I am writing a series called The Best Jobs in the World. This series is dedicated to people who have rare or interesting jobs. My aim is to give options, hope, or motivation for people who do not feel the need to get a nine-to-five.
In this edition, NataliaSnowXOXO gave me a few minutes out of her day to speak with me about the adult industry. She has worked less than a year in the industry as a cam girl. With no plans in the near future to slow down or quit, she wanted to provide insights into this world.
EC: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I imagine not a lot of people just want to talk.
Natalia Snow: It’s my pleasure.
EC: What exactly is a “cam girl”?
Natalia Snow: A cam girl is an entertainment service who provides a fantasy experience via webcam. While most are nude and erotic, different entertainers cater to different markets and consumers.
EC: How did you find out about this line of work?
Natalia Snow: I’ve known some people in the porn industry and some strippers. I’m also a pretty voracious porn consumer. I’ve always been a highly sexual person and this is an area within my expertise that offers a high degree of autonomy and creative control.
EC: Ten years ago did you think this is something you would do?
Natalia Snow: Not exactly – but I wouldn’t have been surprised. I’m still pursuing a graduate degree because this isn’t usually a long term career, but I’ve always been open minded about how I support myself while working towards my goals.
EC: You mentioned this isn’t a long term career. How long do women usually stay in this industry?
Natalia Snow: A lot of girls just seem to go through college or mid-twenties, but there’s a bit more diversity in camming than mainstream porn. While there are certainly exceptions, it’s not terribly common to come across women who have been doing this more than five years.
The average may be somewhat low due to high burnout and turnover rate. This job takes thick skin, discipline, and self determination, like any sales job.
EC: I’m sure the turnover is incredibly high. I was just about to ask if there was anything about camming that would translate to the “normal” world.
Natalia Snow: Camgirls either work for a studio, but many, like myself, are independent. I have to run things like any business – keep track of expenses, take care of networking and advertising, invest in equipment or business services, etc. Plus, there’s the sales and customer service aspects.
EC: Is this a full-time position for you?
Natalia Snow: Really, 20 hours would be considered full time. I’ve been working a few hours a night now that I have partners to cam with, but even then, I rarely exceed 10-15 hours per week.
EC: And what kind of pay can someone expect doing 20 hours per week?
Natalia Snow: There’s really no base for that. It’s usually 100% commission so it’s variable. There’s some cam girls pulling in six-figure annual incomes, and some just making a little extra spending cash. I’m somewhere in between currently – I have other sources of income outside of the industry and the occasional paid modeling or solo video gig.
EC: What are the worst parts of this kind of work?
Natalia Snow: It can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. The physical part is pretty self explanatory, but everyone sets their own shows so that varies. Pretending to be someone else, focusing on fulfilling the needs of someone else, and keeping up a fantasy image can also be emotionally trying, too. There’s also uncomfortable requests – personally, I turn down requests that are focused on children, animals, or incest, but seeing a barrage of these requests can also be unpleasant. It’s easy to kick people who are being rude or insistent, but it does take thick skin. Finally, workers in this industry understand that there is a strong stigma so talking to others about work, even getting a loan from a bank, and protecting private from professional life can be challenging.
EC: Do you ever fear it will come back to bite you?
Natalia Snow: Sure, I recognize there’s a risk of diminished opportunities in the future. Once I’ve finished grad school, this kind of discovery could affect my reputation, but I wouldn’t even have the option of grad school without this job. I’m also just unapologetic about owning my sexual expression.
EC: Are your children ever going to find out?
Natalia Snow: They might. They’re too young to really understand why it’s an existing service, but I’m not big on lying to them. If they ask at some point or I reach a tipping point of popularity, then I’d talk to them about it.
EC: So what’s your career outlook with the cam girl business?
Natalia Snow: I hope to find some success, but I’m not out to become famous. I have a small following that I’m happy with. I wouldn’t mind going even more independent – having my own site rather than working with a cam aggregate, but that kind of investment is a ways off.
