2021 AVN Awards Show Goes All Digital in Affair to Remember

LOS ANGELES—Emily Willis leaned forward with her head in her hands as Scarlett Sage hugged her.

When she looked up, all she could do was smile.

Willis won the 2021 AVN Award for Female Performer of the Year on Saturday night in what turned into a triumphant evening for the 22-year-old from St. George, Utah, accepting the trophy during an intimate watch party with some of her agency sisters from Motley Models.

“My heart was pumping so hard,” Willis said. “And you’re like bracing yourself and thinking, ‘OK, even if I don’t win this, I worked my ass off and I was nominated, I was on the list.’ But when I heard my name called it was awesome. I was like fuck yes!”

The Spanish superstar captured a total of nine awards during the first all-digital AVN Awards Show, presented by MyFreeCams, in a live-streamed broadcast on AVNStars.com.

“I love what I do,” Willis told AVN. “This is my passion. I give it my all and I think that when you love what you’re doing it really shows.

“I always put my career first and nothing comes between that—and that’s what got me here. I’m so honored… You have no idea how thankful and grateful I am. This means the fucking world to me.”

Willis emerged as one of the night’s big winners in a fast-moving ceremony that also saw fellow Motley Model Scarlit Scandal crowned Best New Starlet, Small Hands repeat as Male Performer of the Year, Seth Gamble three-peat as Best Leading Actor and Kayden Kross take home her third straight trophy for Director of the Year.

Kross’s sensational Season 1 of Muse received the first Grand Reel award—for the most outstanding production—along with six other honors in a series produced by Vixen Media Group’s Deeper imprint.

Co-hosted by Kira Noir and Skyler Lo with Trophy Girls Avery Cristy and Lily Larimar, the 38th annual show revealed the winners in more than 120 categories in every area of adult entertainment.

Several industry luminaries joined the virtual broadcast from their homes across the U.S. and in countries such as Austria, Hungary and Spain in an international affair watched by fans of adult entertainment around the world.


Willis shared her jubilation from the Motley Models house in L.A., where she heard her name called by Bridgette B. in the event’s first award category—for Best Girl/Girl Sex Scene for her hook-up with Elsa Jean in Influence Elsa Jean (Tushy).

It was one of five sex scene awards for the former door-to-door sales ace for DirecTV, who also won Best All-Girl Group Scene with Riley Reid and Kristen Scott for Paranormal (GirlGirl.com); Best Blowbang Scene for her 10-man throw-down for Hard X’s Facialized 7; and Best POV Sex Scene for draining veteran deal-closer Mick Blue for EvilAngel.com.

But it was The Insatiable Emily Willis that ran her trophy count to nine. The two-disc set produced and directed by Jules Jordan featured Willis in all five scenes, two of which received honors, while the movie won the coveted award for Best Star Showcase. Her first-ever D.P.—with Mick Blue and Steve Holmes—received Best Double-Penetration Sex Scene; and her tussle with Prince Yahshua and Rob Piper took Best Three-Way Sex Scene – B/B/G.

“It was a dream,” Willis said. “I had been a big fan of Jules Jordan for a long time and I knew I wanted a showcase from him and to have that be recognized by AVN was amazing.

“I got to do what I wanted to do. That is the style of gonzo I like to shoot—I love rough, hard fucking and that’s what that showcase was. It was dirty and nasty—but glam. Jules is a freakin’ genius and I love him.”


The feeling is mutual, Jordan told AVN after the show.

“It takes someone special like Emily Willis to put a project together like Insatiable,” Jordan said. “She has what it takes to be a legendary performer. This was kind of a match made in heaven that we came together to do this.”

The AVN Hall of Fame director from Hershey, Pennsylvania, started shooting Willis’s showcase before the pandemic erupted and wrapped the last scene just as the crisis was starting to derail 2020 production schedules.

“Fortunately, we were able to get this out,” Jordan continued. “I think it was one of the last bigger movies that was I able to push out before things shut down and it’s been a No. 1 seller for us since we put it out.”

A 25-year porn veteran who started his career as a clerk at an adult video store, Jordan won Best Directing – Non-Narrative Production for the second straight year. The triumph marked the fourth time overall he has taken home the top directing award for an all-sex production since he shot his first amateur sex scenes in 1996 in the Philadelphia area.

