Not Your Average Check: Student transforms risque passion into lucrative business

Tiana Woodard

Editor's note: Not Your Average Check is part of a weekly column highlighting unorthodox ways students make money. The source in this feature requested to be identified under the name “Sinnie” for privacy.

Right before sunset, you’re likely to find Sinnie clad in lacy lingerie, adjusting her tripod in search of the perfect camera angle. For her, tasks such as these are of the utmost importance, as they mean keeping her business up and running.

Since January, biology student Sinnie has sold her own risque photo sets and videos through private accounts on Twitter and Tumblr. Before putting her adult content for sale, Sinnie only used her art as a creative outlet. The model explained that constant pressure from close friends transformed the hobby into a lucrative trade.

“For a while, my friends were like, ‘If you’re going to do all this, why not turn it into a commodity?’” Sinnie said. “I wasn’t exactly too on board, but they convinced it me that it’s sort of a waste to be giving that sort of thing for free.”

Sinnie generally charges anywhere from $13 to over $20 for content. She said most of her art is pre-made, created through a five-step process of lingerie purchasing, theme development, prop design, actual photo-taking and then editing, before landing in clients’ direct messages.

“I still give myself a lot of credit for putting work and effort into my photos and not making it just a mirror selfie with mediocre lighting,” Sinnie said. “If I can make money for it, that’s nice, too.”

Sinnie’s business comes with challenges. Potential buyers oftentimes see her job as an invitation for sexual harassment, making her question her choices.

“(Sometimes, I feel) I’m not really getting enough money for the suffering or taking the harassment,” Sinnie said. “I have to take breaks because it’s too much for me to handle.”

Customer harassment and risque art’s cultural taboos have forced Sinnie to conduct business less often. Although her business’s future remains uncertain, Sinnie promised that her trade’s challenges won’t ever stop her creative pursuits.

“I really just make (risque art) for the creative aspects of it — the same way art students may mold a sculpture,” Sinnie said. “I feel bad that (some people) can’t expand their creative minds to look at something like that as art and not as something objectifying and wrong.”