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Can You Make Six Figures A Year Off Reply Guys? Caroline Calloway Thinks So.

The week before the health department shut down all bars was a brutal one at my club. The upside was that there were so few customers and so little cash changed hands that it didn’t feel like we were getting exposed to much of anything besides boredom. The owner was berating dancers for not working more amid this virus hysteria, and getting their names wrong while he did so. Nobody was jumping to pick up dead shifts, and most of his dancers had abandoned their work ethic and any sense of duty to attend a Tool concert.

Around the same time, it was apparent that Fox News had begun to acknowledge that a pandemic was indeed occurring. This meant that the owner, in turn, had started to take it seriously. Now he was even more proactive than the health department, and we had to come in at 10:30 a.m. and empty our lockers because he urgently needed to eradicate the viruses thriving inside them.

We left with our trash bags full of mangled, body-spray-doused spandex. Like the rest of the country, some of us adopted the sleep schedules of koalas. Some of us obsessively consumed the news like we were trying to crack a code. Some of us measured time only by examining our pubes. Some of us took advantage of liquor stores being deemed essential. All of us watched Tiger King. After getting past the initial shock and unorthodox food cravings, many of us joined the masses of Royally Fucked sex workers everywhere in creating OnlyFans accounts. 

I haven’t done the OnlyFans thing partially because I am on pandemic unemployment assistance as an independent contractor. It took multiple applications and waiting for the state to to wait on the federal government, but it’s been a godsend. I can stop panicking until July 31st. I’m also not on OnlyFans because it’s a lot of hard work and that’s only exacerbated by this whole end-of-days thing. 

I’ve watched my friends navigate OnlyFans and discover that there’s all kinds of paraphernalia to research and buy, like glitchy Bluetooth selfie clickers. One friend ordered an interactive phone-app controlled vibrator, and was devastated when it malfunctioned during her first live show. Another friend has been making content in her microscopic studio apartment. She assembled and installed a Murphy bed and has done an impressive job of taking hot photos that don’t give away the limited space in which she’s working (shit, I’m impressed just by the bed itself). 

A third friend was completely thwarted from pursuing an OnlyFans hustle when her driver’s license was rejected for being too beat up and the DMV couldn’t get her in until May 16th. She’s been discreetly selling videos on an app that is not sex-worker friendly (LOL, like any are) and crossing her fingers that she doesn’t get busted.

A fourth friend recently couldn’t deliver on the type of video a subscriber was requesting, because she’s quarantined with her ex and he was in the next room. And like many strippers who went from physically demanding jobs to staying home, she’s gained weight. It’s not easy to shoot, edit, and post nude photos and videos when you’re struggling with your body image.

A fifth friend isn’t comfortable working online because she’s pursuing a career in a male-dominated field where she doesn’t want to be outed as having been a sex worker. Instead, she’s putting all her stuff in storage and moving into a yurt. 

If so many people I care dearly about weren’t using OnlyFans as a way to make ends meet while bracing for a depression and worrying about dying, it would be at least slightly comical that “minor influencer” Caroline Calloway bragged on Sunday that she was “currently looking at a $223,800 annual salary from OnlyFans.”

Who exactly is Caroline Calloway? The short answer is that she’s one of those famous-for-being-famous people, except she doesn’t even have a pink Corvette or a sex tape with Ray J. The long answer is the type of Internet rabbit hole that appeals to my appetite for the messy and bizarre in the same way as the poop cult or the Ukrainian adult child orphan, so here’s a medium one: Caroline Calloway first got some publicity in 2015 for securing a $375,000 Instagram-to-book deal about her life as an American student at Cambridge. She never wrote the book. Then she went viral for her poorly planned “creativity workshops” that were kinda scammy. She went more viral when her former best friend/ghostwriter/maid penned an essay on their weird-ass friendship for The Cut (NB: this is the most essential reading of all these links). She allegedly has no kneecaps. She makes and sells Matisse rip offs. She is kind of an anti-Semitic troll. She threw herself a ball with no dancing for her birthday. She lies about Playboy. She peed in a teapot at an Airbnb? She’s had a string of personal assistants and has them wear Outdoor Voices sweatsuits. Starting in March, she posted a three-part blog/manifesto in response to her ex-friend’s essay—behind a paywall, with the money going to Direct Relief (the paywall is now down). She stopped at two and a half parts but continues to shamelessly tout her altruism while also harassing the editor-in-chief of The Cut. 

We’ve all watched how well it ends for the girl who does amateur night once, lucks out with a $300 set, and makes calculations on just how rich she’s about to become based on that number. And we’ve seen boring wannabe writers go for a stripper phase when attempting to make up for what they lack in personality, life experience, and/or talent. They’re annoying, but eventually they see themselves out. Having a group of grown men screaming that they need to see your butthole at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday is not exactly what these types envision when studying Cardi B videos. They “retire” and get to feel edgy for owning a pair of Pleasers, and we get to go back to doing our jobs without them in the way. That is, until the next baby stripper comes along to teach her ex-boyfriend a lesson, and then she leaves and we get a horse girl who is thrilled to have a venue to express her sexuality, ad infinitum. Sex work tourism (as well as shock value patronage) used to really personally offend me when I was younger, but I’ve seen it enough now to accept this majestic cycle. 

The thought of unpacking all the many and varied reasons why Caroline Calloway’s OnlyFans bullshit is not cool hurts my head. Thankfully, sex work Twitter already has that handled. I can go back to following her shitshow to feel better about myself and avoid thinking about murder hornets.

When she tweeted “Show me my competition? For someone offering emotionally poignant, softcore cerebral porn I’m basically unchallenged,” she got ratio’d by sex workers in a way that only the Beyhive could top. She messed with a population of workers who are, not coincidentally, incredibly resilient, intelligent, and hilarious. We organize. We look out for each other because no one else will. We have mutual aid and relief funds because we’re not going to leave our most vulnerable members behind. We talk. Real recognize real. Real also recognize that a newbie flopping around in a wet dress on the carpet of her grandma’s condo with some $200 paper flowers (or who thinks men give a shit about her $244 cardigan and $350 skirt when they’re masturbating) ain’t it. 

Please share in the joy I got from this sampling of the many, many great replies. Keep up the good work everyone, we’re in this together. 

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Kat is a co-founder of Tits and Sass. She started stripping in 2003 and is still hoofing it. You can find her on Twitter.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Incredible piece of writing, amazingly researched and well executed you provided such a unique and important perspective in this piece ❣️

  2. This really drew a line to what’s been bothering me about her newest persona. Good article. The sharp responses are fantastic. She certainly did think she was the only smart SW. Hopefully that was a wake up call.

  3. Thank you thank you thank you for this!!! Everyone seems to suck her **** so it’s really, really refreshing to read this, especially because you captured the terrible-ness of this whole thing so well.

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