By Zachary Flynn
When close-contact businesses such as stores, restaurants and clubs were suddenly closed in March, it left many workers scrambling to figure out how they were going to earn an income.
For Cassius, an Edmonton-based dancer working at a club that night, it offered a time to reflect and plan.
“We were all sitting in the dressing room kind of strategizing, figuring out how we can make more money outside the club,” said Cassius.
Along with many other dancers, Cassius opted to move over to OnlyFans, an online service where a user pays a monthly fee to see a creator’s content.
While she had been running her account since January 2020, the massive need for an additional income source wasn’t apparent until businesses began closing.
“That carried me through COVID,” she said. Although she only brought in around $3,000 through the service last year – nowhere near the income she had brought in through stage shows and private dances.
“I would generally make anywhere from two to four or more [thousand dollars] a week on average. I would find myself in a different city every week if I wanted to, or I would work out of my home base, which is Edmonton,” said Cassius, who has been dancing for roughly six years now.
The move to an online venue brought an opportunity to hunker down in one city, and the ability to work her own hours and on her own terms. She models her OnlyFans experience primarily off of the club experience a person would get and emphasizes promoting the subscription-based service.
“My OnlyFans has stripteases and nudity, because if somebody just walks up [in a strip club] and sees me on stage, they pay the entry fee and see me naked. It’s no big deal,” said Cassius.
Through private chats and cam shows, she can still connect one-on-one with customers doing stripteases and dances. While she still enjoys her work and performing, she does miss the face-to-face experience. Cassius has been able to find her middle-ground in private cam shows.
“The only part I really miss [about face-to-face work] is actually seeing the reaction. If they type something, it’s okay, I see that, and it makes me happy and fulfilled,” said Cassius.
“But when I’m in a private show on a camming site and I can actually see them, it’s so good. I love it because I see their reactions and that they’re smiling and looking into the camera. It’s way more relatable than just posting or going live.”
With some clubs opening up with reduced hours, offering shows and private dances, Cassius is preparing to get back to in-person work, booking stage shows and selling private dances on the floor. She said that dancers must wear a mask while on the floor, but performers on stage can go maskless for their shows.
Cassius said that even when clubs fully reopen and she can go back to dancing full-time, she’ll continue to put time towards her OnlyFans and her subscribers on that platform.
“I would never neglect that because that’s another source of income,” she said.
“If [clubs] were to open full time, I would keep [my work] as full time as possible unless I really need a week off. I’ll measure how my body is doing.”