George Woodville, 20, UK
“The dirt is a real thing,” says George Woodville, AKA The Barefoot Guy. “Most people don’t want to see wet and muddy dirt; it’s the thin layer of it on the soles of my feet that they want.” When he stopped wearing shoes in 2021 (he couldn’t come up with a reason to do so, so he took every pair he owned to a shoe bank), baring his feet online was a natural progression. “I’ve always found a creative side in everything, I’ve never gone along with the mainstream,” says the 20-year-old from Cambridge, who had previously tried his hand as a YouTuber. “There’s a golden era with every platform. YouTube was a while ago, now it’s OnlyFans and TikTok.”
He posted videos on TikTok first, asking people in the street or at events what they thought of his bare feet – including one featuring the YouTube sensation KSI – and clocked up hundreds of thousands of likes a time. It remains the format for his posts there and on Instagram. When followers began asking for feet pictures and messaging to see if he was on OnlyFans, “I thought it was quite funny. I love the human body; not in a fetish way, but I find beauty in everything. I’ve never given a shit about feet, but my whole life has been a mishmash of expressing myself, creatively, to this point now where I’m making pics and videos of my feet.”
Woodville had dropped out of sixth form and worked in a supermarket, a phone shop and as a waiter before looking for income online. He launched on OnlyFans last year and has 100 subscribers, charging $4.99 (£4) a month for basic access and $10 (£8) a minute for custom videos, all foot content. It translates to about £1,000 a month. Early on, he had hoped to establish brand deals, like the well-worn influencer marketing model, but shoe companies who had expressed interest on more mainstream channels cried off when he began promoting OnlyFans. “That was fine,” he says. “I realised I could be 100% in control rather than having to do their bidding.”
Strangers in the offline world are either really curious about my feet or really angry about them
He uploads content daily, working with his girlfriend, an artist. “We’re building a business, a source of income and a platform for future creative endeavours. If I see a location that looks good, we’ll make some content.”
A lot of fans ask to see more than his feet: “I’m not mentally there yet, but I’m open to it. I can think of a time when I was closed off to things, even scared of life. It’s been a gradual process of becoming open.”
Woodville’s lifestyle has met with disapproval from family members – his grandfather, he says, threw him out of his house – but he describes the conversations he has with followers as energising: “A lot of people are really nice, not in a creepy way. They’re not even so heavily into the fetish side.” As for strangers in the offline world: “They’re either really curious about my feet or really angry about them. It both repels people and introduces them to me.”
Having gone barefoot at a time when he felt depressed, he says he enjoys the realness of his income stream now. “It’s probably the best thing I’ve got going in terms of this physical reality. Going barefoot opened me up to things that are perceived as weird, including selling pics online. It’s really been a journey of not giving a fuck.”
Armpits and body hair
Candace, 33, Canada
Candace was a single mother unable to afford her weekly grocery shop before she started selling pictures of her armpits online. Initially, when she stopped buying razors and grew her underarm hair in 2018, it was to save money and time, but as a body confident artist she shared photos of herself – including her pits – to her private Instagram page. Then, after a conversation with a friend, she began monetising them.
“My friend had built a large following on social media and OnlyFans, and was starting to make an income,” says Candace, who suffers health complications, including narcolepsy. “I was a single mom on disability benefits. I had just enough to get by on social assistance and was trying to do the best I could with my circumstances and budget. I needed more money coming in.”
She started with images from the nose down. “At first, I wasn’t ready to share all of me with the whole world,” she says. “Initially, I let my armpit hair grow but shaved my legs. From armpit hair, people asked for leg hair pics. Then I went from growing leg hair to bush hair, areas that were accepted online but I still felt a lot of shame about. It was a journey of self-acceptance as well as business – I wanted to find this attractive in myself before I shared it in pictures.
Once I got to the point where I was comfortable with what I was putting out there, I embraced it all and opened up my account.”
Candace was taking iPhone selfies in her duplex in New Brunswick, focusing on the underarms or sharing pictures in lingerie with her hairy legs on display, as well as her art (she sells embroidery at local markets and online). “I didn’t even have a laptop,” she says. When her Instagram followers surpassed 4,000 she channelled those who wanted more to OnlyFans, charging them then C$14.99 (£8.90) and now C$19.99 (£11.87) a month.
“People were asking to buy pictures, but I didn’t feel safe exchanging bank details or sending pictures with background data on Instagram.” Such platforms act as virtual shop windows for creators’ monetised channels such as OnlyFans.
A lot of people say, ‘What about your future prospects, having things searchable online?’ But they aren’t paying my bills
Candace has 100 fans now, more than 37,000 TikTok followers and 5,000 on Instagram, as well as a presence on Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit. On OnlyFans, pictures include hair closeups and screenshots from self-pleasure videos. “I have followers with different preferences. I try to offer a good split.” She posts images through the month, plus one pay-to-view video containing more adult content, and spends 10 to 20 hours a week creating content. She’s used some of her OnlyFans earnings, which total about C$20,000 (£11,879) a year, to buy ring lights, a tripod and laptop.
There are other benefits, too: “Hair is an extension of the nervous system, so it became more sensual and stimulating to me on a personal level.” But her move to paid-for content wasn’t without reservations. “A lot of people say, ‘What about your future prospects, having things searchable online?’ I have religious, conservative family members who thought I was better where I was, but that wasn’t where I wanted to be. Whatever anyone else thought, they weren’t paying my bills.”
