Aurora slipped on a short red dress over her strappy lingerie before joining 30 men on a Zoom call.
“Happy birthday, Jett,” she said to the virtual crowd, raising a shot of gin. “I’m your sexy surprise.”
The brunette started stroking her butt, hips and thighs to the beat of the song “Conceited” by Remy Ma as the guys cheered her moves. By the end of the 15-minute dance, she was naked save for a thong.
“It’s like a strip-o-gram, but on video,” said Aurora, who uses a stage name while working as an erotic performer. “It pays the bills.”
The Brooklynite, a seasoned dancer, pocketed $150 that Saturday in April — her first venture into the world of virtual stripping.
Ever since strip clubs were deemed nonessential in March, dozens of New York City’s erotic performers have had to pivot from the pole to the personal computer to make ends meet. They’re scrambling to book video appointments with clients — often through Web sites set up by local strip clubs or via “cam-girl” subscription platforms like OnlyFans and IsMyGirl.
And while the city is finally beginning to reopen, strip clubs won’t be switching on the neon lights anytime soon. They’re grouped in Phase Four of Gov. Cuomo’s reopening plan.
Evan Seinfeld, the CEO of IsMyGirl — a service on which performers sell photos or videos to followers — said that he has seen a 150 percent increase in people signing up to perform since the lockdown.
Seinfeld said new sign-ups include exotic dancers, “fitness models, restaurant workers and influencers” — in other words, people whose regular livelihoods are in jeopardy due to the shutdown.
But new performers have to work extra hard to stand out in the sea of experienced cam girls.
“You have to curate an experience that customers want to pay for,” said Gabriella, who asked that her last name be withheld. “I’m showing a lot more [skin] online than I would at the club.”
The performers have also had to master the art of connecting emotionally with clients. “People want a girlfriend experience,” said Gabriella. “I role play, like I can’t wait for him to get home.”
Aurora even found herself comforting a doctor via video chat.
“He was so caught up in [work stress], the first half-hour he just wanted someone to talk to,” she said of the $200 digital “date.”
Despite all the extra work, there are some upsides. “I’m making new regulars,” said Aurora, “all from the comfort of my own home.”
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