People looking to the national polls for insight about the November presidential election may not think to check an adult cam website, but recent shows from cam girl Maggie Nickels are changing that.
Nickels first started doing cam work on online forums several years ago, as a college student, and made it her full-time profession last October. Her work is what you would expect from a cam show: masturbating, talking to viewers, and playing with toys. But in January, she began experimenting with shows inspired by the 2016 presidential race, dressing as different candidates and having users pay for various election-themed antics.
“A lot of people tell me it’s the craziest thing they’ve seen camming,” she said. “Some of the shows have a tangential sex aspect to them, but sex is not the primary driver keeping the show going and generating income.”
For the right price, you can watch Nickels as a cam girl Hillary Clinton sensually wiping down a computer and saying, “Wipe my hard drive”—a reference to the candidate’s controversial private email server. She has donned the wispy hair and orange skin of Donald Trump, threatening to “build a firewall” around the website to keep out people who don’t pay. She recently collaborated with friend and fellow cam girl Harper the Fox to stage a debate between Clinton and Trump.
Her election shows aren’t her first themed performances (she’s dressed as everyone’s favorite "happy trees" painter, Bob Ross, in the past) but they are by far her most lucrative. Nickels makes around $500 per hour during these shows––much more than her usual performances––and sees a four-fold increase in viewership when she wears candidate costumes.
“I didn't expect it to be popular, let alone profitable, but I think people get surprisingly into it and pay a lot of money, not for one specific thing but in support of the art itself,” she said. “I get people who come to masturbate and get sidetracked by the political shows instead.”
Nickels hosts all of her cam shows on myfreecams.com, a site where users can watch cams for free by making an account and can access various perks by paying for a subscription. She said her viewers are all over the board in terms of political views: When she dresses as Trump, the feedback she gets is split down the middle in terms of support, and far less vitriolic than she expected it to be. From the beginning, viewers have been asked her to do a Bernie Sanders show, and she finally gave in this week. She said doesn’t do a Cruz impression because he’s “too one-dimensional” to satirize.
Viewer responses are pretty varied no matter the candidate, with one exception: when she dresses as Hillary Clinton she receives particularly intense backlash.
“I think maybe she just doesn’t appeal to the site demographic,” she said. “Either they don’t agree with her politically or they’re very turned off by Hillary Clinton sexualized.”
With the election heating up, Nickels has several more political cam shows planned for the month of April. Users often ask her about who she is voting for, but she insists that that isn’t what this is about.
“I don’t like to include my opinion, often I just read literal transcripts from the candidates speeches to avoid editorializing,” she said. “I try to stick to what they say and present their actual political arguments while catering to the audience.”
Nickels doesn’t have an opinion on who will win the upcoming New York primary, the Republican or Democratic candidacies, or even the election in November. She’s too busy getting rich.