Hi Reddit,

My name is Sunny. I found community on the internet on day 1 of being in the the Compuserve chat rooms in 1997 and fell in love with the internet and its possibilities. I started blogging in 1998 on Angelfire, before there was a word for it. I became a camgirl, uploading my 1st public webcam image on Stile Project’s “Portal 9” Sept 2001, and continuing to cam until 2019. I coined the term “textibitionism” for what I was doing (blogging/living “out loud” online + camming). My LiveJournal (arguably the internet’s 1st social media platform as we know it) started in July 2001 and sometimes got 30k unique visitors per post through embeds on my website, according my host at the time who was running analytics. (Google Analytics wasn’t a thing yet.) That was a lot when the internet was much smaller. Strangers showered me with gifts and I would get recognized on the street. None of the girls who cammed with me were doing it for the money, we were doing it because we were sexy nerds who liked attention and to build our own websites and run our own IRC channels and forums. We were the 1st people taking selfies and using social media to build followings. We were basically internet rock stars, the 1st “influencers” before YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Instagram. There were gossip sites dedicated to dishing on us, including me specifically. Twenty years later social media dominates our lives and uses our data against us, and camgirls are a 2 billion dollar industry the US government is still constantly trying to throttle.

Here’s my proof I/we/this scene existed, in chronological order:

SFW pics from my public webcam feed my first few months of camming on Stile Project’s webcam portal, “Portal 9”, circa fall 2001: 1, 2

My LiveJournal tag “portal 9” shows posts about my first time being on my webcam live on Portal 9, Sept. 14th, 2001.

Stile Project has been excluded from the Wayback Machine, likely because it’s disgusting, and its Wikipedia entry doesn’t mention the invention of the portals. I have hard copy printed interviews with Stile’s admin/developer with the whole story if someone knows how to edit a wiki page? You used to be able to see the portals here but now there’s next to no proof they existed. :(

A typical InternetGossip.net front page circa 2002 (it started in 2001) via the Wayback Machine. This site was basically dedicated to gossiping about camgirls and trying to start beefs between us (often fabricated).

By 2003 I was somewhat considered an internet guru and wrote an article in Digital Marketing magazine that suggested we essentially data mine LiveJournal before data mining or Facebook even existed. (Really sorry about that. I also didn’t get to choose that cringey title.)

A funny, NSFW video compilation of webcam pics a fan made me, circa 2003, most of which have the Camwhores.com watermark (Portal 9 rebranded & went members only eventually, same portal, different name).

Me and fellow camwhore u/BelindaMShort giving Camwhores a send off on its final day, March 18th, 2015: It’s an hour long reading on the history of Portal 9 and Camwhores, Part 2 with Belinda is in the description.

What it says now when you go to Camwhores.com (just in case it disappears too).

Proof Selfie: Be kind, I’m an old lady now.

AMA! I am a fountain of knowledge!

EDIT: Okay it's 11pm EST & I am wiped out! Thanks for a fun day & all the awards! This was the best high school reunion a retired camgirl could ask for! Hope everyone had as much fun as I did! Now time for Sims, weed, and cake! _^

Comments: 846 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

belindamshort580 karma

I know you from StileProject of course, but can I ask how you found it?

SunnyGrrrl494 karma

Honestly, that's sort of a funny story and really indicative of the E/N scene back then!

My boyfriend at the time had just bought us a digital camera (which were just coming to market), so of course the first thing I did was take nudes. He suggested I submit them to RateMeNudeDotCom, which I did. I was #1 on that site for about a week, when all of a sudden, it was flooded with these naked girls with "StileProjectDotCom" written on their bodies with eyeliner and they all quickly overtook me in the poll by a LOT. I was like, "wtf?" and went to Stile Project and was even more like, "WTF??" I asked my friends on the Scratching Post message board what was up with this site and they told me about RottenDotCom and SomethingAwful. I didn't learn about camming and that what I had seen were "fan signs" until a few months later though.

belindamshort142 karma

Amazing! I had been sharing still images and sleep cams on dark.wet when someone told me about CW archiving photos. Not long after I joined, K told me I'd like you and we should be friends <3

SunnyGrrrl181 karma

Well he was right! Also he said it was safe to out him! KEVIN DAY IS THE GENIUS WHO MADE PORTAL 9 AND CAMWHORES AND HE IS A LOVELY PERSON.

will592249 karma

Wasn’t familiar with you before now, glad to fill in that historical black hole. I was a big fan of JenniCam back in the late 90s, doesn’t that predate what you were doing by a pretty significant margin?

