Are you a kinky and open-minded person with enough body confidence to get in front of the camera and show yourself off online?
If so, you could have a lucrative career as a fetish model. But how much money do models make in this line of work, who can do it, and what opportunities are there? Read on to find out.
What Is Fetish Modeling?
Fetish modeling is a pretty broad category and can refer to making any content designed to appeal to people’s fetishes. It might involve modeling fetish clothing (such as latex, leather, or corsetry), fetishistic toys or devices (such as whips or floggers, chastity devices, or rope), or showing off specific body parts (such as feet).
Fetish modeling does not necessarily involve full nudity or explicit sexual acts, though it can. Some models engage in fetish acts on camera, such as being tied up or spanked, while others do not. Fetish work can fall under the umbrella of pornography, or it can be risqué and titillating without being sexually explicit. Each model gets to set their own limits and decide which types of work they will and won’t do.
Who Can Make Money as a Fetish Model?
The overwhelming majority of fetish models, particularly those who make good money, are women. However, it is also possible for men to break into the industry, though the work opportunities are fewer and often less well-paid.
You’ll need to be attractive, though beauty is – as we all know – in the eye of the beholder!
Unlike fashion or catwalk modeling, fetish modeling is a diverse industry with room for people with many different “looks.” You don’t necessarily need to be young or slim, and alternative looks (such as dyed hair, piercings, and tattoos) can be an asset for some jobs.
Kitty*, 31, was a fetish model for several years between the ages of 22 and 25. She says, “I gave up modeling to pursue a different line of work that wasn’t compatible. it was never going to be a lifelong career, but it was fun, and I made good money while it lasted!”
How Much Money Can You Make?
It’s very difficult to put a number on it because it depends on so many factors. According to some sources, a successful model can make tens of thousands of dollars per month. But this is not typical. The type of work you do, how many hours you work, what sort of clients you appeal to, and how good you are at marketing will all play a role in determining your income.
According to an Insider article, one foot fetish model made around $115,000 in 2020! Hourly rates for fetish models can easily go up to $100-$150, or even more with experience, but work will not necessarily be consistent. There is also likely to be a considerable amount of unpaid background work between shoots.
Leia-Ann Woods is a professional model who primarily makes spanking-themed content. She says, “the money can be good, yes, but the hours can be long when you take into account social media and promotion.”
The stereotypical ideas of models as super-wealthy are largely, sadly, untrue. It’s entirely possible to make a few hundred extra dollars each month, but more difficult to make modeling your full-time career. It’s hard work, and for everyone who claims to be making hundreds of thousands of dollars, you’ll find many others hustling hard to get by.
Lucy*, who stopped modeling just before the Covid-19 pandemic and intends to go back to it when she feels safe, says, “I didn’t make enough money to live on, but it gave me so much more confidence, helped my creativity, and I found a community of awesome friends.” She says she charged the same hourly rate no matter the type of content she was shooting but would do things differently if she started modeling again.
Freelance models work ad hoc for photographers, filmmakers, producers, businesses, and sometimes private clients. You can advertise your work online using a portfolio site such as Purpleport, Adultwork, or Model Mayhem. These sites are often the first place prospective clients will look for models, which can be very lucrative.
Leia-Ann got her to start this way. “I was at a fetish fair in London, and a producer approached me,” she says. “I was unsure at first, but they took the time to have a proper talk with me about my role and their expectations.” She has since transitioned to producing her own content.
Kitty exclusively worked in this way and primarily used the website Purpleport to find jobs. The site allows you to create a profile to show off your work, display your availability, and respond to casting calls looking for models.
She did it part-time alongside her day job, and her earnings averaged around £500 ($685) per month for one or two shoots. She says, “the most I ever got paid was £600 ($825) for a one-day shoot. It was a lot of fun, and that money went a long way in those days, but I was absolutely exhausted by the end!”