“It’s great to be recognized for that,” added Jordan, who also earned directing awards for star showcases with Alexis Ford (2013), Jesse Jane (2016) and Angela White (2020).

“Obviously, that’s the main award that I’m looking for as a director. I didn’t think going into this that I was trying to win Best Director. Honestly, she made me look a lot better than maybe I actually am. I’m fortunate I’m able to do it as virtually a one-man gang because I do most of the photos, all of the video and the styling. So it’s fun to see a project come together where you oversaw every side of it and it came out great. And in a tough competition when you win it always feel good.”



The Best New Starlet winner Scarlit Scandal started Saturday evening at the Vixen Media Group awards gathering before reuniting with her girlfriends at the Motley Models shindig after the show.

The 21-year-old native of West Palm Beach, Fla., said before her named was announced—by 2020 Best New Starlet Gianna Dior—that “I honestly was shaking in my boots, literally, because I’m wearing boots right now.”

“I couldn’t believe it,” Scandal told AVN. “It was one of the best moments of my life. I will never forget it and I will always look back on this night. I never want this feeling to end.”

Ravishing in red from head to toe including her glasses and gloves, Scandal embraced her boyfriend, fellow performer Jake Adams, before making the short walk up to the makeshift stage at Vixen’s headquarters.

“Thank you to everyone who has recognized my hard work and dedication,” said Scandal, the October 2020 Vixen Angel. “Kayden Kross, my best work has come from that woman. … Motley is a fuckin’ crew, I love you guys so much.

“And my best friend has been my forever supporter… And my amazing man, Jake Adams. I love him so much and everyone in this room.”

Scandal, who was a Trophy Girl at the 2020 AVN Awards Show, performed in more than 100 titles since 2019, enjoying a banner year in 2020 when she amassed more than 70 credits for almost every major studio in adult. She also landed in the G-Eazy music video collaboration with Vixen for “Still Be Friends” that together with companion video "Moana" took the 2021 AVN Award for Mainstream Venture of the Year.

The star-studded pair of videos featured a who’s who of performers that includes Ariana Marie, Mia Malkova, Ivy Wolfe, Amia Miley, Mia Melano, Vicki Chase, Skin Diamond, Cecilia Lion, Nia Nacci, Serai Minx, Alina Lopez, Gabbie Carter, Avery Cristy, Kira Noir and Willis—all of whom share in the victory.

“If I didn’t have the support group that I have, then I wouldn’t be here,” Scandal continued, adding that her stunning fashion choice for the night was “very last minute."

“I originally planned to get a very fancy dress but I went with something simple but sexy,” Scandal said. “And all red—that’s my statement color.”



Speaking of statements, Violet Doll made one as the first-ever AVN Star of the Year winner. The Fan-Voted 2020 AVN Favorite Domme added her second career AVN Award after winning a tightly contested fan vote that launched on Dec. 1 and continued until noon on Saturday.

AVN Media Network CEO Tony Rios introduced Doll, who spoke from her home in Michigan.

“I learned last year I’m really awful at acceptance speeches so I just would like to thank a few of the guys who made this possible,” Doll said. “They worship me. They obey me, they love me, they pay me. Mikey, Richard, Charlie, Slave O—even though you sucked this month—good boys. And thank you to everyone else who voted as well.”

Doll continued, “I’m not in the running for this next award but I should be. Because I’m using all my acting ability to keep it together while presenting in front of the man who made this whole night possible.”


Then she presented the award for Best Leading Actress to Maitland Ward for Muse.

A Deeper contract star who won 2020 Best Supporting Actress for Drive, Ward gave her acceptance speech from the Vixen watch party.

I am so honored and proud to be the contract face of the brand and to do all these amazing things,” Ward said. “And everybody who worked on Muse, you’re amazing, and especially Kayden who is like family to me—a sister. During this pandemic everything was up in the air and you promised we would have a feature and we did.”

In Muse, Ward leads an ensemble cast, playing a notorious psychology professor who on the eve of the nation's pandemic shutdown sends her class home with an assignment “to create something that would be considered pornographic in any medium that you choose—and then show in a fundamental way why pornography can or cannot be art.”

Muse received 12 nominations, garnering seven awards, including Best Directing—Drama and Best Screenplay - Drama for Kayden Kross, who wrote the script in one sitting and completed principal photography in four days.