SunnyGrrrl163 karma

Jenni started in 1996 and shut down in 2003, so I started 2 years before she shut down. She never strayed from her own site and was doing a completely different thing than we were doing. She was live 24/7 on her own site, we were only camming for a few hours at a time on a webcam portal with a couple hundred other tattooed, gum-chewing freaks. What we were doing was more akin to digital burlesque.

The webcam portal we cammed on was called Portal 9, and then later Camwhores. Portal 9 was the first portal of its kind on the internet, pulling cam feeds into one place from all over the world and when I started, hardly anyone was getting naked on it. That's part of why I became so popular: because I was happy to get naked.

Here's what Portal 9 looked like:

Here's what Camwhores looked like:


Oh man those screenshots take me back. To this day I still use Eliss-speak for ebay feedback and shit.

mtheperry18 karma

What is Eliss?? This whole ama is leaving this 27 year old with too many questions.

SunnyGrrrl41 karma

Eliss was a camboy on Portal 9 and he only communicated via plus and minus signs. So like, if he agreed with or liked something a lot, he would say "++++++" and if he hated something, he would say "------". If something was just so-so, he would say "+++---" or just "+++" or "---" instead of 6 plusses or minuses.

SunnyGrrrl26 karma

Sorry, he would TYPE those things. There was no audio at that time.

ambrosia_R96 karma

I don't think Jennicam was a portal. I think it was just her own platform (correct me if I'm wrong). Sunny and the rest of us were part of a cam portal, which really became quite a phenomenon in and of itself.

SunnyGrrrl149 karma

Yeah, Jennicam is its own whole thing, as is Ana Voog's Anacam. They were "lifecasting" 24/7. We were naked clowns, basically lol

_GoddessLilith_85 karma

Not super significant, few years. I was a big fan of Anacam who came right after Jennifer. It was her that inspired me to start! Did you ever see her?

anavoog138 karma

Sunny and I are good friends

SunnyGrrrl97 karma

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

belindamshort40 karma

She started in the late 90s yeah, what she was doing, and what survivorcam did were a little different than camwhores, but yeah she was def one of the first

SunnyGrrrl99 karma

No, she was THE first. Ana Voog was second.

The VERY FIRST webcam on the internet was XCoffee!

_GoddessLilith_29 karma

OMG Survivorcam!!!!!!

SunnyGrrrl51 karma

I have printed out, hard copy evidence that survivorcam happened! Good luck finding anything on the internet now though!

_GoddessLilith_18 karma

I def want to see that!!

SunnyGrrrl26 karma

When this dies down, I'll see what exactly it is and scan it if it's any good.

limacake209 karma

What made you think to keep all of those links and clips?

belindamshort228 karma

A lot of us have archived parts of our journey. At a couple points there were going to be documentaries some of us were invited to be a part of, and I think that Sunny was collecting for a book as well. She's an excellent writer. I'm sure she will elaborate.

stephthegeek100 karma

Yeah this was a huge part of many of our lives. My archives of the time are precious mementos. I've got tens of thousands of images saved, all the archived versions of my websites as I changed CMSes, screenshots, decades of blog posts, etc. Digital packrats :)

_GoddessLilith_57 karma

As we speak I’m scouring my hard drive looking for some of these memories, this is a lovely trip down memory lane!

SunnyGrrrl38 karma


Medic361473 karma

My wife used to go by Trouble on internet gossip, and as soon as I showed her your AMA her smile lit up the room. And now she's telling me all the stories from back in the day.

SunnyGrrrl85 karma

I remember Trouble! Tell her to get in here! I don't think she was on Portal 9 and she may have been non-nude, but I remember her from IG!

Medic361441 karma

She's literally setting up a reddit account as we speak just for this!

SunnyGrrrl28 karma


_GoddessLilith_36 karma

I found some!!


aforementioned sleep cam: (after I'd just woken up)


I feel a LOT different about mullets now:(this had to be some kind of reference??)


I have NO memory of this, or who's foot this is!! But apparently it's a fan sign?!? lol!! I can't remember who "SG" is.. unless it's supposed to be you!


SunnyGrrrl24 karma

"SG" isn't me...hrm....not sure who that would have been. My favourite is the 1st pic with the pink wig, that's always how I remember you. <3 Mullets might have been in reference to Argent bc he always said he had one.

SunnyGrrrl147 karma

That's just the tip of the iceberg! Over the weekend I was sent screenshots of Portal 9 & Camwhores, along with some other fan art. Treasures!

In 2003 someone sent me a refurbished black and white laser printer because I was going to write a book on cam culture and I wanted to print out as much as I could on early cam culture because I just knew one day it would all disappear from the internet (and it has). Now this box of hard copies of articles and blog posts is some of the only evidence any of this stuff that happened, actually happened.

