The webcam girls next door: The naked truth behind a lucrative local industry (pics & video)

"Do you think your neighbors have any idea what goes on in here?" I ask Brandon, a tall lean man with a pierced ear.

"Well, my upstairs neighbor does," Brandon says, trying to suppress a grin, "but she shoots porn."

Brandon [not his real name] operates the webcam studio, [image-1]Northwest Hillsborough. The space is clean but empty. He is still moving in. Suitcases, laundry bins and boxes are piled where a dining room table should be. In the master bedroom, a young woman in her underwear sits on the bed facing a computer. While she may look like she is messaging friends on Facebook or typing a college paper, she is enticing men online who will pay to have private webcam sessions with her.

On the site Brandon uses to broadcast his models,, users can browse the chat rooms of a variety of webcam girls, guys or couples. Clients congregate around their favorite performer the same way strip club habitués circle the pole of their favorite dancer. The models then flirt with members, coaxing them to buy private sessions for $5.99 a minute. In these sessions, clients type or say their requests while the models act out fantasies on request. Most men just want the women to play with themselves and talk dirty, while others want something a little kinkier.

Of this $5.99, the affiliated online company gets the majority for advertising, processing, and video broadcasting. Models are paid roughly $1.50 per minute for private shows, plus $0.50 per minute for each voyeur who watches. The models can also receive tips and bonuses.

Brandon recruits, trains, monitors and manages the models. He can also be their contact if they want to expand into video work. This is how Staci Love and Zoe Rae [their webcam names] landed on Brandon's loveseat.


Staci, 20, is a slender brunette with a flawless face, looking like that girl in high school you obsessed over because she never realized she was too pretty to talk to you. Zoe, 21, is shorter with straight, honey-colored hair and a gymnast's body.

Staci is apologetic, saying she'd have worn a different shirt if she knew she was going to be interviewed. She hails from a small town in the Northeast but now lives with her husband and 2-year-old daughter in a small town outside Tampa. Her finger taps my voice recorder and she keeps peeking at my notes. She is more nervous about talking to me than performing sex on camera.

Staci got into webcam work when her husband, Rick [also a webcam name], answered one of Brandon's ads online. She performs both with her husband and alone 15 to 20 hours a week. Showing my naivete, or perhaps jealousy, I ask if Rick can perform more than once a night. Brandon reminds me that clients pay for how long it takes them to get off, not how long it takes the models. To keep up with the workload, Staci's husband has started taking an herbal erectile aid, Stiff Nights, which is common in the industry.

Staci and Zoe have a few tricks of their own. If they have already masturbated several times in private sessions, they squirt lube on their hands off camera then hold their sopping fingers to the webcam, saying "I'm so wet."

"Then they tell us to lick it," Zoe says, shaking her head, "and I'm like, ‘Oh yeah...delicious.'"[image-3]

The models have mixed feelings about their clients, describing them as "normal guys," "cheap nice guys" and "polite stalkers." Both have regulars as well as run-of-the-mill creepers.

"I have a guy who gets online the entire time I'm on," Zoe says. "He knows everything about me. The other guys will ask where I'm from and he'll type, ‘She's from Russia but she lives in Florida now.' If someone asks to take me private, he'll write, ‘No, she's mine.' I'm his online girlfriend. He'll leave and say he has to go to sleep then he'll come back on 20 minutes later saying he couldn't stop thinking about me."

The models' easiest shows are with users who just want to talk. The most difficult are the guys who say nothing, expecting the girls to perform without instruction.

Requests range from the tame to the strange. Some men want to watch the models shower. Foot fetishes are common. Some even like ears. No matter what body part or type, someone has a fetish for it.

The women jokingly give me a sample of the kind of dirty talk their clients like, explaining that some, just [image-4]before getting off, ask the models to open wide and lean into the webcam. Neither Zoe or Staci sound the least bit offended in rehashing such requests, or how clients often refer to them in derogatory terms, like "bitches." These men are paying for a fantasy. The models conceive that they are even doing a service, allowing clients to exercise their more questionable kinks online rather than on a less sympathetic partner.

The turn-ons are unpredictable. For instance, guys always comment on Staci's 60-inch TV. One client even took her up on a private session provided that she turn on the sports channel.

Clients also show a lot of interest in Staci and Zoe's bellybutton rings. Zoe shows off her tongue ring and says she plans to get another, partly because her fans like it so much. Staci squeals when Zoe describes the piercing process.

