Translated by Nadia Sol Scheneider
“Most people just want to move calmly through society, without preconceived ideas, without prejudices”, states Vada Bergen in the novel Camgirl, written by Leah Raeder. Maybe that’s how it is, or perhaps, the feelings of confinement have changed some ideas.
Truth to be told, some streaming platforms such as Stripchat increased their traffic by 72% throughout 2020. This translates into a bigger number of users and tips. Modelling platforms like Streammodels, Xmodels, and Chaturbate also revamped themselves to compete for the retribution of pay-per-minute views with a noticeable improvement in the percentage of earnings and web design quality, most of them surpassing the minimum wage in any latin american country. This is a very interesting proposal for a territory with constant political and economic instability.
According to the website Readysetcam, on a survey conducted between July and October 2021, a Camgirl who works for a foreign audience earns a median salary of USD $1043 working only 18 hours a week. This is the equivalent of a junior salary of a programmer. With the possibility of adding countries that are blocked —because these activities are not globally legalized—, and charging with international credit cards such as Payoneer, or FirstChoice, we could say that this is life on a plate.
Today we are interviewing Lali. She is uruguayan and will tell us about her job in-depth to enlight us about an uncertain albeit lucrative work for many.
Can you tell us how you start? You used to work as a programmer first and later became an escort, or the other way around?
I started being a Camgirl first, in several well-known sites, at the beginning of the year, at the same time I started working as a programmer in a major multinational of this sector. Then, my work as a camgirl allowed me to pave my way to other types of sex work, and one of them is escort.
What are the things that you love and hate the most about being a Camgirl?
What I love is that I can work from the comfort of my own home, with a flexible schedule, not under pressure, and with a high salary. Besides, I like the positive validation that I receive from my clients, that has helped me a lot with my self esteem. As in every job, there are disrespectful people that can mistreat or insult you. Some people think that you are willing to do anything for money and they ask or suggest very creepy stuff.
The worst thing about being a camgirl is the same as in any other job with people: The bad people you can come across with. However, I consider that aside from those cases, being a camgirl has had a positive impact on my life.
We read that this is a job alternative for persons with disabilities that was less asked for in the past, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, I know some people with crippling social anxiety (CSA) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and this job allows them to have an income in a much more comfortable environment than in a normal job which can be sometimes oppressive. I also know about persons with motor disabilities who find an advantage working from home and that’s important for them.
What role does one’s personality play in this job? Some camgirls say that is irrelevant and you always find your ideal client…
I think that personality is the most important part of your job as a Camgirl, it’s what makes a client to visit your regularly, I am not saying that the looks are not an important aspect of the job as well, but that the differentiable factor is, in most cases, your personality in a sea of camgirls competing against you.
Every day I work I am on the first page of the trans category, in the highest positions. I have also been in the front page worldwide, in overall categories on several occasions, although I am usually located around pages 2 or 3 globally, a good position for a niche category.
My clients say that they visit me regularly because I am fun and adorable, and that I have a very nice personality. Besides, I pay a lot of attention when they write, I remember about them, and greet them when they enter my room. I also smile and talk a lot. My character is basically “The Girl Next Door”. This means that I DON’T wear make up or dress up too much. I show myself just as I am.
Another thing that defines me is that I am always doing something in front of the camera, regardless if they pay me or not. As a result, people are always entertained, specially anonymous viewers or ¨grey ones¨ (the neutral visitors that help you reach a higher position), and therefore, more possibilities of attracting new people which also means more people giving me money. Some cam girls have asked me for advice and I always tell them the same thing… playing with your phone like a statue hoping that money drops in will not work. Men hate that.
Do you have a favorite client?
Yeah, obviously. Which doesn’t mean that they are the ones that give me the most money, but because they are people that respect me and support me a lot.
Some of them have given me honest advice about my Stream and how to improve it, among other things. With some clients I have a much more personal relationship, in which we talk daily outside business, as friends.
What keeps you motivated when you have either boring clients or boring days?
I don’t usually get bored because I am always doing something. I like to be active. In any case, a cup of coffee, good background music, and talking to people who are there makes the most of those situations. My chat is activated at all times for everyone to speak, even if they don’t have any money loaded in, there is always at least one person that pays attention and we can talk for hours.
What was the weirdest request from a client you had so far?
