I’ve just realized that, yeah, like, probably it’s my best friend right now

I’ve just realized that, yeah, like, probably it’s my best friend right now

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H arli Lotts (not her real name) knows her audience better than just about anyone I’ve ever met in online media. In just two years, the bubbly blonde from El Paso, Texas, has gone from manager of a rent-to-own store to rising internet starlet by making personal connections with a loyal online audience. She arrived at our interview on a sweltering Friday morning in a hotel suite on the Las Vegas strip with a small entourage of two other budding social media influencers, Amber Vixx and Stefanie Joy (also not their names).

After our interview, she and her friends will probably hit the pool at a local apartment complex and do what millennials do: eat pizza and play out their lives in front of tiny, portable cameras. During our wide-ranging conversation she’ll talk confidently about the business of live streaming video, the ephemeral nature of online fame, Rashida Jones’ controversial Netflix documentary Hot Girls Wanted and the markup on consumer eyewear.

Lotts’ computer isn’t just her best friend — it’s her main revenue generator and her connection, not only to her fans but also to the outside world. Lotts is a social media star in the truest sense of the word. She is one of a growing number of independent, live streaming video personalities who can make thousands of dollars in just a few hours broadcasting mostly unremarkable acts for a captive internet audience. She just happens to do some of it naked.

Lotts is a cam girl, part of a booming at-home workforce made up of young women — and a few men — who are upending the adult entertainment industry and social media at the same time. Like Instagram influencers or YouTube makers, today’s webcam models need little more than a strong WiFi connection and an internet-connected camera to make a living. Read More