Camgirls and Stile Project were getting a tonne of media attention around 2001-2003, and Jennifer Ringley was legendary for her media attention, so I knew cam culture was a phenomenon and I should be "recording" as much of it as I could. I was constantly yelling "GUYS! THIS IS IMPORTANT! WE'RE DOING A CRAZY THING HERE!" and Stile was always like, "sit down Sunny, none of this is important". He's probably reading this and still saying that lol

DoctFaustus56 karma

Sketchcow (AKA Jason Scott of archive.org) agrees with you Sunny. And he wants copies of everything you have.

SunnyGrrrl33 karma

Say what? Where?

fat_ass_mcgee173 karma

Two questions! What are some common misconceptions you see all the time? And has anyone made you feel uncomfortable via harassing or stalking etc.? Thanks!

SunnyGrrrl370 karma

Hrm, common misconceptions...well, back in the day we didn't get a lot of respect on the internet. We had our fans and people who thought we were the beginning of something big, but the E/N scene and internet at large basically thought we were all useless sluts, sucking lonely, unsuspecting losers dry. That was a massive misconception, that I assume carries on to this day. So many people then, and now, think camgirls are victims of themselves rather than artists and entrepreneurs doing what they love.

As for stalking...in 2001, I was also working for an indie pop metal band called Scratching Post and my job was being their merch girl. I would stand behind the merch booth in a uniform of a baby t-shirt with the band's logo, skimpy panties with the band's logo, and knee high Doc Martens and sell CDs/stickers etc. Sometimes the band would pull me up on stage for the last song, "Destruction Of The Universe" and I would dance. The lead singer was my best friend and everyone took really good care of making sure I was always safe. I used to post the dates and times of the shows I was gonna be at on my site and on my webcam caption, and people from the internet would come & pay to see the band, but the band was just a bonus because they'd hang with me at the merch booth all night and buy me drinks (so dangerous, I was a dumbass...do not recommend).

One night the band had a show at Sneaky Dee's in Toronto where upstairs is the bar/music venue, and downstairs is a bar/restaurant. Part of the band's rider indicated that our whole crew was to have dinner downstairs at the restaurant "on the house", so about 12 of us sat down to order and I ordered steak and eggs. Dinner came, everything was fine, we had a good time, the show was played, drinks were drank, mayhem happened etc, and then I got home at about 4am, still drunk. What do you when you're still drunk at 4am? Go on IRC obviously! So I chatted on IRC for a bit while I sobered up and then I checked my e-mail around 5am before going to bed. There was an e-mail from a name I didn't recognize, which wasn't weird at the time, so I clicked on it, and the e-mail was something like, "I saw you tonight. I hope you enjoyed your steak and eggs." No greeting, no name attached, and the e-mail address was clearly a throw away. I replied and tried to play it off like, "haha awwww you should have said hi!" and when I never got a reply, it lead to 20 years of agoraphobia because it felt like EVERYONE was watching me. :(

datapark71081 karma

Were the eggs good though? Don't leave us hanging!

SunnyGrrrl109 karma

I'm still too busy wondering wtf he did to them to remember! Like, did he spit in them? Jizz? A booger? What??

anavoog170 karma

A common misconception was that somehow we were not “real”. I still have stalkers

SunnyGrrrl168 karma

"Wave if you're real!"

lgent592 karma

I found you on a portal of still images hosted by an early internet friend, geeknik. It was brand new to me, and the stills of people were fascinating. You were the most interesting to me. How do you think that experience affected your mental health? I have followed you, your art, and story for a long time, and just curious. You were a pioneer and your story helped me more than you know ❤️

SunnyGrrrl206 karma

Hiya L :) I recognize your username. <3

Early on I was doing a lot of "processing on the page" publicly on LiveJournal and I think doing that, with a supportive community commenting the whole time, was positive for my mental health. Very cathartic. My mom wasn't super happy about it though, and as a result, she won't read anything I write on the internet, and she won't buy my books or "like" posts about them, I have to give them to her. So it was a double edged sword.

In 2006, when I had my psychotic break on IRC, it was a bad scene and the internet was bad for my mental health BUT! Afterward, the internet was instrumental in accepting my mental illnesses and staying proactive in my quest for wellness. Again, double edged sword.

In 2015, I found some trolls being trolly on the internet when I googled myself and what they said was so heinous and shocking to me that I couldn't stop thinking about it and soon, their words and attitudes became a monologue in my bipolar brain. Ultimately I tried to kill myself. So, that was a time when the internet was not so good for mental health.

