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OnlyFans Popularity Spreads as Performers Take to TikTok

But content creators on the largely NSFW site warn making a living on OnlyFans is harder than it looks

“I have a full-time job as an accountant,” Savannah, 23, lipsyncs, looking very un-accountant-like in black lipstick and a curve-skimming maxi dress. “Nobody asks you questions when you say you’re an accountant.” The caption of the video: “When you’ve made $150,000 off of [OnlyFans] in less than 4 months but you don’t want your family to know.” In a follow-up TikTok, she shows the “receipts”: her earning statistics on OnlyFans, a platform that connects content creators directly to fans by allowing them to sell exclusive content to them.

Savannah is one of many OnlyFans content creators who have made similar videos on TikTok showing off their earnings, both as a not-so-subtle flex and a way to shut down trolls and detractors. “TikTok is a good platform to spread information about OnlyFans and find advice from other girls,” says Lizzy, 24, a statistician who says she’s made $31,000 in three months on the website. Her OnlyFans earnings video on the app reached three million people, and is the most engaged video on her page.

OnlyFans has long been used by sex workers as a way to directly market their own content — everything from nudes to feet pics to videos — to consumers. But with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many newly unemployed Americans have gravitated to the platform to make money, prompting an explosion in new user signups. Many creators also benefited from OnlyFans’ referral bonus program, which gave creators 5% of a new user’s earnings after they sign up (previously, this 5% applied to a user’s lifetime earnings; following the explosion of new signups last spring, the platform quietly rolled it back to 5% of the first year of earnings, to the chagrin of longtime OnlyFans creators).

OnlyFans has since become something of a meme, with many mulling over the prospect of opening an account, Beyonce namedropping it on a Megan thee Stallion remix, and mainstream celebrities like Bella Thorne and Cardi B recently gravitating to the platform (though the latter did clarify, “NO I WONT BE SHOWING PUSSY, TITTIES AND ASS” on the platform).

Despite the newfound popularity of OnlyFans, there’s still stigma associated with the platform, in part due to the inaccurate assumption that it is devoted solely to NSFW content, and the equally inaccurate assumption that selling nudes is “easy” money. Savannah sees her TikTok page, where she has more than 475,000 followers, as an opportunity to combat that taboo by making clear that her work as a content creator is a “legitimate job.”

@weights_n_freedomIt be like that tho😂 my OF is @cakes_n_freedom #accountant #boss #makeitrain

♬ original sound – rockysroad

@jobylexx

#of #gind #fyp #foryourpage #4u #hustle

♬ Rags2Riches (feat. ATR Son Son) – Rod Wave

Ava, 19, joined OnlyFans earlier this year, right as quarantine kicked into full swing, and estimates she’s made about $35,000 so far. She was inspired to make her own TikTok boasting of her OnlyFans earnings (set to the theme song of Disney Junior’s Sofia the First) after seeing a male user duet a similar post from a female OnlyFans creator. “He made a joke about wanting to quit his job, and girls having it on easy mode. He was totally shaming her,” she says. “I was kind of upset by it, so it inspired me to just make my own.” She also had another, arguably less altruistic motive than the destigmatization of sex work: “It was something I saw I could also use to make money off of.” 

@avaamorr#greenscreen stick w me if u wanna learn the ropes 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩

♬ a foreigner overnight LMFAOO – nappyheadd

From Rolling Stone US