In the first installment of this interview, Aella shared details about her prospective sketch series, the "farty" nature of porn, and her creative process. She followed up with details about the card game she invented, what it's like living in a house of camgirl roommates, and her fancy for tentacle porn:
Jesse Damiani: You live in a house with three other camgirls. Can you share a little bit about what that experience has been like?
Aella: We all met through MyFreeCams. Kate came to visit me first (she lived far away), and then I went to visit her. She lived near two other camgirls, and eventually we all decided to move out to Seattle and move into a house together. I feel like we live in this bubble that shields us from outside reality because we keep our own hours and wake up at 2 p.m. every day and we don't even know what day of the week it is.
Weird stuff happens here all the time. Sometimes we have dance parties. I have these lights that flash and stuff, and they play a lot of rap music. I didn't grow up on a lot of popular music, but they listen to Beyoncé and stuff, so they teach me a lot about that. And they show me movies from their childhood. A lot of the time we just sit around in the living room discussing life and the universe. We are the psychonauts. We do a lot of acid. I did acid on cam once. That was crazy.
JD: Oh, can you tell me about that?
A: Normally there are guests in the room who you mute because they've never paid, but when I was on acid I just let everybody talk, like, "No, it doesn't matter who you are, no, don't give me money, don't tip me." It was a really unproductive cam session but I didn't care, it was so much fun.
A lot of people don't see acid in great light. There was a big drama after we had the documentary come film us, we did this big show with flashing lights and crazy costumes -- and none of us were on any sort of drugs -- but a lot of the camgirls afterward accused us of being on drugs and giving a bad name to camming. That was unpleasant.
JD: On the subject of living situations, you mentioned that you were homeschooled. Does that experience factor into your cam work?
A: Homeschooling leads to a very unique sort of perspective. It's kind of isolationist, depending on how you're homeschooled, which leads to a greater independence of thought because you don't have people there to tell you how to think -- besides your parents, that's a whole different story -- but your parents aren't your peers. When you switch from living with your parents to outside the house, you have a switch in thinking to the way other people think. If you're brought up in school, you never have a switch in thinking; those people are still your peer group. It leads to a lot of individualistic tendencies that I think can lead to some sort of creativity, thinking outside the box...but it also may contribute to the social anxiety thing. My sister was homeschooled and she's the biggest social butterfly, so I don't necessarily attribute that to homeschooling. I highly recommend it as long as you're not a religious fanatic.
JD: Yeah, I've read that you come from a conservative Christian household, and you've talked about your split with Christianity being pretty traumatic. Do you ascribe to any spirituality now?
A: I was very obsessively Christian growing up, until I was 18, when I lost my faith. But I did things like protest in front of abortion clinics; I believed it really, really hard. Breaking from that was crazy because I was like, "Nothing I believe is real, the world is a lie!" So I went through a period of severe atheism for quite some time -- highly regimented, logical thinking, all that stuff -- I'll believe it if the thought experiments can prove it, sort of thing.
I wouldn't really describe myself as Buddhist because it's a broad term and it involves a lot of religious things historically, but, I feel very Zen. I think spirituality is entirely logical, I just think it's a more creative way of thinking about the world.
JD: Do your family and friends know about your camming? How have they reacted to your career?
A: I am completely open about camming to everybody who asks. If I meet a stranger on the street and they ask, I say, "I do porn," which sometimes is awkward. I like being honest; I really hate lying in any circumstance. I told my mom and my sisters, they know. My mom loves me. She's wonderful. She doesn't approve at all, she doesn't like hearing about it, so she just tries not to talk about it. I don't blame her; if you believe that everybody's going to hell and certain things are violations against God, it makes sense that you wouldn't want to talk about it if somebody you love is doing it.
I'm not really in touch with many of my friends from before I started camming because most of them are homeschooled and Christian. So far I haven't had anybody try to condemn me to hell yet, so that's nice! I feel very lucky. There are a lot of camgirls who get disowned by their family, or get chewed out, or have really stressful relationships. I feel really fortunate in that regard, especially given the level of religion I was raised in.
