it be known in no uncertain terms how pleased he was to win AVN Best Actor for the third time in his glittering career for his role in Mike Quasar’s Ingenue for Wicked Pictures.
“Thank you to this industry; we’re a fucked-up family but we’re a family,” Pistol said when he took the stage.
Pistol now has claimed the industry’s top acting prize in three of the past five years (2016, 2014).
“It feels fucking awesome just to be acknowledged, when I’m in a category. I fucking love it,” Pistol said in the winner’s circle. “I love my job. I really love everything and people are so good to me in this industry. I appreciate it so much. It’s not just like, ‘well whatever.’ It fucking means something. It really fucking means something.”
He continued, “It was a good drama. It was a good piece about an older man whose life sucks and then this young woman comes into his life and he’s like, ‘I’m not done. I’m not this shriveled-up man.’ It was meaningful. It was fucking real. I love the way Mike Quasar writes his scripts because a lot of them are very real and they’re believable. It’s authentic.”
Sara Luvv, the 23-year-old native of the San Fernando Valley, graced the AVN Awards stage for the first time in her six-plus year career to lift the Best Actress award for her role in The Faces of Alice for Girlsway/Girlfriends Films.
“The most challenging part was switching between characters because I played three characters in this movie and it was really hard to toggle between being a super feminine woman and being a butch lesbian who kind of acts like a sleazy dude,” Luvv said. “So I think that was the most challenging and doing that during a sex scene was very challenging.”
When she looked out to the sea of people gathered at The Joint, Luvv said she saw “family.”
“Because I really think of the industry as family and through the years—like that was my first time on stage—and I’d always thought I hope I don’t go up on stage because I’m going to feel so nervous and I don’t know how to talk in front of people, and I went up and I felt so comfortable because I know everyone and I love everyone so much,” Luvv added.
Earlier in the night Girlsway’s Vampires, a dark fantasy inspired by the active Girlsway community, triumphed in the inaugural Best Action/Thriller category, edging out several heavyweight productions.
Directed by Stills by Alan, the supernatural tale features Shyla Jennings, Abigail Mac, Melissa Moore, Carter Cruise, Jelena Jensen, Serena Blair, Georgia Jones and Angela White.
Stills by Alan said the biggest challenge they overcame easily was “the colored contacts.”
“This project took about six months with the script writing, pre-production and post production,” Alan said. “We brought our editor [backstage], who did some magic in post, and about five incredibly insane days of filming.”
The Best Comedy award went to AVN Hall of Fame director/performer Joanna Angel’s latest passion project, Jews Love Black Cock, from from her studio Burning Angel and distributor Exile.
She joked backstage her idea for the movie came from “being a Jew and loving black cock.”
“It’s such an amazing feeling to come up with a concept and then put it all together,” Angel said. “I love making movies, especially when it’s comedy it’s a very special, particular thing. I’ve always wanted to make porn where people were laughing with me and not at me.”
Stage photos by Dan Miller (photo 2) and Rick Garcia/IndustrybyRick