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This Erotic Artist Rose To The Top 2.5% On OnlyFans While Saving Nearly Five Figures

Sage The Flame is living her "hoe truths freely" and dispelling negative connotations against sex workers.

Money Talks

Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they get it.

In this installment of Money Talks, xoNecole chats with Kayla Robinson - who also goes by the name of Sage The Flame - a 21-year-old full time adult content creator and erotic artist who is on track to saving five figures this year and breaking the negative stigmas against sex work and sexuality. Amid the pandemic, Kayla pivoted by taking her OnlyFans side hustle to full-time status following strip clubs closing. The adult content-friendly website has allowed her to take her financial destiny in her own hands and monetize her work as an erotic content creator.

"I've always been comfortable with nudity and interested in sexual expression so I had been selling my own nude content since I was 18 and decided to sign up on the platform after consulting with another sex worker and realizing it could optimize my ability to monetize my content in a more organized way," she explained.

Here's what the Baltimore-bred badass had to say about her life as a top erotic artist on OnlyFans, gifting her mother with nearly $40,000 cash, and what we should do to learn more about the sex industry.

On OnlyFans:

"OnlyFans is a platform where you can monetize any type of content (similar to Patreon) but it's adult content friendly.

"People pay a monthly subscription fee and they can also pay to see additional content that is sent via DMs. OnlyFans takes 20% of all revenue including tips, which can be sent from any subscriber at any given time for any reason."

On multiple streams of income:

"At the moment, online adult content is my primary focus. Once I feel like I've really solidified that foundation, I'll be branching out. Stay tuned to see what's next."

On financial stability:

"Since I started in April 2019, it has always been a nice financial safety net to have. Now that I'm realizing how enjoyable the whole process is, I'm working on making it my main stream of income. It's currently allowing me to increase my financial stability by granting me the time to learn more about financial organization/literacy and also plant seeds for other streams of income to grow.

"For example, I can record enough content to last me 30 days. While that content is earning residual income within those 30 days, I can then start researching and upgrading my photography and videography skills and increase my knowledge and personal assets."

On being a spender or a saver:

"I'm on track to saving five figures this year, [so] I would say I'm a saver. I just thoroughly enjoy seeing money grow. What has helped me keep my savings plan on track is having an Excel spreadsheet with savings milestones. I list out everything I want to save for (short-term and long-term) and I'll include something fun and rewarding at the end of each milestone so that I greatly reduce the urge to get sidetracked and splurge. For example, once I reach the current milestone I'm working towards, I get to treat myself to new tattoos."

Courtesy of Kayla Robinson

"I just thoroughly enjoy seeing money grow. What has helped me keep my savings plan on track is having an Excel spreadsheet with savings milestones. I list out everything I want to save for (short-term and long-term) and I'll include something fun and rewarding at the end of each milestone so that I greatly reduce the urge to get sidetracked and splurge."

On the worst money-related decision she’s ever made:

"Ignoring my own intuition and over-valuing the opinions of others when it came to the vision of my business and execution of my ideas because I assumed that since I'm so young I probably don't know any better. Always trust your gut."

On overcoming financial lows:

"Right before I started stripping, my finances were actually a big stressor on me. My paycheck was very inconsistent. There was a period of time where I wasn't able to pay myself, outside of my OnlyFans side hustle, for nearly three weeks.

"For a period of time, I just tried to push through and really tried to make things improve. Then, I really analyzed the situation, did my best to release all the worst case scenarios that were floating around in my head, and ultimately realized I needed to make a big shift if I wanted my situation to change. I proceeded to consult a well-known stripper in Miami, weighed all my options, and eventually decided to buy my first pair of pleasers and execute."

On budget must-haves:

"Honestly I'm not a budget guru, I have a pretty simple Excel spreadsheet where I make sure to list everything (monthly and irregular expenses) and that works pretty well for me. But whatever you do, the absolute most important step is actually sticking to your plan as best as you possibly can!"

On her biggest splurge:

"So far in life, my biggest splurge has been gifting my beautiful mother $35,000 cash. My original plan was to buy her a baby Tesla but I figured she would appreciate having the agency over how to spend the money more so than a car and luckily, she allocated it wisely."

On unhealthy money mindsets and habits she had to let go of in order to prosper:

"Mapping out my goals is what really allowed me to finally start saving. Without having anything solid to work towards, I kept spending my money as quickly as I was making it. Also, I definitely had to unlearn the ideas that money was hard to get [or that] I was incapable of achieving financial abundance. And I had to learn that it's OK to reach out for help or advice whenever I need it. I would come up with ideas and execute things that would put me in positions of abundance. Circumstances started to align for the better."

Courtesy of Kayla Robinson

"I definitely had to unlearn the ideas that money was hard to get [or that] I was incapable of achieving financial abundance."

On promoting body positivity and increasing confidence:

"People who are paying for your content are usually always going to have a positive interest in you and will most likely positively affirm you if your content is good. OnlyFans has been helpful for me in that it affirms my work and my efforts. It makes it easier for me to express myself to paying supporters and it gives me an outlet and a safe space to document my sexual journey and showcase my erotic art which I really love. I don't think that OnlyFans is inherently helpful or harmful when it comes to confidence and body positivity though. It all depends on the person who is using it and how they are using it. When it comes to confidence, you could compare it to the strip club. On one hand, it can definitely make you feel sexy, powerful, and confident, while on the other hand you could get into the mental loop of comparing yourself to other girls and thinking about what you could be lacking and what you need to 'fix' about your appearance or you could end up relying too heavily on external validation.

"When it comes to body positivity, I think it has carved out a lane and created easier access to success and monetization for women of all body types and appearances. The success that these women are having as independent OnlyFans creators seems to be a manifestation of [sex worker inclusive] feminists and the body positive movement that was started by fat black women and their efforts to boost the conversation surrounding fatphobia. I am a conventionally attractive, light skinned, able bodied woman whose body type is already pretty well-affirmed through the lens of society so I don't think OnlyFans has done anything to change body positivity for people who look like me, although it seems to be boosting the conversation about sex work for the entire community as a whole which I'm happy to see."

On living her "hoe truths freely", as mentioned on Instagram:

"It's truly fantastic and freeing. Ever since becoming sexually active I've always had an interest and curiosity in sexuality but for a long time I kind of convinced myself that this was a background interest due to internalized whorepobia and fear of how I might be perceived if I intentionally pursued and expressed my interests out loud. I've allowed that interest and outward expression to organically grow over the years but ever since spending time reflecting in quarantine I've come to the realization that I am truly fascinated with sex. I am fascinated with the history of sex, the alchemy of sexual energy, the science of sex, sexual education, sexual pleasure, the expression of sexual energy, erotic art, etc. It's actually more of a foreground interest of mine and I'm happy to be able to align with my truths and grow from there."

For more of Kayla, follow her on Instagram.

Courtesy of Kayla Robinson

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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