For Zoe, clients most often ask to see her tattoos. Demonstrating in Brandon’s living room, she pulls down her pants, revealing the flowers stamped on her cheek, then the gecko crawling below her panty line. Staci becomes excited about getting her own tattoo.

"But you're not going to, right?" Brandon says.[image-5]

"I'm not?"

Brandon and Zoe explain how Staci has a girl-next-door look.

"Guys always say that online. Who is the girl next door?"

"It is you," Brandon explains. "It's the innocent girl who grew up next door to these guys, and, for lack of a better word, was a slut in bed."

I asked the models to tell me the strangest request they’ve ever received. It's the first question Staci doesn't hesitate to answer.

"Peeing," she says and Zoe nods. "They want to watch us pee."

The girls aren't allowed to urinate, or even show a toilet, on their webcam.

Strangely enough, both girls had just returned from auditioning for a fetish video in which they were instructed to finger their clitorises while standing and urinating with a strong, straight stream. The female producer, if she hires them, will pay the models $1,000 to pee on camera six separate times.

Staci has also filmed her first balloon fetish video. It took her 15 minutes to get near the balloons.

"I'm afraid of balloons," she confesses with a smile. "Balloons and clowns."

She bounces up and down playfully to demonstrate what she did with the balloons. "When that first balloon [image-6]popped, my heart stopped."

There’s a marked discrepancy between Staci’s apparent innocence and the sexual acts she is willing to perform on camera.

"I love anal," she tells me straightaway. "Seriously, it's like the best orgasm I've ever had."

Zoe nods in agreement. Staci says she’d never even masturbated before doing it on her webcam. Now she is recommending Sex Grease for backdoor sex because it doesn't have a taste.

"How long have you been doing webcam shows?" I ask.

"Two weeks."

The answer shocks me, especially considering she already wants to do hardcore videos. Brandon doesn't seem surprised at Staci's leap into the industry. He estimates the life of a webcam girl and some adult entertainers at three months to a year. The hardest part of his job is keeping the girls working.

"They forget that this is a job, and in order to get paid they have to do real work," Brandon says.

Friday and Saturday nights are the best shifts: they draw horny men without plans. But many of these young women would rather go out themselves on weekend nights.

Most of Brandon's models quit because someone finds out or they fall into drug use. Despite this turnover, [image-7]Brandon has noticed an increasing number of college girls and stay-at-home moms wanting to do webcam work because it's legal and offers a controlled environment. He also cites the economic downturn as pushing more and more people into doing adult work. Staci claims the economy was why her husband began fishing for gigs online.

"It was all my husband's idea," Staci says. "Honestly I never thought about doing it before."

When pressed, she admits that there are other reasons. There isn't much to do in her small town and she is able to work from home while remaining a stay-at-home mother. When I ask how long she sees herself in the industry she says, "A while. It's fun, especially with Rick."

Currently, Staci has asked Brandon to block Florida users from viewing her webcam shows, but this is mainly because her husband is worried about being recognized and losing his government job. Staci, however, is ready to be recognized.

"I'm not worried about my face being out there. He is."

Brandon doesn't sugarcoat this point. "Yes, you're going to make money," he warns Staci, "but someone is going to recognize that you're John's wife."

Staci shrugs. "I don't care because I'm not going anywhere. I already have a daughter and I can't go to college."

Brandon debates this point. He tells her that she could generate $100K in a year, put it away, then go to school. I get the feeling that he has had this conversation many times, coaching young women how to make the most of their short careers. I also get the feeling that not many listen.

"How are you going to deal with your child finding out?" I ask.

"When she asks what I do, I'll say, ‘Mommy and Daddy do a very special job. We can only do it in our bedroom," Staci says. "She already understands that. I'll say ‘Mommy has to work,' and she says, ‘Okay I go outside.'"

Staci takes the opportunity to advise Zoe not to have children, mainly because of the effects it had on her body, which she wants to get corrected with cosmetic surgery.

In considering her own mother, Staci says, "My mom is the one who told me to get out there and get recognized. She wanted me to work at Hooters."

"This pays better than Hooters," Brandon says.

"And it's more fun. You don't have to deal with snobby guys. People bitching at you because you forgot their soda."

"What about your father?" I ask.

"My dad would kill me," Staci says.

Zoe explains how her mother was the strict one, nearly having a heart attack if Zoe came home a few minutes past curfew. Brandon nods. This isn't the first time he has heard about overprotective parents.

