“I received death threats - now, I run my own agency to help keep women safe”
Ever wondered what it's like to be a cam girl?
It's a hugely lucrative industry, with some making upwards of £180 an hour.
With the rise of sites like OnlyFans - a subscription service which allows content creators to earn money from users subscribing to their content - you'd assume that creators would be protected. Sadly, this doesn't seem to be the case - the industry is still stigmatised and frequently subject to abuse, as Amber Kelly, founder of Off The Record, a cam girl models agency promoting female empowerment, explains.
Here, she shares her story - of finding a passion for an often stigmatised industry and of breaking the norm to launch an agency which promises to be a safe space for content creators and cam girls.
While you're here, we've got lots of other sex and relationship content we reckon you'll like, including expert-led guides to how to talk about a fetish, how to be intimate and home date ideas, shopping listicles of the best condoms and best lubes, and first-person pieces covering what it's like being a dominatrix and trying bondage for beginners and tantric sex.
"I received death threats while working as a cam girl - here's how I turned it into a positive"
"The world of camming is often thought to be dangerous and toxic; if my initial experiences are anything to go by, that makes complete sense."
"I first started out in the industry back in 2015 when my housemate convinced me to give it a go. She was already a successful cam girl and I saw how much she loved it. I constantly heard laughter (and other noises…) coming from her bedroom as she chatted with clients and cheered with glee every time she raked in another £1,000. I really admired her for it.
"Plus, she always had a spring in her step and I needn’t wonder why."
"I grew up in an extremely religious family. I'd been surrounded by restrictive attitudes towards women and sex my entire life. I didn’t feel liberated or empowered, and as I spent more time around my roommate, that became something I so desperately wanted."
"When I finally took a leap of faith into this world, my life changed overnight. I earned a whopping £1,700 in just twelve hours and all I did was sit in my sports kit."
"My mind was blown and watching my credits accumulate felt almost addictive. I knew viewers were loving what I was doing and that spurred me on - as did the money. I quickly realised this could become a serious income, so I started camming whilst working my second job as a PT on the side."
"That was another huge perk – the flexibility that comes with camming is incomparable. My roommate and I encouraged each other and I certainly felt part of something. I met fascinating people from all over the world, explored my sexuality and got paid a lot for it."
"After working under the same agency for over a year, I noticed things starting to go a little awry. The guy who owned the agency was taking a ridiculously high proportion of my earnings and sometimes he’d fail to make payments altogether. I was passionate about camming but I just wasn’t seeing the return I should have been."
"With that in mind, I questioned the sincerity of his support and decided to try camming independently. I also found that because the agency was led by a man, the creators were separated clearly so they didn't compare earnings. Aside from my roommate, who I was lucky to have, there was no support."
"I naively decided to call the agency’s owner to let him know I was leaving. I felt that was the professional and respectful thing to do, but in hindsight, it wasn’t the best move. Upon telling him I was going independent, I was met with nothing short of aggression and abuse. I was told I’d never work in the industry again, that I wouldn’t even "know" camming if it wasn’t for him and that he "knew where I lived" and would "break in and kill me in my sleep." I was terrified and it took over ten days to get my profile removed from his platform."
"Sadly, women were often exploited. No one should be left feeling that level of terror. I was shocked to discover this dark side of the industry. For a brief period, I bought into his threats, worrying that I’d never work again."
"Thankfully, I’m not beaten that easily. This experience lit a fire inside me and I decided that I would make something positive come from this experience. I subsequently decided to create my own agency that would support women in the industry and protect them from exploitation; Off The Record. I became a mentor, cam girl and CEO all-in-one."
"At Off The Record (OTR) we love and support one another, making camming the enjoyable and nurturing career it should be. We don’t cut corners. Creators earn the impressive salaries they deserve and no one is ever subject to any form of abuse. If it’s not acceptable in an office environment, it shouldn’t be acceptable online. Simple."
"Off The Record has become my life – as have the women who are part of our agency – and I’ve never looked back. I’ve created a hugely successful career for myself as a cam girl, mentor and entrepreneur, whilst truly knowing that our agency is inspiring vital change. Now, the abuse I received is a distant memory, although, it’s not something I’ll ever forget. It shaped me to be the person I am today and I use this experience to teach other women about exploitation in the industry, what’s unacceptable and why they should demand nothing but the utmost respect from every customer. We set a high standard, as we should, and that’s pivotal if the sex industry is going to eradicate exploitation."
"Today, I’m a successful business owner, mother to two young boys and a proud wife to my husband and business partner. When we first met, I was very honest. I openly told him I was a cam girl and, refreshingly, he didn’t respond in the negative, toxic way that other ex-boyfriends had."
"Instead, he was open-minded and his only priority was my health and happiness. He soon saw how much I loved camming, how good I was at it and how powerful Off The Record could be in changing the industry for the better. Now, we work as a team to share our important message and protect Off The Record’s creators, whilst we raise our boys to be respectful, understanding, accepting and non-judgemental. In more ways than one, we’re driving an essential change in attitude that we hope will help to create a more positive, and safe, future for those in the adult industry."
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Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
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