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Twelve stars who weren't nominated for Female Performer of the Year... but easily could've been

Kay Lovely, SlimThick Vic, Leana Lovings lead PornCrush list of those who were worthy of recognition

By Austin King / Editor

Jan 15, 2024

Selecting the 15 finalists for Performer of the Year is the toughest task the folks at AVN and XBIZ face each winter.

Perhaps now more than ever, the adult industry is stacked with elite, hard-working performers—and many of them have almost identical resumes. The committees spend days poring over scores of performers, counting their scenes, observing their acting, taking notes of their versatility and more.

At the end of the day, they can only pick 15. And this year I thought both AVN and XBIZ did an outstanding job with their selections. Aside from one or two picks, there literally isn’t a single nominee that made me say, “They don’t belong.” Virtually all of this year’s nominees are more than deserving. So, yes, I thought both committees did an outstanding job.

Still, people always get left out.

And lots of people feel left out.

Here are 12 performers who could’ve ended up on the AVN and XBIZ Performer of the Year lists without any argument from me.

Coco Lovelock

It’s impossible to deny Lovelock’s popularity; she ended the year ranked No. 11 on AEBN’s list of top-selling porn stars. Only two AVN and XBIZ Performer of the Year nominees (Kira Noir and Blake Blossom) finished higher. Lovelock’s petite frame and youthful appearance may be endearing to a certain sect of fans, but anyone who appreciates a truly dynamic performer has to give Lovelock their respect. She absorbs herself in each scene and rarely turns in a subpar performance. Only a select few match her passion and energy. Perhaps that explains why Lovelock continues to garner bookings from every major studio in porn. Lovelock earned an AVN nomination for her threesome with John Strong and Zac Wild for Jules Jordan. And she flourished in acting roles for a pair of Pure Taboo featurettes: “Aged Out” and “Pampering Our Sitter.” Lovelock also achieved another milestone in 2023 by popping her anal cherry in scenes for Tushy and Brazzers. One of the best scenes of her career—a 5-on-1 gangbang for Blacked—was released earlier this month.

Emma Hix

After a yearlong absence, Hix returned to studio work in August of 2022 and quickly reminded porn fans why she’d long been hailed as one of the top performers in the industry. Literally and figuratively, she’s never been hotter. With new boobs, a new hairstyle and “basically, a new body,” Hix is without question one of the top solo models around. Her photo spreads are jaw-dropping, So, too, are her scenes. Whether it’s an anal scene for Brazzers or a passionate, seductive tryst for Nubiles, Hix flourishes in all genres. One could argue her Slayed shoot with Kylie Rocket was the top girl-girl scene of the year. Hix tells PornCrush she was suffering from burnout when she began her extended break two years ago. “I don’t want to say I was on autopilot, but I didn’t have the same drive,’ Hix said. “When I first started porn, I didn’t realize I was going to become such good friends with all of these people. I figured I’d do this for a year or two and be done. But I developed such strong connections. We have so much fun on set. I missed that.”

Jane Wilde

After three consecutive Performer of the Year nominations, Wilde missed the cut in 2024. And I’m guessing the only reason is that her scene count was a tad lower than previous years. Even so, Wilde remains one of the top all-around stars in the business. She’s a passionate and versatile performer, a high-level actress and a true professional in every aspect. An elite backdoor performer, Wilde earned an AVN nomination for Best Double Penetration Sex Scene for the fourth consecutive year. And she was nominated for Best Anal sex scene for the fourth time in the past five years. She also starred in Office Ms. Conduct, a top contender for Trans Movie of the Year.

Jill Kassidy

Kassidy took a break from boy-girl sex for all of 2022. Not just on camera. But off of it, too. “I was frustrated with relationships,” Kassidy told PornCrush, “and also, I had never gone without sex since I was 15. I wanted to see what it was like. At first, it was really hard, but I also felt like I had a lot of self-control. It was a little empowering. I wasn’t completely celibate. But I was celibate from dick.” Kassidy started working with males again in February, and she’s been on a tear ever since, shooting more than 50 scenes in 2023 for almost every major studio in porn. AVN’s 2018 Best New Starlet is better than she’s ever been. And hotter, too. Check out Kassidy’s red carpet pics from the 2023 AVN Awards show. Yowza! “It felt like the right time to come back,” Kassidy said. “I was ready to start fucking again.”

Kay Lovely

The buxom blonde with the constant smile is unquestionably among the top 15 performers in porn right now, if not the top 10. Lovely is credited on IAFD with 77 scenes in 2023—and you can bet there are 20 or 30 more than haven’t been listed yet. Lovely’s work is high-level, not just in terms of quantity but also quality. “I haven’t met many performers who care as much about their work as Kay,” Team Skeet director/talent Donnie Rock said. “She genuinely wants every scene to be a perfect 10. She’s a breath of fresh air.” Indeed, even though the 5-foot-10 Lovely has the frame and beauty of a runway model, she possesses a disarming warmth and glow that makes her a favorite among directors and scene partners. It also plays well on camera, particularly during POV and VR scenes, where the viewer can get an intimate feel for her personality. Lovely's POV work with Mr. Lucky is not to be missed, and her AVN-nominated oral scene with Mick Blue for “Throated” is an absolute scorcher.