“I’m so proud to play Muse,” Ward continued, her hands on her heart. “And a lot of people say that I’ve given something to this industry and porn—and I just want to say you’ve given something to me.”

Muse also received awards for Best Three-Way Sex Scene – G/G/B for Gianna Dior, Scarlit Scandal and Rob Piper’s threeway in a scene that paired the past two Best New Starlets; Best Art Direction; and Best Editing, by Duboko.

When Kross accepted her third straight Director of the Year award—matching the record set by now retired Vixen Media Group co-founder Greg Lansky (2016-18)—she talked about what she learned in 2020.

Standing with her hands folded behind her back in an elegant black evening gown at the Vixen gathering, Kross spoke into the gold microphone without any prepared remarks.


“This has been a tough year. And it got me thinking a lot about success and how we get there—and it’s the people around you,” Kross began. “It’s the measure of everyone around you. You’re usually the average of that. And I’m here because of the people around me. Absolutely.

“It’s easy to criticize people who are successful but it’s very hard to be allowed to work with them. It’s a choice that they make based on what you bring to the table. And I am so grateful for the people who have brought me in with Deeper. For the people who show up to my set consistently, my crew. The people who support me in the background like Manuel [Ferrara].

“And that same success is what attracts people like Maitland, who then come in and change the idea of what a female performer is and why they come into the industry. It kills the idea that we’re here for the wrong reason. And all of that lifts the whole industry. It makes us all rise.

“And so thank you to everyone who is with us today in this room. This is the room I want to be in. This is the room with the successful people who are working their asses off. And this is the room with the people who went above and beyond in the hardest year they’ve ever had to do the best they’ve ever done. Thank you and thank you AVN.”


But Kross’s directing trifecta was not the only three-peat on Saturday night.

Seth Gamble received his third straight Best Leading Actor trophy for his role as the haunting Professor Peterson in A Killer on the Loose from MissaX.

Now in his 14th year in adult, Gamble thanked MissaX and director Ricky Greenwood for the opportunity and his co-star Aiden Ashley for starters before going on to offer words of encouragement for his fellow performers on the grind.

“To prepare for these roles I’ve sacrificed a lot for this and every role I do,” Gamble said. “I become the character and these years have shown me what really matters and I’m grateful for every opportunity to showcase my skills.

“This journey has been amazing and difficult concurrently and everyone out there putting everything you have into this business I understand how tough it can be and I appreciate you because I understand. I’m grateful for everything, thank you.”

In one of the first awards of the evening, the 2016 Best New Starlet Abella Danger won her third straight Fan-Voted award for Most Epic Ass.

“I’m really, really happy that I won this. This is a three-peat,” Danger said, holding up three fingers while sitting next to gay star Liam Riley. “So I want to say thank you so much to AVN and to Tony Rios and everyone that works there and to [agent] Mark Spiegler. I love you guys and all my fans… And to Alexis Texas and Jada Stevens because you guys have the best butts ever!”

Angela White, the three-time Female Performer of the Year, took home Best Actress - Featurette for her role in “Seasons” for MissaX’s AllHerLuv, to go with five other awards—three of which were Fan-Voted.

White watched the festivities with frequent collaborator Jules Jordan.

“Thank you so much AVN, thank you to all of the reviewers, the critics,” White said. “Thank you obviously, MissaX, it was so amazing to work with Giselle Palmer on this incredible featurette. Thank you so much, I’m so grateful."

Three of the iconic Australian performer’s honors—Favorite Female Porn Star, Most Spectacular Boobs and Best Group Sex Scene—were four-peats. She shared the Group Sex trophy with Whitney Wright, Britney Amber, India Summer, Jane Wilde, Avi Love, Seth Gamble, Codey Steele, Ryan Driller and Eric Masterson for Climax (Dorcel/Wicked). White also received Best Non-Sex Performance for “Fertile” from Under the Bed Vol. 2 (Pure Taboo) and the Fan-Voted Social Media Star award, running her tally to 41 in her Hall of Fame career.


The MILF Performer of the Year award went to eight-year industry veteran Cherie DeVille, who shared her excitement in a lighthearted speech.

“Best old lady!” DeVille shouted, raising her hands in the air in triumph. “I didn’t even have to stumble up on stage and risk breaking a hip!”

