Photo courtesy of Foxy; webcam photo by John James / Alamy Stock Photo
Quit Your Shit Job is a column that surveys people who quit their average job to do something they really wanted. This week we are talking to the cam girl Fox (aka Vixen). She quit her grueling job as a teacher and recruiter to become a professional webcam artist.
VICE: What were you doing before?
Cunning: I worked as a part-time teacher in a primary school. I balanced my time between that and recruiting teachers.
Why was it bad?
The pay wasn’t good for the amount of emotional energy it took to teach well, and I was frustrated with the system. My main motivation for becoming a teacher was spending time with and helping students. More and more, I felt my time was being taken aside and pushed into an annoying bureaucracy. The recruiting job was a horror sight.
What did you switch to instead?
A cam girl. I’m what’s called a switch, which basically means I can – and will – play both submissive and dominating roles on camera, which is considered quite unusual.
Was there a light bulb moment?
I reached a bit of a crossroads where I was completely exhausted and urgently needed a change. I’ve always lived by the motto “impulse is fun” so I decided to throw in the towel and start over. Not long before I had met my best friend, who works as a professional dominatrix. I had tried a little camming, and she encouraged me to give it a try. She supported me so much that she created an account for me on AdultWork [the leading site for cam performers], and even lent me his webcam.
A lot of people have the idea that cam girls are passive and only do what men tell them from across a screen, but it’s not like that at all! To be honest, I take my clothes off very rarely these days. Being able to set clear parameters around what I will and won’t do has given me a sense of confidence in my body and well-being that I didn’t have before.
Sex work really saved my life. After a traumatic childhood and a few unhealthy relationships with the men in my adult life, this job has helped me feel more in control of my body and what happens to it. My clients treat me better than my former partners, and I feel valued and accepted in my work.
How it works?
Bettors log in through a site, where they can choose what they are looking for in terms of gender, physical and sexual preferences, including dominant or submissive. I’ll turn on my camera at home if I’m available, and the site tweets my followers in case they want to drop by. I bill by the minute – I set the rates myself and pay a percentage to the platform.
What do you like the most about your job?
I think the biggest advantage for me is that it is so flexible. I can adapt it to my life rather than the other way around. I suffer from my mental health, and this job allows me to stop when I need to. I like not to be bound by the usual Monday to Friday structure, nine to five. I’m a free spirit and get bored very easily, so routine never suited me.
I guess another great thing in terms of mental well-being is that it’s, in essence, a job that encourages human interaction – both for me and for the client. Being able to connect with people and help them socialize is a real plus. Some of my clients are physically or mentally disabled and do not leave home often.
Are there any drawbacks?
It’s quite “boom and bust” by nature. You can have a good week, then the next week break down and do next to nothing. Likewise, you can turn on your webcam and sit there for 18 hours without working, or you can work for two hours and earn £ 100 or more. Oh, and physical maintenance is expensive! I always have to get my hair done and my nails done, and I often have to buy new lingerie and accessories.
It can also be a pretty lonely endeavor. Under current UK law, working as a cam girl is legal, but only if you are alone. If two cam girls were sitting in the same room, using separate cameras, and interacting with two different people, it would be considered a brothel under current law. We are therefore obliged to be alone all day in order to avoid the threat of prosecution.
That is why, along with many others, I am advocating for the decriminalization of sex work in the UK. It is time for the government to stand up for those who work in this industry and change outdated legislation.
Were there any funny moments?
I got men to put their cocks in golden syrup cans – it doesn’t get sweeter than that!
What would you like to know about your new job before you started?
How difficult it can be to break into the industry – not that it would have put me off. I have also decided not to share what I am doing with certain members of my family, mainly to avoid endless questions that I should answer. Most of my relatives agree, but wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where it was just as socially acceptable as being a healthcare professional?
What advice would you give to someone who would like to get started on cam?
Join Fetlife, which is basically the Facebook of the BDSM world. Connect with people and read the things they post, then attend as many events as possible and talk to people. There are regular “munches”, which are meetings for BDSM people in pubs. It’s a great place to make friends, meet potential clients, and learn more about the job.
Rate your life out of 10 before and now:
Before, it was a three – pressure. I had no self-confidence, I felt ugly every day and like a perpetual underdog. I was unhappy. Now it’s more of a 7 or an 8 – I’m not quite where I want to be but I’m happy with where I am. I’m determined to hit a 10 in the near future, so watch this space!
What advice would you give to other people who hate their jobs?
If there is something else you like more, go for it! You only live once, and once is enough if you do it right.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.