Episode three of Unplanned America saw our intrepid adventurers go behind the scenes to discover what it’s like to be a cam girl, women who strip and do a plethora of other kinky things online for money. As they hang out with Aella in Seattle, Veronica Chaos in Portland and Sophia Locke in Las Vegas, the Unplanned America road trippers cop an eyeful of a surprisingly creative and sex-positive arm of the adult industry.
Here are 5 things we learnt about being a cam girl.
Cam girls aren’t all extroverts
In fact, self-described “sexually adventurous” extrovert Sophia Locke of Las Vegas notes that most cam girls she knows are introverts. Aella, 23, from suburban Seattle was raised in a strict Calvinist Christian household and hadn’t exposed her body to anyone until she did so on web cam. She actively avoids physically being around people, hence the attraction of performing her “psychedelic sex shows” from home.
“Camming” can get freaky... really really freaky
Though Aella argues that guys - and girls - just want the “girl next-door experience”, things get anything but ordinary in front of the camera. Sherlock Holmes fantasies, acts with a Justin Bieber cutout, a Godzilla toppling Jenga towers, a seedy ventriloquist dummy doing seedy things and a variety of other shenanigans are all part of a cam girl’s repertoire.
More freaky are the obsessed voyeurs who Sophia coins “skin suit regulars” - as in, they’d wear a cam girls’ skin like haute couture given the chance. Yikes.
It’s about more than just titillation
There’s a surprisingly creative aspect to the art of camming. Aella sings, plays guitar and dances in leafy Portland. Meanwhile, Veronica Chaos’s shows are like some campy burlesque horror with high production values. She can be seen taking a blood bath in a tiara or engaging in kinky acts with her creepy dummy Slappy.
Being a cam girl can be empowering
Not all web-cammers are products of sexual trauma. Sophia calls it the “weirdest, coolest job” she’s ever had and gets satisfaction from the potentially thousands of viewers witnessing her explicit acts. And Aella points out that being told by viewers that’s she’s beautiful is a huge confidence builder.
Cam girls like Sophia, who lives in relative luxury, can earn a fortune. Aella estimates top players can earn up to $US60-70 thousand per month.
Camming is still very much a stigmatised occupation
Sophia is estranged from some of her family and isn’t welcome at her mum’s place for Christmas because of her chosen line of work.
Indeed, the public perception of cam girls is that they’re immoral, degraded women with low self-esteem. But unlike some performers out there, these women are in control of how they sell their sexuality. “You can be a business woman and still embrace your sexuality,” Sophia says.
Watch Unplanned America series 3 on Tuesdays at 9.20pm on SBS 2. And watch episodes after they air on SBS On Demand.