“I am very proud of my work. No criticism would shake me because I am doing what I want with my life and my body.”
Amy Gray is a 26-year-old singer and camgirl who has been in a relationship for more than six years. She is known as Miss Amy in the webcamming world, where she has been performing online for two different websites. She works between 25 and 30 hours a week. Her personal interests include reading and writing poetry; LGBT+ issues; animal rights; and feminism. I sat down with Amy to ask her some questions about her work.
Do you think people accept cam-modelling as legitimate work?
“No, I don’t. I can see it in the face of those who I tell what my job is: that the word ‘camgirl’ shocks them. People think that we are doing something like amateur pornography. It’s not that I believe one is better than other, but that is not what this is. They assume that our work needs to involve sex, when it may not even involve nudity at all. We satisfy people’s fetishes, which is something different from the idea of sex itself. Many of my clients just want to talk and some even pay me because they like to see me smile. Of course, there are always some people who are only looking for sex. However, I can say that from my experience, people who come to satisfy fetishes pay much more, and if they like it, they will always return.”
What were your biggest concerns when you starting out?
“My biggest and only concern was that I may be recognised by someone. I am a musician and a lot of people know me from that work.”
How have those fears panned out?
“Any concerns I had ceased to exist shortly after starting this job. Obviously I would always prefer if my mother does not know what I do, but if she happens to find out, it would not be the end of the world for me. Besides, at the moment I am very proud of my work; no amount of criticism would shake me because I am doing what I want with my life and my body.”
As a feminist, do you feel that allowing your body to be objectified contradicts your principles?
“I felt it at first. It was difficult to battle that first feeling of objectification, because as a woman and a feminist, I am aware of a lot of these social issues. However, as I began to enter the world of web-camming, I realised that I have an enormous power over what I’m doing. I do what I want because I want to. On top of that, I am my own boss. No one demands anything from me and no one gives me orders to follow, and since I deal with a lot of domination/submissive fetishes, most of my clients want to submit to me. So, no, it doesn’t make me feel inferior. In fact, I feel empowered, because when I’m being objectified it is because I am allowing them to do so.”
Has working in the sex industry changed your life in any way?
“Yes. Before I became a camgirl I was much less confident about myself and I suffered from anxiety in a huge way. Now, the anxiety has almost disappeared, and my confidence is at the highest level it has ever been. I am not only talking about my body. I also feel more intellectual and have more self-trust. Perhaps it comes from knowing that people are willing to pay just talk to me and to repeatedly say admiring things that in no way refer exclusively to my body.”
For anyone who is interested in starting this job, what advice do you consider essential?
“I could say a lot of things, but I honestly believe that the best advice is to find in yourself what makes you different. Set yourself apart from the other models and explore it to the fullest. You could learn about all the fetishes in detail, the best clothes, the best tricks, but if you are not comfortable and committed to what you are doing and the character you are representing – even if it is licking high heels – nobody will pay, because nobody will believe you are feeling it. Let’s not forget that most of the clients are looking for real people to share experiences with. Nobody likes to talk to someone who seems annoyed or forced to do something.”
Have you ever felt that you were in a dangerous situation? Or do you feel that being behind a screen provides you with enough security?
“I cannot say that it provides enough security, but I do feel safe. I have feared some people that I met online, but I knew they would never come to me or at least it’s unlikely they could find me, since they can never have my personal information.”
Do the agencies you work for protect your safety?
“I honestly don’t think they give us enough security. We have the option of reporting users on any site, but I don’t think that is enough in some cases. Anyone aggressive or intimidating can just create another account and re-enter with a different name – not to mention that out of all the many reports I have made in the past, I only ever received one reply.”
What about the payment, is it enough to pay the bills?
“Well, I work 25 to 30 hours a week for between £100 and £150. So yes, in this country it is enough to pay the bills. I could work more and have more money, but I don’t because I don’t feel the need. It can feel a bit precarious. At any point we can lose all our income, but I don’t honestly believe that it is likely to happen. The sex industry is an industry that will always have money, and most of the time, even above average earnings.”
Issues like harassment in Hollywood have been all over the internet. What is your opinion about women in society?
“I feel that women have been gaining some power over the years, although it is slow. The feminist wave that spread around the world in recent decades has helped many of us establish our independence. However, gender equality is far from being achieved and this is also evident in the world of camming. There are very few men doing cam-modelling and the reason for that is our old social gender roles. The way men and women are seen has not yet really changed. One of the things that really disgusts me in society is that women are still divided into categories. On one side you have pure women, which is an object for procreation with man. But on the other side you have sluts and whores; the lovers who will only serve men for fun. These Hollywood cases are, like many others, examples of the power that man still has over women in our society.”
What was the most beautiful situation you experienced working in the sex industry?
“Maybe the first time someone paid me to sing. In the end, the customer loved it so much that he even sent me more ‘tips’ as a gift.”
What is your girlfriend’s opinion about your job?
“I only started camming after talking to her and realising that it wouldn’t be a problem for our relationship. She would never do it herself, but respects my job. However, she prefers not to be around when I’m doing specific things (laughs).”
Have you learned any lessons that you have brought to your personal life?
“Yes, but I can’t say which ones (laughs).”
In your opinion, is it possible to establish a friendship with a client?
“I believe so, but only a virtual friendship. After all, we never know who is really on the other side.”
‘Your body is your home’ – how do you interpret this statement as a camgirl?
“Entering my home can be expensive but I promise it is worth it! (laughs). But, seriously, my body is my home. It means that I control everything that is done with it, and yes, that truly is the reality for a camgirl. The fact that we are in the comfort of our home also helps when we don’t want to do something. I just let in people who treat me well, and if a client doesn’t respect me, I don’t care how much money they have, I block them and move on, self-love always comes first.”
Currently, webcam modelling is one of the only legal forms of sex work in the UK, providing that the workers register their income and pay taxes.