Since SESTA-FOSTA and the UK government’s recent “porn block” came into effect, there’s been a lot of talk online about sex workers, with cam girls being part of that often misunderstood group.

For the uninitiated, camming is where clients either watch a live stream or pay for private video chats with a sex worker. In the past decade it has become a massive – and often lucrative – part of the adult entertainment industry, but despite it being a totally honest profession, there are still lots of misconceptions and stigma around the job.

We spoke to Saskia Jade about what it’s like to be a full-time cam girl, from having her videos pirated and dealing with SWERFs (sex worker exclusionary feminists) to juggling the job and dating, and why cam girls aren’t any different from your average freelancer.

When and how did you get into webcamming?

I started camming last June. It started on Babestation, where I made a friend who showed me MyFreeCams, and I was like “Yeah this is something I totally want to do, this sounds so cool”. She was telling me about the kind of money she earns and that drew me in quite a lot.

How much do you earn?

It really fluctuates, depending on how much you actually work that month. I’ve had some months where I couldn’t be bothered to work but I’d still come out with £4,000, whereas there are months where you work so hard and you’re doubling that, and more.

What’s the most money you’ve earned from one broadcast?

Actually it was the first ever broadcast I did. I did it with my friend and in two hours we made £1,600 each.

What was it like at the beginning? Were you always comfortable in front of the camera or did it take time?

I was pretty confident straightaway! I come from a fitness modelling background, I’ve always been quite chatty in front of a camera and I’ve always been very body confident as well, so to me it came quite naturally.

How many times a week do you broadcast?

On average four times a week.

Do you get a lot of different clients, or are they usually loyal?

I don’t like the term ‘clients’ or ‘fans’. I’ve recently started calling them my ‘Sass Squad’ because I see a lot of them as friends… I just speak explicitly to them. I’ve got a good ground base of loyal fans who’ve been there since my Babestation days, then when I started full-time camming I made a lot more loyal fans. You do get a lot of other people come in but it really depends on what time you cam because your audience changes. My loyal fanbase know the average time I cam, but if I cam a bit later I get a lot more new people on, and more Americans.

Do you do a lot of private shows?

Yes because they’re the most loyal [fans]. I’ll speak to them a day in advance, or they’ll message me and go “I want a private”, then I’ll be like “I’m on at this time” and that’s when they’ll come in for their privates.

What’s the most common request you get when you do privates?

Most common request is actually to watch them wank, and then for me to use a dildo on myself.

What about the craziest?

I’ve had one guy ask me to piss on my legs, to which I said no because I’m not a fan of watersports. Anything to do with urinating or worse I stay away from, but everything else I’m pretty open to.

How do people react when you tell them what you do?

Some people are just like “Oh fair play, good on you” but some people have their opinions and they’ll just say “Do you have no self respect?” or “Why don’t you just get a normal job?”

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How does your family feel about your job?

When my mum found out she cried and didn’t speak to me for a week. I’ve got three brothers so as you can imagine they’re very protective. One of them knows the full extent of what I do, while the other two know I cam and do glamour modelling and stuff like that but that’s all they know, and that’s all my mum knows as well. Only my dad, his wife and one of my brothers know the full extent. When my dad found out he messaged me just to say that he just wants me to be happy and not sacrifice my body or choices for money – me giving them the reassurance that I’m happy and I make my own choices, they’re okay with it, while my mum and my other two brothers are a little bit more old school so they can’t understand it as much. But I’m very thankful to have a stepdad who’s tried to open my mum’s eyes and just say “Look, she’s young, she can make the money while she can, she may as well”.

Does camming affect your dating life?

I recently broke up with my ex because I found out that he was cheating on me because he thought my job was me cheating on him, which I think was just an excuse. It does affect your dating life because people just want to know “Saskia”, they don’t care about the person underneath and the person that I really am. I just don’t date anymore because I don’t want to date a guy who’s DMd me on Instagram if all they’re seeing is “Saskia the show” and not the true me.

Has this ever been such an issue that you’ve considered not camming anymore?

No, never. I would rather be on my own, have my friends, my family and have my support system and not need a guy.

Has camming made a difference to your sex life?

Yes! Sometimes I’ll come off cam and I’ll be like “I’m super horny, I need some dick” but there are times where I have been in relationships and because I’m so tired of performing and speaking to people in such a sexual way for a few weeks on end, it makes me not want sex. I’ve also become a lot more open sexually and found so many new fetishes.

Have you ever met any of your fans in real life?

I’ve met one guy, but that was organised. He paid me for my time and we just went out for dinner and he was really lovely. I obviously made sure everything was legit beforehand. But a lot of the time guys are embarrassed to come up to you and say hi. There’s times when I’ve walked down the street or I’m on the train or something like that and I know the difference between a guy looking at me going “Oh she’s hot” and going “Oh that’s Saskia”. I get a lot of looks like that, and I’m just the kind of person who’s like “Come up and say hi,” like, I don’t care.

Have you ever received presents from a fan?

I had a guy send me £6,000 and a lot of YSL, Valentino, Gucci, stuff like that.

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Aside from gifts, what are the best aspects of camming?

Without a doubt the fact that you can work when you want, where you want. I can be in any part of the world and as long as I have Wi-Fi, my laptop and my webcam, I can work. I get paid loads, a lot more than what I used to in my 40-hours-a-week job, and also making a lot of new friends. There’s so many great things but finding myself was honestly the best experience.

Worst experience?

I’ve had quite a lot of my shows recorded and then leaked, and at the beginning it was really hard to deal with. I didn’t know how to cope with it and everything got put onto Pornhub. I have three brothers around my age and they could be searching Pornhub and the last thing they need is their sister coming up. Also, some girls will message you and tell you “Why is my boyfriend liking your stuff? You’re a dirty slag” and there’s people who will say I don’t deserve to live. Those are the hard things to deal with and there have been days where it’s really affected me, but I’m a lot more headstrong than they clearly are, that’s how I see it.

How do you take care of yourself on days where the abuse is affecting your mental health?

I make sure I don’t spend the whole day in bed, I’ll get up and head straight to the shower because showers help clear my thoughts straightaway. If it’s a day where I can’t see anyone then I’ll just ring someone up and have a good conversation with them, talking about random things and nothing to do with work. I love going to the gym, for me it’s a massive release from any sort of anger and upset. Also, not looking at your social media all the time, which is hard because it feels like you pretty much have to be on your phone 24/7. You just have to make yourself have a break, I’ve learned that I have to take time out for me.

Did camming live up to your expectations, or was it a lot different from what you imagined?

Because I had such a good start at the job it’s always been quite smooth sailing. However, I never actually realised the amount of abuse I’d get and how people would treat me. That’s not what I ever expected, and when you have a bad day you kind of kick yourself for it, like “Why is no one tipping me?” and you start doubting yourself.

In your experience, has the job changed since SESTA-FOSTA and the new UK porn laws have come into effect?

I wouldn’t say anything has really changed about my job to be honest.

Has camming changed your perspective on feminism and what it means to be a woman today?

It’s taught me how to stand my ground, because there are a lot of women out there saying they’re feminists but they’ll just target other women and tear them down to shreds if they’re an adult entertainer.

What are the biggest misconceptions about cam girls?

That people think I’m out to shag anyone in sight, and that I’m really easy or that I’m off my head on drugs all the time. Also a lot of people think that to do this job you need to have some sort of issue, like daddy issues or something, but I do it because I genuinely love what I do, it makes me feel so empowered, so that is a massive misconception.