MIAMI — Radiant cam models and sophisticated web/tech moguls glided across the red carpet, clinked martini glasses and buzzed excitedly at the world famous Villa Casa Casuarina “Versace Mansion,” where the first-ever XBIZ Cam Awards, presented by MyFreeCams.com, made history with true South Beach flamboyance.
Within the decadent corridors, arches spiraled above attendees, reaching to intricately carved balconies gently illumined with sapphiric blues and angelic haloes. Palms swayed majestically, their shadows playing beautifully across the sparkling makeup and glittering dresses festooning excited partiers.
And though the heat practically melted the very pavement with its ferocity, liquor still bubbled generously from decanters and dresses still flowed from curvy hips, like a beachside ballroom blitz.
As the bustling celebrants funneled into the main event, they gasped with delight at the “Million Mosaic Pool,” inspired by Gianni Versace’s “Marine Vanitas” collection with its thousands of 24K gold tiles and mighty Poseidon-themed artistry.
It was there, that the illustrious MyFreeCams logo dazzled from the screen in digital resplendence, likewise reflected from projectors casting that spectral insignia upon the balustrades and stairs leading downwards. And atop the grand balcony, sitting imperiously like royalty, was a bevy of MyFreeCams greats, as well as its enigmatic bespectacled founder.
Packing rows and rows of seats below, as well as various nooks and crannies — where a neverending supply of bartenders and booze populated the vicinity — were scores of cam networks, cam studios and their beloved stars … from Chaturbate, CAM4, ImLive, Jasmin, Studio 20, Juan Bustos, FreeWebCams and beyond.
A heavy reverberation thundered suddenly, calling the legions to settle in for the glorious ceremony. And soon thereafter, the gorgeously dressed-to-the-nines web star Jessica Wilde ascended the dais, laying into the audience with quip after quip of zingers.
Riled up and ready for trophies, the crowd was then treated to the first award of the evening — Best Cosplay Cam Model, which went to MFC badass Catjira. Tearing up as her adoring colleagues applauded enthusiastically, the beautifully adorned cam model lifted the folds of her embroidered dress, looking every bit the fantasy character she so often portrays.
“Thank you!” she said, composing herself quickly, before laughing with giddiness. “Okay, so real quick, I just want to thank MyFreeCams. I love you guys so much for giving me an awesome platform to do this and express my fetishes and my cosplay. And everyone who voted for me and everyone at XBIZ this week, it’s been so much fun. All the VIP models, you guys have been so nice to me and I love you.”
Next up was the extra naughty Best Fetish Cam Model award, which went to Vicky Vixxx. Sashaying in her tight-fitting silky ensemble, replete with diamond-esque designs, the classy mistress of mayhem resembled a countess from an exotic locale. “Really,” she began, “the only people I need to thank are obviously my fans, because they’re the ones who support me, who keep me alive and thriving in this industry. Also, I really want to thank all the support I got from my fellow industry people. I was blown away by all the support and the votes and kind words and I think that’s really all that matters.”
Then, came Best Inked Cam Model, which went to Ivy Wolfe — who was unable to attend. Best Cam Duo crowned scarlet-outfitted BlondeRider and bowtie-dapper RobxxxRider, who kept it short and sweet by declaring, “Hey guys, we just want to thank you so much.”
In a major crowd pleaser, Dave Slick was announced as the Best Male Cam Model. The cheerful hunk was very South Beach chic in his gilded, open black shirt, and studly cream jacket. “Really quick, one … I’m kind of still surprised … and shocked,” he said, gathering himself. “But, I of course have to thank Chaturbate … Jaden Storm — he’s been a wonderful source of advice these past months. And, of course, Shawna Lenee and the female camming community. These past few weeks there’s been such cooperation and collaboration. And … my incredible supporters and benefactors!”
Afterwards, came Best Cam Site in North America, which went to MyFreeCams.com. A ridiculously good-looking troupe of top cam models, led by industry titan Jenny Blighe, graced the stage with their five-alarm fire stardom. “Thank you from all of the models at MyFreeCams, thank you for everyone who voted,” Blighe intoned. “And obviously, MyFreeCams is the number one site!”
Within moments of returning to her seat, Blighe rocketed back to the glassy platform, as she won Best MILF Cam Model. Laughing good-naturedly, Blighe remarked, “I want to thank everyone who voted for me. I want to thank MyFreeCams for allowing me to have this opportunity.”
Best Trans Cam Model followed, for Mrs. Kelly Pierce, and then XBIZ founder and publisher Alec Helmy took the stage with XBIZ marketing director Leah Mahi in tow.
“How’s everyone doing?” asked Helmy, his richly baritone voice echoing from every wall. “None of this would have been possible without this little lady right here,” he offered, gesturing to Mahi. Nearly a minute of applause and cheering poured forth from the camming community for the diminutive Hawaiian.
