'I'm proud of my body': Canadian education assistant's job on the line over OnlyFans
Though her job at a school might be at risk, Kristin MacDonald -- or Ava James -- doesn't regret her side-hustle.
A B.C. woman fears her school job is on the line after an employer found out she was an OnlyFans creator on the side. Now, she wants to break the stigma around sex work.
Kristin MacDonald is a single mother of a daughter, a dedicated education assistant — and an adult content creator under the alias "Ava James."
MacDonald, 35, began creating content on OnlyFans in July 2022. The platform is an online content subscription-based service for adults, where initially actors, artists and singers could share exclusive content to their paid subscribers. Since then, sex and adult content took over the platform.
When MacDonald joined, she recalled wanting to explore her sexuality.
"I came out of a marriage and felt very unattractive. And quite honestly, I think I was kind of maybe looking to build some confidence.
"And obviously, to make extra money as well."
Her monthly subscriptions comes at a price of $6, and she describes her content as "adult-work," rather than sex-work. She claims she's now among the platform's top two per cent of creators.
"The beauty of OnlyFans, it's a consent-based platform; it's a safe way to explore your sexuality, and just to share that content with others," she said. "I'm proud of my body."
But recently, MacDonald allegedly received a letter from her employer, demanding she remove all of her social media relating to Ava James, her alias.
The beauty of OnlyFans, it's a consent-based platform; it's a safe way to explore your sexuality, and just to share that content with others.Kristin MacDonald
"It was instructing me to basically take down all my Ava James socials, so Instagram, TikTok and OnlyFans… It said failure to do so would potentially be a reason for termination."
Yahoo Canada has requested a comment from the Port Coquitlam school, which MacDonald did not want named it in the article out of respect for her colleagues, but has not received a response.
'I blocked my colleagues'
MacDonald said she did what she could too keep her "side-hustle" private.
"Ava James" has nearly 19,000 followers on Instagram, which she uses to direct users to her OnlyFans page. Her Instagram content often features herself in lingerie, bikinis or tight-fitting clothes — no explicit nudity.
She also says she tried to keep her content away from her professional life.
"It needs to be noted everywhere... I did take precautions. I wanted to ensure that it was far away from my profession as an education assistant," she said.
"I didn't use my name, I was sure to not link my personal email or my work email with any of the social accounts that I had. I did block most, if not all, of my co-workers."
But last month, the content did make it to the eyes of her employer. She had been out of school for several weeks due to a back injury, and underwent spine surgery just days prior to receiving the April 28 letter.
I did take precautions. I wanted to ensure that it was far away from my profession as an education assistant.Kristin MacDonald
She doesn’t know how the school found out about Ava James, but said the letter noted there was a complaint from a student about a TikTok she made under the alias.
"Apparently, I'm not allowed to be in a bikini," she said. "I personally think that there's nothing wrong with a human body. The content itself on TikTok was not sexual."
She said Ava James "isn't going anywhere," regardless.
"I'm sorry that somebody felt uncomfortable by it. But I am not ashamed," she said.
She said the current education system is "conservative" and "kind of an old-boys club," adding she sees this inequality for women.
"I see a lot of people expressing sexuality in the school districts in other ways. And I think that this is this is another point of harassment."
Being a mother herself, MacDonald understands parents' desire to protect their children. But, she says she's not a threat.
"I think a lot of parents are concerned about me kind of seducing students or luring them into something, and that's just not the case.
"Yes, I speak positively about sexuality and exploring that within yourself, but in a safe way — and part of that is being of-age," she continued.
"I think a lot of women also fall victim to being incredibly insecure about their body... I think it's important to teach our children sex positivity, and being safe in their sexuality."
The job she loves doesn't pay enough
MacDonald became an education assistant in 2015 after seeing the challenges her brother, who has autism, faced throughout his life.
"I really found that I'm able to connect with students... I have a lot of compassion for people," she expressed.
"I've worked with lots of different students, some that are incredibly violent, that run away. There's lots of relationship building that is involved in order to be that person they trust."
Though she loves her job, MacDonald said she makes below a living wage.
She only works 30 hours a week and isn't considered a full-time employee, so she has to pay for benefits out-of-pocket, she said.
“We're told we need to be professional and we need to uphold these standards, but yet, the pay gap between teachers and education assistants is enormous," she continued.
"Almost every single person that is an education assistant has to have a side-hustle to survive."
Despite her employer's move, MacDonald has received tons of support.
After she received the initial cease and desist letter, and shared her story publicly, MacDonald said "quite a few" of her colleagues reached out to her.
Almost every single person that is an education assistant has to have a side-hustle to survive.Kristin MacDonald
"I'm very aware that this is a very controversial subject," she began. "I just assumed they would be on the other side of the fence, and they're actually coming forward and giving their support, which I really appreciate."
As for her job security, she's taking it day by day to "see what happens." But, the working mom said she wouldn't change her decision to start OnlyFans, even knowing what the outcome could be.
The Daily Hive, which first reported this story, spoke to a practice leader of the Employment Law Group at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. It reported that "determining whether MacDonald’s OnlyFans account is cause for disciplinary action depends on two factors: the connection, if any, to her job at the school; and the existence of any policies that speak to expectations for online conduct and clearly set out the consequences of a breach."
Employment lawyer Lia Moody told the Daily Hive, "the presumptive rule is that what you do in your personal time and outside the confines of your workday will not give an employer the right to terminate employment for cause."
In the meantime, MacDonald wants to destigmatize adult work and OnlyFans as a platform.
"The platform itself is actually a really safe place and is very consent based," she explained, reiterating her content is only accessible to those who can verify they're over the age of 18.
"The reality is too, each content creator on OnlyFans has different boundaries... that's what makes it a safe way to explore your sexuality and go into that realm, while maintaining your sense of self."
As for how much she makes on OnlyFans, the content creator hinted, "it’s more than you think."
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