That’s a complicated one. I have had many requests and had to turn off a great deal of them. There are different categories, they have asked me for some gross stuff which involved my own waste —that is forbidden in all websites—, others wanted to buy my used panties. They also requested highly immoral stuff: Rape Play, Child Play, Family Play, etc. Luckily, all of that is also forbidden on all platforms. I have even been asked to rate someone’s ex-girlfriends.
But by far, the weirdest thing I have been asked for was Racial Degradation, with the client being black himself. He wanted me to dress as a cop, or as a nazi soldier, with swastikas drawn all over my body and to be insulted and spat at. That was weird. I ended up telling him I am latina and it wouldn’t make too much sense anyways. He insulted me for not being ¨pure¨. That was strange, and unusual.
If you had to make a ranking of the taste and nationality of your clients, do you think that you could link a particular taste to a nationality? If so, what would it be?
The taste for trans girls is global, that is for certain. I have clients from many different places of the world, in every continent. I cannot say that some nationalities have a particular taste among others, but looking at my OnlyFans statistics the main countries that visit me are: The USA, this is by far the biggest one, with a 30% more visitors than the next one, that is The UK, followed by Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, Chile, Norway, these are my main demographics. Although they might be biased because my main target is the american market, which is the richest.
Regarding of earnings, how much is paid through fiat currencies and in crypto?
I know that a great part of this market uses cryptocurrencies and several payment platforms (i.e Paypal,CashApp,etc) that are not friendly with the Sex Work market and do not offer protection given the case of a buyer asking for a refund after having recieving their material for what they paid for. Also there is always a possibility of your accounts being banned or your money being put on hold due to breaching terms and conditions. However, the worst thing about these platforms is that they aren’t anonymous, buyers can see your real name and address, and for a sex worker, that’s always a major danger.
I have also spoken to girls that live in countries where this profession is forbidden, some of these with legal loopholes, and they prefer not to risk themselves. Also financial institutions are not trustworthy and receiving a payment from abroad represents a very controlled and difficult task. I have talked about this with girls from Argentina and Venezuela, and they use mostly crypto to receive their payments that are later exchanged in the black market.
Do you have any other job annexed to your work as a Camgirl? What are your plans in the long term?
Yes, my main job is currently that of camgirl, I run an OnlyFans that gives me an extra income via subscription. I also upload videos to PornHub and Xvideos, in those, I make an extra income through ads. I also occasionally work as an escort, all of these branches in the sex work industry required a lot of promotion work through platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit.
In the long term, after forming a solid base of followers I plan to become a professional porn actress. I know that sex work is not a job you can sustain your whole life, so I am also studying in college for when this profession becomes less profitable or until I get bored.
Last question, what advice would you give to someone who wants or is starting a career in the sex work industry?
First of, I want to clarify that sex work IS NOT EASY MONEY. There will always be good and bad days, especially at the beginning, but this happens to everyone, including people with many years in the sector. The most important thing in this job is being consistent, and keeping a regular schedule that can be predictable to your clients. You can always try different time schedules until you find the most suitable.
It’s also essential to avoid burnout because it can make you hate your job. It’s advisable to work less hours and many days in a row than to gobble up many hours in just a few days.
I know that my daily limit is between four to five hours, so I rule my work through those time frames. It’s important to find a way to distinguish yourself from your competitors, finding a personality that adapts to your likes and preferences and you feel comfortable with. Finding a niche to exploit and focus on it, among other stuff. This depends a lot on what your limits and preferences are, for example: in the trans market there are several successful archetypes such as E-Girl, Dom, Femboy, Bimbo, Girl Next Door, etc. It’s better to focus on just one.
An important fact is that technology makes the difference, when you start you have a bit more freedom, but eventually you will have to improve the quality of your Stream to be successful. This means, a better internet connection, camera, lightning, etc. When I changed my webcam for a DSLR camera I doubled my income, and started charging much more, because of the better quality.
You have to be fluent in English as well, understanding informal expressions and slang is crucial and being quick to reply to messages in English is fundamental. English is a lingua franca, it is spoken worldwide, so you won’t be successful if you can’t speak it.
Last but not least, NEVER use your phone in front of the camera. This is a job and has to be taken as such. People notice very quickly the lack of interest, and they lose it too when they see you using your phone.
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