X-rated job behind influencer’s tears
Australian "influencer" Mikaela Testa hit the headlines this week after her tearful plea about Instagram's recent changes went viral.
The 19-year-old from Melbourne was brutally slammed for ranting about the social media platform's decision to hide likes, with people telling her to "get a real job".
Now Testa has told news.com.au about the lucrative reason for her concern, revealing she makes $12,895 a month selling pornographic images - and Instagram is her main form of advertising.
"I run my own business, it's a subscription website where I share provocative and raunchy photos and it makes me easy money," she said.
"Instagram is what I use for advertising, I've only been doing it for five months, I'm very new to the job, but I've made $US45,000 ($A64,471) since I started."
It's because of this, she says, that she had her outburst online, stating she was "genuinely upset" about the possible damage Instagram's change would have on her income.
"When I posted the video online, I was very emotional," she said. "There were lots of reasons why (I was upset), yes about the likes - but also about all of the hate comments I was receiving about my initial post.
"It really got to me. I was thinking about the future, all the small businesses like the nail and lash places I know, (it was) really getting to me - all the hate comments."
Instagram announced last week it would hide likes on videos and viewings of videos on Australian user feeds and profiles as part of an trial. Days later, Testa took to Facebook to defend the "influencers" who were being mocked and told the way they earn their living was a "joke".
When that post copped some serious heat, she responded on Instagram with a tear-filled video pleading her case.
"Regardless of what you may think Instagram is a REAL job and those in the industry have worked hard to get where they're at. It's people that aren't even in the industry that think it's a f***ing joke. It's not, it's real damage out here," she said.
"I've put my blood, sweat and tears into this for it to be ripped away, it's not just me suffering too, it's every brand and business I know."
Unlike other "influencers" Testa doesn't make her cash from brand endorsements and ambassador roles - instead using her Instagram page and it's 50,000-strong following to funnel traffic to her Onlyfans paid subscription.
There, customers shell out cash to see her in a variety of different X-rated poses, from topless shots, to full nudes and even videos showing her using "toys".
Despite her huge profits, the former barmaid said there were costs involved with producing "top quality" content for her subscribers, who pay $US20 (A$28.65) a month to access her racy porn snaps and videos.
"Technically the nature of my photos are pornographic, but they are just photos. I don't physically sell my body," she said.
Testa said she fills her days with making videos and taking photos for her platform.
"I have to do a lot of things like marketing, finding ways to get my page out and promotions. It's not the hardest job in the world, I've never said it is, it's pretty easy actually. But it is a job.
"Those people making the comments, they just think working hard means being in the hot sun. But I work hard every day, just because it's not physical labour, doesn't mean it's not hard work. You work to get money. And I work hard."
Testa told news.com.au she was rocked by the backlash and locked herself away for two days but had emerged stronger.
"I was upset about how it might affect me, but it hasn't because I've been on the news, I'm actually growing my business at the moment. I've grown so much in last 24 hours, have gained 6000 new followers," she said.
"People don't understand or know the full story. My friends and family have been quite supportive, they know I support myself, they know it is a real job they don't think it's just a hobby."