EC: When do you think you’ll retire from the adult industry?
Natalia Snow: I’ll probably call it when I start really committing a lot of my hours to writing my dissertation. There are a lot of factors that will contribute to my ability to go to school full time every semester, but I’d estimate that time will come in five to six years.
EC: What makes you so good at this line of work?
Natalia Snow: I think that has to do with my sexuality being genuine and authentic. While I keep personal and identifying information to myself, I’m really myself on cam. That doesn’t always work to my advantage – I nerd out; I’m not scared of talking about politics or religion, I make corny jokes. It’s not necessarily a mainstream fantasy of the mindless sex doll, but I think it increases my likability and approachability.
EC: Does this mean you fall into a genre?
Natalia Snow: There’s a few categories that I’d be listed under. I’m “alternative” because of my tattoos. I’m a nerdy girl next door. I also am in several couples or group categories. I could do pretty well in some that I reject. Because of my youthful appearance, small bust, and polite “innocence”, I get a lot of barely legal or outright illegal fantasy requests. I don’t do anything I’m not comfortable with; and with few exception, I stick to activities and fantasies that turn me on.
EC: What’s the funniest request you’ve ever received?
Natalia Snow: There’s a few odd ones, but the latest was a fuzzy sweater fetish. I basically just wear my fuzziest sweaters or rub the fabric. It’s some kind of sensory fetish, like leather or latex.
EC: How has your line of work affected your dating life?
Natalia Snow: It hasn’t really. I made the decision not to do hardcore porn because of exposure risk to my partners, but all three of my current on going partners are very supportive.
EC: You have three partners? Are you dating them separately or do they all know each other?
Natalia Snow: Two of them are part of my triad and are dating each other, one is separate and friends with both.
EC: I think most people struggle with one relationship (laughs).
Natalia Snow: There’s still challenges at times. But I’m very fortunate to have found very compatible people.
EC: Have you thought about venturing into hardcore pornography?
Natalia Snow: Yes; however, entry into the industry gives actors and actresses little control over their scenes. If a production company wanted me to do a violent gang bang, I could turn it down but would likely not be offered more work from them. I like to have a bit more control of choice over my content, therefore I’m better off doing things a bit more independently. I would be open to doing videos with my partners or people I know and approve.
EC: What tips and secrets can you pass to someone who thinking about entering the cam girl business?
Natalia Snow: I would say to do your research, use good judgement with personal information, and only do things within your comfort zone. There’s a huge diversity in preferences, so it’s possible to find a niche that works for you. There’s even some girls that don’t get naked and are just there to provide online companionship. Finally, don’t take shit from any anonymous internet jackasses.
EC: I guess that last sentence is definitely good for any person.
Natalia Snow: Very true!
EC: What separates you from other cam girls out there?
Natalia Snow: Frankly, I’m not entirely sure – I don’t know that many in person and the persona most people are when they perform is one that’s adopted. On the performance side, I tend to be pretty goofy and nerdy instead of playing a more traditionally sexy role.
EC: Would you recommend this line of work to someone who is on the job hunt?
Natalia Snow: I would say this can be a very rewarding and fun job choice for people comfortable with their body and sexuality. I would not say it’s a great choice of desperation. There’s too many risks and too much permanence with the Internet for those who are on the fence about it. I’ve been personally very happy with my work in the industry.
EC: Do you think I would make a lot of money doing it (laughs)?
Natalia Snow: (laughs) If you find your niche, for sure. Finding that market though might take some effort.
EC: I don’t think we’ll see me on cam any time soon. I hate just having my picture taken.
Natalia Snow: It’s certainly not for those who are camera shy.
EC: I really appreciate your time. I know you have a lot on your plate.
Natalia Snow: It has been my pleasure.
Stay tuned for the next installment of my series The Best Jobs in the World!