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Dasha Sweetwaters migrated to OnlyFans after the coronavirus pandemic halted her seasonal stint in Las Vegas as a showgirl.
Dasha Sweetwaters migrated to OnlyFans after the coronavirus pandemic halted her seasonal stint in Las Vegas as a showgirl.
Photo courtesy of Dasha Sweetwaters

Unlike Celebrities, Sex Workers on OnlyFans Don't Always Cash Out

On the remix for Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage," Beyoncé brazenly raps, "Hips Tik-Tok when I dance/On that demon time, she might start an OnlyFans."

The verse seems to wink at the sex workers, influencers, and curious laypeople flocking to OnlyFans, a content subscription service primarily used for X-rated entertainment, since the onset of the coronavirus tipped the economy on its head. Between stay-at-home orders and internet personalities capitalizing on their established online audiences, the platform has become increasingly visible.

Flanked by a splendid oceanside view, social-media personality and entrepreneur YesJulz spoke candidly in a July interview with OnlyFans about her ability to convert her internet popularity into $300,000 in a mere 90 days. She's since risen to the top 0.01 percent of content creators on the site and launched an interactive workshop, #NeverNotWorkingniversity, which allows subscribers to participate in digital classes that cover topics like branding, marketing strategies, and profitability.

With more than one million Instagram followers, rapper and Love & Hip-Hop: Miami cast member Sukihana recently cashed out on her OnlyFans earnings, a flex she announced against the backdrop of a Bentley in an Instagram post captioned, "Stop complaining and hustle that's the combination to the lock."

More recently, higher-profile celebrities like rapper Cardi B and actress Bella Thorne have joined the platform, with Thorne's announcement leading to a site crash.

OnlyFans' appeal seems to be a cousin of the get-rich-quick scheme. The site enables a simple revenue play-by-play: Content creators earn money directly from subscribers by setting monthly fees ranging from $4.99 to $49.99. Yet, for a lot of people trying to make extra cash on the platform, the payout doesn't immediately equate to overnight success.

Twenty-one-year-old Kaylaa Robinson started her tenure on OnlyFans a little more than a year ago, but she's just starting to see organic results from an uptick in the content she offers.

"At the beginning of 2020, I started working at a strip club," Robinson tells New Times over Zoom. "Once coronavirus happened and the strip clubs closed, I was really motivated to dedicate all my time to OnlyFans."

Robinson recently moved from Broward County to Atlanta, where she's producing erotic videos for which she charges subscribers $11.11 a month, with an optional $9.99 that unlocks access to full-length pornography movies that she teases on Twitter. She says she's on pace to clear six figures this year but cautions that popularity on the app doesn't always translate to earnings.

"I've seen people who make more and less money than me in my same ranking," she says of her standing at the top 1.6 percentile on OnlyFans.

Miami resident and social-media personality Dasha Sweetwaters waded into OnlyFans after coronavirus shuttered her seasonal stint as a showgirl in Las Vegas. She migrated her modest social-media following to the site, where she reigns in the top ten percent as a BDSM dominatrix. For a $7.99 monthly subscription, fans can unlock the self-described seven-foot-tall Amazonian goddess' domain.

"Sorry I didn't answer. I was up until 5 a.m. with this guy from Missouri. Fans are so needy," Sweetwaters quips during a FaceTime with New Times.

Sweetwaters was set to record her next batch of content, having donned a golden-blond wig, a cheetah-print bustier and a yellow cardigan, sparkling eyelids, stacked eyelashes, and a bright-red pout.

"Technically, what you call me is a cross-dresser, which ten years ago was next to pedophilia, so it's evolved a lot, and it's been a journey," she says.

Like Robinson, Sweetwaters is putting in full-time hours on the site and performing in virtual cabaret shows to make extra income on the side. She also charges up to $100 for private videos for docile clients hypnotized by her sovereignty.

While those with experience in sex work pounced on OnlyFans as another stream of income under quarantine mandates, the platform has enabled newbies to experiment.

Twenty-five-year-old Lauderdale Lakes resident Nadia Theoc works in customer service at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood by day and mesmerizes her fans with salacious lip and cleavage photos by night.

"It's a side thing," Theoc says. "Something I do to kill time, but I wouldn't expect it to be my main source of income."

For $7.77 a month — priced after her favorite angel number —- Theoc uploads content three times a week and interacts with fans via messages to build a rapport. Although she ventured into OnlyFans to experiment and put a paywall on the seductive content she uploaded to Instagram and Snapchat for free, she warned against measuring success by comparing one's numbers to those of influencers.

"One misconception is people don't like to be realistic about how much they would make doing OnlyFans because they're not an A-list celebrity," she says.

Melissa Reid, 32, isn't much fazed by the competition from celebrities on OnlyFans. After a pay cut from her full-time gig stifled her livelihood, she meandered to the site and set her price tag at $10 a month plus $5 per minute for additional videos.

"I do a lot of baby-oil breast videos and feet videos, so that's my market at this point," Reid says.

Adopting a marketing strategy that involves linking her account on Reddit threads and Twitter to accrue additional subscribers, she's ascended to the top 30 percent since signing on in March.

She's aware that the top performers on OnlyFans are pushed to the top from tips or how they're able to liquidate a massive following, but that doesn't deter her from growth potential.

"You have people who have paywalls, like the rapper Rubi Rose who used her IG followers to follow her account but had nothing of value on her page," Reid says. "So, you're going against all of that."

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