A Golden Night in Amsterdam: 2023 XBIZ Europa Awards Brings Hollywood Glitz to the Old World

A Golden Night in Amsterdam: 2023 XBIZ Europa Awards Brings Hollywood Glitz to the Old World

AMSTERDAM — More than a thousand European adult industry luminaries and guests filled the Dutch capital’s monumental, state-of-the-art Theater Amsterdam to capacity Tuesday to celebrate the 2023 XBIZ Europa Awards, presented by F2F.

The scale of the event, unprecedented by European industry standards, was on everyone’s lips as attendees walked the red carpet, during the show and later at the revelry-filled after-party in the same complex.

Such was the glitz factor, which drew comparisons with the XBIZ LA shows that have taken place at the historic showbiz mecca of the Palladium for the last two years. From the moment the crowd strode into the building, it was full-on American-style glamour imported across the pond and plopped smack in the middle of the generally more staid (with notorious “Red Light” exemptions) cultural environment of the Old World city.

The general consensus about the first edition of the Europas to take place in the Netherlands, after several consecutive years in Berlin: “XBIZ finally brought Hollywood style to Amsterdam.” 

A throng of reporters, photographers and videographers from the international press lined the red carpet, as U.S. expat impresario, producer, director and performer Dan Leal made good use of his signature charm and bonhomie, hosting video interviews with top luminaries.

Inside the hall, the crowd filled an ocean of red velvet seats facing an epic, Cinerama-style video screen that surrounded the stage area and engulfed the crowd in a visual orgy of gold-hued images, accompanied by the pulsating, hard-pounding vintage hard rock medley that originated years ago as a one-off but has since evolved into an anticipated pre-show feature of all XBIZ live events.

As the rocking soundtrack gave way to the equally customary anticipatory drone sound, the evening’s hosts, noted European stars and XBIZ Award winners Danny D and Jia Lissa, walked onstage to general elation. Danny D sported a James Bond-like tux while Lissa wore a green gown, the first of the night’s many redheaded head-turners that night who opted for the traditional green-red combination, with which one literally cannot go wrong.

When Lissa marveled at the many amazing outfits on display, Danny D. quipped, “They do look amazing, don’t they? I didn’t realize half of these people even own clothes. I barely recognize them.”

The first presenter of the evening was XBIZ Europa Award winner Misha Cross, stunning in a skintight cream gown with black gloves. Outfits that clung as snugly as humanly possible to the stunning physiques of talent was a recurring motif of the evening’s fashions.

The first award category Cross announced was for Best Glamcore Sex Scene, which went to Agatha Vega, Alberto Blanco and Rae Lil Black, for Vixen’s “24 Hours.” Vega and Blanco took the stage to accept, the petite Vega resplendent in what was easily the most striking outfit of the evening: an extremely fashion-forward, avant-garde transparent dress made of interlocking plastic plaques, designed by Jivomir Domoustchiev, known for dressing such icons as Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Peaches and Jennifer Lopez.

“I don’t know what to say!” Vega declared. “Thanks so much. I just love to be recognized for an amazing job and this amazing performance.”

Pronouncing the next category her favorite, Cross then announced the winners for Best Lesbian Sex Scene: Amirah Adara, Tiffany Tatum and Veronica Real for “Marla,” a title from emerging powerhouse studio Parasited, another striking sci-fi concept from rising director/producer Romero.

Best pals onscreen and also IRL, Adara and Tatum came up to receive their trophies, Adara in a transparent gold slip over black lingerie and Tatum in a deconstructed teal princess gown. Laughing and hugging each other, they joyously drafted Cross into their celebration.

“We love you all, thank you so much!” the inseparable pair exclaimed in unison.

The next presenter was past XBIZ Europa winner Zaawaadi, striking as always in a shimmering red gown. The iconic, celebrated German-African Euro performer announced the awards for Innovative Sex Toy of the Year, which went to Kiiroo’s Keon Sex Machine, and Sex Toy of the Year, bestowed upon Love to Love’s Dildolls Utopia.

“It’s really nice to see our hard work in the tech industry getting recognized, and we’re really happy to be able to give you fun tech to use on cam,” offered Kiiroo Communications Manager Ashton Egner, who accepted the innovation award alongside Creative Director Antonio Lo Presti.

La Clef des Charmes’ Céline Menting accepted the Sex Toy of the Year award on behalf of Love to Love.

“I’m one of their customers!” said Menting. “And Utopia is one of my best sellers. So, thank you.”

The next presenters were Catherine Knight — in a stylish black gown — and Josephine Jackson, who announced the Performer/Director Site of the Year award winner: ImmoralLive.com, the site that brought U.S.-style porn production to Europe when Dan Leal moved to the old continent.

Leal accepted the award, thanking the European adult community for coming to the ceremony.

