She Went Fetish for Fun and Pandemic Profit
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because savvy comes in all sizes.
By Eugene S. Robinson
- Romi Chase has built a booming sex business on the subscriber platform OnlyFans without performing with anyone else.
- The Poland native is building a model for other women to follow.
Most of us, even if we’re in the habit of consuming some of the copious amounts of adult content on social media, probably rarely do it from the business end. Which is why you would not be faulted for not knowing that one of the biggest names in the racket right now, from the business end, is Romi Chase.
Which says a lot when you know that the literal and figurative red-light district of the cinematic arts, adult content, drives a multibillion-dollar industry that’s still held in low regard. Chase, a 27-year-old who hails from a suburb of Warsaw, Poland, has heard it all before.
When I came here, I noticed the curvy body type is in style. It wasn’t like that in Poland.
“Women have been objectified for ages,” Chase says from Miami, where she has made her home since 2017. “So I decided that instead of putting up with an endless, pointless fight about it that was not going to change anything anyway, I was going to be smart about it.”
How smart? At present, Chase is in the independently verified top 0.4 percent of the 450,000 creators on OnlyFans — a subscriber-only site that’s part Instagram, all paywalled. It has spilled over into 518,000 or more followers on her main Instagram page and 45,000 on Twitter.
Not bad for an English major with a master’s degree in linguistics, translation and teaching who actually does no hard-core pornography.
Why not? “Personal choice.”
And clearly if she’s answering the dictates of the marketplace, there seems to be no need, with her work in fashion, glamour/boudoir, cosplay, fetish and femdom (female domination) kink. Or, as porn star Cytherea says in a call from Los Angeles: “There isn’t a person in America who someone wouldn’t pay to see someone else stick something up inside themselves.”
“You know, when I came here I noticed the curvy body type is in style,” says the 5-foot-4, 190-pound Chase, who had previously never given any thought to being naked in public. “It wasn’t like that in Poland. The beauty standards are extremely strict there. And if you’re not a 100-pound blonde with no chest and no hips, you practically have zero chance of making it work for yourself … in modeling or porn.”
With the tutelage of Nina Kayy, a friend and retired porn star, Chase came up with a plan that’s almost as amusing as it is subversive in that it capitalizes on what certain types of men — looking at you, Carlos Danger — do for free.
Send her a picture of your penis, or really any penis. For a mere $11, she’ll rate it. Twenty-five dollars for a non-explicit custom pic, $40 for a nude, $50 to pay her phone bill, $55 for her to text you hello in the morning and goodnight at night, and $150 to buy her shoes or an outfit. This is before a tip.
“I don’t just sell content,” Chase says, bristling at the suggestion that it’s just a business. “I am there for my fans. We chat, play video games, share favorite tunes and life stories. It’s safe to say I’ve even become good online friends with some of my top fans. I truly enjoy it.”
A sentiment seconded by industry vet Milah Romanov, whom Chase helped after they met at Fetish Con last August.
“We chat all the time online and sometimes on the phone,” says Romanov, whose first Instagram page was shut down in a nudity purge. But “the reason why a lot of girls fail is they want the end results but don’t put in the effort and research. Romi does. So I regained the fans I’d lost, and I grew five times bigger than I had been. To say that I admire her would be putting it lightly.”
Chase, with parents who passed away 12 years ago and a supportive sister still in Poland, cares little about the social opprobrium that might come from what she does for a living. Because what she does for a living looms larger for her as a thought problem: How do you combine genuine interest in the human condition with something that benefits both the consumer and the producer?
Next up, she says, are “workshops on how you could make money making content here as well.”
You can feel her smile. It’s almost an airtight hustle.
“Look, I’ve never felt more in place than I am right now,” says Chase, who cites Breaking Bad, a series about global-domination-driven meth manufacturers, as her favorite TV show. “It’s my American dream.”