It was March 2003 I just turned 18 years old and freshly dropped out of high school and life as I knew it completely sucked. I was being bullied constantly in and out of school and I had no support in my home life. 

Dad had a flying temper and mom was unavailable, she decided to move to the USA for work claiming she would make more money so she could come back to buy a house.  She left me with dad when I was starting high school and she didn’t end up buying that house until I was turning 19 and by that time I didn’t want to live at home anymore plus my dad was charged for assaulting me.

I felt like I was raising myself, while waiting for the court case to deal with my dad I was staying somewhere my mom had arranged for me with one of her friends.  Occasionally mom would pop in to check on me but it wasn’t enough she was always working.  So I got fed up of nights being in a house with no parental supervisor, not able to have friends over, and even some nights wondering what was I going to eat. Plus the place had no cable and eventually no phone.

High school I was pretty promiscuous it was my way of escaping and it got me to consider being in the porn industry.  So I decided to look for work,  I went searching on the internet and I found something in a couple of weeks; I got myself my first shoot It was a solo girl with toys scene for some guy’s private collection. I walked away with $300 CASH.  I felt like I was on top of the world and as I knew it I was doing things all wrong when it came to sex and money.  I searched for more sex work and came across an ad in the paper that offered being a webcam performer and housing.  It was perfect I hated my current living situation and my family was completely unavailable.  I knew I couldn’t depend on them so I had to find a way to take care of myself.

So one evening after school I met up with a man at a KFC and he told me about what he had set up and what he was looking for in my head I am thinking so many things (I’m hungry, I don’t want to go back that place) and I felt extremely alone. I don’t know maybe I was giving off some desperate girl vibe.

He bought me dinner and then I went to his place to check out the webcam set up.  He had it all set up in his living room. It was a room with a brick wall and mostly painted white, it had hardwood floors with completely dated furniture but there was a desk, tripod with a miniDV camera mounted on it and this flood light ceiling set up.  Before I met this man I had no idea what a webcam was let alone that you could make money from it and all I was thinking in that moment was food.

I know what you are thinking I should have walked away but honestly I didn’t have any other options. It was this or end up in youth shelter.

He sat at the desk and went to a website that had all these little square pictures of girls and he clicks on one them. There was a girl moving around, smiling and typing. He then explained to me how he found out about this webcam business from his girlfriend’s friend because she called him with a computer tech question and that is how he got curious about the business.

 He thought it would be easy to set up because of his background being in computer repair and IT.  He went on and showed me the website’s top models page and explained to me how the site worked and what he knew that the top models that make it on that page were earning around $700, $1500 or more at the end of every pay period that ran 1-15 and 16 to the end of the month.

Then he got on the phone and called a rep from the webcam site said somethings then I was speaking with a woman who was asking me questions of how old I was and verifying things I wrote down on the model release form and my ID then she said to me if I wanted to I could log on tonight and start working.

I went back into the living room and I got set up online. It was pretty cool and easy for me to figure out thanks for the days of being in chat rooms, in minutes my room was filled with chatters in my room asking me questions and telling me to do stuff.

“Hi Baby.” “What is your name?” “Show your ass” it went on for hours.  My first night I didn’t get a paid chat show but I did remember breaking a lot of the website rules for being topless or nude in free chat.  This seems to be a right of passage for any new camgirl starting out.

My first webcam paycheck was around $500 US Dollars it converted well into Canadian Dollars. I got myself my first pair of high heels you know the ones that look like Timberlands, they were blue and I couldn’t walk in them but I loved them. I was showing them off when I was at the bus terminal where a lot of the older kids were hanging out that I knew.  Then the on/off boyfriend at the time was curious to where I was making this money and was getting a little overprotective of me.

He never met this guy all he knew I was working long hours so naturally he assumed I was being pimped out.  Maybe I was but I wasn’t having sex with anyone I was talking to men from a computer who wanted to see me naked and maybe even touch myself.

It went on for weeks me coming to this house to log on the cam site and going back to the apartment my mom had set up for me.  Until one night it was around 5:00AM or so I spent the whole evening working webcam and really starting to enjoy it and then I was offered to spend the night in the house, then months went on I was offered to live in the house.  I lived there from March 2003 until August 2004.

I was top model on the site 4 times. The first time I appeared on the top model page I earned $800 (US Dollars) in the two-week pay period I appeared in the last spot on the page, then from there my income went up and up. I hit $2,500 (US Dollars) for a two week pay period.

Then in October 2004 I got my own apartment and was living on my own, working the cam site full-time and I was able to live pretty comfortably for a 20 something young girl with no formal education. The on/off boyfriend was coming around again and I was seeing my friends more frequently, then my family and I were talking but it was on shaky terms.

I even ventured out and got myself a job outside of the house too and I also got myself fired from these jobs. Mostly because I was dealing with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Bipolar Disorder from being forcibly confined and my only outlet was working as a webcam model.

So even though my start in this career was a shaky one coming out of it I had no support or resources to treat my mental health. My trusted reliable option was to keep working as a cam girl to so that I could have control of my time, and be able to treat my mental health.  Any job I had would never give that to me. There is something seriously wrong with our employment system and mental health system.

I wanted to add in all this time of working as a cam girl my first year was pretty chaotic I was emotionally abused, psychically abused, rape and tortured.  The man who had his webcam set up died December 10, 2004. He was charged for forcible confinement, rape, and a list of other things in August 2004.   It’s not something I really focus on when I look back at my time starting out as a cam girl because right now my life is very different and very much at peace.

Yes I know I went through a horrible experience and justice was served as best as it could be but I’ve moved on from what happened to me.  I am not going to write a memoir of what happened to me or my life working in sex work because I’ve written about it so many times over the years online.

I still see being a cam girl as a great way for women and men webcam performers too to start themselves on a path of financial freedom and independence. It’s not an easy job choice let alone career choice if you are in it for the long haul.  It’s one of those things about sex work where the work and experience is so individualize that I won’t use my horrible past as a weapon in the fight of sex workers labour rights vs. sex work abolishment.

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