Jill Kassidy Talks Best New Starlet Triumph

LOS ANGELES—Jill Kassidy tells AVN winning Best New Starlet a week ago remains almost unbelievable.

“I’m still kind of in shock about it,” Kassidy says. “I don’t know. I’m just really happy they called my name. It’s weird because now every time I go to set everyone’s like ‘Best New Starlet!’ I didn’t expect to win.”

Kassidy captured the top award for a new female performer on Saturday, January 27th at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where she accepted the crown from the 2017 winner Holly Hendrix at the 35th annual AVN Awards Show.

The 21-year-old native of Dallas admits she suspected she had “a little chance,” but assumed that a fellow nominee who had done more hardcore scenes would prevail.

“I thought one of the girls who does anal would get it,” Kassidy says. “I just don’t do a lot of crazy scenes so I really didn’t expect it.”

But Kassidy did more than enough during her first year-and-a-half in the business to earn the trophy, performing in almost 100 scenes for numerous blue-chip studios, not to mention starring in Half His Age: A Teenage Tragedy, the 2018 AVN Award-winning Best Drama and Movie of the Year that was the first full-length feature ever produced by PureTaboo.

In the movie co-directed by Bree Mills and Craven Moorehead, Kassidy plays Lola, a popular 18-year-old student who gets caught banging her gym teacher, Mr. Davies (Charles Dera), which sets off an outrageous chain of events that involves blackmail, violence and numerous bad decisions. Kassidy departs from her sweet and innocent persona and gets crazy in her biggest role to date.

“Whenever they chose me I was really surprised,” Kassidy recalls. “I didn’t think of myself as that great of an actor. I felt really special to be the star of the first movie they ever had for PureTaboo. It was really cool winning because we worked so hard and everybody got so into it and was so devoted. So it’s cool to see all the hard work pay off—it’s a great feeling.”

She continues, “I think the most challenging thing was me having to get mad at Cherie [DeVille], when I had to chase her—because it’s Cherie. … And with me and Charles, I had to act like this crazy little girlfriend and I did feel a little bit crazy after set every day.”

Kassidy, who worked for a timeshare company and at Starbucks before making her porn debut in June 2016, performed in one PureTaboo scene a couple months before principal photography began on Half His Age last July.

“It was with Alexis Fawx,” she says. “[Bree] thought I did well, but she wanted to push me into becoming a better actress. I was definitely surprised to get the lead.”

With her Best New Starlet win, she also received a Tiffany pearl necklace, some sex toys and a water bottle courtesy of Pornhub. When the AVN Awards Show was over, Kassidy says she did not take a victory lap at any of the after-parties.

“I just went back to my hotel room,” she says. “My friend was staying with me at AVN and she was crying. I was really tired and I just went to bed, basically. We stayed up for a little bit just talking about it. I had a couple drinks at the Awards, but I was pretty tired.”

She adds that her friend, whom she has known since she was 15, came to Vegas to support her.

“She stayed in my room the whole week," Kassidy says. "She wanted to go but I couldn’t get her a ticket. She was watching it live and right before Holly announced my name she just thought it was going to be me and she just started crying."

As the news of her triumph got around, the messages started pouring in.

“A bunch of people from my hometown, even some of my family members have been congratulating me,” Kassidy says. “Everybody was really happy for me.”

Kassidy, who grew up watching the Dallas Cowboys and even dressed like a Cowboys cheerleader at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo the day before the Awards Show, wore an elegant blue gown to the ceremony that matched one of the team’s iconic uniform colors.

“I didn’t plan it to be,” she says. “Last year I had a really bedazzled dress and it was super heavy, very blingy and I felt very uncomfortable in it. This year I wanted to go for something more simple, more classy. I had never worn a long dress before.”

In the days leading up to her big night Kassidy entertained a steady stream of admirers at the Jules Jordan Video booth inside Muse Hall at Hard Rock.

“It was really fun. I had a lot of fans that came. They brought me gifts—it was really sweet meeting all my fans,” she says.

“One of my fans, he follows me on my social media and Snapchat and stuff. I was really emotional because he brought me a Miley Cyrus CD. I’m her biggest fan. I’m obsessed with Miley Cyrus.

“He brought me Dallas Cowboys shorts. And I like Disney a lot; he bought me a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, a Forever 21 gift card, a Veggie Grill gift card, so much stuff that was relatable to me. And the letter he wrote was really sweet. He was referring to things that I said. … I don’t even remember all the stuff he brought.

“Another fan bought me two Minnie Mouse shirts and vegan gummy worms. I’ve been a vegan off and on. I’m usually vegetarian.”

It’s no coincidence that she also recently landed her first showcase title, Ultimate Fuck Toy: Jill Kassidy, which was released on Jan. 22 through Jules Jordan Video. In the movie she performs a three-way with Bella Rose and AVN Male Performer of the Year Markus Dupree; a three-way with Jessy Jones and Jordan; a POV scene with Jordan; her first interracial scene with Prince Yahshua; and takes on Hall of Fame performer Steve Holmes.

“We planned it to come right before AVN. I love it," Kassidy says. "I feel really special to have something that’s all just me. Not too many girls get to do that."

An LA Direct Model since the beginning of her career, Kassidy thanked her agency during her acceptance speech. She says she feels “protected” with them.

“I’ve heard a lot of stories from other girls about being pressured to do scenes that they didn’t want to do and I’m lucky I found LA Direct. I’ve never been pressured. I’ve never been put in a scary situation on set,” she says.

LA Direct owner Derek Hay tells AVN that seeing Kassidy progress to this point has been a pleasure.

“In 2017 Direct Models watched Jill transform from the quintessential girl next door, slightly shy and unsure of herself, to winning the ultimate new girl accolade of Best New Starlet,” Hay says. “She literally gained in confidence and performance ability as the months went by and we received numerous very favorable reports on her work, especially in the second half of the year.

“We hope and trust that Jill never loses that hometown girl quality that many identify with and love about her so much and which Los Angeles sadly, often has a habit of changing. We are delighted her efforts and achievements have been recognized by AVN in this way.”

Since returning from Vegas, Kassidy has already shot for Erotica X, VRBangers and CherryPimps and at post time was in the midst of a new feature role for MissaX in Wisconsin.

“I shot for them in August. I like their stuff and getting to act a little bit,” she says.

Kassidy is also scheduled to perform in an upcoming all-girl feature for Adam & Eve and director Kay Brandt this weekend.


First photo by Rick Garcia/@IndustrybyRick; second photo by Jeff Koga/@KogaFoto.