(All photos courtesy of Dan Vidal / Camming Con)
Cam girls. They are some of the most widely watched women in the world, yet only internet traffic stats and social media has the true gauge of their infamy. For years, they’ve been seen as the Cinderellas of the porn industry, streaming solo shows from their bedrooms as a gateway step into hardcore adult film. But now, the opposite is proving true, with established adult stars such as Sophie Dee and Jessica Bangkok spending more time in front of their MacBook lenses than the studio cameras. Camming, it seems, has come of age.
So what better way to celebrate that rite of passage than a four-day convention in Miami Beach, culminating in a party to which the fans themselves are invited? Buoyed by quality champagne, I watched the models prepare for Fan Day and a four-hour meet and greet session (short by industry standards). They dressed in costumes as varied as their routines – teeny bikinis, or sequined, latex or demure dresses, according to their individual taste. On-site stylists ensure their blowouts and blow-job-grade lips are the glamourous icing on their distinctly home-made sexual personae.
The pre-meet conversation is like eavesdropping on a chat line populated by pussy-loving cheerleaders who’ve had their inner bitches lobotomised. “If I had titties like yours, I’d play with them all day too!” shouts Gianna Michaels to BBW performer Sienna Hills seated across the gangway from her. Breaking news: cam girls don’t cat-fight. Well, not unless you request it for a home-made video, of course.
Fan Day is also an opportunity for an extended hustle, and, having already promoted their presence on social media, the girls ensure they bring DVDs and glossy, X-rated 8" x 10"s which they charge to sign. A mere signature or picture with also comes at a price.
In the vestibule outside the booths wait the fans. Their nervous excitement is palpable. It’s as though they’re waiting for Prom Night, only it’s the version they’d wet-dreamed it might morph into rather than the wet blanket version they actually attended. But the fans are not strictly the single gent brigade. For a start, there are a surprising number of teen females eager to meet the established cammers, some of whom are curious about breaking into the industry themselves. Then there are mixed groups of twenty-something Floridians, merely looking for good way to get their Saturday night party started. “We’ve heard Gianna Michaels is here. She’s a big name,” they say. She is – more than 172,000 Twitter followers can’t be wrong – but it’s slightly as if they are trying to persuade themselves. Finally, there are the obligatory solitary males, wide of girth and dark of T-shirt. But none of them will admit to being here to visit a particular model.
I ask one, Jon*, what his favourite cam site is. "Live Jasmine?" he offers up tentatively, without making eye contact. Ah. The pop-up that leaves its lovely stain on your computer screen after you’ve PornHubbed it. I’m not one to judge but judging by his low maintenance appearance, I’d say this guy is all about the easy option.
After all, as the old adage goes, you don’t pay someone in the adult industry to come, you pay them to go away (or more specifically, I’d hazard, to ensure you come, and they go away). “These guys don’t really want a girlfriend,” says Playboy Live’s Jes Marie. “They just want to play for half an hour and walk away.”
And that’s fine. But if a model is taking the trouble to indulge your fantasies and give you their undivided attention for half an hour, the least you can do is follow some straight-forward rules of engagement. As Streammate star Reena Sky puts it, “If you’re sweet and polite, and show up to one of these events, I will remember you.”
You heard the screen-queen… here are the rules on how to be a cam girl's perfect fanboy:
Do Feel Free to Make Polite Conversation
“Sure, I’m here to shake my booty,” says Jes Marie, “and that’s fine. But if you want to talk about books with me, please do. I love to talk literature.”
Meanwhile, sharing the more mundane aspects of your life can help a cammer feel less squicked by your more extreme fetish. Reena Sky explains: “I had this one guy who liked to dress up in women’s knickers that he’d stolen from his apartment block laundry room, tie up his balls in twine, then have me order him to set his bic lighter to the underside. But sometimes we would just talk about his estranged daughter, or he’d give me a tour of the vacation photos that lined the walls of his house. That helped me remember he was just a regular, sweet guy.”
Do Send Gifts
Given that the pay-per-minute rate doesn’t all go to the gorgeous girl you're ogling, one sure-fire way to ensure she prioritises your request for a private view is to give her a gift. And if you want to surprise her, order straight from her Amazon Wishlist.
“Anything is appreciated. You can start small. I have bath bombs listed on there,” camming megastar Sophie Dee, who appears on her own site, Sophie Dee Live, tells me, while idly twizzling her newly-gifted Cartier bracelet.
Tech gifts win out, too. Sophie waxes lyrical about her new 3D TV to me, while Alexa Johnson, who appears on Playboy Live and Naked, flashes me her special upgraded iPhone which she lists as her favourite gift.
And why stop at the luxuries? The necessities are just as appreciated. “I got my bed off a fan,” says Reena Sky. “Knowing I use it pretty much every time I’m camming is a good feeling for him.”
Don't Slag Cam Girls Off the Moment They Threaten to Deviate from the Script in Your Head
As Jes Marie explains, “Yes, we are here to play out your fantasies but there’s no need to get rude when we can’t satisfy every single one them. It’s not going to increase the chances of me doing that thing I just said I won’t do. Poop in a bucket? No, I’m sorry, I just won’t. And actually I won’t be sorry about it either. Hey, I’m not the one watching you on screen, after all…”
“I used to really take to heart some of the slander left on the forums and message boards,” says Sophie Dee. “But the comments, from both guys and girls, were ridiculous – ‘Why are you so ugly, why aren’t you in the BBW section, etc.’ Get a life! If you don’t want to watch me, you don’t have to!”
Don’t Ask Cam Girls Out On Dates
"The biggest problem with this job,” says Alexa Johnson, “is that while most of the fans understand that you are just a fantasy, so many of them also think they’ve fallen in love with you for half an hour. I’ve never actually met any of my fans out of work, but I get asked to every day.”
While I’m interviewing Alexa, this scenario, incidentally, is playing out on the other side of the room: “This guy just came up to me and said, 'You’d be OK if you came home with me tonight,'” says Reena Sky. “Erm, I mean, I don’t even know your name…” Ah, the old "throw enough shit at the wall and eventually something will stick" method. Unfortunately, even at an alleged three million, there still aren’t even enough cam girls in the world for one of them to bite…
Don’t Ask Cammers to Do Things They’ve Already Said They Don’t Do
Like all self-respecting women, cam girls have limits – limits that they’ll set out, often on their personal websites, streaming profiles, or that they’ll tell you about, probably on repeat if you keep trying to push your luck.
Okay, if you are a consistent, sweet regular, and she really, really likes you she may consider doing it just the once, just for you.
As Reena Sky explains, “One of my regulars asked me to put anything up my butt. Why not, I figured, even though I don’t do anal anything. He was a really good regular. So I asked him if my toothbrush would do. He was happy with that.”
But was it the bristle end? “No,” she replies, then pauses, looks at me as though I still might be the unhinged penectomy-friendly pro-domme I told her I used to be. “NO!” she repeats emphatically.
Some things will never wash though. “One guy asked me to eat cheese off my feet,” says Jes Marie. “That’s always going to be a flat-out no. I’m not wasting my cheese like that for anybody.”
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