I also think currently, social media algorithms aren't so awesome for mentally ill people because they emotionally manipulate you in an attempt to change your behaviour (buy stuff), and personally that has harmed me greatly.

Having said all that, if I didn't have a public outlet to "live out loud" and write about everything, I don't think I would have made it to see this birthday.

DrZero63 karma

What were you least and most favorite things about being on CW?

SunnyGrrrl207 karma

My favourite things were my birthday shows, which is kinda why I scheduled this AMA for today, it has the same feel, just more nostalgia. :) Every year on my birthday, I would schedule a members only show on Camwhores, and if you recall, on Camwhores, when someone did a members only show, basically the whole site would stop and the community would focus on that person's show, so it was more special than how camming is done today. On my birthday I would always get lots of wishlist items and tips during the show, and personal gifts sent to my PO box when I had one. Growing up my birthdays were kinda shitty, so cam birthdays made up for it.

My least favourite thing about being on Camwhores was making money for Stile because his persona was such a piece of shit at the time. I never got to know the real Stile, but I hear he's a lovely person today. Another least favourite thing was the voting. I have a cam pic in my archives from when voting was implemented that has a caption that says something like, "I"d rather fuck the prom queen than be one" and when I saw it recently, I thought, "still accurate"!

belindamshort52 karma

I hope she answers this - but I can tell you that my personal favorite thing about it was that it felt like we were all there with each other, for each other, about each other, even if the community could get dramatic sometimes, it was still a community. Camming now/streaming on twitch/etc is more like paid popularity pitting people against each other- making real communities is really hard.

It was a group of really smart, creative people who were trying to change things.

The worst part for me was getting doxxed by people on Something Awful after I went to Stile and spending several months getting attacked and my content being shared by people I considered my friends. If I said my least favorite thing about camming on CW is just that it ended.

SunnyGrrrl57 karma

I was talking to Blake (husband) about this the other day, on Camwhores we were a sisterhood. No one was really competitive, even when we had people voting on us, and we cheered each other on during our shows rather than trying to steal the spotlight. VERY different from camming now.

When it was Portal 9, CERTAIN PEOPLE */coughSarahcidecough/* were kinda mean to other cammers, but it was all in good fun.

lotsoflemons11 karma

hahaha I do feel bad about some of it, but I think most people knew it was supposed to be for fun and not attacking them.

SunnyGrrrl12 karma

I only remember one person ever getting upset (it was the Axl one...) and Kevin asked you nicely to take it down to shut her up lol Other than that, most of the people we made fun of, we were doing it because their cams were just on the portal and they didn't participate. They were only there for the tits = hits.

ruggeddo55 karma

A lot of the live communication we rely on today was happening with cams in those days. How early on in the tech was that? I don’t remember much like it at that time.

_GoddessLilith_121 karma

It was so old that there was no streaming or audio available. We had to upload still photos around every 20-30 seconds!

S_K___41 karma

Awesome to read thru this and see these links! Happy birthday. And yes-remember doing live cam shows on Yahoo that had no audio, just still images every second or so? (this is Sapph btw, from the CW days too)

SunnyGrrrl27 karma

Thanks! I couldn't remember how Yahoo worked because I only did it a few times with Stile Project people. Too intimate!

SunnyGrrrl40 karma

I would have to reference my notes to give a timeline, but in 2001 I think the only thing similar to like, Zoom, today, would have been Yahoo Instant Messenger and Netmeeting. You could do streaming group video chats but everyone was on dial up so they may as well have been still images. I think there was audio too. I never really did 1-on-1 camming so I'm not an expert on that....

...however, Camwhores had streaming members only shows before YouTube or any of the current cam sites existed, and I think that's pretty impressive. :)

stephthegeek18 karma

Also the pervs seemed to congregate on CUSeeMe

SunnyGrrrl11 karma

Yeah, I knew of that one but that was even pre Yahoo Messenger. That one was more Ana's time period, I think. I have a whole folder on it, it's just such a dry read I haven't gone through it yet lol

anavoog15 karma

We had our own forums or used IRC or simply wrote things on paper and showed what we had written on our cams

SunnyGrrrl18 karma

I used captions on my cam to communicate a lot in the early days because originally you couldn't register your name on the Camwhores tagboard, so anyone could pretend to be you. Using cam captions was the only way people could guarantee I said something.

TousledElegance7 karma

I remember being so excited to finally get voted over to the main page so I could chat.

