The XCritic Interview: BBW Performer of the Year April Flores
By Rob Perez
There are plus-sized performers then there is April Flores, the 2014 AVN BBW Performer of the Year. In a business where the vast majority of female performers can’t claim to be the first of anything, April Flores’ career has spanned many firsts especially for a plus size performer. The plus size adult community has no greater role model than April Flores, a woman who has broken down more doors than any other plus-size performer. Yes, there were other plus-size performers who laid a bit of groundwork but if there is any plus-size performer responsible for “BBWs” becoming more accepted and recognized in the mainstream porn world, that distinction belongs to no one else but April.
April spoke exclusively with XCritic hours after she was named BBW Performer of the Year, in which she said the feeling still hadn’t sunk in. She was completely candid, forthright and emotional at times especially when the subject turned to her late husband, the talented, visionary artist/director/photographer Carlos Batts. While not ready to discuss his death she did speak at length about his contributions to the adult community in her first extensive public comments about Carlos since his passing in October. For her fans April will be back performing in due time, so be prepared for one of the most incredible comebacks for a plus-size performer, another in a long list of firsts for April!
Has winning BBW Performer of the Year sunk in yet?
No, it has not sunk in yet because I drove back home on Sunday which takes time, and went to a friend’s house right after I got home. It’s really something amazing and wonderful that happened. But it still has not sunk in.
I realized earlier that your career includes a lot of firsts – first BBW on the cover of AVN Magazine, first BBW to have a pussy molded after and now you’re the first BBW Performer of the Year ever. How would you describe your career? Was it everything you expected?
I never really expected anything. I never really expected to enter this field. I entered out of curiosity and I stayed because I enjoyed performing, I enjoy sex, but mostly I have a mission with my work to make a statement. That mission has not changed since 2005, 2006 since I did my first interview. And my mission with my work has been to show other plus size women, other fat women and the world that we can be happy and confident in the bodies that we have right now. We don’t have to feel unworthy and unattractive, we don’t have to feel that and feel like we have to lose weight to feel sexy and desirable, and to feel worthy of sex. Enjoying and exploring sex and enjoying our sexuality. With my work the reason why I continue to do it, including the photography and the Fat Girl book that came out last summer has always been this example of a fat person who is happy because I choose to be happy. I don’t want the size of my jeans or what I weigh on the scale to dictate my level of happiness. That’s what I want to express to other women.
And you’re not limiting your mission just in adult. You want there to be size acceptance everywhere.
Yeah, that’s correct. I work on a lot of different things and my goal with all of my work is to have size acceptance and to be this kind of counter-image to the images that we see all the time of thin people and thin women. It’s overwhelming and it’s constant. Like Barbies. Barbies are skinny, white, blue-eyed blonde dolls and I played with Barbies forever. Although I never really consciously felt, “I should be blond and blue-eyed, skinny with big boobs and big waist; I’m sure on some level that does sink into our subconscious where it affects our idea of beauty and what’s considered valuable. So with my work I’m trying to be a counter to that. I’m larger, I’m different, I’m Latina, and I have my own style. That’s what I try to do.
For the rest of this year your name will be preceded with BBW Performer of the Year. Just on a personal level, how does it feel to be named BBW Performer of the Year?
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Well specifically, if we’re talking when I saw my image up on the monitor announcing that I had won, I was overwhelmed. The whole weekend was super overwhelming because I was there without my husband. He just died not even three months ago. So the whole experience has really been so surreal and unbelievable and sad and intense. I saw a lot of people who I hadn’t seen in person since he passed and it just felt . . . I’m still processing the acknowledgement of my work and I believe also Carlos’ work. He has been instrumental in my career; he would cast me in his movies. If I wasn’t cast in a movie I was doing the casting for his movies, doing the location scouting, the makeup, the wardrobe . . . I was always involved. So he is a mentor to me. Of course I’m thrilled, I’m excited, and I feel very accepted in this industry. I feel really proud and very excited and happy. But it also has a tinged of sadness because I know Carlos would’ve been so happy to be there and be here and experience this year. He had been saying all year that I would be acknowledged in this way. I know in some level but I just wished that we could’ve experienced this together, but we created this together. I guess that’s what matter.
Would you credit Carlos with most of the good things that have happened to you in your career?
I would say equal credit because we did everything together. He wasn’t this puppet master, we were collaborators, and we were partners. Not most but equal. We had a very unique partnership.
It’s just a really raw time for me emotionally. It is so recent and life is crazy because six months ago we were celebrating the release of Fat Girl the book and, who could’ve foreseen three months after that, the tragedy in my life would have happen. Then who could’ve foreseen not even three months after that this amazing huge recognition and honor would be given to me. It’s a lot to really digest.
I felt really supported at the convention and the awards show, and that’s another reason why I felt overwhelmed because I truly felt that I belonged in the industry and I felt loved on a level just beyond work. I felt like a family type inclusion that goes beyond performing. Just on a human level the love and support shown for Carlos’ memory and as for me, moving forward it was truly inspiring.
