OnlyFans courts beauty content creators

OnlyFans tries to get out of his sexy box.

The 5-year-old social media platform burst into the mainstream in 2020 as people sought to compensate for a sudden loss of income due to Covid-19 and pushed to consume more digital entertainment. But it also gained popularity during a crucial inflection point in the creator economy and is now trying to capitalize on that rapid growth by expanding beyond what it’s best known for: porn. . A booming area of ​​the OnlyFans ecosystem seems to be beauty content, which has proven popular on other major social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok.

Gabi Mrugala, whose nickname is GroovyGabs, joined OnlyFans in November 2020 after a friend who creates fashion content on OnlyFans suggested it. Prior to OnlyFans, Mrugala worked behind the scenes in the film industry looking to build an audience for her self-help wellness content. She said she liked her videos and photos on OnlyFans to be less polished than the ones on Instagram while gaining traction. She currently has 23,000 subscribers on OnlyFans, but declined to share her monthly income.

A creator can choose to charge a monthly subscription fee of up to $ 50 for people to follow. They can also charge people to send them direct messages and to view specific posts or photos. And, of course, they can receive unsolicited monetary tips. OnlyFans takes a 20% commission. Subscribing to GroovyGabs is free, but Mrugala monetizes through direct message tips and gratuities. She also has an Amazon wishlist for flowers.

“I choose to stay as a full-fledged content creator because I am fulfilling my goal by helping other people,” Mrugala said. “[OnlyFans] is a place where you can be more personal and more yourself. A lot of people prefer to wear full makeup on Instagram – there’s nothing wrong with that. But on OnlyFans it looks like a lot of people will support you regardless of [whether you’re made-up]. “

OnlyFans works differently from most social media sites, but it was intentionally designed not to become a user’s only social site, said Ami Gan, chief communications officer for OnlyFans. For example, the ability to find a specific person to follow is not possible, although there are some suggestions of who to follow based on who OnlyFans wants to promote. Also, when someone joins OnlyFans, they don’t select the type of content they want to see or follow, which cancels OnlyFans as a discovery platform. Gan declined to share the percentage of adult content, but the creators aren’t categorized either.

“OnlyFans is a complement to someone’s existing social media. You can complete your OnlyFans profile by swiping up on Instagram or by sharing that you’ve started an OnlyFans and drive traffic that way, ”Gan said.

In the past, especially in the music industry of the 90s, artists who sought to capitalize on their notoriety to earn more money were seen as “sellers” who undermined their artistic integrity. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain was accused of having sold, while the Beasty Boys have a lifetime policy of never allowing their music for commercials. But, fast forward to 2021, and content creators are not only more willing to solicit brand deals or direct payments from subscribers, but, to some extent, they are being applauded for doing so by their subscribers.

Now, just as OnlyFans helped disrupt the economics of creators and the attitude towards paid content creators, it is now looking to disrupt its own reputation. According to Bloomberg, OnlyFans is seeking outside capital at a valuation of $ 1 billion and to become more of a “mainstream media platform” rather than a place for porn. Co-owner Leonid Radvinsky, which owns 75% of OnlyFans, has come under scrutiny for questionable business practices in the past. For OnlyFans, sex sells itself until it doesn’t. In December 2020, OnlyFans launched OF.TV, which offers broader lifestyle content on topics such as meditation, cooking, music, and comedy. Mrugala and Alyssa Olson, whose username is BodyPosiStylist, were invited by OnlyFans to post on OF.TV for free, in exchange for promoting their account. Both said the exposure drastically increased their subscribers.

“We have a reputation for having sexy content, which we don’t mind. His intention in 2016 [when OnlyFans launched] was always for all types of content creators of all genres, ”Gan said.

She said that due to the company’s “liberal content policies”, adult content has flourished. But, in 2019, there were a variety of content creators, including from the music industry and the lifestyle space. Celebrities like singers Cardi B and Aaron Carter, as well as actress Bella Thorne, all joined OnlyFans, making her even better known. Gan said OnlyFans has 130 million users and 1 million content creators, although only 300 creators made $ 1 million from the platform.

But as The New York Times reported in May, even the non-adult content comes with a nod and nudge that hints at the origins of the platform. When designer Rebecca Minkoff started her OnlyFans profile in February, a locked post said, “This is what we don’t show you,” followed by a flirtatious wide-eyed, red-cheeked emoji.

This barrage of sexual associations on and with OnlyFans can create barriers for content creators. Mrugala said she does not promote her OnlyFans account through her other social profiles and does not publicly tell people that she has an OnlyFans as she is waiting for the stigma of the association to go away.

“It is changing rapidly. [Soon] I will feel more confident in sharing [I am on] OnlyFans with others. I don’t really care what other people think, but I want the stigma to go away, ”she said.

Meanwhile, Olson posts a mix of hairstyle tutorials and body positivity photos. She said she appreciates the opportunity to post content that covers genres. Olson has been in the beauty industry for 11 years, working in cosmetology and hairstyling, and started her OnlyFans account in October 2020. She described the response from OnlyFans subscribers as “day and night”, compared to d ‘other social channels like Instagram. She has 50,000 followers and has received between $ 1,500 and $ 15,000 in monthly income, while her Instagram presence has roughly 1,000 people. Olson monetizes by selling unsolicited lingerie photos and tips, and sometimes charges for direct messages when she’s late and has hundreds to answer.

“I was excited about OnlyFans because I had my personal Instagram [for body positivity] and my Instagram business [for hair styling] but I could never merge those two things together, ”Olson said. “I’m looking to make a name for myself as an influencer. People no longer work for free, especially after the pandemic. You can go and enjoy my content on Instagram for free if you want, but you can see a lot more and see more in depth [content] if you are willing to pay $ 5.

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