Why So Many Mainstream Celebrities Are Turning To OnlyFans

In 2016, OnlyFans, a new platform for sharing photos and videos with subscribers, launched. According to The Sun, from day one, Tim Stockley intended it to be an X-rated platform that allowed people to put their content behind a paywall. The site's mission: be a safe and secure place for adult entertainers and sex workers to create and make money. 

As the site really started to pick up steam, A-list celebrities began joining the site and selling their content, too. At the beginning of 2023, Forbes raised the question of whether joining OnlyFans helped or damaged the career of these stars. Monica Koyama, a professor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, told the outlet, "It's just another way to reach a new demo of fans and cash in, so it feels like a win-win for these celebrities. Time will tell whether OnlyFans can shake its brand reputation. If 'Playboy' is the model, it moved from a racy magazine to a lifestyle brand – and became a coveted cover opportunity for celebrities."

For some famous faces, a platform is a platform. Whether it advances their careers in the long run or not, celebrities like Bella Thorne, Cardi B, and Tyler Posey are a few of the many mainstream stars who have joined OnlyFans.

Bella Thorne stirred up controversy when she joined

When bio Bella Thorne first joined OnlyFans in 2020, she went with a rather succinct bio: "I'm your b***h." According to Page Six, the site crashed the moment Thorne announced her $102 for six month subscription. Later, Vulture reported Thorne earned a million dollars in one day, breaking records on the website. However, this didn't sit well with sex workers and adult performers who took issue with the way in which she had taken over.

As sex worker Aussie Rachel told Rolling Stone, "To witness a celebrity gentrifying a platform and making obscene amounts of money without acknowledging the plight of sex workers is truly a slap in the face." Although Throne got defensive initially, even going as far as to say she paved the way as the first mainstream star to do it, she later apologized via Twitter. "Remove the stigma behind sex, sex work, and the negativity that surrounds the word SEX itself by bringing a mainstream face to it that's what I was trying to do," she wrote.

After the success of her OnlyFans page, Thorne created a social media management company, Content X. However, Rolling Stone reported that many of her clients were upset and started breaking off their contracts because the company made a lot of promises they weren't delivering, still taking earnings from them.

Cardi B promised behind-the-scenes content

For some celebrities, utilizing OnlyFans isn't about sharing X-rated content or uploading nudes for a subscription. The perfect example of this is Cardi B who announced via Instagram in August 2020 that she would be joining the site for a $4.99 monthly subscription. "Yes I'll be putting by BTS from WAP there ! And my day to day content ... NO I WONT BE SHOWING P***Y , T****ES AND A**," she declared. The Grammy winner said she wanted to use OnlyFans to address any rumors because she believed people were being a little too nosy when it came to her life.

In a press release shared by NME, Cardi B and her team established that her OnlyFans page would be used "to release behind-the-scenes content, address ongoing rumours, share glimpses into her personal life, connect closer with her fans, and much more." Her bio on the website? "Welcome to my world."

When she made the announcement, she asked fans about the kind of content they wanted to see, reminding them that even though she would not be getting naked for the camera, she would be sharing personal stuff. "Just straight up, real-life content s**t," she said in the Instagram video. "Everything you wanna know, ask the question and it will be a topic on my OnlyFans."

Tyler Posey called OnlyFans 'mentally draining'

In September 2020, Tyler Posey announced he was joining Bella Thorne and other celebrities on OnlyFans. The announcement came through an Instagram post in which he was playing the guitar nude. The actor promised to post behind-the-scenes posts from his upcoming projects, photos and videos from his day-to-day life, and some nudes to spice things up.

The following February, however, Posey seemed less enchanted with the platform; he wasn't interested in creating super explicit content. As he told E! News, "It's really, sort of mentally draining ... I'm trying my hardest to be artistic as possible with the content I put out 'cause I don't want it to just be porn, you know? That's not what I do and I don't want to take it away from the people that are doing that. I just want to be artistic and stay in touch with my fans." 

As chill with some nudity as Posey is, he ultimately couldn't get comfortable with sharing content on the platform. And so, he decided to quit OnlyFans. "I did find some good in it," he said on "The Zach Sang Show" in September 2021. "But it's definitely not my place."