“This is a very special award,” he promised. “Every industry is shaped by a few innovators. These are people who see things from a completely different angle or dimension. People who work relentlessly behind-the-scenes to turn their vision into reality, and by doing so, they propel an entire industry forward. Tonight we’re very pleased to recognize one such individual for our very first, Industry Trailblazer Award.”
A hush fell across the crowd … Mahi announced, “And the award goes to … ELA DARLING!!! From CAM4!” She bounced up and down with unabashed enthusiasm.
Darling, moved to tears and clasping her heart, took the trophy in her hands like a gentle dove. “Thank you so much to CAM4 and XBIZ, for recognizing my co-founder and I,” she purred. “Thank you to my amazing VR performers. Thank you for listening to me go on ad nauseum about virtual reality. Sorry-not-sorry, I’m not going to stop!”
A spellbinding intermission set the mood with a virtuoso violinist shredding his instrument as a dancer twirled in and out of a hoop. Dozens of cameras were whipped out to record the spectacle, as the pure magic of a symphony perfectly blended with the magisterial opulence of the Villa Casa Casuarina. Enchantment!
As the musical act wandered off, Jessica Wilde floated ethereally to the crystal podium, where she once again flicked hilarity from her lips like the sexiest court jester imaginable.
Then, it was time for Best Movie/Cam Star, which anointed Shawna Lenee. The crackling clapping and hooting that resulted from her name being called shamed the very heavens. Bolts of inspirational lighting fell in every direction.
“I’ve waited 12 years to give my own speech for winning an award,” she said. “My mind is a little jumbled right now, but I do have a lot of thanks to give, so I just need a moment of your time. I need to thank XBIZ for putting on this event. This is changing history and this needs to go on every single year!”
Everyone agreed vociferously and most gregariously.
“This has been the week of my life, being with all my favorite Twitter friends, connecting with all you guys,” she continued. “Secondly, I need to thank Cams.com for providing me an amazing platform to work on, great customer service and amazing traffic. I also need to thank Dave Slick who has been the best voting partner in the world.
“I want to thank my fans, because without my fans I wouldn’t have anything,” she concluded. “I am here because of my fans. I am so thankful for my Lenee brigade. Thanks to everyone in Cleveland, my hometown that gives me so much, my family, my friends. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. And all the other models, I love you so much!”
Next up, was Best Cam Model in Latin America, which went to the booty-licious Sure Cakes. “Holy cow guys!” she shouted, shimmering in her golden dress. “This has been such an honor to even be included in the XBIZ Awards. Really quick, I just want to say thank you to XBIZ for including all of us. Thank you to Chaturbate for giving me the best platform in the world to perform on. Thank you to all my co-cam girls for supporting me. And most of all, I’d like to thank Mr. Cakes for being good to me.”
More monolithic companies crossed the platform on that fateful evening, including LiveJasmin.com for Best Cam Site in Europe, Studio 20’s very own Sasha Red for Best Cam Model in Europe, BrianaLeeXX.com for Best Cam Model Site, the gracious LoveRaquelxo for Best BBW Cam Model and Chaturbate.com for Best Gay Cam Site.
Then, the climactic honor, Best Cam Model in North America, was announced. Vera Rose Sky. In gossamer celestial regalia, she wended her way to the stage.
Sky breathed in the moment.
The CamSoda star had fought tooth and nail, with a non-stop deluge of Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat hustling, for the entirety of the voting period, producing such hard-won levels of engagement, that she was able to eclipse even those who had nearly 10 times as many followers. This was a warrior who went to great lengths throughout the fierce competition, coming out to her hometown with public fanfare, which paid off in spades. She quickly established herself as an unofficial camming community liaison early on, generating tremendous support from her peers and building a massive network of cam models and fans.
“For two years of my life, I fucking struggled as a cam model,” Sky confessed in her opening, drawing supportive exclamations. “And, now I’m here. Last year, I lived in a 600 square-foot apartment in the hood, and one year later, I am here. The struggle is real! I want to thank XBIZ, and Alejandro and Leah for literally putting up with every goddamn message I sent them all the time. Thank you Catjira and Burr Suicide and Sure Cakes, for being so wonderful, and congratulations to all you guys that won!”
Bourne aloft by the feverish power of the inaugural XBIZ Cam Awards and the dynamic XBIZ Miami events series that preceded such a climactic finish, cam models and web/tech gurus departed with misty-eyed delight. Many soon traveled to the banging afterparty at club E11EVEN, where exotic dancers and local celebs mingled deep into the night.
And in the days that followed, a flood of gushing praise and reminiscing filled the adult industry’s social media space, with timeless memories captured in the stillness of photographs and warm emotions beating from happy hearts. Anticipation for next year’s pilgrimage to Miami? Already electric. Like neon-lit South Beach.