A: I identify as a nonfeminist mainly because I believe that the current, modern, Western idea -- emphasis on those categories -- is damaging to current society. I find that feminists in general -- obviously "feminism" is a broad term, so it's kind of difficult to talk about -- but in general, tend to believe in things like rape culture, which I don't think actually exists, and tend to focus on issues of women rather than men, whereas if it were truly focused on equality it would be for women and men equally. I don't believe that because I wasn't allowed to vote 100 years ago that means that I should have revenge or justification, or any sort of outbalanced idea of fairness now. I think that women try to take the power away from men. It's okay to be empowered, but not at the expense of somebody else, and I think they have very little empathy for the struggles men go through. And also I think bitching about it is not a way to fix it. If you want something to change, you have to change.
JD: So what would you recommend for people who do want to see that change?
A: Work equally for change for men and women. There are so many areas in the legal system even where men get shafted. Look at child support, for example, or circumcision: that's legal! The only things that women really complain about are social issues: these are attitudes people have that we need to change. If women want more women to be in the STEM fields, women should go into the STEM fields more. The reason women aren't in the STEM fields is mostly due to the fact that women just aren't interested. And women like to blame that on society, like, "We're not trained, we don't see women in the STEM fields, it's not encouraged," but, I think that's blaming things on external circumstances and not taking the responsibility into your own hands. It's saying, "The world sucks and I can't do anything," and I don't believe that's ever a justification.
JD: So, you don't believe in rape culture. Seems like a divisive belief; can you elaborate?
A: I think rape culture is a myth because a culture is defined as a predominant attitude, and I don't believe that we have any predominant attitude in our culture saying that rape is okay. We have small cultures here and there, we have small groups of people in isolated instances, but if you go up to somebody and you're like, "I got raped," the reaction isn't going to be, "That's normal," or, "What'd you expect that's the culture?" The overwhelming reaction is going to be sympathy and comfort, like, "How do we catch the bad guy?" And we obviously have some problems with rape; rape is too high. Any rape, one rape is too high, but to call it a "culture" is sensationalist, dramatic, and inaccurate.
JD: All right, backing off the heavy stuff for a minute. What TV shows, books, or movies are you digging right now?
A: Game of Thrones. The books are excellent. I'm a huge fantasy nerd, I have been for most of my life. And the Game of Thrones show is like, the only thing I've ever wanted. I also watched all three of The Lord of the Rings movies, extended version, last week, which was awesome. They were better than I remember. Isaac Asimov is excellent. The Ender's Game series, Shadow of the Hegemon. The Bean series, incredible.
JD: Bean's cooler than Ender, in my opinion.
A: Yeah, I really like Bean! He's my favorite. Even though Orson Scott Card's a little...you know...it's okay, it's all good. I just got a Kindle. I was reading An Eternal Golden Braid by Gödel, Escher, Bach. I don't program computers and I haven't studied computer science, so the whole thing is just blowing my mind. But, yeah, mainly just Sci-fi and Fantasy.
JD: Switching gears. Is there a fetish you're particularly enjoying these days, whether for your work or personally?
A: I didn't use to like spanking, so much, until camming. Spanking is like the camgirl staple. Before I started, and even for quite some time, I didn't think much of it, but I just did it so much that now it's kind of an automatic association. Most of the sexual activities I do camming, while genuine -- I do get sexually aroused and I do have orgasms -- aren't what I'd consider my personal fetishes. I really like tentacle porn, for example, and you can't really, you know, do that camming.
JD: You could have "Octo-attack" next, maybe?
A: Yeah, little stuffed animals like, "Ahh."
Most of the sexual activity is pretty standard because you have to cater to a general population, so you can't do anything too niche. Some girls do, but I don't find that to be that successful. I have been doing a lot of control shows, where people have the ability to turn the vibrator on and off. That's pretty hot. I really like that; I didn't think I would've liked that so much. Giving the control to somebody you can't even see, it's just really interesting.
Also I have "Hodor" mode, where, if they tip me a certain amount, the only word I can say is, "Hodor." So, I've had orgasms screaming "Hodor."
JD: So once it hits "Hodor" mode, is "Hodor" the only word you're saying from then on?
A: They can turn it off. It depends on the will of the room.