Wearing a red flower in her hair while sitting in front of a giant gumball machine, DeVille added, “This is the best year ever! Thank you so much. Thank you to my agent OC Modeling. Thank you XXX Star PR. Thanks to this handsome gentleman right here and thanks to my beautiful stepchildren because without you I truly wouldn’t have this award. Yay!”

This year marked DeVille's third MILF Performer of the Year win since 2018.

In one of the night’s two transatlantic sequences, dancer and aerialist Joey Kim, who is from New York, presented the award for Best Foreign-Shot All-Girl Sex Scene from her current home in the Canary Islands.

The honor went to 2020 Foreign Female Performer of the Year Little Caprice and 2020 Best New Foreign Starlet Liya Silver for their performance in “Tender Kiss” for LittleCaprice-Dreams.com.

Little Caprice, who is from Czech Republic, accepted the award from her bedroom in Vienna, Austria, along with her husband and partner, Marcello Bravo.

“I am speechless!” Caprice said. “I don’t know what to say… My heart is beating so fast right now. I’m super honored for this. Thank you Marcello Bravo for creating the scene with me. We worked very hard the last years and I’m super proud…”

MyFreeCams model Aphia DeMieux won the Fan-Voted AVN Award for Favorite Cam Girl. An avid gamer who used to work at the Humane Society, the December 2019 AVN CAMStar has been running a popular room on MFC for more than five years.

“Thank you so much for nominating me and getting me the award,” DeMieux said. “I don’t know what to say. Thank you to everyone who worked really, really hard in my little community that I have to make it a really special and loving place. I really fucking appreciate you guys and thank you so much for voting for me and making me win this award.”

Trans mega-star Aubrey Kate won Transgender Performer of the Year for the third time after receiving the honor back-to-back in 2017-18.

Kate reacted to her name being called with so much enthusiasm that her dog jumped off her lap.

“Oh my god! My heart is pounding like a fucking nail. Thank you so much AVN!” Kate said. “You have no idea how much this means to me. I have worked my ass off, literally worked my ass off to get where I’m at. I love all of my fans. I would not be here without you.

“You guys, I have been so stressed, but thank you so much AVN for the recognition. Thank you Joanna Angel for putting me in this incredible movie where I had to actually act and remember lines and not just use my ass!”

Aubrey also received the Best Transgender One-on-One Sex Scene award for her dance with Khloe Kay in The TS Life 2 (Aiden Starr/Evil Angel); and the Fan-Voted award for Favorite Trans Porn Star for the fourth time.

The incomparable lady-killer Small Hands ditched his suit and tie for a black-and-red animal onesie that had big yellow eyes on the hood as his name was announced as Male Performer of the Year by Ariana Marie, the 2020 Vixen Angel of the Year.

The former bartender and musician from San Diego appeared to be watching the show from his kitchen along with his wife Joanna Angel and director Mike Quasar, among others behind him.

“Wow, I did not expect that or else I would’ve had a better onesie,” Small Hands cracked. “Thanks guys, thanks everyone. Thanks to all the fans. Thanks to all the women I worked with. I honestly didn’t do too much this year because of Covid and everything so I feel a little weird accepting this, so I’ll just say that Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives Matter, be good to each other. Let’s have a good year…”


Gianna Dior won Best Oral Sex Scene for her session with Jonni Darkko for Evil Angel, giving her two awards Saturday and four in her career that began in 2018.

She enjoyed the show from her front-row seat as “an audience of one."

“For real? No…Are we sure?” Dior said when her name was revealed as the winner.  “No way, OK. I did not expect to win that one for sure. Thank you AVN. Thank you Evil Angel and Jonni Darkko who directed that. I don’t even know what to say. I kind of forgot that I was nominated for that one because I didn’t think I was going to win. But thank you very much AVN. I really wanted to win that one and I didn’t think I ever would. Thank you, it’s a huge honor. Fuck yeah, I got another trophy.”

The Fan-Voted award for Favorite Domme went to Candy Glitter, who enjoyed a career year on AVN Stars en route to the December 2020 AVN magazine cover.

“I’m so excited!” said the creator also known as Princess Candy, who dazzled in a pink and white dress in her pink-themed room. “First of all I want to thank AVN. You created an amazing platform in AVN Stars. I’m so thrilled to be a part of it and of course I have to thank all of my good boys, my submissives—my slaves who worked so hard voting for me. I’m so thrilled to be the AVN Favorite Domme of 2021!”