SunnyGrrrl22 karma

Yes, people probably have no concept of this, but Camwhores was divided into two parts: the main page and "Wannabes". Wannabes were would-be Camwhores who had to impress the community enough for us to vote them over onto the main page where they could use the tagboard to chat. Wannabes couldn't chat until they were voted into the community as an official Camwhore.

belindamshort12 karma

My cam image from then was so terrible it was basically the concept of a person in grains of sand. I have my first CW image below, but I'd been sharing a live stream through some IRC channels and on Something Awful before being told CW archives photos and I should use it.


ruggeddo14 karma

I don’t think,at that time, anyone thought as much about photo quality. Mostly it was just amazing to see each other in any way 😅

belindamshort17 karma

I fell in love with the Intel cams because my I could adjust the white balance. Having studied video it always drove me nuts that it thought my hair was purple or my color was blown out, but we did what we could

SunnyGrrrl15 karma

I loved being blown out! No one could see my zits or chapped lips!

Lighterphillia44 karma

How different is it trying to be something on the internet today, compared to 1997?

SunnyGrrrl91 karma

So in 1997, it was Jennicam who was the internet's 1st cam person and internet celebrity and I think it was probably pretty easy for her since she was the 1st.

For us in 2001, it was a lot harder than today because today all of the platforms are built and everything's basically plug & play. In 2001, we were the guinea pigs, building everything from scratch, but I think that's part of what made us so fascinating to a wider audience than camgirls or influencers on Instagram today. Our audience wasn't just watching us, they were watching us build something. I think it's a lot easier to build an audience today than it was back then, but I think building a community today is a lot harder than it was back then because the internet's so big and everyone wants the mic so bad, there's no more room for "followers" or "spectators". Also, people don't even se the internet properly anymore, which makes me kinda insane. So many people don't even realize there's a whole internet beyond Facebook. It's fucked up!

Lighterphillia24 karma

Accessibility is also definitely a factor, every kid in middle school has an iPhone and access to the internet whereas back in the day, almost no one has their own personal computer unless you were one of the lucky few (atleast in my neighborhood haha) which would make the audience demographic a lot slimmer than today’s demographics.

Edit: Thanks for the reply btw!

SunnyGrrrl30 karma

That's true and I also think that has something to do with why camgirls then and the whole E/N scene was so....Caucasian. We had like, maybe a dozen camgirls of colour the whole 15 years I was on Portal 9/Camwhores. If that, tbh.

anavoog90 karma

Hi, this is Ana Voog of anacam. Things are different now because we have algorithms that block us?

_GoddessLilith_47 karma

Ana!! I met you during the Vegas documentary trip. I was way too shy to tell you back then, but I want to tell you now. I was/am a huge fan of yours and you really inspired me. I think you're amazing and it was an honor to meet you!!

anavoog25 karma

Oh my gosh you’re so sweet! How cool we were both in Vegas! That was a wild time! ❤️

SunnyGrrrl19 karma

Vegas was the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Camgirl slumber party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NotSoTameImpala36 karma

Sunny!!!! What is your opinion on the growth of this technology moving over into standard entertainment?

All of these crazy creative twitch broadcasts owe their success to people like you who paved the way for the pioneering of streaming monetization and formats

SunnyGrrrl55 karma

So I've been half assedly paying attention to about half a dozen current camgirls for about 10 years now, but not so much the Twitch streamers bc I think watching people play video games is boring. I do know that as far as monetization, there's an ocean of difference between the two, tho.

I knew Twitch was mainstream entertainment last month when AOC was on there talking about r/wallstreetbets and I was streaming her onto my TV with my Chromecast. Like, we're in the future and politicians are camgirls, it's so crazy to me! I think we're in a new "wild wild west" period of internet and social growth in general that's sort of too all-encompassing to comment on in detail here.

kinggimped25 karma

Ha, I remember you! We used to cross paths occasionally on SPF (the Stileproject Forums, later renamed "the forum" and I think sold off, but I'd pretty much stopped using it by the time it was sold). I was on SPF since its very early days (I remember that my user ID was 47, lol). Very similar username to this one. Ah, memories.

I never really interacted with any of the other Stileproject sites other than the forum, though I do remember occasionally seeing you in the ads for his camwhores site. I also remember how they weren't even videos - just a gallery of webcam photos taken 10-20 seconds apart, with no audio. I thought it was a cool concept but was always more interested in the forums.

I think we'd talked on the forum several times about completely arbitrary topics before I even realised you did the whole getting naked on webcam thing. Doubt you remember me though, I wasn't a particularly prolific poster, just a very verbose one (not much has changed there).

Either way, can't remember too much from back then but I did always enjoy shooting the shit with you. Glad you're doing well. Funny to think how the webcam thing was so niche back then, but is ubiquitous nowadays. You were certainly one of the early pioneers of webcam porn!

