Sex

Meet the Bouncers of Camgirl Chatrooms

Moderators tell us why they spend up to 20 hours per week silencing trolls for free.

by Allison Tierney
15 May 2016, 12:00am


All photos by Luis Mora

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada

On a Tuesday night, Toronto's most popular camgirl strolls around her downtown condo preparing her two-month-old ragdoll kitten Mozzarella's specialized raw food while wearing a tight grey dress and thigh-high socks before she goes live around 9:30. Previous to getting naked for thousands of strangers in front of a webcam, she worked at EB Games and, at one point, had a negative bank account balance. Today, she has a legion of adoring fans, a mortgage, is clearing six figures a year with no need for a side hustle, and is planning to retire at 30.

But while success stories like Cortana Blue's—whose moniker is a reference to a hologram AI character from Halo—can be credited to a sense of personal branding and business skills, there are other people working behind the scenes to help some camgirls do their jobs. These are moderators (or "mods," as they're referred to in the industry), who effectively act as the bouncers of their chatrooms.

Cortana works on Chaturbate, which is one of the most popular sites for camming. But unlike some sites where chatrooms are a free-for-all, Chaturbate allows models to grant users moderator status. When you're "modded," your responsibility is to silence and remove people who spew inappropriate comments, threats, and requests.

"As a new camgirl on Chaturbate, you are like a ripe peach waiting at the supermarket for all these creepy guys to come and grab—that's how I felt," Cortana told me as we hung out at her condo. "Right away my first night, this guy was like, 'Cortana, you need a mod.'"

But that first mod didn't work out. When Cortana started blowing up, he turned on her, claiming that since she got her boob job, she "really changed" and now only cared about money. "Tons of my mods have gone AWOL or fucking nuts," Cortana told VICE. To date, that first mod still harasses her on social media.

But on and off cam, like on Twitter, Cortana's current mods are what she calls her "white knights." And other than the closeness she has experienced with her mods outside of her room, some have become tight with each other. "It's a sense of community—imagine working with someone, you start to become friends with them because you're in there at work with them every day, you're talking about the same shit," she explained.

Cortana currently has 15 mods, including a handful she considers to be her most dedicated. As I watched her go live on cam, it became clear to me how pro Cortana's moderators were as five of them worked in tandem expertly guarding over her room. Barely a minute passed without someone saying some sus shit, but within the blink of an eye, offensive words disappeared. To find out more about why some people choose to work free of charge as bouncers of camgirl rooms, VICE reached out to some of Cortana's top mods.

_sb_

Average hours per week: 15

VICE: Why do you enjoy modding for Cortana?
_sb_: Because it's for Corty. I would do anything—within reason [laughs]—to help her.

Do you mod for anyone else or would you?
I do not currently, and I have no plans to do so in the future. I didn't set out to be Cortana's mod. I was a regular, and we had been chatting for a while, so she asked me if I wanted to. While I was honoured, I actually turned her down. But then one night her regular mods couldn't make it, and she asked me to help out. Of course I was happy to do so, and I really thought it was just a one-night thing, but she left me "modded" ever since. Although my new job may limit the time I can spend in Corty's room in the future, I will continue to mod for her as long as she wants me to.

What are some things you have to silence in Cortana's chatroom?
Contrary to popular belief, I do not take enjoyment out of silencing people. I would much rather be able to sit back leisurely and just participate. I silence anything against the rules of the room, typically it's posts from spambots and anyone who is derogatory to Corty—she gets upset sometimes because she wants to confront someone who I've silenced. Unlike a lot of other top models, Corty leaves the "greys" on (a derogatory term used to describe people in the chat room who have not tipped and have no tokens, they are designated by their grey colour, and you can keep them out of the chat if you choose) primarily because she truly likes to talk to people. However, because of this, a lot of anonymous people open accounts and use them to spew some of the most vile things I've ever heard.

It's not limited to her chatroom either. I really wish I could mod her email and Twitter so she didn't have to see it. But Corty does not back down and does not allow people to mistreat her, so she responds to all the hate while most would just ignore or block. There has been a persistent troll lately who has been disrupting the room. It's disappointing that a grown man would act like that, but as with everything she doesn't let it get to her and she deals with it head on.

