Quit Your Shit Job is a column that interviews people who left their totally average jobs to do something they actually wanted.This week, we speak to London-based cam girl Fox (aka Foxtress). She quit her exhausting gig as a teacher and a recruiter to become a professional webcammer.
VICE: What did you do previously?
Foxy: I worked as a part-time teacher in a primary school. I balanced my time between that and a teaching recruitment job.
Why did it suck?
The pay wasn’t good for the amount of emotional energy it took to do teaching well, and I became frustrated with the system. My main motivation for becoming a teacher was to spend time with students and help them. Increasingly, I felt that my time was being taken away from that and pushed towards annoying bureaucracy. The recruitment job was a horror show.
What did you switch to instead?
A cam girl. I’m what’s known as a switch, which basically means that I can – and will – perform both submissive and dominant roles on cam, which is considered fairly unusual.
Was there a lightbulb moment?
I reached a bit of a crossroads where I was completely burnt out and in dire need of change. I’ve always lived by the motto “impulse is fun”, so I decided to throw the towel in and start again. Not long before, I’d met my now best friend, who works as a professional dominatrix. I’d dabbled in a bit of camming, and she encouraged me to give it a go. She was so supportive, she set me up with an account on AdultWork [the leading site for cam performers], and even lent me her webcam.
A lot of people have the idea that cam girls are passive and just do what they’re told by men on the other side of a screen, but it’s not like that at all! To be honest, I very rarely take my clothes off these days. Being able to draw clear parameters around what I will and won’t do has given me a sense of confidence about my body and my wellbeing that I didn’t have before.
Sex work truly saved my life. After a traumatic childhood and some unhealthy relationships with men in my adult life, this job has helped me to feel more in control of my body and what happens to it. My clients treat me better than former partners have, and I feel valued and accepted in my job.
How does it work?
Punters connect via a site, where they can choose what they’re looking for in terms of gender, physical and sexual preferences, including dominant or submissive. I’ll switch my camera on at home if I’m available, and the site sends out a tweet to my followers in case they want to drop by. I charge by the minute – I set the rates myself and pay a percentage to the platform.
What do you love most about your job?
I think the biggest benefit for me is that it’s so flexible. I can fit it around my life rather than the other way round. I suffer with my mental health, and this job allows me to stop when I need to. I love that I’m not bound by the usual Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five structure. I’m a free spirit and get bored really easily, so routine has never suited me.
I guess another great thing in terms of my mental wellbeing is that it is, in essence, a job that encourages human interaction – both for me and for the client. Being able to connect with people and help them socialise is a real bonus. Some of my clients are physically or mentally disabled and don’t often leave the house.
Are there any downsides?
It’s quite “boom and bust” by nature. You can have a great week and then next week hit a slump and make next to nothing. Similarly, you can switch on your webcam and sit there for 18 hours and get no work, or you can work for two hours and make £100 or more. Oh, and the physical upkeep is costly! I’m forever having to get my hair done, along with my nails, and often have to buy new lingerie and props.
It can also be quite a lonely endeavour. Under current UK law, working as a cam girl is legal, but only if you are alone. If two cam girls were sitting in the same room, operating separate cameras and interacting with two different people, this would be considered a brothel under the current legislation. We’re therefore forced to be alone all day in order to avoid the threat of prosecution.
This is why I – alongside many others – am advocating for decriminalisation of sex work in the UK. It’s time the government supported those that work in this industry and modified outdated legislation.
Have there been any funny moments?
I’ve made men stick their dicks in golden syrup cans – it doesn’t get much sweeter than that!
What do you wish you'd known about your new job before you started?
How hard it can be to break into the industry – not that it would have deterred me. I’ve also decided not to share what I do with some of my family, mainly to avoid the endless questions I’d have to answer. Most of the people close to me are fine with it, but wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where it was just as socially acceptable as being a medical professional?
What advice would you give someone who wanted to get into camming?
Join Fetlife, which is basically the Facebook of the BDSM world. Connect with people and read the things they post, then go to as many events as you can and speak to people. There are regular “munches”, which are meet-ups for BDSM people in pubs. It’s a great place to make friends, meet potential clients and learn more about the job.
Rate your life out of 10 before, and now:
Before, it was a three – at a push. I didn’t have any confidence, felt ugly every day and like a perpetual outsider. I was miserable. Now it’s more like a 7 or 8 – I’m not quite where I want to be but I’m happy with where I am. I’m determined to get to a 10 in the near future, so watch this space!
What advice would you give other people who hate their jobs?
If there’s something else you enjoy more go and do it! You only live once, and once is enough if you do it right.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.