Whitney Cummings joined for the dirty jokes

Whitney Cummings has created a career for herself based on comedy, so it was no surprise when she shared on Instagram her next professional move: "Jokes I can't tell on other platforms will now be on my @onlyfans." The idea was to utilize this platform to share all the naughty jokes that wouldn't fit anywhere else.

When TMZ asked her whether or not the channel would also involve nudity, Cummings quipped, "Every now and then, I take NyQuil and things get crazy, you never know." She was drawn to the idea of using a platform that, theoretically, would not censor her jokes or demonetize her account.

Cummings told Variety, "I want to experiment with jokes. I love the idea of writing and performing incendiary jokes... and talk about what is happening right now. On Twitter, people will want to take it out of context." She made it clear that even though she had a sense of humor about all of it, she did not feel confident enough to actually put her nudes up there and charge people for them. "Instead of dirty photos, you're gonna see dirty jokes," she said. "If it's good enough for Cardi B, it's good enough for me. She has a very good business brand."

Carmen Electra wanted to take control of her photos

In 2022, Carmen Electra joined the list of celebrities who had subscriptions on OnlyFans. When speaking to People about the decision to join the site, she shared that the site gave her more ownership of her image and content. "People are going to do what they want to do anyway with your photos, you might as well be in control of them and follow what you feel like doing inside," she said. By posting her content on OnlyFans, she has creative control and doesn't have to worry about someone else supervising her or trying to tell her which direction to go in.

"It does feel really good to stand up for yourself," Electra said. "I think what we're going through now is people are finally standing up for themselves and who they are ... It's not always easy to do, but I do respect people that can stand up for who they are and be honest about it."

While chatting with Bustle in 2022, Electra mentioned this business model was beneficial to her because she was her boss and owned all the content she decided to put out there. However, she also mentioned she had come to realize it was a great way to connect with her fans. "Sometimes they have requests. The fans love feet! It is so much fun. I don't know why I didn't do this a year ago."

Denise Richards joined after her kid was shamed for it

Sami Sheen, daughter of Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen, was one of the many young women who joined OnlyFans to post their own content. While Sami's dad was less than happy about her decision to sign up for the site in June 2022, her mom was on board. Like, really on board. "I had heard of OnlyFans but I wasn't educated on what OnlyFans was and once I started to learn about it, I really think that the creators of the site really took the best of every platform of social media and put it into one site," Richards told KTLA. "You own your content. The other sites, they can sell your content."

A week after her daughter made her OnlyFans debut, Richards made her announcement on Instagram: "Ready...here we go #onlyfans." And after she threw her hat in the OnlyFans ring, "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" alum continued to support Sami's OnlyFans journey. "All I can do as a parent is guide her and trust her judgment, but she makes her own choices," she said to Page Six.

Although Charlie didn't approve of his daughter's new venture at first, he quickly changed his tune and made it clear he was still very much in Sami's corner. He told E! News, "Now more than ever, it's essential that Sami have a united parental front to rely upon, as she embarks on this new adventure."

Amber Rose has talked to her son about OnlyFans

In October 2020, Amber Rose made it very clear that she was joining OnlyFans to share X-Rated content. She made the announcement through Twitter first on October 6 with a Snapchat video of her dancing naked and covering her body with an emoji, teasing fans with what could be expected. "My OF is lit af." On October 8, she announced it again by sharing a naked selfie of herself in bed, covering her body with emojis. She also shared a photo of herself in a lace bodysuit on her Instagram and wrote, "Head over to my Onlyfans Lemme show you something."

As a mother, Rose wanted her son to get the details about her new venture straight from her. On a February 2023 episode of "High Low with EmRata," she said she recognized that keeping information from her son is easier said than done in the age of TikTok or Instagram. She also shared that her son found out about her OnlyFans account from one of his friends.

"I just explained everything to him," Rose said. "Like, when it comes to women, you have to let women do what they need to do to support their families." For Rose, it was obvious that having this conversation was the best option. She told Emily Ratajkowski down the line she knew her son wouldn't judge her for being a stripper or posting on OnlyFans.

