Until a few years ago, Sita Payette was living on a vegetable farm in rural Quebec with her three sisters and mother, "in a house full of love."
"She raised us and homeschooled us all by herself," she said. "I left home at the age of 16 to move to Montreal. There I started working in the restaurant industry."
Then the pandemic hit, ushering in a punishing and turbulent time for the restaurant industry and its workers, so Payette decided to change careers.
Luckily, she had other passions.
"I always did modelling as a side job and for fun," she said. "I love working with photographers, stylists, content creators and artists. They are so inspiring and the model/fashion industry is opening up and becoming more about diversity, different body images, types, and styles."
In February 2020 she launched an OnlyFans page and, today, the 23-year-old is a top earner on the site.
Payette is hardly alone. OnlyFans — a platform where subscribers pay creators a monthly fee to access their content — has exploded in popularity during the pandemic. As of December 2020, the platform was said to have had more than 1 million content creators, up from just 60,000 in 2019.
"People are attracted to this platform for many reasons," she said. "Looking for a community, sharing, companionship or any social interactions that are no longer allowed or possible (due to the pandemic). It’s a modern way of entertaining through which you can build and share your content."
MTL Blog caught up with Payette to ask her what it’s like to be on OnlyFans in the time of COVID-19.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
How did Payette become a top OnlyFans model?
Payette’s profile boasts that she’s within the top 0.29% of content creators on OnlyFans.
"The earnings you make will vary depending on the content you produce [and] the hours and dedication you invest," she said.
She already had around 13,000 followers on Instagram before joining OnlyFans, which was an advantage and helped attract subscribers, she added.
"Also, I have a beautiful/natural pair of boobs that you won’t forget, and blue eyes. Thank you, mama," she continued.
But body type is not the only determination of a model’s success on OnlyFans, said Payette.
"You’d be surprised about the community’s diversity," she said. "It’s so refreshing and inspiring. Everybody respects and encourages each other, there’s room and place for any type."
To prospective OnlyFans models, she said, "I think the most important advice I could give is to respect yourself by setting your own limits and not the ones society created for women or men, as long as you are creating something you love and you are happy with. Respect yourself, be passionate and confident."
What's drawing people to OnlyFans?
Many people have turned to OnlyFans to support themselves during the pandemic, she said.
"I do think a lot more people, women and men, are using this platform to create but also earn on a monthly basis," she said.
She also figures that people stuck at home have been making and consuming much more adult content than usual.
"I think with the travel ban and all the restrictions, a little dreaming or escape thanks to a platform is something we need right now," she said.
What are the best/worst parts of the job?
Payette said she enjoys her work. "The art and the visual is very exciting for me."
"At the end of the day, I can work from anywhere at any time I please," she said. "This freedom can also be found in the women’s, or men’s, bodies. It’s so liberating to explore and break the gender stereotypes."
The work also has its share of challenges, she said, like the time her account was hacked and held for ransom.
"I once was hacked and was a victim of a blackmail," she said.
"Someone had stolen my accounts, changed all my passwords. It was very frustrating knowing a stranger could access and damage all the hard work I’ve put together."
"At the end of the day, the platform provides you with a good security plan and options, so they assisted and helped me through this tough process."