JD: How many people are typically in the room in a given session?
A: It varies, particularly depending on CamScore. Lately for me it's been 3-400. If I'm doing something sexual it can get up to about 1000, and if I'm being really boring it's like 200. I also have a camgirl card game! I made a set of custom cards that people can draw on to have things happen, roll for shots, or spanks, stuff like that. It's got goals. You can equip things.
JD: So it's like a fantasy role-playing game -- "fantasy" I guess is a pun there -- via the camshow.
A: Yeah, pretty much.
JD: How'd you come to that idea?
A: "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" That's how that happened. I'm always trying to look for new things to do. I've been doing this for two years now. It gets boring if you do the same things over and over.
JD: Have people recognized you on the street? What's their reaction been?
A: I don't go out in public very much, so if I want to meet people I usually go to a meetup for a group I'm interested in. And the groups I'm interested in are typically pretty nerdy and introverted also, so those groups have a higher chance of having seen me, so, yeah, I have been recognized. I remember I was talking to this one guy at a Reddit meetup, and he was just talking to me and all of a sudden he goes, "...." out of the blue. I was like, "What?" And he said, "Nothing. I just, I just know where I've seen you."
JD: How do you respond when something like that happens?
A: I don't care. I'm pretty fearless when it comes to people. I'm not worried about dying, so I'm just not scared of people. A lot of camgirls are worried about being stalked or murdered. I've heard of no camgirls having that happen to them. Well, stalking, but no murders yet.
JD: I read the post you wrote about OkCupid on your blog. What are your thoughts on dating?
A: I find dating typically is, like, the "men pursue" game; men are expected to do the pursuing, which I think is a lot more difficult. That's why I feel fortunate to be a woman. I try to take the initiative when I can, take the load off the guy's shoulders. I usually don't date anybody unless right off the bat they're okay with what I do, and you know, polyamory. I'm single now and don't have a pressing need to find anybody. I really enjoy being single. There was a period of time where I went through a couple relationships back-to-back because I felt like I had this need for companionship.
I'm not really the dating type. I really like being alone, doing my own thing, and focusing my energies on things other than a man. I do subscribe to Reddit Seduction. I really like studying pick-up techniques, even if I don't use them. I recommend it to a lot of guys, as long as they use it responsibly. A lot of the men who come into my chatroom, for example, have trouble picking up women or being with women, and there are subtle techniques you can use to make yourself more appealing, in mannerisms and stuff, and I wish that were a socially acceptable form of training. I think women look down on men studying seduction because they don't like feeling gamed. I'm not sure that that's fair for people who don't have that talent naturally.
JD: You list "off-schedule" options including Snapchat, Skype, and Steam. Do you develop or sustain working relationships with clients?
A: Sometimes, but not terribly, not really. I do have contactability. Some camgirls do extensively, some camgirls work almost entirely offline, like they'll meet somebody and then just call and text constantly. I don't like to do that because I'm bad at talking with even my regular friends. I do talk to some people offline occasionally -- usually people who are in my room for a long time, or good tippers. There's at least one person who's not in my room anymore, but who's really, really cool, and I talk to him still, exchange emails once in a while. So sometimes it does happen, it's usually rare, though. I have the contact options as a way for somebody to get their messages to me instantly, if they want.
JD: What's the strangest request you've encountered camming?
A: I had one guy want to role play with me that we were in a shower, and that I had a towel, and I kept dropping the towel, which is not too weird, but he wanted me to do a Southern accent, and I can't do a Southern accent. So I just kept dropping the towel, like, "Oh no! I'm so sorry, sir!" It was just everything I could do not to break down laughing. But I don't really get that many strange requests. I got one to do a dinosaur impression while unicycling once, but I think that more comes from the fact that I do weird stuff and not that it was sexual.
JD: Just to clarify, you said a dinosaur impression? While unicycling?
JD: You can unicycle?
Well, I used to. I haven't had a unicycle for quite some time. I moved states and I couldn't bring it with me.
JD: How'd you learn?