What’s in store for you work-wise in 2014?
In store, I don’t know. I have to figure things out. I would love to continue performing. Doing scenes would be great, I’m just not at that place right now but this industry is not something I want to leave. I feel like I have grown tremendously and I feel performing sex in front of a camera is an essential part of my being. So as long as I can perform and want to perform I will because it’s who I am. Although I’m in this deep transition right now I do know that I don’t want to fade away. I don’t want to stop doing what I like. So I will take each project as it comes. I like to take each opportunity as it comes my way and use each new thing that I do to grow as a woman and then as a performer. I started taking pictures; my pictures have been in Taboo Magazine twice so that’s an area I’m going to explore, being more of a creator, as well as a performer. I have done some modeling stuff for stills which is a good vehicle for me because I still get to indulge my sexuality and my desire to be in front of the camera. It’s a good space for me right now. That’s where I started off 14 years ago and that’s where I feel comfortable but I would love to be able to continue to perform and to keep growing as a person trying to express themselves.
When you say performing do you mean just with women exclusively or with men and women? Are you ready to be with men, performance-wise?
I love performing with men. Most of the things I get offered are with women but I love shooting with men. I love men. [Laughs] I just take each project as it comes my way. I love performing with women, men and other gender fluid people.
I guess what I’m trying to ask is since Carlos’ passing, do you see yourself and will it be difficult performing with men anytime soon?
I haven’t shot a sex scene since Carlos passed but like I said I’ll take each project into consideration as it arises, and if it feels like something I want to do regardless of the gender of the person, if it’s something that I want to do and I feel it will enhance me as a person then I will definitely do it. I know for a fact that Carlos would not want me to stop doing what I have been doing for a long time.
I met Carlos only once but in a business filled with very nice, great people Carlos stood out as a real gentleman and a genuinely nice guy.
Thank you for saying that, Rob. That’s really nice of you to say to me and I appreciate you saying that. I heard that so many times during the convention. It went beyond the industry. It was on a human level and it’s truly what I need right now.
Did you think you would win? Did you think you had a decent shot of winning BBW Performer of the Year?
I was just happy to be nominated and be acknowledged on that level. I didn’t put much thought into who would win. I was just happy to be recognized for my body of work. I was happy with that.
Were you rooting for anyone else to win the award?
Honestly I didn’t think about it that way. I was happy for all of us because collectively all of us did our own part and have done our own part to . . . It was an honor to be included with all the nominees because we have all advanced the representation of plus sized sexuality. So that’s how I feel. I feel like we have all done our own thing. Each of our unique voices and our work has all helped in the representation of plus-size sexuality. So in terms of who else I wanted to win I felt like we were all winners. It was the first year this category was created but we are all pioneers and we are all important in our own way.
Do you feel this was a long time coming, have a BBW Performer of the Year award?
Yeah, because usually BBW movies are lumped into this miscellaneous category, this very random grouping. We do deserve our own category and it shows that things are changing—slowly—but things are changing within the media especially porn which is a type of media. So with this recognition little strides are being made.
How do you feel about all the accolades people constantly bestow on you, that you’re a groundbreaker, you’ve broken down so many doors, and such?
I appreciate all the accolades for sure but because I entered this industry with my goal and not the goal to win awards or to become XYZ, I just entered to express myself and make my statement. I haven’t veered from that and that’s still my goal. I feel its super great what people say about me but I’m looking forward. I’m still looking forward to what more we can do. Of course compliments on my work are truly great but I’m a super humble person. None of it ever gets to my head because I feel like there’s much more work to be done.
What sort of mark would you say Carlos left on the industry?
We might have to ask other people about that. The mark that he left on adult was his art, his perspective and his inclusivity meaning he cast people of all different races, all different body types, and all different sexual identities. He was all-inclusive and all he wanted to do was share his art and share his unique vision with the world. His films had good stylings and good music and good lighting, scenic locations. He thought about every aspect of the art. So with is work and what impact he left on the industry, I would hope that he left his voice and his point of view and hopefully maybe people can see sex and art, and where they inter-mingle in Carlos’ work because that’s what he wanted to show.
How do you want people, not just people in the adult industry but people everywhere to remember him as?
Just a very real, genuine, good person. He was a very good, good person. A talented, visionary artist and it’s hard for me to look at him beyond just being my soul mate and my lover because he did affect a lot of other person. To me he was my husband. But if you’re asking me how other people viewed him, just as a really good, beautiful person who had a lot to share with the world. We are fortunate and he is fortunate that he left his mark in his short time here.
What would you like to say to your fans?
I want to thank AVN for recognizing BBWs and my work. I would like to thank my fans for always supporting me and for really being a part of my life, and for always reaching out just to say how my work has affected them. That’s when I feel truly accomplished because that is the goal that I had back in 2006. When that gets re-affirmed that’s when my mind is blown like “wow!”
For more on April Flores visit her at www.fattyd.com, and follow April on Twitter @theaprilflores.
All Photos courtesy of Courtney Trouble @courtneytrouble
Follow me on Twitter @RobGPerez