They reveal all on the web and pockets hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each month thanks to the erotic social platform OnlyFans.
By Maxime Beauregard-Martin
Between a steamy shower scene and an intimate discussion with one of their subscribers, we talked to two Quebecois performers – no holds barred.
Kyle (not his real name) abandoned his job as a computer programmer to escape the routine and live out his passion for hip-hop. Ironically, it was his dancing skills that brought him back behind his computer.
After having set the stage alight at the mythic Le 281 nightclub, this young man of 26 started exciting a virtual audience a year ago, live from his bathroom.
Welcome to the world of OnlyFans, a British social platform founded in 2016. Users pay between $4.99 and $49.99 (in American dollars) per month to access a content creator’s feed. Some content creators offer non-sexual content. However, most of the 450,000 creators provide content ranging from the erotic to the pornographic.
“I was thinking of a way to broaden my horizons and my sources of revenue,” Kyle says. This Montrealer adds: “Going on the internet, I told myself I could reach an audience that I wouldn’t be able to reach if I was just dancing at the club.”
He was offered fewer opportunities to dance at Le 281, he says, because he is black. “But on line you can have access to all sorts of clients. Girls that are hairy or are morbidly obese make more money than I do!”
Primary Source of Revenue
Since his club closed its doors in March of 2020, Kyle puts several hours a week into his profile. Since the pandemic began, OnlyFans has been his primary source of revenue. He gives dance lessons under the pseudonym Kyle Smiles. His page is supplied almost daily with photos and videos showing his well-sculpted body from all angles.
What he posts is accompanied by comments that are carefully crafted to feed his fans’ fantasies: “Who wants a taste?” “Will somebody lend me a hand?”
But Kyle is careful not to put content that is too explicit on his feed. “I don’t do vulgarity. I’m more into nudity,” he says. “I get some pretty risqué requests from my subscribers.” Kyle accedes to these requests in private, for a few extra dollars.
Sometimes, this young man whets his subscribers’ appetites by leaving videos in their message boxes. “I’ll film myself taking a bath, and suddenly, I’ll slip my hand between my legs… hoping they’ll buy what comes next.”
That’s what makes OnlyFans a success: subscribers can communicate directly with content creators.
The site has seen its number of users explode since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of users has more than doubled, reaching the mark of 50 million subscribers. In May 2020, between 7,000 and 8,000 new content creators were registered each day.
Audrey (not her real name), a 28-year-old fashion designer, was also tempted by the adventure of creating content on OnlyFans. This redhead with the wry smile discovered her exhibitionist side while posing to promote her own lingerie line. The public appetite for some of her more suggestive poses she posted on her Instagram account convinced her that she could monetize her own image. For this mother of children, it was also a way for her to reclaim ownership of her own body.
“I worked at home for four years. I didn’t get out much, and you could tell.” She jokes that a gray cotton sweatshirt became her uniform.
“Since I’ve had my OnlyFans profile, I’ve begun putting on makeup every morning, and getting dressed for my photos. It helps my self-esteem. And when I create my videos, that’s my little private moment of the day.”
Audrey’s presence on the website has even injected some zing into her relationship of 10 years with her husband. “I never used to send risqué photos to my beau. But now, when I take them, I send them to him. I feel more attractive when he gets home.”
The financial aspect remains her primary motivation. After having ceded 20% of the profits she makes from subscribers to the OnlyFans platform, she pockets between $600 and $1,000 per week. Kyle makes about $400 per month on average. But he says he could make a lot more by increasing the number of promotional messages he sends out on Reddit.
“My partner has always supported me financially,” Audrey says. “But it sure is fun to be able to bring home as much money as he does with my two businesses… if I can call it a business!” At first, this redhead was posing to promote her fashion collections; now, it’s become a whole different project.
Audrey spends a lot of time thinking about how she poses. “People are paying to see you, not for the sex,” she says. “Because if you want sex, it’s all over the internet. What attracts them to me is my hair. People want to talk to the little redhead, it really is just that.”
Since she created her profile, Audrey has joined groups formed by other OnlyFans content creators in order to identify users with bad intentions. “We share the names of certain clients suspected of stealing content, or some photographers with which the performers have had bad experiences.”
Among her 200 subscribers, mostly from Quebec, the U.S. and Europe, only about a dozen actually start conversations with her. “Some want me to recount my sex stories, and others have bought all my erotic videos,” from masturbation to a sex tape she did with her husband.
Beyond dealing in fantasies, every so often this entrepreneur replies to requests for a bit of tenderness. “I have a client that talks about his personal life, wishes me a good night every night, and calls me his friend. We’re all a bit lonely during confinement, so I keep them company.” These exchanges don’t bother Audrey’s husband at all… except for the amount of time she spends on her cellphone.
In his description on his profile, Kyle classifies himself as hetero. But most of his subscribers are gay men. “One confided to me that he has trouble with social interactions in real life. Most of the people his circle are homosexual, so this gives him a chance to talk about sexuality with someone who’s straight. I talk to him openly about my preferences and my experiences.”
Audrey and Kyle include these private conversations in their monthly subscription fee. But they make it clear that they accept tips for being available.
Does Kyle see himself making a long career of being on OnlyFans? He hesitates. “When I was a teenager, I was fascinated by the documentaries on sex and travel that Canal D would air,” he recalls. “”This is in the same vein, what I’m doing now, I tell myself. But I know I won’t be doing this my whole lifetime, because I have too many projects I want to accomplish, whether in dance or in media.”