Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or maybe your weighted blanket, you know that there’s a pandemic happening. And this pandemic is forcing companies all around the nation to make pay cuts and/or lay off their employees, myself unfortunately included.
With the due date for my rent quickly approaching, I naturally began to brainstorm different ways to make good money, and make it fast. And then I remembered an Instagram DM I received a few weeks ago from a kind man who bluntly offered to be my sugar daddy (though he spelt it “sugga daddii”). For those who don’t know, a sugar daddy is a “rich older man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favors,” according to Lexico.com.
I’m not above admitting that in the midst of all of this, I thought about taking him up on it. Maybe negotiate a deal where I get paid for a virtual date, and he’ll order takeout to be delivered to me—specifically, an overpriced vegan milkshake from By Chloe—and I’ll laugh at my own jokes while he sits there and offers to continue ordering me food for the rest of this quarantine. But then I snapped back to reality and realized I wasn’t starring in my own socially distant rom-com, and responding to one Instagram DM on a whim and just being my ~charming~ self would probably not magically get my rent paid. As a 28-year-old stripper to whom I spoke for this article put it, it’s not as easy as it may seem to make money as a sugar baby, or any other type of sex worker: “You have to be personable, witty, charming, intuitive, good at negotiating, assertive without being too emasculating (unless they want you to dom, obv), sexy, sensual, able to make a quick impression, willing to be sexual in front of people/a screen.” At most other jobs, you just have to show up and be awake.
And just like other industries, sex work is being affected by the pandemic. “In-person sex workers (strippers, sugar babies, full service workers, street workers) have lost their jobs as they know it, unless they want to expose themselves to COVID-19, which isn’t even an option for sex workers whose place of employment has closed down,” such as strip clubs, she explains. “Plus, some of our clients have lost work too and are unable to spend. So, even if we do want to move our work online, our clients might not be as able to buy our services.”
So why not just acquire new clients online? Because, according to the stripper, moving your work online to platforms like OnlyFans—a social media service that gives subscribers exclusive porn content—is, again, not easy. “Building a following online is extremely difficult and takes time and an understanding of the online world,” she explains. I mean, makes sense considering it takes time and effort to build a following on any other online platform. Nobody’s even asking for my nudes for free now, what makes me think I could just set up an OnlyFans and immediately start raking it in? “It’s tedious, time-consuming work that often doesn’t pay off for a while.”
Despite these strains, I had to think that there are still many people out there attempting to find a sugar daddy given the sudden need to make fast money. So, I decided to test my hypothesis out: is the sugar daddy business booming right now thanks to COVID-19? Are women cashing out on the chance to virtually date? Or are people reluctant to spend money, rich older men included?
I interviewed three sugar babies to see how their business has been affected, if at all, by the virus. Here’s what I found.
Sugar Baby #1
Sugar baby #1, a 25-year-old model in NYC who has no upcoming work right now, is in a pretty unique situation. Her sugar daddy is around her age and they’ve been friends for a while. He initiated the arrangement, asking her to send him selfies (just of her face) and text with him in exchange for money. Pretty jealous of this considering I take selfies of my face for free.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, her sugar daddy has asked her to visit and kiss him (weirdly PG, I know) for $1,000—clearly not abiding by social distancing rules. But that’s another story (or two, or three). He’ll usually only pay her $300-$400 at a time, so this was a sharp change, to say the least. (Catch me in a few more weeks of quarantine and I might be willing to drop a grand for human touch, too.) She says she has yet to follow through with the $1,000 kiss, but she also received a random deposit of $400 from him, which she described as a “security deposit so that I don’t leave him even though I moved home and so much has changed.”
Sugar Baby #2
The next sugar baby is a clinical research coordinator in Massachusetts. She met her sugar daddy on Seeking Arrangement, a website that “delivers a new way for relationships to form and grow” by connecting sugar babies to sugar daddies. She is 33 years old, while her sugar daddy is 42. She hooks up and attends bougie events with him in exchange for expensive gifts.
Sugar baby #2 decided to move out of her apartment complex into a home largely due to the coronavirus—she said it felt more safe to be by herself versus in a building with many other people. She expressed feeling anxious about moving and now being quarantined; as a response, her sugar daddy offered to pay her rent for the month (something he’s never done before). She also recently switched jobs (her previous job was changing rapidly because of COVID-19 and she wanted out), which means she’s no longer commuting into Boston, where her sugar daddy lives. Now that the convenience factor is gone, she knows she’ll have to end the relationship soon.
Sugar Baby #3
Sugar Baby #3 is 27 years old, lives in Boston and works in an admin role at a hospital, but will be starting nursing school in May. She also met her sugar daddy, who is 35, on Seeking Arrangement. They have the most “traditional” SD/SB relationship out of the bunch, where he pays her $800 or more for a date and a hookup with her.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, they mutually stopped talking to each other. Her sugar daddy has a wife, which as we can all imagine during a quarantine might make communication with his sugar baby tough.