Her narcolepsy leaves Candace fatigued, so she puts boundaries in place: “I respond to fan messages by being kind and polite, but don’t get into conversations. I protect my energy. I’m very much in control of the work I produce and how I put it out there. There are so many other jobs where people put in long hours and overtime that are harder on your body and mind. I can create on my own time and be present for my daughter, too.” Her 15-year-old is accepting of her work, she says. “It’s not something I keep hidden. I believe in telling the truth to your children to the extent of their maturity and understanding. My grandparents have some concerns, but it’s a space they don’t know.
“When I meet people, I introduce myself as an artist. I might assess how open they are to hearing I’m also an erotic artist. It has to be the right audience. This whole thing has been empowering,” she adds. “I’m not making crazy money, but I can buy all the groceries I want. And I enjoy it.
Everyone else is spending money getting rid of their body hair, but I make money keeping mine.”
Johana, 32, Middle East
To her family and friends, Johana is someone who loves posting pictures on social media. What none of them knows is that she is also selling videos of her long, painted fingernails. Her online persona is the antithesis of her day job: “I’m an engineer, so the nails thing is just something I came by,” she says over direct message on Instagram. She uses the platform to post and sell pictures of her brightly coloured, 1.5in square-tipped nails, and shares her videos on TikTok, too. In one, her aquamarine talons are seen handling a blister pack of Strepsils throat sweets, an exact colour match for her manicure, which she does herself, changing the colour every two to three days.
“My people don’t know I sell nail content,” she says, “they just know I love posting. My custom content starts at $25 (£20), but videos doing or touching things can bring in up to $100 (£81) each.” She takes requests over DM and payment via PayPal. “I’ve been posting for years, but last year I started to sell custom nail content, for those who see them as sexy.
People are all different. Some demand extra length, some ask me to scratch objects or place my nails on body parts
People loved my pictures. Then a friend online asked me to do a custom video for him and said he’d pay. I said, ‘Why not?’
Pictures like this are selling all around the world now. Every human has one or two things that make them feel ‘it’ and they’re ready to spend money on. Not all nails look good enough to sell, though.”
As making money goes, it’s low maintenance: “It’s nails. It’s not hurting anyone’s dignity to take photos or videos of them. I hear from boys and girls. I’ve found friends online, other creators or watchers, and we chat a lot. People are all different. Some demand extra length, some ask me to hold or scratch objects or place my nails on body parts. It’s something I enjoy that brings in money at the same time.”
Holly, 29, New Zealand
“It’s a side hustle I wanted to turn full-time,” says Holly, who works in the construction industry and launched an OnlyFans profile last year after spotting an opportunity to commodify her double-jointed thumbs. “I thought about it for months, then one day, after a bad day at work, I thought, ‘Let’s do it, someone out there must have a thing for hitchhiker thumbs.’ My husband and I both work in stressful jobs with high burnout. I wanted to try to build an income that would let us step away from that and get our lives back.”
Holly set up profiles on Instagram, Twitter and Reddit, and used a Linktree to tease subscribers on to her OnlyFans page – a tried-and-tested creator formula for gathering followers willing to pay. “One of the early pictures I posted, on Twitter, was my hand pressing down on my desk at work, so buyers saw the bend.
I uploaded a few pictures over a couple of weeks, then this guy contacted me from Europe who wanted pictures of my thumbs resting on steering wheels. That was my first customer.”
He became her top spender and one of 80 subscribers to her pay-to-view content, where photos cost NZ$20 (£10) and five-minute videos sell for NZ$90 (£44). “We ended up speaking most days. Our conversations have been genuinely enjoyable. He talks about his life. It has crossed my mind what he’s doing with my content but I just shoot that thought away and get on with it.”
You’re always going to get filthy messages, but for the most part they’re quite sweet
The pictures on Holly’s social media feeds feature her thumbs angled against everyday objects, including a shopping trolley, fruit and a festive bauble, or suggestively resting against her made-up lips. A few months in, she expanded her repertoire to feature gloves: “Someone saw my hand pictures and said they’d love to see them in gloves. I thought, ‘Oh yes, that’s a thing,’ so I put some plastic disposable gloves in the supermarket trolley and gave that a try.”
Palms get a reaction, too: “I get messages saying, ‘I’d love to have that over my mouth.’ I’m like, ‘Sure.’ You’re always going to get filthy messages, but for the most part they’re quite sweet. I often get, ‘I hope you don’t mind me saying that your hands are really lovely.’”
Holly kept her identity secret, choosing to post as BendyThumbsNZ instead. She says: “I wanted to be faceless and not have my name attached. I have a unique job and it would be easy to track me down. People view it as a bit dirty or gross. I worry they would see me as unprofessional or odd, and I don’t want someone telling me I should or shouldn’t be doing this. Everyone is a consenting adult.” She chose to tell only her best friend and husband: “He isn’t really into the hands thing. He just leaves me to it.”
A USP such as double-jointed digits stands out from the crowd, so has the potential to become prime money-making content. Holly’s growth was part organic, part informed; she researched poses, learning which get the most likes, joined creator communities and advice threads online, and joined forces with others, promoting one another’s work. But after less than a year she called time on the hustle, unable to make it pay, posting on her social channels: “This has been fun but I don’t have anything left to give y’all so I’m taking an indefinite break.” Nonetheless, she reflects on her OnlyFans stint fondly: “I thought this whole endeavour would be purely business, but it’s fun and rewarding when you put a picture out there. It’s been a weird confidence boost having people calling me a goddess.”
Some names have been changed.