Lucy says that it can be hard to find paid work unless you already have a good portfolio, so be prepared to do some time-for-print (TFP) shoots to build your reputation unless you’ve already got a good collection of high-quality images. If you’re good with a camera, you can also take your own pictures or team up with another model to help each other.
Selling Clips or Pictures
Another way to make money online as a fetish model is to sell your images or video clips. Instead of working for others, you do everything yourself. You can do this using services like Just For Fans, Manyvids, for Clips4Sale.
Some sites allow you to charge on a monthly subscription basis, while others allow you to sell content on a per-item basis. Don’t forget that the sites you use will take a cut of your income, so factor that into your budget.
“You can make money through photoshoots with other producers, however with so many fan sites on the market now, you can be your own producer,” says Leia-Ann. She uses OnlyFans and Clips4Sale and says her pages are very popular on both platforms.
Other options include creating a premium Snapchat, using platforms like r/sellingnudes on Reddit, or setting up your own site and selling content independently. Don’t forget that you can always use multiple sites to get the most mileage out of each clip or picture.
If you do well at selling pictures or videos, you might start to get custom requests from your fans. If you choose to accept these requests, you can charge a premium for this personalized content.
Live Cam Shows
If you want to go a step further from selling your photos or videos online, you can also do live cam shows using sites such as Chaturbate, Niteflirt, or BDSMcams.xxx. This involves going online and interacting directly with your clients and fans, who then send you payment in the form of tips. You can also do private shows where you charge by the minute.
Live shows may cater to a specific fetish, such as chastity or foot fetishism, or may involve showing off your body in particular kinds of fetish clothing. It all depends on what niche you want to cater for, which will likely be informed by your own kinky interests as well as client requests.
Combining Income Streams
As with many self-employment avenues, combining different income streams to maximize your revenue can be a smart move, especially if you want to make modeling your full-time job, you don’t have to do all of the things we’ve suggested here, but consider choosing two or three strategies to focus on.
Are There Any Downsides?
In this digital age, anything that appears on the internet is out there forever. So be very certain you’re okay with this before you reveal anything identifiable (such as your face or any distinctive body art).
Despite the high earning potential, fetish modeling is hard work. Kitty recalls one shoot where she was set for 12 hours to film a two-minute clip for a horror-themed shoot. “I was exhausted and starving by the end,” she recalls. “Then I had to spend another hour taking all the prosthetic make-up off!” Don’t expect just to show up, pose, and get paid. Modeling requires stamina and patience as well as business know-how and perseverance.
Then there’s all the hard work that goes into marketing yourself in a very competitive industry. Lucy says, “dealing with all the admin and planning tours was a full-time job!”
Finally, there’s always the risk of creepy or inappropriate clients. Most of the people you work with will be perfectly polite and respectful, but some models do sadly report having been harassed or touched inappropriately. Leia-Ann says, “some producers are the type that will try to push your limits. Don’t let that happen, as it will not lead to happiness.”
Check references, always tell someone where you’re going, and never be alone in a private space with someone you don’t know. Good clients will understand that your safety comes first. If they don’t respect your comfort levels or try to change the terms of the shoot, that’s a red flag.
So Is It Worth It?
The models I spoke to love their work and describe it as a rewarding and creatively fulfilling job where they can meet interesting people and create work they believe in. It’s also clear that you can make good money if you’re skilled and willing to work hard.
The best reason to get into fetish modeling is that you genuinely love kink and like the idea of creating fetish content for others to enjoy. It’s not quick or easy money, but if you invest the time into creating great work and building up a loyal client base, it can be a dream job for the kink-minded and sexually confident.
*Names have been changed
Amy Norton is a sex blogger, adult product reviewer, and community organizer based in the UK. Her bylines include Sex Tech Guide, Lovehoney's Headboard, Hot Octopuss, and Godemiche. You can follow her on Twitter
@CoffeeAndKink or check out her blog, https://coffeeandkink.me.