While the digital sugar daddy space isn’t popping off as much as I’d expected, or in the ways I’d expected, the pandemic is still affecting the way sugar daddies and babies conduct business. Whether it’s upping the price one would be willing to pay for human contact, having your rent paid for you for the first time, or not being able to see your sugar daddy because he’s quarantined with his (poor, poor) wife, one thing has been made clear: this virus is changing how the world operates, sugar daddies, sugar babies, and general sex workers included.
Images: antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com
As a newbie to the reunion episode game, the past two weeks of Vanderpump Rules have been thrilling for me. Andy Cohen is out here asking questions that therapists usually wait six months to get into, and the cast, as usual, is holding very little back. This past week, for example, we finally heard Lala open up a bit about her “man.” Specifically, she listed the many, many things he buys her, a list I then aggressively relayed to my less-than-thrilled boyfriend. I know, I’m almost as petty as Scheana. (She also mentioned that her man watches VPR with superfan Martin Scorsese, but meh. At most, Randall was once like “look at this show that my girlfriend’s on” and Scorsese was like “that’s nice.”) Anyway, somewhere between the footage of Lala getting out of her BMW i8 and all her recent Instagrams decked out in designer gear at Cannes, I suddenly got a lot more curious about who exactly Lala’s man is. These aren’t just established middle-aged man gifts—this is serious money. So, who TF is this guy, and what exactly is he buying Lala? Let’s dive in.
Who Is Lala’s Man?
Lala’s man is named Randall Emmett, and he’s a producer of some pretty legit films. His most recent big movie was Scorsese’s Silence, which lends some credence to the whole Scorsese watching VPR lie theory. He’s also currently debuting a film at Cannes called Gotti, which I was convinced until about three minutes ago starred 50 Cent. (It doesn’t, and the score is composed by Pitbull, which is…disappointing.) Nonetheless, Randall is at Cannes, works with big actors and directors alike, and is undisputedly legit. (If you don’t believe me, scan through Randall’s Instagram. It’s basically the picture version of his IMDb.) In other words, he absolutely has the Hollywood power and money to take Lala’s life to another level.
On a personal level, he was previously married to Ambyr Childers, who is 17 years younger than him. (For reference, Lala is 19 years younger. I’m not loving the pattern.) I’m not going to discuss the state of his marriage when he met Lala, but you’re welcome to read about it here. Lala stated on Monday that he was legally separated when they met, FWIW, which our independently conducted research seems to support. He has two children, also heavily featured on his Instagram. He also regularly posts motivational “Torpedo Tuesday” videos, in which he screams at his followers to GET UP GET OUT THERE AND MAKE THAT MONEY. All of which really make me wonder who would win in a screaming match between James and Randall.
What Is Lala’s Man Buying Her?
Let’s start with the list Lala rattled off on Monday night. She mentioned purses, jewelry, cars, rent, and rides on his private jet. For the cars: he pays for the lease, she pays for insurance. For rent, he pays up to an agreed-upon cap, which Lala said she is “well over.” I can’t imagine how big and nice of a place she has if it’s well over what I’m sure is a generous cap, but it definitely made a sad contrast with the footage they showed of James sleeping on the floor of a slightly too-interested middle-aged dude. Bleak. And for the record, a BMW i8 starts at $147,500, so excuse me while I cry into my coffee for a minute.
Now let’s talk about the other stuff. Since beginning her relationship with Randall, Lala has landed a starring role in a movie (produced by Randall), produced the hit song “Boy,” and launched the makeup line #Give Them Lala Beauty. While she insists that her music and beauty pursuits are exclusively funded with her own money, the movie is literally her boyfriend’s movie, so we can add that onto Randall’s tab with a small degree of confidence. BRB, gonna go ask my boyfriend why he hasn’t given me a lucrative job yet. “Give a man a fish… teach a man to fish…” and all that, ya know?
So, how are we supposed to feel about all this? Well, if you’re like me, lightly devastated. For one, Lala is three years older than me but looks like she’s three years younger. And the amount of money I’ve described in this article alone seems like more than I’ll earn in my lifetime. On the other hand, Lala reportedly was already getting her breasts done when she was 20, so she’s been hustling and betting on her appearance to get her places for a long-ass time. And I have to show some admiration for Lauryn Kent from Salt Lake City getting to where she is now. You can find their relationship cute or disgusting, I don’t really care, but you can’t deny that you’d enjoy certain aspects of her life.
As a final note, I do wish that Lala would stop personally victimizing me saying the only reason other girls can’t ride on private jets, etc. is because they’re not hot enough. Lala herself admits she’s gotten injections and plastic surgery to enhance her appearance, so what are the rest of us supposed to do if we get paid hostess’ salaries and we don’t have rich boyfriends covering our rent? It feels like when you have to have 5 years’ job experience to get an entry-level position. Lala took a very specific route to get what she wanted, and she has a right to feel pride in it. But I imagine she put in a lot of effort for many years to get to this place, and that’s something I’d really like to hear more about in step-by-step detail. You know, for a friend.
Images: Instagram (2); Giphy (1)