Jem Wolfie is a Perth-based model, former chef and competitive basketball player, but she is best known for her overwhelming success on OnlyFans. She’s not a Kardashian and she hasn’t released a hit single, yet she has become one of the top earners on OnlyFans posting photos of her natural curvy figure and earning $30,000 per day.
Wolfie exudes sexual confidence but she admits that this hasn’t always been the case in an intimate interview. “I wouldn’t even go to the beach until I was about 18 years old or wear a bikini around anyone,” she said. Wolfie remembers covering her body to avoid unwanted attention and feeling uncomfortable in her skin. “I hated my body and I hated the reaction I got from men and women,” she said.
Everything changed when Wolfie embraced unapologetic body positivity. She started posting workout videos and selfies on Instagram and quickly gained an audience. “I think it’s a beautiful thing to embrace your body. I have natural curves and I ran with the message that women should embrace their body,” Wolfie said.
After amassing 2.7 million followers, Instagram deleted the 29-year old model’s account for “repeatedly breaking the rules” and Wolfie migrated to OnlyFans to post her content without censorship. She advocates for body positivity and believes that OnlyFans is a place where people—especially women—can be proud of their sexuality without shame. “We should definitely be empowering women to feel comfortable enough to do that and not bring them down for feeling confident in their own skin,” she said.
So what is the truth about OnlyFans? Is it just another porn site or could it be the gateway to the sexual empowerment, financial gain and fame that Wolfie enjoys today?
What is OnlyFans?
OnlyFans is a content subscription service that content creators use to earn money from “fans” who subscribe to their account monthly or through a pay-per-view (PPV) feature. The site hosts thousands of content creators, from fitness experts posting workouts to celebrities like Cardi B sharing behind-the-scenes footage. OnlyFans has become especially popular for sharing personalized pornography and is beginning to change the cultural perception of sex work forever.
Who Uses OnlyFans?
An influx of well-known influencers are joining OnlyFans, from American model and activist Amber Rose (@amberrose) to Youtube personality Tana Mongeau (@tanamongeau). The number of OnlyFans content creators has skyrocketed from 60,000 in 2019 to more than one million as of December 2020.
In August 2020, OnlyFans reportedly tracked more than 50 million registered users. This figure nearly doubled from 26 million in March 2020, which has caused people to speculate if the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions influenced the exponential growth of this online platform.
What is OnlyFans Used For?
Platforms like Instagram popularized content creation and transformed traditional content sharing into a full-time career path for millions of influencers around the world. OnlyFans is the nexus between influencer culture and webcamming.
Instagram influencers earn their income through sponsored posts, brand partnerships and product collaborations that turn lifestyle photos into advertisements. The advertising model allows companies to gain brand recognition and boost sales while enabling content creators to leverage their following to create partnerships and generate income.
OnlyFans is a more direct sales model. Rather than relying on advertising, OnlyFans is a subscription model that allows influencers to exchange their content for an income (except for 20 percent which goes directly to OnlyFans).
The platform requires users to be 18 years old to register, regardless of the content they subscribe to. OnlyFans is used for sharing recipes, workouts, behind-the-scenes footage and makeup tutorials, however, users posting pornographic content has gained considerable media attention and launched a conversation about the democratization of sex work.
Sex work is “the exchange of sexual services, performances, or products for material compensation.” This means that content creators who use OnlyFans to distribute X-rated photos, performative video sex, erotic dancing or any other sexual materials are engaging in sex work.
Why Is Everyone Talking About OnlyFans?
Content creation, social media and the rise of the influencer are not new concepts, so why all the hype about OnlyFans? The truth is, porn has been evolving for years and the introduction of OnlyFans has fuelled this evolution.
Everyone is talking about OnlyFans because it’s redefining the traditional porn industry, sparking progressive conversations about sex work and empowering sexual expression.
The porn industry has been monopolized by men who direct, produce and benefit from the creation and distribution of porn. The most powerful people in the porn industry are men and these “behind-the-scenes power players” generally keep a low profile while profiting off Internet porn that is watched by an estimated 90 percent male audience.
The Refinery29 article “Is There A Wage Gap In The Porn Industry?” outlines how the traditional industry disadvantages women:
- Women in porn tend to have a shorter career (between six and 18 months on average) when compared to their male counterparts.
- Men are paid a fixed rate per scene based on their reputation, while women earn wages based on their current relevance and the sex act.
- A 2008 study reported that only 4-5 percent of porn directors were women.
- There is little to no statistical evidence that female performers earn more than their male counterparts, however, there is evidence that the highest-earning people behind-the-scenes are men.
“Until there are more women behind the camera and more women enjoying the same career success as men, female adult film stars will continue to struggle to get their fair share of what’s estimated to be a $14 billion industry,” Refinery29 says.