“I remember six years ago when I got the idea for this show — and now there’s over a thousand of you here and I just want to say thank you all so much,” Leal told the crowd, adding his oft-repeated assertion that “This is the best time ever to be in this industry!”

Knight and Jackson then announced the winner of Erotic Site of the Year: glamcore powerhouse SexArt.com.

The next presenter was noted performer and site owner Mariska, accoutered in another of the night’s favorite colors, red. This proved only appropriate as Mariska announced Rouge Garments as the BDSM Pleasure Brand of the Year. The award was received by Farah Shaikh, who said she was shocked but thanked everyone for their support.

Mariska then announced the winner in the Retailer of the Year category, N69.pl. The award was accepted by Kamila Hrecka, who expressed her gratitude and delight.

The winner for Boutique Online Retailer of the Year was Lulapink.pl. Lulapink’s Agata Grzeskowiak took the opportunity to reaffirm her brand’s “girly, queer, rebellious and tongue-in-cheek” ethos and commitment to fighting shame and stigma. Noting that the company had just marked its anniversary the day before, she told the industry crowd, “The struggle is real, and we have to keep on fighting.”

“It’s so good to feel seen,” Grzeskowiak added.

Backed by trophy girls Anna Braun and Lisa Belys — the latter wearing an impossibly skintight, appropriately classic Hollywood-style white dress — the next presenter provided exactly the boost needed to hype up the crowd mid-show. Overflowing as always with positive energy, and also overflowing out of her cleavage-busting black dress, the irrepressible Sabien Demonia saluted the audience with a “Hello, beautiful people of Europe! Heeyyyy! You all are very sexy, but now we have to find out who the nominees are for Glamcore Movie of the Year.”

Before opening the envelope, Demonia teased the crowd, only revealing the winner, Vixen’s “24 Hours,” after amping them up to what she considered an appropriate level of excitement.

It was the first personal win of the evening for JulModels superagent and Vixen producer/director extraordinaire Julia Grandi, who took the stage in a luxurious black silk suit with white piping, accented by a striking, jewel-festooned necklace and green shoes.

“I think it’s a tradition that I give this beautiful lady over there another trophy!” Demonia quipped, referring to Grandi’s numerous past XBIZ accolades.

“Thank you everyone,” Grandi said. “Thank you to my team and my family for the support. I love you. Thank you, my performers!”

The next presenter was Dani Daniels — another of the evening’s “red ladies,” in a dark burgundy gown — who anointed PayBig as Paysite Network of the Year and LetsDoeIt.com as Paysite of the Year. The awards were accepted by Roald Riepen for PayBig and Alin for LetsDoeIt.

The evening’s hosts returned for another innuendo-filled comedy intervention that culminated with Danny D pitching Lissa on a James Bond scenario in which she’d play “the Russian temptress” trying to make him drop his drawers in order to find the microchip hidden on his person.

Nancy Ace and Angelika Grays, in almost-matching blue and black skintight gowns, then presented back-to-back categories in which the evening’s aforementioned co-hosts themselves turned out the be co-winners: Best Gonzo Sex Scene, which went to Jia Lissa and Christian Clay for their Tushy Raw scene “Irresistible Impulse,” and Best Feature Sex Scene to Lana Wolf and Danny D for their scenes in the Digital Playground sci-fi romp “Pornstars in Space.”

Visibly moved to tears, Lissa said, “I honestly don’t even need this award because being part of this amazing community already makes me a winner.” She thanked Julia Grandi and Vixen for their support and creative collaboration, adding, “I love you guys!”

Ceding the floor to his Best Feature Sex Scene partner, Danny D stood by beaming with pride while Wolf revealed that “Pornstars in Space” was her first-ever professional studio scene.

“And what an honor to have won,” she added. “Thank you, Danny, for letting me be part of this amazing concept.”

The awards for Emerging Web Brand and Cam Site of the Year were presented by Eva Elfie and Evie Rees, the latter wearing her signature pink finery and hair.

The Emerging Web Brand winner was F2F.com, with Jean-Micheal proudly touting that the site was “co-founded and co-owned by creators like Sepanta Arya.”

“We’re very proud to have this recognition,” he added. “I’m also extremely proud of our very talented and innovative developers, and our amazing creative support managers, who make a difference for creators every day.”

The title of Cam Site of the Year went to BongaCams.com. Several team members, all repping the brand’s burgundy color scheme, were led onstage by Julia, who reminded the crowd about the real meaning of the trophy: “This victory means so much to us because it means we’re doing something right for our beautiful models, for our studios and for our partners.”

XBIZ Europa winner Scarlett Jones, in a pearly blue-and-white dress, and the effortlessly charming Ricky Johnson, took the stage next to present the award for Best Acting.

