Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to step into webcam work?
Ami Mercury: My name is Ami Mercury, and I have been doing webcam work for about 3 years. When I started webcamming, I had just moved in with my boyfriend, Mike who owns Dr. Clockwork and later MyFetishlive. I had agreed to help him run his business, but I still needed to provide some outside income. Since his business involved a considerable amount of travel I wanted to find a job that would give me the flexibility to work whenever and wherever I wanted, while still providing financial stability. One of my best friends had already been camming for several years and seemed to really enjoy it, so I decided to give it a try. Since then I’ve cammed on a number of sites (MyFreeCams, Chaturbate, KinkLive, ImLive) before I made MyFetishLive my webcam home.
What was your knowledge of camming before this?
Ami Mercury: Very, very little, actually. I knew my best friend had been doing it for years and was successful at it. But before she told me she was a webcam model I had no idea such things even existed.
What do you normally do when you are on webcam? How do you feel when you are working?
Ami Mercury: I do mostly fetish and BDSM themed shows. I cater to a variety of kinks and preferences. I like to play games that make it easy and fun for viewers to interact with me. One of my favorites is called Pot-of-Gold. I keep a bucket full of ping pong balls, with a prize that is written in Sharpie on each one, things like flash my boobs, give myself 3 spanks or wear a ball gag for 2 minutes, etc. The viewer can tip $5 for me to randomly draw a ball from the bucket, and then I just perform whatever is on it.
When I’m working I try to keep my demeanor positive and upbeat. Although sometimes there are circumstances that can’t be helped (technical difficulties, for example) the energy of a room is based primarily on what the model projects. If a model seems to be excited about what she is doing, a viewer will feel welcome, and more likely to tip. Viewers watch cam models for recreation, so I try to keep myself smiling and happy so that they feel like they are walking into a party every night they come into my room.
How does camming differentiate from porn for you?
Ami Mercury: Although the end result of camming and porn are very similar (viewer achieves sexual gratification) I think they go about it in a very different way. Porn is a more observational and withdrawn experience. The viewer observes another person or person(s) engaging in sexual activities and uses it to achieve gratification. Meanwhile, camming is a more interactive experience. I’ve jokingly referred to it as “Choose Your Own Adventure Porn.” The viewer gets to talk to the model one-on-one, and through tips or private chat dictate (to a certain degree) the specifics of her performance.
I think that the audience for webcams is slightly different than for porn, or more specifically the goals of that particular audience are different. The nature of webcamming allows many viewers to establish an intimate connection with their favorite models, something that is more difficult to achieve in porn. While at the end of the day, it is still a business transaction, many webcam models provide a personal, and non-judgmental, outlet for their viewers to discuss not just their kinks and desires, but also details of their day, important events in their lives, and whatever else they’d like to talk about.
What is your ultimate fantasy?
Ami Mercury: Well… Even though I tend to market myself as a switch, in my personal life I typically prefer being a submissive or a bottom. So I guess most of my fantasies revolve around being controlled or Dominated in some way. But I’m also a really big sci-fi and fantasy geek/nerd, so many of my fantasies involve my favorite fictional characters. Most of them are big, burly monster-like guys: The Beast, from Beauty and the Beast; any of the orcs from World of Warcraft, Winston the Gorilla, from Overwatch; Marv from Sin City, Hellboy… I guess because these characters come off as being very masculine and Dominant, while still being gentle and sensitive. Guys that want to protect a girl, but still fuck the daylights out of her later. So I guess in my ultimate fantasy I’d be Dominated (tied up, spanked etc.) by any one of my fictional crushes, followed by getting fucked in every one of my holes.
Would you ever consider doing porn?
Ami Mercury: I have actually done, and currently do porn. Mostly independent/amateur content for my clips stores, but I have worked for a few larger studios like Desperate Pleasures and Wasteland.
What is the difference between you, a webcam model and a porn star?
