Natalie Star is one of the highest-profile cam performers on the net. The Fleshlight CamStar model has appeared in Playboy, and her insights and business savvy have been featured prominently across adult industry media. Star also has been recruiting and mentoring models since 2010, and models who work with her are becoming some of today’s top earners.
We’ve all rolled our eyes hard when we see self-proclaimed vaccine expert Jenny McCarthy host another girl-fart show, or suffered our way through another Ben Affleck film (different character, same flat expression), or watched everyman Ryan Seacrest perform seamlessly in yet. another. gig. (That guy is everywhere.)
Hosts? Talentless hacks! Actors? All they’re doing is “acting” like themselves, talking into the idiot box. It takes no skill at all!
Except you and I both know this is incorrect.
Any type of performance well done, including a performance that rings casual or unscripted a la Howard Stern, takes work. And when our reaction to a performance is something akin to “Pshah! That’s nothing, I could totally do that too — right now!” Well, that’s a sign there was probably actually a lot of work put into it.
It takes effort to act well and to host in a way that seems effortless — to put aside personal stressors or discomforts and focus on the entertaining task at hand. And it takes similar effort to cam. Sadly, the same standpoint that makes us think Jenny McCarthy’s only skill is being hot also allows many models to hop on cam and think the money will start flowing … just because.
You and I both know this, also, is incorrect.
Natalie Star stopped by YNOT Cam to discuss the difference between being a cam performer and being a “just because” model. According to Star, being a beggar who expects cam spoils “just because” is detrimental to career longevity and success.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is to be a performer and not a beggar,” Star said. “Far too many male and female models have zero idea of how to be a performer, so instead they beg.”
“Not being a performer” can manifest in many different ways, from making private financial struggles public to venting about emotional issues, pleading with customers to solve your problems, and/or refraining from maintaining some distinction between your public and private personas. Each of those is a recipe for disaster.
“I cannot tell you how many times I have logged on and been in a bad mood or was upset or not feeling well, etc.,” Star said. “However, I always remember to turn on a smile when I click the CHAT button. This is not because I wish to be fake, but because I am aware that, as a performer, I am here for the customer.”
Like it or not, according to Star, part of the work of being a cam model is meeting customers’ needs. You are there for them, and they compensate you for your time and skills.
“Unfortunately, there are too many models who seem to think it’s the other way around — that the customer is there for them,” she said. “When a customer tips or goes private, you have to remember that he is paying for a service.”
This gets at several fine lines that models must learn to navigate. The balance between personal and private and the emotional labor of giving to others coupled with the exhaustion that may result when you don’t get the same type of outlet in return are just two. Keeping the real “why” you and your customers are interacting in the forefront of your mind, however, is a key tool to maintaining balance. From Jenny McCarthy to Howard Stern to you, everyone manages the task of performance differently, but it’s performance nonetheless.
“I am not suggesting you have to do anything you are uncomfortable with,” Star said. “I am merely saying that it is your job to entertain the spender. It’s one thing to ask for tips to see this or tips to see that, but it’s another thing to ask for tips with no intention of doing anything for them in return.
“I do have many customers who know me well enough to know when something is wrong, but even on those bad days, I do not use my time online to beg for tips to cheer me up,” she added. “If anything, I thank [my customers] for wanting to make me laugh and for helping me keep my mind off of what is truly bothering me.”
As a model, you are in the business of performance and customer service, not charitable fundraising or panhandling. Ultimately, customer satisfaction is what keeps the entire cam industry working.
“Believe me when I tell you that one of the biggest things customers complain about is models who beg,” Star said. “The girl or guy who sits in their room with their hand out playing the ‘poor me’ card will never last.”
Star offered a great analogy: “Think of it like this: What if you went to see a movie and right before the show was supposed to begin the ushers began to walk up and down the aisles begging for tips. You’d eventually stop going to the movies, right? Because when we spend our hard-earned dollars to be entertained, we expect just that — to be entertained.”
None of this is easy. It takes work to become a true performer, but putting in the time and effort necessary to cultivate a balanced personality on cam is highly beneficial, both emotionally and financially.
“Once you learn to become a performer and leave the begging to the amateurs, I assure you that you will see the amount you earn as a webcam model go up and up,” Star said.
Visit Natalie Star on Twitter at @NatalieStarLive.