How would you describe your relationship with Cortana when she's not on cam?
At this point, I text with Corty on a daily basis. I truly consider Cortana a friend. When I first discovered Chaturbate, I was at a really lonely point in my life. I had perused a number of rooms, but when I saw Cortana on the front page, I was instantly drawn in. After my first visit I was fan. I always tell her, I came for your beauty but I stayed for your personality. I didn't even have a Chaturbate account at that point, I just "creeped" her room, but every time she would bring a smile to my face, and that meant a lot to me. I wanted to show my appreciation and spoil her, so I ended up clearing out her entire [Amazon] wish list (author's note: this included every sex toy on her list, a PS4, an expensive purse, a Roomba, and more). We started emailing each other, and our conversations were definitely not superficial.

Do you have any plans to meet Cortana IRL?
Nothing solidified at this time, but we've discussed it. Corty and [her boyfriend] may be vacationing in NYC this summer, so that would provide an opportunity. Alternatively, I may go up to Toronto for a weekend for a Jays game. It's still crazy to me that I can feel such a strong connection with someone I've never met face to face. She knows all about me, including photos I've sent her. We have joked about Facetiming, but it feels a little awkward having that be our first meeting. I'm not sure where I'll be in the years to come, but I would like to think that my friendship with Corty would continue no matter what. If you had told me that this would happen seven months ago, I would've thought you were crazy, but I'm really glad it did.

mykittycat

Average hours per week: 15

VICE: Why do you mod Cortana's room?
mykittycat: It happened as a favour, really. She had gotten to know me as a regular in her room, and one night she was on and she was shorthanded with mods to help control the relentless greys. I offered to help her out that night and have continued to help mod since. I'm her only female mod, so I think I have a different perspective and am more protective in certain aspects. I think it helps keep a good balance in chat, and she has another woman having her back. She's totally fun to hang out with, her room has a cool vibe, and she's super funny and entertaining. A lot of models [on Chaturbate] are one-dimensional, but Cortana has a lot to offer. She's obviously beautiful, but also a talented singer and guitar player, is super into video games, and has a great personality as well. For most of the viewers in her room, she's the total package.

How close are you with Cortana outside of her camming?
Pretty close. We have the hometown connection, live relatively close to each other, and share a lot of the same interests outside of cam. We text daily, as well as sometimes have group text chats with another of her mods, _sb_. He and I get along well and usually enjoy some banter during chat.

Cortana mentioned that she was planning on meeting up with you soon. Can you tell me what you two plan on doing?
We are planning on going to dinner and a Blue Jays game at the end of this month, as well as going to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) this summer. And of course I'm sure we'll fit in an epic shopping spree at Sephora at some point!

menace626

Average hours per week: 20

VICE: Why did you choose to mod for Cortana?
menace626: I like modding for Cortana because of her sassy personality. She's the type of camgirl who doesn't take disrespect from [Chaturbate] users, and she's always honest with her viewers.

How often do you keep in touch outside of her cam sessions?
Cortana and I don't talk a lot outside of [Chaturbate]—just a few conversations randomly, they're usually about Drake. I'm a 21-year-old college student with a job, so I barely have enough time for my closest friends right now. Hopefully Cortana and I become good friends this year as I've learned we have similar interests like Drake, Lady Gaga, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

How many other models have you modded for?
I just mod in Cortana's room right now, and I've modded for approximately 20 models.

What kind of shit do you have to silence in her room?
On most nights, the usual demands like "show feet" or "show boobs." Sometimes I have to silence people who ask Cortana questions that can be answered in her bio. The worst things said in her room are insults about her body, guys asking her on dates, and haters posting her personal information in the chat.

starkofwinterfell

Average hours per week: 5-10

VICE: Why do you like modding for Cortana?
starkofwinterfell:
I'm not sure "like" is the term I would use—perhaps endure is more accurate. I enjoy spending time with Cortana and a host of the chat regulars, but moderating is more of a duty than a hobby.

Do you mod for any other models on Chaturbate?
Not currently, but I regularly get offers from other models. I've modded a few other rooms, but never for as long or as regularly.

What types of shit do you look out for in her room?
Rulebreakers, the entitled, the abusive, trolls, and random incomprehensible nonsense.

How would you describe your relationship with Cortana outside of her room?
We are buddies. We tweet and DM basically every day.

Interviews have been edited for length, clarity, and style.

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