How Becoming a Camgirl Improved My Self Esteem

Fielding fetish requests actually helped me love myself more.

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Aug 4 2016, 1:50pm

Images via the author


Images via the author

This originally appeared on VICE Canada

I started working as a camgirl around the time I graduated university and was desperately looking for a job. I was really wary about the gig at first because I'm a bigger girl, and I'm not used to being bigger. At that point I think I had hit around 260 pounds—100 pounds above my usual, comfortable weight. The stress of gaining so much weight caused a vicious cycle where I would eat to make myself feel better and in turn gain more weight and feel bad. It was hard to imagine feeling good about my body and making money from it, but I was desperate.

I'd recently started watching documentaries on girls who did financial domination, also known as findoms. Basically they yell at businessmen to give them money and they comply. I tried to get into this but it took a lot of effort to get approved, and these were trying times, so I signed up for a camgirl site called Chaturbate. Their hiring process was a lot less rigorous, though they did require a photo of me holding up my ID to my face to prove I was at least 18.

As I was preparing for my first show, I ran through all the terrible things that could happen to me while I did this. I imagined viewers telling me how fat and disgusting I was. I assumed they'd tell me I wasn't cut out to be a camgirl and that I shouldn't even be TRYING to do this type of work because fat girls aren't attractive. I thought I'd do this first show and then get so bullied that I would never, ever try it again.

I was completely wrong. I was really nervous and uncomfortable as I started, and I didn't even bother taking off my clothes at first. I just wanted to do a test run to see how people would respond to me as a human being. A lot of the people watching camgirls are honestly just lonely. If they weren't, they would watch porn that has been pre-filmed and doesn't involve direct interaction with the actors. The people watching me on my first day were genuinely nice to me and we all had a good chat. Of course there were a select few who immediately typed, "show titz now," but it was fairly easy to figure out that those people aren't paying customers.

READ MORE: Meet the Bouncers of Camgirl Chatrooms

All in all, that first camming experience went pretty well. A lot of the people were friendly and helpful, they explained to me a bit more about how the site worked. There were a lot of people directly saying "I love your body"—sometimes it was that my curves were amazing, and that I was "the absolute perfect amount of curves." And because I have tremendously bad self esteem, these compliments, regardless of their intentions, made me feel better about myself. I continued doing shows for a while and it actually made me a lot more confident. I changed my photos on Tinder to full body shots because I wasn't as embarrassed anymore—my body was good enough for the people I did shows for, so it was good enough for the strangers on Tinder. This confidence transferred to my professional life as well; I got a lot less nervous during interviews and didn't feel as judged. However, I did everything under an alias, and I do not mention my experience on my resume or to people I do not directly trust.

As I got more confident in myself and my body, I also became more comfortable with the different types of requests I'd get from guys (it was usually guys) viewing my shows. A lot of the requests were pretty tame, starting with, "Can you watch my camera as I watch yours?" which was the easiest type because I would interact a little with them on their channel but mostly respond to my own. But the more popular and comfortable I got, the weirder the requests became.

It started with foot fetishes, just requests to see my feet in general and then moved on to, "Please suck on your big toe for two minutes," which was weird and gross but still kind of funny. The foot trolls were pretty boring and tame, so I moved on quickly from that to men who really wanted to be dominated; as in they wanted me to talk them down to dirt until it got them off. I had one man who wanted to be ordered to wear women's lingerie, which was fun to watch. The weirdest request I've received, though, was from someone who eagerly requested a private room to see me poo. He required that the camera be positioned directly by the butthole so the poop could be seen coming out. I'm not entirely sure why that turned him on; but no harm no foul, so to speak.

Camming is not all fun and games and positivity and confidence. It's not "easy money" by any means. I'm always afraid that young girls will do this when they aren't comfortable with themselves and get exploited. I often second guessed whether it could one day come back to bite me, because I knew a girl who did it and someone emailed a bunch of her photos to her family to "expose" her. She did use her real name, which is something I do not. There were some people that I do regret talking to who tried to pressure me into private shows with them off the website. This required Skype, and the person saying they had no credit card and that was why they couldn't use the website's token aspect - looked really young, but reassured me he was over legal age - was something I was pretty uncomfortable with. It was more murky territory because he was insistent that I watch his cam.

I was 21 at the time that I began camming, and I did it for about four months. My professional life was most unaffected at the time because I eventually was working a 9-5 job, and my hours of camming were later at night. Outside of that, I didn't have a whole lot of time for friends and socialization—or dating, but it did help improve my sex life! It takes a LOT of time to actually make very much money via these websites. You have to be pretty consistent with a schedule, and people are mostly on later at night. Even though nothing about it was illegal, the social stigma that stays with it still haunts me. I don't tell people about it because I'm not very proud of it. I honestly didn't do anything on camera I regret besides that one outside viewing, because mostly you are the one in control of your own show. If I had my time back, I would still do the exact same thing because it was such an experience.

It's hard to imagine that taking off your clothes for strangers and sucking on your own toes can be affirming and improve your confidence, but it really did change the way I view myself. Seeing my body as something beautiful and sexy through the chat room comments allowed me to find a new perspective on who I am and how I look to the world.

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