At just 20 years old, Kandie Monaee earns good money, works a few days a week from home and even gets gifts mailed to her by adoring clients.
She is a success in a Florida industry that is consistently on the cutting edge of technology, generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year and aspires to move into the mainstream. Her on-line sessions run up to six hours, mixing small talk and teasing with sex acts.
"I'm a cool loser not a lame loser but there's nothing wrong with a lame loser." Belanger, of Plantation, has pleaded not guilty. But in the early years, the adult entertainment industry was dominated by large production companies like Vivid Entertainment and Wicked Pictures that signed up stars, shot their films and promoted them at industry events and strip clubs.
But the same economic downtown that shrank the 401Ks of America's office workers a decade ago also gutted large porn production companies.
It's not a category that shows up in labor statistics, and streaming companies don't make their stats public, although at any given time on numerous internet sites, hundreds of models appear live. Last week, two cam sites ranked among the top 50 most visited in the United States: Live Jasmin at No.
40, ahead of sites such as Zillow, Apple and Bank of America, and Chaturbate at No. That's according to the Amazon-owned website Alexa, which tracks web traffic.
At one point, I was in shape sexy and but I'm a little overweight and sexy," he wrote in one email to her, cited in an arrest warrant.
She and hundreds of other cam models will be in South Beach this week as the fifth annual Cam Con, and rival XBIZ Miami, both kick off Tuesday in South Beach with an array of industry-only pool parties and soirees.
You're not likely to hear a Florida politician boast about these jobs or a Chamber of Commerce rep tout the web cam industry as one of the state's tech successes.
In the aftermath, many performers had no choice except to go independent and into web cam work, said Stephen Yagielowicz, of the adult-industry trade magazine XBiz.
"Performers had to learn to rely on themselves, " Yagielowicz said. Camming was the perfect vehicle." And with that came the rise of websites such as You Porn and Pornhub, which generally earn money from advertising while letting people watch X-rated video clips for free.