Savannah Benavidez stopped working as a medical billing officer in June to care for her 2-year-old son after the nursery shut down. Needing a way to pay her bills, she created an account on OnlyFans – a social media platform where users sell original content to monthly subscribers – and started posting nudity or wear underwear.
Ms. Benavidez, 23, has made $ 64,000 since July, enough not only to take care of her own bills but also to help her family and friends pay rent and cars.
“That’s more money than I ever earned in any job,” she said. “I have more money than I know what to do with.”
Lexi Eixenberger had been hoping for a similar breeze when she started her OnlyFans account in November. A restaurant employee in Billings, Mont., 22-year-old Ms. Eixenberger, was laid off three times during the storm. translation and by October, she needed cash so much that she had to drop out of oral hygiene school. After donating plasma and doing odd jobs, she still didn’t have enough to pay her bills, so at the suggestion of some friends, she turned to OnlyFans. She has only made about 500 dollars so far.
OnlyFans, founded in 2016 and headquartered in the UK, became famous during the pandemic. As of December, it has more than 90 million users and more than one million content creators, up from 120,000 in 2019. The company declined to comment on this article.
With millions of Americans unemployed, some like Ms. Benavidez and Ms. Eixenberger are turning to OnlyFans to try to provide for themselves and their families. The pandemic has caused a particularly serious damage to women and mothers, wiping out parts of the economy where women dominate: retail businesses, restaurants and healthcare. .
“A lot of people are migrating to OnlyFans out of desperation,” said Angela Jones, associate professor of sociology at New York State University at Farmingdale. “These are people who worry about eating, they worry about keeping the lights, they worry about not being kicked out of the house.”
But for everyone like Ms. Benavidez, who can use OnlyFans as her main source of income, there are dozens of others, like Ms. Eixenberger, who hope for a good fortune and end up with just over a few hundred. dollars and worry. that the photos hinder their ability to get a job in the future.
“It’s an extremely saturated market,” Ms. Jones said of the clear online content. “The idea that people just open up one OnlyFans account and start taking part in the trial is really false.”
The most successful content creators are often models, porn stars, and celebrities who have a large following on social media. They can use their other online platforms to attract followers to their OnlyFans account, where they offer exclusive content to people willing to pay monthly fees – even content that is Personalization in exchange for tips. OnlyFans offers 20% off any salary. Some creators get tips through mobile payment apps, which aren’t cut back; Ms. Benavidez makes most of her money this way.
But many creators have joined the platform because financial need is too great but don’t have a lot of social followers or any way to drive consistent business.
Elle Morocco in West Palm Beach, Fla., Was fired from her position of office manager in July. Her unemployment check doesn’t include $ 1,600 monthly rent, utility bill and food and drink, so she joined OnlyFans in November.
But Ms. Morocco, 36, has no social media presence to talk about when she joined the platform and has to engage each and every subscriber – by posting her photos on Instagram and Twitter, at the same time. Follow her likes and comments on her posts, encouraging each to subscribe to OnlyFans. It’s more challenging and time-consuming than she expected and has less financial rewards.
“It’s a full-time job in addition to your full-time job looking for work,” she said. “Fans want to see you post everyday. You are always stirring. You always take pictures to post. “
So far, she’s only made $ 250 on the platform, although sometimes spending up to 8 hours a day creating, posting, and promoting her content.
Ms. Morocco also worries that her presence on the platform will make it difficult for her to be recruited into traditional jobs in the future.
“If you’re looking for 9 to 5, they might not hire you if they find out you have OnlyFans,” she said. “They may not want you if they know you are a prostitute.”
Digital prostitution can create the illusion of safety and privacy – content creators can get paid without having to face customers directly. But that doesn’t mean there’s no risk.
Barb Brents, a sociology professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said: “Online prostitution is a much more lucrative alternative to going on the streets or selling sex services online. continued. “That said, anyone involved in this kind of work should be aware that there are dangers.”
Last April, an Indiana mechanic lost her job at a Honda dealership after management learned she had a OnlyFans account. The creator could be the target of “doxxing” – an online form of harassment in which users publish private or sensitive information about someone without permission. In December, The New York Post published an article about a New York City doctor who is using OnlyFans to supplement her income. The medical person believes that the article, published without her consent, will damage her reputation and get her fired.
Creators may also be subject to a “restriction”, a method by which users take screenshots or record unauthorized audio, and then share them elsewhere on the internet. The OnlyFans creators have also received death and rape threats on social media.
Content creators OnlyFans may face not only professional, but also personal consequences. Ms. Eixenberger had kept her account secret from her father, but knew that he would find out now that she went public. “I don’t want to be embarrassed or rejected,” she said.
Others say experience has been empowered. Melany Hall, a single mother of three, making $ 13.30 an hour as a paramedic in northern Ohio, barely enough to cover her bills. She started a OnlyFans account back in December.
“I am the mother of three children. I never thought someone would pay to see me naked, ”said 27-year-old Ms. Hall. “
She’s made around $ 700 so far – not enough to change her life, but enough to make the holidays so special.
“This was the first year I didn’t have to choose between electricity bills and Christmas gifts for my kids,” she said. “This is the first year I can do it all myself.”