Are you still in touch with anyone from the SPF days? There are so many colourful characters that I can still remember now, 20 years later.

datapark71036 karma

15 years later and King Gimp is still claiming he didn't go to Stileproject for the porn.


kinggimped16 karma

Came for the porn, stayed for the forums! Which one of the delightful reprobates were you?

datapark71015 karma


kinggimped15 karma

Ha! I remember you man. Glad to see you're still around. Crazy that it's been 20 years, eh?

datapark71014 karma

I know. I can't possibly be this old, can I?

SunnyGrrrl21 karma

Nrrrds. <3

SunnyGrrrl15 karma

I *do* remember you! :)

I talk to Argent daily and Skeet just wished me a happy on Discord, if that gives you any idea. Kohi and Venom are Facebook friends. I'm still in contact with a lot/most of the Camwhores.

I became an SPF mod at 9am on 9/11/2001 for reasons I assume you could understand.

opendomain20 karma

May I ask how much you made and how? Did you make money on other projects like sponsorships?

SunnyGrrrl88 karma

The entire 15 years I was on Portal 9/Camwhores, I only made about $4000. I got a LOT of gifts though. Thousands of dollars of clothes, books, DVDs/Blurays, CDs, art supplies. Someone once bought my house a new roof in exchange for the only custom video I ever did. I once tried to get a sponsorship from Skull Skates because I liked the panties they sold at the time with their logo, but they basically laughed at me so I never tried again.

Guys have a hard time paying adult content creators to this day. Buying wishlist items is more acceptable because they choose the reward and it's not payment, it's a gift, and that's somehow okay.

It really never was about the money for me, or most of us. We just really loved what we were doing. You also have to understand that in the very early days, there was basically no way to pay us, either. PayPal had shut us out and adult payment processing was very much in its infancy.

tonehammer21 karma

And now, someone like Belle Delphine mentioned that she made a million bucks a month at her peak. Wow, it really grew into a business.

SunnyGrrrl18 karma

Oh I know, right? I didn't even know about streaming cam sites like MFC until 2010. I had no idea that kind of camming even existed. It was Kevin, the owner/dev of Camwhores who showed me and I asked him, "why didn't you show me this 6 years ago, when it started?" thinking about all the money I could have earned if I broadened my world a bit, and he said, "would it have made a difference?" I never answered him, and I think about that question every day, and I still don't know the answer. I think probably not, though. Today, anyway.

frostysbox20 karma

Sup Sunny, is Steph from delightz.

Thinking back to everyone from the EN scene, who’s someone who think about often who we’ve totally lost track off who just fell off the face off the internet?

(Oh, the Steph of delightz mentioned on the internet gossip way back machine link hahahahahahahahahahahaha wow)

SunnyGrrrl29 karma

Hey girl! Nay. I always wonder what happened to Nay. I met her in Vegas and she was super shy & hung with the other under-21 girls so we never really had a conversation. She was being filmed for the documentary me, Ana Voog, Steph the Geek and about 20 others were a part of and we were all in Vegas to do interviews for it. She started camming and was sexualized so young and InternetGossip dissected her life (as did others), then she had a kid really young, then disappeared. I think about her all the time and hope she's okay. She was from FL and there's a movie called The Florida Project that kinda reminds me of her (whether merited or not).

Wooberg19 karma

I know you from the other SP! One time a long time ago I walked into my house and my roommates were watching you have sex on documentary TV and I was just like, "Oh, it's Sunny!" How did that happen?

SunnyGrrrl53 karma

LOL I actually hear stories like that a lot! I would kill kittens to get my hands on that footage now bc I've still only seen it once, the day it aired.

So I was about 7 or 8 months pregnant and a friend of a friend, who happens to be a model, calls me up and asks me if my husband (Blake) and I would be interested in filming simulated sex scenes for a Discovery Channel show called "The Sex Files". They were doing an episode on pregnancy sex and they would pay EACH OF US $1000. So like, yes, absolutely we will do this! Be on TV naked for educational purposes and get paid for it? YES PLZ! They didn't care that Blake has a million tattoos or anything.

What ended up happening though, is that that footage got licenced to other Discovery Channel stuff, so all our footage from that day aired in similar shows ALL OVER THE WORLD! So for a long time in the early 2000s, I would get e-mail from people in like, Sweden and Germany who saw us on their version of the Discovery Channel. So weird.

Blake and I have since decided "The Bad Touch" by The Bloodhound Gang is our official song. :)

ruggeddo17 karma

Quite a few cam gossip sites showed up as camming became popular. It seemed cams had a following like soap operas and celebrity gossip does today. How did you deal with that? It was kind of a first in how we deal with famous people today, starting with “internet famous” people.

