A black and white picture of actor Ansel Elgort standing naked in the shower, his hand perfectly placed to prevent the shot from violating Instagram's Terms of Service, trended in April. It wasn’t so much the picture that had people talking but the caption: “OnlyFans link in bio.”
Elgort’s link in bio didn’t actually drive to OnlyFans, an adult-oriented subscription site, but to a COVID-19 charity supporting frontline workers. But the site benefited from the bait-and-switch and gained mainstream popularity.
OnlyFans is one of a handful of sites that link celebrities and creators directly with their audience—for a fee. And as brands cut back on spending and affiliate programs like Amazon cut commission rates, content creators are increasingly using subscription sites as part of a new revenue model: direct-to-consumer.
Notorious influencer Caroline Calloway started a real OnlyFans account in April, charging about $50 a month for access to her naked pictures. And Instagram "Twerk Queen" Lexy Panterra posted on Instagram that she makes $10,000 a day dancing fully clothed on OnlyFans, saying in her caption “The gram don’t pay so I...had to leave Bye Bye.”