Staci expands on how sheltered she was, and still is. This trip was her first time visiting Tampa after years of living a little over an hour's drive away.

"How will doing adult films affect your marriage?" I ask.

"He's a very jealous type. I'm working on him." As Staci says this, her husband calls her cell phone.

"It's a tricky thing dating while being in the industry," Brandon admits. He has seen many breakups and has lost many girls because of relationships.

"I've rubbed on girls. I've kissed on girls. I mean I was on a freaking softball team," Staci says. "But, we're still working up to me being with another guy, or three other guys. I'm just going to have to explain it to him like this, ‘Look, you're the one who got me into this. And I'm okay with him doing it with another woman, but if he doesn't get paid for it, then we have a problem."

A taste of the webcam work was enough to convince both Zoe and Staci that they are ready for hardcore video scenes.

"Today was my first shoot," Staci says. "I was scared, but once I did it I was like, this is so much better than sitting around for two hours and having to tempt people back for a five-minute show."

The women are divided on how far they are willing to go on camera. They both agree they will never do "clown porn" or use strap-ons. Zoe won't do a scene with a guy, while Staci debates with Brandon how many guys she can handle at one time.

"I think I'd try anything once," Staci says. "I like it rough. I like being choked and strapped to shit, being smacked, and my hair pulled."

When I say I need to take a few photos for the paper, Zoe is topless before I even remove my camera lens. She suggests that they pose with their naked breasts pressed together.

Brandon walks in with a handheld camera and a smirk. "Do you want to watch a shaving scene?"

"I do," Staci says, and I can't say no.

Staci is disappointed that she pre-groomed. She wants do a shaving scene, too. Brandon takes the opportunity to remind her that if she gave him more notice that she was coming into Tampa, he could have planned more work.

The "set" consists of a light muted against the ceiling and a single handheld camera fixed on Zoe. She stands naked in the bath with the water running, changing her voice as she squats and says, "I'm about to shave my tight pussy." Staci stands at the bathroom door with arms crossed and foot tapping the floor.

"I need to get a videocamera," Staci whispers after seeing how simple an adult shoot can be.

Staci isn't alone in her thinking. More and more amateurs are venturing into the world of online adult entertainment. This isn't surprising considering the coming generation is becoming increasingly comfortable "sexting" and posting scandalous images of themselves online. New technologies have facilitated a peep culture of voyeurs and exhibitionists. People are seeking out online content specific to their tastes. This has in turn created an outlet for virtually anyone to become an online personality.

The adult industry has shifted to accommodate this change. Webcams connect voyeurs with exhibitionists, offering a personalized experience which can't be mass-produced. While a webcam is not as hands-on as a strip club, it offers users a different kind of intimacy — the ability to talk to models anonymously.

Online anonymity has also given consumers a taste for exploring and seeking out specific niches in the ever-expanding world of sexual fetishes. Brandon makes no assumption about what his viewers will like. Two of his most popular clips consist of a couple dry-humping and a model teasing her nostrils with her fingers. To accommodate this shift, Brandon simply offers an array of webcam performers and sexual content, and lets consumers decide what they like. Some entrepreneurs like Brandon even offer a kind of choose-your-own-porn experience,, in which clients choose exactly what they want in a video. While it's true that the internet has facilitated an atmosphere of quantity over quality, it has also created a desire for average guys to be able to peep into the bedrooms of amateur girls-next-door, like Staci and Zoe, who have honestly never done this sort of thing before.

I leave Staci and Zoe exactly where I found them, in the living room, talking about their clothes. Zoe is [image-8]matching her foot to Staci's to see if they wear the same size shoe, but Staci starts squealing playfully.

"I don't like to touch people's feet," Staci explains with a smile.

Considering that Staci will soon be touching much more of Zoe than just her feet, I ask if she is ready for the girl-on-girl scene.

"I'm not nervous because I've never done it before," Staci says. "I'm just shy. I was more nervous about sitting on the balloons."

"Don't worry," Zoe says, with a flirtatious smile. "I'll be nice."

Every straight male (and some females) have a version of this fantasy: two college-aged girls sitting on a couch, playfully flirting before spontaneously stripping and fondling each other. This is the scene I walk in on Friday.

Two attractive young women share a leather loveseat while watching a muted MTV show. Having just met that morning, the women are overly nice, complimenting the thongs and bras they’ve brought with them in overnight bags. But this isn't a fantasy: these women are preparing to film their first girl-on-girl scene.

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