Jane Wilde, who went toe to toe with Rocco Siffredi in February 2020 for Rocco’s Back to America for More Adventures and cried tears of joy when it was over, won Best Anal Sex Scene for her superlative performance with the legendary Italian Stallion.

“That’s so cool, I was not expecting to win this award,” said Wilde, a native New Yorker who debuted in 2018. “Thank you so much AVN for the honor and of course thank you to Rocco for picking me to be in a movie and believing that I could do something like a scene with you because it was one of the most crazy experiences of my life and I’m so happy we did it because it changed my life forever. And Evil Angel, thank you.”

Siffredi accepted along with his co-star from his compound in Budapest.

“I want to say thank you to you, Jane,” Siffredi said. “You make my only day in Los Angeles fantastic. You and all the other girls. And also special thanks to John…[Evil Angel founder] John Stagliano helped me to do this project. So thanks to all of you. Jane, you are the best…”

One of the most anticipated awards of the program was Best Boy/Girl Sex Scene, which went to Maitland Ward and Pressure for their scintillating romp in Mistress Maitland for Deeper. The pair made a mess in the energetic scene.

"Pressure was fantastic and I wish he was here with me right now," Ward said. "He was so fantastic to work with we broke a folding chair in half."

In a night full of pandemic-related AVN Awards Show firsts, Emily Willis was involved in yet another when she received her Performer of the Year trophy from one of the official AVN screen girls—AVN Stars creator and Favorite Domme nominee, Muse Naadia, who went on an undercover mission to the Motley Models house to hand-deliver the hardware.

Motley president Dave Rock told AVN he saw Naadia arrive at his gathering wearing baggy sweats after being informed that she was part of the small film crew that was present. But then minutes later, Naadia had changed into a sleek burgundy evening gown to present Willis with her gold statuette.

“She walked right by me earlier and I didn’t put two and two together and she went into one of the back bedrooms, and I lost track of her,” Rock recalls. “Then about 10 minutes later she comes walking out in this beautiful dress…It was well planned and executed.”



Rock said in the past year that “nobody worked harder than Emily and shot more scenes.”

“And Scarlit Scandal with her run this year with Playboy and as Vixen Angel and in these Kayden Kross productions all during her first full year in the business,” he added. “These girls deserved everything they earned. I’m just very happy that AVN recognized their body of work and everything these girls have done.”

An hour after the broadcast ended in a quiet office at the Motley house, Willis admitted, “I am overwhelmed with emotions.”

“I’m so, so thankful and stoked,” Emily said. “I’m so proud to be holding this award. I’ve worked so hard and I’ve wanted it since the second I got into the industry. So being able to have this right now means so much. I’m on the moon right now. Honestly, I really can’t wait to see where my career goes from here and I know this is just the beginning.

“I’ve always thought and believed the more that I do this the better I get. It takes a lot of hard work and passion and love for what you do because this isn’t just some day-to-day job. This is something you have to put your passionate and drive into.”

MyFreeCams’ beauty Skyler Lo, who was the cover girl of the November 2019 CAMStar, called her experience on stage co-hosting for the night “freakin’ amazing.”

“It was really awesome to be a co-host,” Lo told AVN. “It was really special that it was the first virtual show with Covid and everything. It was really cool to be a part of that. It was such a cool experience. I’m really proud."

Kira Noir, who picked up her second award of the night for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Primary for Lust Cinema to go with her Mainstream Venture trophy, agreed.

“That was incredible,” Noir said outside her dressing room. “I had a lot of fun and all of these girls are so cool. I think I said ‘Lily is so cute fucking a million times.’ Lily [Larimar] was adorable. Avery [Cristy] was hilarious. The screen girls Destiny [Cruz] and [Muse] Naadia—that’s one of my favorite parts of the show is to see all the slo-mo stuff with the girls in between the nominees list.

“I’m really proud of us. I think we had a lot of fun and put on a really cool show. And I am really looking forward to next year when I can grab all of these girls and get a group picture with all of us on stage. We did a great stage this time but next year when it’s on the big, big stage [in Las Vegas] I’m getting that group photo with all the girls—the hosts, trophy girls, screen girls, everything.”







Photography by Jeff Koga & Motley Models

For the full list of 2021 AVN Award winners, click here.