Ami Mercury: I feel like the differences could all fall into a venn diagram. Most webcam models are completely independent and are not represented by an agency. But some porn stars are independent, as well. There are some porn stars who do webcamming, and some webcam models do porn.
At the core of it, we’re just catering to different styles of intimacy and sexual gratification. I said in a previous answer, a webcam model is focused on establishing a personal connection with the viewer, while a porn star is focused on creating a scene that is stimulating for the viewer to watch later. A porn star is usually able to call “CUT” if she needs to stop, or do something differently etc. Meanwhile, a webcam model is doing everything live, so if there are mistakes or mishaps she just has to live with them and try to keep the show going.
What makes a successful cam model?
Ami Mercury: I don’t think there’s any specific set of factors that make a webcam model successful –some things work better for some people than for others. There’s really no telling how an audience is going to react to you. However, brand building does seem to be important. How you project yourself helps determines what kind of viewers you get, and will make it easier to put on shows that they enjoy.
Flexibility is also important. You don’t want to be seen as a one-trick pony, nor do you want to alienate potential clients, who may appreciate something a little different, and to whom you could possibly establish a good relationship with. Also, as tastes and trends change, you need to be able to adapt to them to keep your show, and your brand, engaging.
I think having multiple revenue streams is essential for a webcam model. I strongly suggest all cam models do their own fetish and/or porn clips. Not only do they provide another way for your fans to spend money on you, whether you are on or offline, they are also a good way to further establish your brand. I’ve had a number of clients come to my cam show, because they enjoyed my clips and wanted to interact with me, personally.
What are the positives from the work and what would you recommend to anyone wanting to get into it?
Ami Mercury: Definitely the flexibility of schedule. You get to set your own hours –you sleep when you want, eat when you want, take breaks when you want… Getting to be your own boss has a number of perks: no dress codes, no bosses breathing down your neck, and no HR r using the economy as an excuse for not giving you a raise. But also you get to do things you enjoy and make a living out of it. A lot of the fetishes I perform are things that I like, even in my personal life. Webcamming allows me to explore all of my kinks, and be appreciated for them by people all over the world.
Of course, it’s not always easy. It is a very hard job and requires a lot of dedication, time and emotional energy. I think that would be the first thing I’d say to someone wanting to get into it. But I would also tell them how rewarding it is.
I would recommend they start by doing something they liked: whether it’s Femdom, spanking, girl-next-door, MILF, or whatever they enjoy and identify with, and base their shows and image around that. I’d tell them to spend time getting really good at that one thing, and then branch out from there. I’d tell them to get a completely separate email address for their webcam work and use it ONLY for webcam or adult work, and nothing else in their personal life. For the sake of their own privacy, this is a good policy to have. I’d tell them to invest in a good webcam and some photography lighting. You want your feed to be clear, well-lit and eye-catching. I’d also recommend that they do their camming someplace other than their bed. This may seem strange, as many cam models appear to be broadcasting from their beds, but those are usually studios or spare rooms in their house that they have set up to resemble a bedroom. If a studio isn’t possible, however, dedicating one corner of your bedroom will do. The reason I say this is because sometimes at the end of a tough day on cam (and you will have tough days, sometimes) you will want to leave the events of your show behind you. Kind of like shrugging off your work uniform at the end of a shift. Having a dedicated cam space helps to separate your work from your personal life.
Is there anything else about camming that you’d like to say?
Ami Mercury: I think it’s a great way for people to make a living independently. In an age where porn gets posted everywhere for free, a live show is something that is a little more difficult to copy and distribute. Even if you watch a recording of it, it’s just not the same experience. I think that porn also provides an avenue for women of all body types to work in the adult industry. There are plenty of very successful models ranging from petite-to-plus size-to-muscular. Some look like cheerleaders, some look like the girl-next-door, some are geeky, some are goth. You’ve got models ranging from the age of 18 all the way into their 70’s. Webcamming demonstrates that there is an audience for everything, and we as models have the opportunity to be appreciated for what we are, rather than rejected for what we’re not.