Inside the Private World of Filipina Adult Cam Models
Ally* was hanging out with a friend when she was first told about a popular adult webcam and livestreaming site. She says she really wasn’t into posting sexy or provocative videos, but after trying it out one time, she was shocked when “many” people started following her page on the site.
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It’s a similar story with Gina*.
“I've known about [adult webcam site] for a while now and have had a page for a long time but I never posted,” Ally says. “I just started using it since lockdown began and I absolutely love my salary now.”
Ally and Gina are just two of the Filipino models on the “camming” site, where models strip or dance on camera to an audience composed of subscribers. These subscribers then offer tips to the models, which are then generally split between the site and the model.
According to the site about 50 percent of its top models are Filipinas and make good money, earning as much as $40,000 (over P2 million) every month. In some cases, the models offer the videos for sale and, depending on the model, they may also entertain private video calls.
Gina reveals she earns $10,000 to $30,000 (about P500,000 to P1.5 million) every pay check doing what she does. Ally meanwhile says she’s taken home a total of P3 million over the one year that she’s been performing on the site.
What cam models do
And what exactly do they do?
Ally, who is based in Quezon City, says she earns merely by providing “seductive videos” on the site.
“I can do teasing video like dancing showing my upper part and accepting video greetings but will never do masturbating videos and sucking sex toys,” Ally says.
Gina, who is based elsewhere in Southeast Asia, is a bit more daring.
“I can do everything as long as I am paid,” she says. “I'm currently earning a lot of money through the site by interacting with my fans and creating relationships with them.”
Because the models are performing in the safety of their own homes, the likelihood of anything hostile or disagreeable happening is diminished considerably.
“I haven't had any unpleasant experiences yet because I always have my rules and limitations in my profile,” Ally says. “If they have a request that is somewhat offending, I always say no and fortunately, they are respecting my decisions.”
“I love all my subscribers and they love what I am doing,” Gina adds. “It became their gateway to connect with me.”
A story on the New York Times detailed the rise of adult cam sites and models during the lockdown period caused by the coronavirus. As people were forced to stay home, more people have taken to doing sexually suggestive and explicit live broadcasts to earn money. Cam sites themselves have also experienced a spike in customers.
CamSoda, one of these cam sites, told the New York Times that there had been a 37 percent increase in new model sign-ups this March compared to last March. ManyVids, another cam site said there was a 69 percent increase in new model sign-ups, according to Bella French, co-founder and CEO.
Additionally, the number of new viewers to CamSoda has doubled this year compared to early 2019, according to the company.
In the case of the cam site where Ally and Gina perform, the platform says 90 percent of its models who earn money from the livestreaming feature are from the Philippines.
“It really took fire when (Ally) shared that she was a single mom and struggling financially was making over $2,000 per day,” a representative from the site told Esquire Philippines. “More than 50 percent of all new model signups (on the platform) are from PH. We have hundreds of new models and influencers from PH on the platform. Models come over from other platforms and find success with (us).
“(The site) pays out multiple millions every year to their PH models, and they are the hardest working and most grateful for the opportunity,” the representative added.
Life of a cam model
They may work hard, but both Ally and Gina say they have the freedom and flexibility to work on their content on the platform.
“Usually, during the day I'm finishing all my household chores then every night I'm starting to fix myself for preparation in video recording,” Ally says. “I can easily check also the transactions happening in my account during my free time. I think I spend three to five hours on this site. However, my time extends if I have one-on-one video call schedule to a client.”
Gina, meanwhile, says that nighttime during the Philippines is her working hours. “I do live almost every night,” she says.
While Ally says she has not noticed a significant increase in activity during the lockdown period, possibly because the economic status of some clients have also been affected by the crisis, Gina has had a different experience.
“(The site) launched the Coronavirus Model Relief Package, with 100 percent commission payouts for models,” Gina says. “I love it, because we all earned a significant amount of money despite this pandemic.”
The models are aware of the popularity of Filipinas on cam sites and offer theories about why this is so. For Ally, it boils down to their people skills.
“Filipinas are good at establishing a rapport between them and their clients by creating an ambiance that is not always about having a good body but also with a sensible mind,” she says. “Also, I think the natural appeal of being Filipina, knowing many models have mixed nationalities, (is a) plus factor why Filipinas are in demand in this business.”
Gina puts forth a more practical analysis.
“Most Westerners don't even want to spend once they subscribe,” she says. “But Asians are willing to spend more to see more of those popular Filipino girls.”
Ally, who says she is 25 years old, is a professional model and still does it on the side from time to time. Currently, however, “camming” on the site is her main source of income. She says she doesn’t know how long she intends to keep doing it.
“Maybe until I can save more because I am planning to get a carwash business going and buy a house for my mom and help my family in the province,” she says.
Gina, meanwhile, says she’s actually a chef and would like to keep being a cam model for as long as she can beenfit from it.
Both also offer practical tips for anybody thinking about getting into the cam modeling business.
“Keep your body fit and appealing,” Ally says. “Improve your confidence. Invest in sexy clothes or underwear. Prepare sexy contents for your videos. Be ready for bashers and don't let them get to you.”
“Get up and believe in yourself!” Gina says simply. “Be empowered and enjoy.”
*(names have been changed)