Enter OnlyFans. Content creators who post photos and videos become the director, producer and star of their own pornography. Platforms like OnlyFans may allow people—particularly women—to reclaim their sexuality and reap the monetary benefits.
Who Are the 10 Top Earners on OnlyFans?
If you’ve heard about OnlyFans, you’ve probably heard rumors about seven-figure incomes that people are reportedly raking in. Are these million-dollar salaries the norm or is this a paycheck reserved for the elite?
Reports found that the top 1 percent of accounts make 33 percent of the money and the top 10 percent of accounts make 73 percent of the money. The current figures don’t include income from tips and leave a big question mark in the data. The majority of reports are composed of estimates and self-reported data. A recent social media marketing report found the top earners on OnlyFans are as follows:
- Blac Chyna
Subscription Rate: $19.99/month
Blac Chyna is a reality TV star and model and currently ranked as the top earner on OnlyFans with an estimated income of $20 million per month. She primarily posts X-rated content and caters to specific fetishes.
- Bella Thorne
Subscription Rate: $9.99/month
Actress Bella Thorne broke the internet when she joined OnlyFans and made $1 million on her first day and $2 million on her first week. Thorne promised her audience X-rated nudes and upset paying fans when she delivered lingerie-clad photos. This sparked a controversy that caused OnlyFans to implement regulations that capped earnings. Sex workers were less than happy about Thorne’s rocky introduction to the platform. Regardless of the heated controversy, Thorne generates an estimated $11 million per month on OnlyFans.
- Cardi B
Subscription Rate: $4.99/month
With only six posts, musician Cardi B still lands at number three on the OnlyFans Top Earners List with an estimated income of $9.34 million per month. Like many OnlyFans content creators, Cardi B leverages her large Instagram following to build a loyal fan base on OnlyFans by delivering behind-the-scenes content.
Subscription Rate: $20/month
American rapper and hip hop artist Tyga is the top male earner on OnlyFans. Tyga has over 119 posts with everything from behind-the-scenes music video footage to raunchier nude photos and videos. He makes an estimated $7.69 million per month on the platform.
- Mia Khalifa
Subscription Rate: $11.99/month
Mia Khalifa is a household name in the porn industry. Khalifa transitioned from adult entertainer to media personality to OnlyFans star. She currently posts X-rated photos and videos and earns an estimated $6.42 million per month.
- Erica Mena
Subscription Rate: $35/month
Erica Mena is a television personality from the show Love and Hip Hop New York and is married to Safaree Samuels (OnlyFans’ eighth top earner). Mena currently boasts 5.3 million followers on Instagram and through skillful promotion, earns approximately $4.49 million per month via her existing fan base.
- Pia Mia
Subscription Rate: $10/month
23-year old model, singer and actress Pia Mia announced she would be joining OnlyFans to her 6.2 million Instagram followers and quickly gained a following on the platform. She currently earns an estimated $2.22 million per month on her account.
- Safaree Samuels
Subscription Rate: $19.99/month
As mentioned above, Safaree Samuels is the husband to Erica Mena, a television personality, rapper and top earner on OnlyFans. Samuels makes an estimated $1.91 million per month sharing pictures and videos with his subscribers.
- Megan Barton Hanson
Subscription Rate: $24.99/month
Love Island star Megan Barton Hanson talked candidly about her experience working as an exotic dancer on the hit TV show and started an important conversation about sex work. She joined OnlyFans and generates an estimated $1.06 million per month.
- Jem Wolfie
Subscription Rate: $5/month
Jem Wolfie is an Australian-born fitness model and active OnlyFans content creator. Wolfie’s Instagram account was shut down due to explicit content. Many of her amassed 2.6 million Instagram followers migrated to her OnlyFans account to continue accessing her content. There is little data on Wolfie’s earnings, but in an interview, she claimed to make upwards of $30,000 per day. This would amount to approximately $900,000 per month.
What’s the Future of OnlyFans?
OnlyFans is showing no signs of slowing down. This platform allows influencers to skip the advertising model and monetize their content directly. Whether content creators post G-rated recipes, PG-13 photos or X-rated videos, OnlyFans gives content creators the freedom to produce the content they want, on their terms.
The popularity of OnlyFans confirms that people are willing to pay for content directly. Influencers are influencing the way we shop, dress, cook, travel and now they’re influencing the way we view sexuality.
Globally, porn is a $97 billion industry, and it’s time we start talking about it. Sex is part of being human. Rather than stigmatizing one of the world’s largest industries and shaming sex workers, we must give sex workers the protection, dignity and equality that allow them to be safe and empowered in their work. Porn isn’t going anywhere, so maybe OnlyFans presents an opportunity to change the system from the inside out.