SunnyGrrrl27 karma

The gossip sites back then were COMEDY, which I think is an important distinction to make. InternetGossipDotNet never claimed to be 100% accurate or fact checked in any way. There were no "ethics" of journalism or anything classy like that, it was "is it funny?" "yes", "will it make them mad?" "yes", "post it!". There was no "is it true? did you photoshop this?" Because the answer was almost always, "no" and "yes". It's hard to take stuff like that seriously because it was packaged as funny. Celebrity (or otherwise) gossip sites now aren't funny and a lot of them punch down. They're not laughing with their subjects, they're laughing at them.

talltatanka14 karma

Does anyone here remember JenniCam?

SunnyGrrrl18 karma

I have a 10 inch thick folder of printed out blog posts and articles about Jenni. Is there anything in particular you wanted to know about her? Do you remember Anacam? Ana Voog is watching and answering questions.

fuzzycuffs14 karma

Greatest internet decoration: Blink tag, spinning skull gif, flaming page divider, or under construction sign?

SunnyGrrrl9 karma

LOLLLLL I was a design genius!!! I'm not sure what you're implying!!! :D

chefbozz11 karma

Hi Sunny! Since you are agoraphobic which means extreme fear of open or crowded places; what is the optimal density of people for a room?

SunnyGrrrl11 karma

2-5! TOPS!

TousledElegance10 karma

When you try to explain what it was like back then to the camgirls of today, what do they find the most unbelievable or strange?

SunnyGrrrl24 karma

Most camgirls of today are so self-focused and making so much money and are so removed from what we were doing, that in my experience, they simply could not give one fuck about those who came before them lol Like none. We are just regular members to them and they just want us to give them money, not be their friends or colleagues.

lotsoflemons10 karma

There wasn't really a way to give people money for awhile either, Paypal was still in it's infancy in the late 90's early 2000's. I think Amazon Wishlists were the original camgirl currency.

SunnyGrrrl23 karma

PayPal flat out hunted and removed us. We had no choice but to take payments in Amazon gifts. Amazon Canada was in its infancy too, and would only ship books, DVDs & CDs here, so for years, that was all I could get. I have a million books I've never even looked at back in the day, because there were too many and I was too busy, but man am I appreciating them now.

BM_CretanBull10 karma

Hey Sunny! I just came by to show some support and I'm glad that you decided to go through with doing an AMA :)

Reddit is forcing me to ask a question otherwise my message gets deleted, so here it is...a few comments have been made about how the scene changed, what do you think caused that change? Did you leave this industry because of those changes or were there other factors?

SunnyGrrrl17 karma

Streaming changed everything. We were uploading 320x240 pixel pics every 30 seconds, which was more akin to instant photography than the live streaming shows that became popular in the mid-2000s. What we were doing became outdated by the porn guys, and niche by the leftover community. When Camwhores closed in 2015, it was like losing a piece of my heart and I've never been able to find another community like it, which makes for a very lonely life sometimes when you're agoraphobic. I tried streaming on MFC, Cammunity, and Twitch, but hated every second of it so I retired. When I started in 2001, I said I'd stop when it stopped being fun, and streaming made it not fun.

kohijones9 karma

Hi Sunny :) I was on portal 9, member of CW and moderator on spf/forum from 99 until close. The community was so strong and intertwined in my rl. I made quite a few life long friends. But when it all ended, and everyone went their own way I found it left a big hole in my life. I'm wondering how you and the other Girls (and BJ lol) felt after it closed?

SunnyGrrrl13 karma

BJ, you say? https://imgur.com/6GMRvdr

Obvs, I know you. <3 I know that I'm still very much grieving the loss of our community, which is part of why I wanted to do this AMA. Everyone's so busy trying to build an audience for themselves all over social media, like just in the vanilla world alone, that no one's really trying to build a community for a group of people. I'm sure it happens, but it seems pretty rare, and often now when it does, it gets toxic super quick. There was no camgirl hierarchy on Camwhores, even when people were voting on and ranking us. The Camwhores mods were secret, we never told anyone who we were and some of them might have surprised some. It's hard to find a girl world like that online now.

traditionalfootballe9 karma

Your first time on webcam was three days after 9/11?

SunnyGrrrl21 karma

Yup. The world was miserable and scared and angry and Stile decided I would cheer people up.

SPF-Masamune8 karma

I remember Troma films had a cam on Portal 9. Also, didn't Wil Wheaton show up on Portal 9 at some point? Also also, happy bday, Sunny!