Khloe Kapri

Boasting one of the best butts in the biz, Kapri has been an absolute workhorse since joining the industry in 2017. She’s shot nearly 700 scenes in her career—including hundreds that were anal in nature. Somehow, Kapri has garnered only five AVN nominations in her career and only one from XBIZ. And while she’s done a handful of shoots in recent years for Brazzers and Adult Time, the industry’s biggest studios aren’t booking her nearly enough, especially considering her menu (among other things) is wide open.

Leana Lovings

Adult Time announced last month that it had signed Lovings as a brand ambassador—a huge honor for the third-year performer from Fort Lauderdale, and yet another illustration of her soaring popularity. Lovings is the 80th-ranked model on PornHub and her studio scenes always score high with viewers. She plays the shy, innocent role as well as anyone in the industry, which makes her a favorite among fans who are turned on by the girl-next-door vibe. Whether it’s because of her thick sexy glasses, her squeaky voice or her casual appearance, there are few performers in porn who match Lovings’ unique look and presence. It works well for her. Lovings is strong with dialogue and also has a genuine love for what she’s doing, which is evidenced by the 120-plus shoots she completed in 2023. You don’t work that much if you’re not passionate about your career.  In an industry often filled with drama and toxicity, Lovings keeps quiet, maintains tunnel vision and absorbs herself in her work. It’s a mindset that others should emulate—and one that led to big rewards for Lovings in 2023. She ended the year ranked No. 24 on AEBN’s list of top-selling porn stars.

Maya Woulfe

Woulfe made the XBIZ POTY list a year ago and was deserving of an AVN nomination, too. She has narrowly missed the cut from both organizations this year, but I’m guessing her absence won't last long. The star of last year’s Grand Reel winner “Grinders,” Woulfe is among the top actresses in porn. So it’s no surprise she was nominated for “Best Actress: Featurette” this year. Woulfe also excels in girl-girl scenes and spent a large portion of 2023 shooting strictly in that genre. With anal now in her repertoire and with loads of momentum behind her, I won’t be surprised if 2024 is Woulfe’s best year yet.

Octavia Red

Industry folks at the highest level are beginning to take notice of Red. And for good reason. Standing 5-foot-5 with cascading auburn hair, silky skin, and 32D breasts, Red touts one purest natural bodies in the business. She’s also among the best POV performers in porn, having earned an AVN nomination in that genre for the second straight year. Red is also a finalist in the Best Actress-Featurette category, a nod to her versatility. Jules Jordan, Blacked, Slayed, Evil Angel, Kink and MissaX are among the A-list studios who shot Red for the first time in 2023. Her AVN-nominated tease before taking on Zac Wild in Jordan’s “Breast Worship 8” is a site to behold. Red ranked No. 25 on AEBN’s list of top-selling porn stars of 2023. As much momentum as she gained in the past year, I expect Red to ascend to significantly greater heights in 2024—partially because of the reasons above, but even more so because of her intangibles. Character, professionalism, dependability, attitude and energy may seem like small things compared to beauty and sexual prowess, but any director will tell you they are equally important. Red checks all of the boxes. People may not have realized that before, but they do now.

SlimThick Vic

She’s up for MILF Performer of the Year, but no one would’ve been shocked if Vic were nominated for Female Performer of the Year. Your girl put in some work in 2023 with more than 100 shoots. That obviously means her scenes are being well-received—and highly-viewed—by fans. Because performers don’t get that quantity of work if people aren’t watching. Vic shines in all genres and shoots a large amount of anal scenes. It’s not uncommon for male colleagues to squirt oil all over Vic’s backside until it glistens because, let’s face it: if someone not named Abella Danger is ever going to win AVN’s award for Best Ass, Vic will certainly be among the finalists. Vic was raised in a religious cult and didn’t lose her virginity until she was 21. She eventually ventured out on her own, dabbing in nude modeling, stripping, and OnlyFans before transitioning into porn. She also has an acting background. With more than 250 shoots in two years, she’s been one of the most prolific (and popular) models on the Spiegler Girls roster. Vic ranked No. 19 on AEBN’s list of top-selling porn stars of 2023.

Valerica Steele

No performer catapulted onto my radar in 2023 more than Steele, the squirt queen from Florida, who turned in some of the best content of the year. Steele’s Reality Kings romp with J-Mac on a moving boat earned a well-deserved nomination for Best Boy-Girl scene. It’s as raw and intense as they come. And her AVN-nominated POV alongside Brenna McKenna with Mr. Lucky is full of messy, wet fun. Steele is battling a chronic neck injury that limited her shoots in the fall. If Steele returns to a full-time schedule in 2024, I’ll hardly be surprised to see her on the Performer of the Year list at this time next year.

XXlayna Marie

Only one performer from last year’s Best New Starlet list (Nicole Doshi) earned a Performer of the Year nomination in 2024. But I’m guessing Marie—a 2023 AVN Trophy Girl—was the next in line. Along with being one of the more physically-stunning models in porn, Marie is also one of the top on-screen performers. She earned nominations in two of AVN’s premier scene categories (Best Boy-Girl and Best Girl-Girl) and would seem like a shoo-in for this list next year if she continues on this trajectory while slightly increasing her workload.

Austin King / Editor

Austin King spent nearly 20 years as a mainstream journalist before pivoting to coverage of the adult industry in 2020. He specializes in breaking news and in-depth features, with some of his best work to date coming for AVN Magazine in profiles of Gina Valentina, Casey Kisses, Anna-Claire Clouds, Kayden Kross, Chanel Camryn, Kenzie Anne, Lilly Bell and others. Austin resides in Texas but makes frequent trips to Porn Valley.