I was homeschooled and bored, and I also had a dream. I've based three decisions off of dreams: 1) getting a unicycle, 2) getting this [kalachakra] necklace, and 3) doing acid. But, when I was 17 I woke up and I was like, "I'm going to get a unicycle," and I bought a unicycle and then just learned. It's really hard. It's a lot harder than it looks.
JD: Oh, it looks really hard.
A: It's harder than that.
JD: Wow, okay. I'm impressed. What cammer or actor would you most want to work with right now?
A: Jim Carrey. He's a smartass motherfucker! Have you seen him talk? Holy shit. He's got these lectures, and he knows about the universe, I really want to meet him and just, take his hand and kiss it a little bit.
JD: What's next on the horizon? Dwarves? Elves? Hobbits? I hear dragon dildos are on the rise.
A: Yeah I get dragon dildo jokes a lot. I don't know, I'm really into fantasy, so I guess it follows to have fantasy dildos. Sometimes I put my dildo on my gnome and give my gnome a blowjob, so, you know.
I actually want to quit camming and shave my head. I really want to shave my head because it's a vanity thing, and I'm ready to be done with that. Maybe it's just a backlash to having everything based on the way I look. I can't really shave my head until I quit camming because, you know, this is dead-skin money right here [lifts hair]. So I really want to make some sort of sustainable income until I can do that. And I just have to stop being a lazyass and sleeping til 3 everyday and reddit-ing. That's my primary issue right now.
JD: Do you have an action plan for the new job or jobs you'd be segueing to?
A: I want to do what I want to do and have the doors open, which kind of has been the way that it's worked now, like, I've had job offers, I have people paying attention to what I write and make because I'm a camgirl. So I feel like anything I make has a jumpstart. I'd like to start writing and making more videos about the universe and self-help kind of things and zen philosophy. That'd be ideal. I'm not sure how that'd make money, but it might open doors. My ultimate dream is to give a TED talk. I would like to give a TED talk about camming, ideally, so I want to start writing a lot about that and speaking. Gotta practice speaking more. That might be something a little ways down the road, but if I start doing things, doors will open. People are interested, I think.
JD: Why is it important for comedy and not-taking-yourself-too-seriously to be incorporated into your work and your lifestyle as an ethos?
A: It makes people a little more aware of reality. There are so many things people say you can't joke about, like, "There are things that are too serious for me to joke about," like personal tragedies. There are some things people say are off-limits, like the Holocaust, for example. I have made Holocaust jokes while masturbating. I think that to say that there is something that is off-limits in pain detracts from the ability to heal. It's putting pain on a pedestal. The same kind of principle goes toward thinking of yourself seriously, having a pride. If there's something about yourself you can't joke about, then it's something that's on a pedestal in an unhealthy way, it's above humor and being made fun of. There's nothing about anything in life, ourselves or otherwise, that is really deserving of any sort of pedestal. Porn, for example, is one. It's a very vulnerable part of ourselves, to be naked in front of other people, and to have sex, that's a very emotional thing for most people, and very scary; it has a lot of ability to be damaged socially, you can be made fun of for having sex with somebody (or this slut-shaming idea). It's okay if you feel bad about it or you get made fun of, it's okay to be vulnerable and let yourself be hurt about it; you have the power to just laugh about it. You can be like, "This is no big deal." The only person that allows you to be hurt about something is yourself. So if you laugh, then you have power over it.
JD: Any subjects or issues we didn't touch on that you'd like to see get more attention?
A: Well, I didn't talk about libertarianism that much. I like libertarianism because it's a self-power thing. All the answers to resolving the issues in the world have to come from the individual, because the world is just made of up a bunch of individuals. So if we place an emphasis on the whole that is different from the emphasis we put on the individual, the whole will not change. Libertarianism states more strongly than any other viewpoint that the power resides in the person, and not in the whole, and that you are entirely responsible for yourself, which is a really empowering philosophy. People seem to be really terrified about suffering, and I don't think suffering is really that bad. Pain? People are like, "You can't have that! You can't go hungry, you can't struggle for your life, you can't be in poverty." We have this idea that nobody should go through that, but everybody does in their own way, and it's not a bad thing. You just have to learn from it, that's the whole point. I don't see that as a downside to libertarianism, the idea that you're going to suffer, because that's where the biggest beauty comes from.