The winner was Nicole Kitt, for her turn as Diana in Lust Cinema’s romantic comedy “The Wedding.” The American-in-Europe performer dazzled in a black-and-gold outfit with serious 1980s “Dynasty” luxury vibes.

“Oh my God,” a shocked Kitt began. “I just want to say thank you to Lust Cinema. To Erica Lust for adopting me into your beautiful family — and for revolutionizing porn.” Kitt also thanked her agency, OC Modeling, and her partner, before concluding, “This is literally the best thing that ever fucking happened in my life. I’m over the fucking moon. Thank you, everyone. I love you guys!”

The next award was the coveted, highly competitive trophy for Director of the Year — Julia Grandi’s second win for the evening, and a history-making fourth consecutive win in the category. She returned to the stage surrounded by many of her collaborators.

“I am super happy to win this for the fourth year in a row, and I hope for more,” Grandi told the audience. “Thanks to my hardworking team, and I’m super happy to be here with you guys.”

Presenters MelRose Michaels and Cassie Curses, both highly lauded creators themselves, announced the much-anticipated Cam Model, Clip Artist and Premium Social Media Star of the Year winners.

Revealed as the 2023 Cam Model of the Year, Jessica D, in a diaphanous backless gown that displayed her stunning back tattoos, gave a quick thanks but mainly let her distinctive presence — self-described as “British, bangs, boobs and bush. What more do you need?” — do the talking.

Clip Artist of the Year winner Reislin — in a short, dark, provocative, cleavage and underboob-baring dress — was equally succinct, expressing herself nonverbally by jumping up and down and hollering for joy.

Finally, fans and colleagues favorite Rebecca Goodwin — another redhead in green, in a shoulder-baring gown — accepted the trophy for Premium Social Media Star of the Year with elation.

“I was going to say I wasn’t expecting this, but I can’t because I’ve been begging for this on social media so hard! So this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me — but don’t tell my kids I said that, all right?”

Heading into the final stretch of the ceremony, XBIZ Award-winning performer, director and creator Jessica Stoya, marching to the beat of her own fashion drum in a Marlene Dietrich-worthy tieless tux, announced Lust Cinema’s “The Wedding” as Feature Movie of the Year. Erika Lust, in a black-and-white geometric patterned dress, took the stage in company with the film’s star, brand-new XBIZ Europa Best Acting winner Nicole Kitt. 

“Thank you, thank you,” Lust said. “I’m very happy for this. You are always nervous sitting there. You don’t know, even if you love the movie. Thank you, Nicole. I don’t know if Jason Steel is here. Thank you, Dante Colle. And Romy Fury, Maria Riot, Panterino — a wonderful ensemble. Thank you to my crew, who’s not here tonight, but it’s the best crew in the world. And to my wonderful staff back in Barcelona. And everybody who’s working for Erika Lust. And watch ‘The Wedding.’ It’s a really good movie!”

Stoya then presented the title of Best New Performer to Vixen exclusive Kelly Collins. The blonde up-and-comer, in a bright red skintight dress, thanked the Vixen team and Grandi before adding, “I want to congratulate every person who was nominated with me, because you deserve to be here too.”

Multi-XBIZ Award-winning performer Amirah Adara returned to the stage to present three of the evening’s finale trophies. Gay Performer of the Year went to Bastian Karim, who took the stage in a blue suit made casual with a white tank top and sneakers, and gave a heartfelt speech.

“Oh my God,” Karim said. “To be nominated here, it was an honor — to be the winner, it is a dream. But dreams come true! So congratulations to everyone — and everyone is a winner tonight. Thank you so much.”

Adara then announced the winner for Male Performer of the Year: Christian Clay. Epitomizing Euro cool in a blue suit over a black t-shirt, stylish glasses and moccasins without socks, Clay thanked his producers, colleagues and fans.

Like Best Director, the crowning accolade of the evening, Female Performer of the Year, went to another incumbent. Adara yelped with glee as she opened the golden envelope and revealed her friend Tiffany Tatum as the winner.

“Oh my God, yeah!” Adara screamed. “So the winner is… the fucking best… Tiffany Tatum!”

Tatum rushed to the stage and launched into a celebration that was less a speech than a race around the room to embrace all of her close work family and collaborators, including Adara, her BrillBabes agent Esther and Parasited auteur Romero, whom she said she wanted to honor because she forgot to thank him for her earlier win.

“Thank you so much, everyone,” the now twice-crowned Female Performer of the Year told the audience at the Theater Amsterdam, before leaving the stage to let the hosts close an unprecedented night of Hollywood-level glitz celebrating, as Danny D said, “this wonderful industry of ours.”

“Give the last round of applause for all of you,” Danny D exhorted. “For being creative, for being yourselves, and for supporting and appreciating one another even when the outside world throws us a bit of shade — and for making this world a slightly more fun place.”

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