Why Indian Pornstars Are Finding Success On OnlyFans
I started working as a gym trainer, and gym trainers are not really well paid. My mother has cancer, so I got into escorting and to be honest, the market isn’t great. There are many cheaters, and people who aren’t really serious about hiring escorts, and just waste your time. I used to charge between Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 for an hour. People also started reaching out to me for shoots, and I shot with the likes of Nikos Narkissos, Chris Rathore, and another male photographer. A male photographer told me about OnlyFans. During a shoot in Mumbai last year, he helped me set up my OnlyFans account,” says Hyderabad native Charan Bangaram, one of the most popular Indian performers active on OnlyFans.
OnlyFans is a social media platform where content creators post content, and receive payment directly from their followers, or “fans”, via subscriptions, or one-off tips. It has around 30 million registered users and around 450,000 content creators. Little is known about the parent company, Fenix International Limited. In October 2018, Leonid Radvinsky, the owner of MyFreeCams, gained control of 75 per cent of the aforementioned parent company, and became its director, and the CEO is Tim Stokely. Before OnlyFans, there were cam sites like MyFreeCams that provided live webcam performances by ‘models’. While MyFreeCams it is still in play, Google Trends show a steady decline in people searching for it. So where are all these people heading to? OnlyFans.
To understand why sites like MyFreeCams and OnlyFans work, let’s go back to the 2000’s, when Pornhub, XVideos, etc. began hosting pirated content from major studios on their platforms, thus devoiding these studios of their income, and leading to a drop in revenue for adult performers. Because of their subscription-based services, OnlyFans’ personalities make money without the hassle of approaching porn studios. Beast (name changed), a doctor in Mumbai, is a tall, dark and heavily tattooed hunk, with an athlete’s body. He moonlights as an OnlyFans model. After Bangaram, Beast is perhaps the most popular desi adult entertainer in the country. For the months of March, April and May, Beast made around $1,000 per month off OnlyFans. His collaboration with Bangaram, where the duo go at it in a dingy hotel room, is the most popular video on their channels. “There is no porn business or future for porn in India. We are left with limited options like OnlyFans to park our content safely. I don’t mind working for an international porn studio, but chances are limited as overseas travelling is very controlled now,” he says.
In 2013, Canada-based Raj Mahal featured in a five-part TV documentary mini-series, called I’m A Stripper. Mahal was then known as Shazad Hai. He was the prime focus of the trailer because, and I hate to say this, he was ‘exotic’. “As a Go-Go dancer, Shazad is utterly unique – a modern Muslim in a state of undress, lyrically mixing Bollywood dance moves into big city nightlife,” the teaser copy for the series stated. A year after the series premiered, the then 31-yearold Mahal began escorting, and he charges anywhere between $250 to $1,500 for escorting. Like all desi adult entertainers, Mahal’s OnlyFans account is a recent phenomenon. “OnlyFans was something I had just started last year, but I wasn’t doing very much with it, because my main focus was my in-person clientele. Because of the pandemic, I am now intentionally learning how to build my presence online,” he says. Bangaram makes around $1,000 per month from OnlyFans, which he uses to fund more shoots. Th resultant videos are distributed to all those involved, and they can choose to upload it on their individual OnlyFans sites.
But the videos on these desi accounts are extremely amateur, as compared to those in the West. The hotel rooms are dingy, the lighting does nothing for the model’s beautiful brown skin and more often than not, the passion is missing. “They have been doing it for many years but we’re just starting, so its not fair to compare. There is no Falcon Studios or any production house in India, you know? So, we do the best we can,” Bangaram defends. The videos may not be up to the mark, but the takers for these videos, are aplenty. Ranchi native Saket Singh, who is Bangaram’s selfproclaimed biggest fan, pays around Rs 700 a month to see Bangaram take it all off. “While Grindr may be lit in places like Mumbai, it is quite trash where I live. Just seeing a hot, muscular desi man in the nude and indulging in hot sex, is the stuff that small town dreams are made of,” Singh says. Overall, Singh spends around Rs 3,000 a month on OnlyFans.
Beast (name changed)
Mumbai-based Nikhil Dwivedi is willing to pay over Rs 5,000 a month to see them, because they are real people, unlike porn. “After a point of time, porn gets boring because you know that it is scripted. With OnlyFans, you can see that it is just two or more people actually engaging in passionate sex. It’s like being in a room with two hot guys, and see them go at each other. It’s dingy and amateur-ish but that’s the point — it’s real,” he says. But both Singh and Dwivedi agree that the content in the West is so much better. Dwivedi is a huge fan of OnlyFans creator Joe Wachs, especially because the first thing a new subscriber to Wachs’ OnlyFans gets, is a message expressing gratitude from the model, followed by a task that comes with a reward — a short video of him revealing his surprisingly large penis.
“This platform has changed my life. I have around 8,300 subscribers, and earn anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000 a month,” says Wachs, adding: “Whenever I’m in really great shape, I always get the most followers and exposure. Income wise, I’ve never seen that kind of money in my life. Now, I’m getting ready to hire my first full-time employee.” Then, there’s Austin Wolf. Wolf is somewhat of a big daddy in the gay porn circuit, and was Model X for OnlyFans — he was the first mainstream adult entertainer to use the platform. He’s done mainstream porn with studios like CockyBoys, and is in the top 0.07 per cent of all OnlyFans creators. He is also the CEO of 4MyFans, which is a competitor to OnlyFans.
“As an exclusive for CockyBoys Studio, who has just launched their behind the scenes 4MyFans page this week, I made the choice early on to leave the slick, beautiful fantasy storytelling to them as they do it best. I would then offer a raw, rougher narrative in my personal fan space,” he says. But with so much free porn available online, why are platforms like OnlyFans and 4myFans doing so well? The answer is simple, according to Wolf. “When someone full fills your fantasy in a way that really turns you on, why waste your time going to search and hope when you can save yourself the time and get it exactly how you want, and when you want, with regular updates? The cost is minimal and the amount of use is frequent. It’s basically like buying yourself a dessert once a month, it just happens to make you feel good a few times a day, for 30 days,” Wolf says. And honestly, there’s no better way to put it.
(Header credits: Chris Rathore)