Iggy Azalea has gotten strange and expensive requests

In January 2023, Iggy Azalea joined OnlyFans to share one of her biggest projects to date. By creating "Hotter Than Hell," Azalea wanted to share with her fans photos, videos, music, illustrations, and poetry in an uncensored way that was only possible through this platform.

Although she confessed at first she didn't believe OnlyFans was the place to get creative, she soon changed her mind with their collaboration. "Once I looked beyond the surface-level chatter about what it means to have an OnlyFans, I realized it was the perfect platform to launch a multimedia concept on. I feel excited about not having to worry about the overwhelming and creatively limiting censorship artists have to navigate when sharing work on other digital platforms. The project is bold and fun — so is this collaboration — I think it's going to surprise a lot of people," she told Variety.

After the launch of her OnlyFans page, the naughty requests poured in. As Azalea shared on "Watch What Happens Live" in February 2023, a number of customers enjoy being dressed down by the rapper. "They'll send me like $600 just to send a voice note like, 'I'd never suck your disgusting little f***ing d**k. Is that even a d**k?'" she said. As weird as the requests may be and as bad as some people may have reacted to her new collaboration, Azalea continues to enjoy her success and she showed it off on a luxury yacht mere days after joining the site.

DJ Khaled and Fat Joe launched a joint account

DJ Khaled and Fat Joe are two of the celebrities who joined OnlyFans without the desire to push for any X-rated content, but to create a community. Their site has a very straightforward message, clarifying exactly what they'll be doing, "Welcome to the LIGHT – the page for fans to get exclusive motivational and inspirational content, where we will be guiding fans to 'the light' while sharing uplifting insights and behind-the-scenes of our personal lives."

On January 19, 2021, DJ Khaled announced on Instagram that he and Fat Joe would be headed to OnlyFans. "We'll be sharing content that's not anywhere else.... it's the light," Fat Joe said in the duo's statement, per My Imperfect Life. "We also wanted to create a community that's full of positivity and hypes each other up! We want to get to know our actual fans."

The majority of their content shows them doing fun activities such as challenging each other to a basketball game, throwing big dinner parties with other famous people, and hanging out inside the studio. The overall goal? Spread that light.

Austin Mahone isn't alone on his page

Austin Mahone announced his OnlyFans through a tweet in 2020. "Who's ready to join my OnlyFans?" he asked his followers. Oh, and he also shared a photo of himself on top of a woman in her underwear. After the launch, Pedestrian compared the singer's OnlyFans page to "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Some critics suspected Mahone was taking advantage of the OnlyFans craze in order to promote new music or his other social media platforms. After Bella Thorne created controversy and earned over a million dollars, and Tyler Posey also joined the site, fans wondered if Mahone was only trying to do the same for himself.

In a statement shared with Pride, Mahone explained exactly why he had decided to take this next step in his journey. "I feel like I've reached an age and a point in my career where I'm ready to mix it up and be more open with my fans, and OnlyFans gives me a platform to do so without any limitations," he said. "I'm excited to show my fans a different side of me than they may be used seeing on my other social media accounts." He insisted it wasn't a publicity stunt, but a way for him to express himself without the limitations other accounts may present.

Trey Songz joined the site on his birthday

There are many different ways in which to celebrate one's birthday, and Trey Songz did so by creating his own OnlyFans page. In November 2020, he announced in an Instagram Story that he'd joined the site.

As good of a business as OnlyFans may seem, there is also drama behind it on a regular basis. Whether people are judged for stealing the spotlight from sex workers or for creating their accounts as a publicity stunt, there will always be comments made about celebrities who join the platform. However, for Trey Songz the drama happened when another OnlyFans model shared photos of him in her bed. Diamond Washington posted a video of a man who looked a lot like Songz under her blankets to Instagram and wrote "Big A** F**king Baby" and "Mad a** lmfao." The singer wasn't happy after seeing the post; Washington then went live on Instagram to clarify that the two of them were only friends.

Songz also suggested people head to his OnlyFans after a sex tape that was said to be his sex tape leaked in 2021.