An Interview with an OnlyFans Worker

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OnlyFans, the popular online sex work platform, has ignited much controversy since its founding in 2016. While some view it as a champion of women’s economic and sexual empowerment, others see the platform as exploitative, counterintuitive to modern feminist ideals and encouraging the fetishization of people of color. To glean an insider’s perspective on this issue, I interviewed Kala W., a 22-year-old woman based in Chicago who has worked for OnlyFans since 2020 and has enjoyed financial success through her work. Here, she answers some questions about why she joined OnlyFans, what her time with the platform has been like, and if she would recommend her job to others. 

CC: Why did you decide to start working for OnlyFans?

KW: I chose OnlyFans because I had recently quit my job at the time, and in a panic I was worried about how I would take care of myself without resorting to asking my parents for money. I have a deep-rooted hate of asking people for help, I just cannot. But that’s just me. I knew in the past, as a minor, unfortunately, I profited a lot from selling content to guys I was talking to. I also had a decent social media presence at the time of me deciding to push forward with OnlyFans, therefore I felt like I would at least make some type of quick money. And I wouldn’t have to resort to my parents. I did not think it would turn into what it turned into, being that it was one of my main sources of income for a very long time due to the amount of money I was making. 

CC: Do you think OnlyFans is the most efficient way for women to make quick money?

KW: I think that it depends on what you consider adequate income. Some may be content with working as a server and the wages they receive from that is sufficient enough to support their lifestyle. If you can’t live off a 9-5 income due to your lifestyle and are in dire need of quick money, then you may consider doing sex work because in reality it’s what women can profit from immediately. As to men, they may turn to selling drugs because that’s what will give them the quickest return. Women can’t just turn to quick schemes such as selling drugs or scamming because with those being a male-dominated field, it’s putting ourselves at risk of being taken advantage of in so many ways. With OnlyFans, you are in control of the situation majority of the time.

CC: Do you think your racial identity has affected your work and, if so, how?

KW: I believe that in a lot of ways I am privileged being a light-skin Black girl. For the most part, people have a hard time distinguishing what actual ethnicity I am, therefore bringing in a wide range of different clientele. When it comes down to the average person, my OnlyFans may do “better” than someone who is of darker complexion than I am. Then again, I think the nice thing about OnlyFans or sex work in general is that regardless of your race, you still have a good chance of doing well in this industry because sex is often seen as a psychological need amongst a large chunk of the world’s population, resulting in a wide range of individuals that like different things. 

CC: What has been the worst part about working for OnlyFans for you?

KW: The worst part about working for OnlyFans for me is the toll it takes on my mental health. For a long time I kind of swallowed my emotions and didn’t care what anyone thought because I was making so much money, but then it got to a point where I felt like I was selling my soul. I would often break down to my younger brother that I feel like I sold my soul. There would be times where I didn’t do as well for the month because I didn’t want to read the messages I received because they were so vile and foul that it made me feel uneasy. But that is what comes along with being a sex worker. My brother would help with these emotions by making jokes about my clients or responding with “Who cares what anyone thinks?” And it was those words alongside other supporters in my life that made me realize no one’s opinion really matters except the people that I care about. And really, everyone around me supports me and even goes to me for advice on starting theirs. On the other hand, OnlyFans is really, really bad with communication. For the most part they are responsive when it comes to copyright infringement, but when it comes to financial situations, such as needing proof of income from the company or just needing help in general with the site, they are unresponsive. 

CC: Would you recommend working for OnlyFans to other people, particularly other women?

KW: If they can endure the mental toll it takes and it benefits them, then yes.