SunnyGrrrl12 karma

Troma Steve was the nicest guy! I'm in a top secret E/N Facebook group with him! ^_^

Wil Wheaton was never on Portal 9 or Camwhores, but he was a friend of Kevin's so he was a Camwhores member who would often chat on the tagboard. When I was pregnant with my son in 2003, he saw me talking on tag about naming him "Wesley", and he butted into the conversation and begged me not to do that to an innocent child lol (I did anyway, coolest kid on the planet.)

znhamz8 karma

You have been around over 2 decades and seen so much technological improvement. How do you imagine the cam world will be in a decade or two in the future?

SunnyGrrrl6 karma

Well, I think OnlyFans is gonna be "the thing" for a long time. People are making so much money with that business model, so unless some US law throttles that somehow, I think OF is the future of camming.

Beyond that, VR is going places. I saw an MFC model do a "mixed reality" stream in 2015 that inspired me enough to write a grant proposal for a VR rig so I could draw in VR, live on streaming cam, in a mixed reality setting. My country has no vision, so I never got the grant, but someone's gonna do something like that soon simply because it's possible.

Eventually I think all camming will done in a VR setting, and it'll be cam2cam, with lifelike avatars and some type of Lovense sex toy for each partner. (And honestly, I think this will be fucking awesome. Can't wait to be an even older lady gettin' laid by an avatar of Klaus from Umbrella Academy.)

CygnusX-1-2112b8 karma

I had a professor at Rutgers Camden who actually wrote his doctoral discertation in 2017 on the evolution of the sex industry because of the introduction of the internet, and how it allowed for the women of the industry to be more independant. He covered a wide variety of subjects from escorts to GFE girls to camgirls, and actually used the industry-specific subreddit to make many of his contacts for his research. Now knowing youre out there I wish he had gotten into contact with you, because it would have made an excellent addition to his work seeing how you essentially broke new ground in a field, ground that helped a lot of women to be more financially independant.

I guess what I should ask is if you were are aware of the changes you sort of trailblazed in the industry?

SunnyGrrrl18 karma

Like others have said, I was aware of it all. I printed out so much hard evidence of our existence back in the day because I knew it would be important one day.

One thing I didn't know then, but wish I did, was just how lucrative camming while pregnant can be. I know a girl who bought herself a new house just from camming pregnant for 9 months last year. It could be argued I was the first to do it publicly and it never occurred to me to monetize it in anyway.

amitym7 karma

How interesting!

As you were starting out, were you aware of lifestyle / kink camgirls like spookycam, or of unportaled sites like nekkidnerds, that preceded you? Or did the concept come to you whole cloth?

Now I am remembering the bad old days, when people still actually wrote out "weblog" and struggled to get cameras set up... thanks for posting!

Edit: thanks for your replies! It's really illuminating for me, it helps to understand a time that bridged a gap in my own perceptions and what was happening during the 2000s.

SunnyGrrrl8 karma

I started because I read this SalonDotCom article "Candy From Strangers". Had a cam literally a week later because I definitely wanted to be part of aaaaaaaalllll of that.

I can't speak to kink as I am a boring, vanilla person lol But u/ambrosia_R is practically a scholar!

EssixElles7 karma

Where does one go to find your pictures nowadays?

SunnyGrrrl6 karma

Nowhere. :)

NanashiSaito7 karma

As a fellow Circa-1997 Compuserve denizen, which forums did you hang out in?

"GO RPGAMES" and "GO MPGAMES" were my jam back in the day.

SunnyGrrrl29 karma

Actually, by the time I got on (Dec 97, the computer was my Xmas gift), the forums/message boards had kinda taken a back burner for the chatrooms. My chatroom was "Black Star" and I even have a black star tattoo on my left wrist bc I feel like finding friends in that room was like finding my family for the first time, like a rebirth. At some point, they decided to consolidate some of the chatrooms, so Black Star disappeared and our community moved to a room called "Married & Flirting", which was true, but hardly anyone talked dirty in there. Do you remember how you could register your username for $5 and get asterisks added to your name? At one point, I got an e-mail from Compuserve asking if I wanted to moderate the teen chatrooms, and in return, they would register my username of choice and give me "stars". I said yes, and became *Sunny*, as in, the only person on Compuserve with that name, and I booted out gross perverts from teen chat. Good times!

teZtinglotus7 karma

Sunny, blacklotus from the old forum here! Is there a place where people still hamgout?

Shitty ama question...

SunnyGrrrl8 karma

Not really. We mostly just keep in contact with each other on our own on Facebook, like a lot of us became...not quite RL friends, but closer than internet friends.

GerryAttric7 karma

Any regrets?

SunnyGrrrl48 karma

There are a few cam photos of me that were accidentally taken with the 30 second automatic timer where I'm smoking and I hate that they exist and that people may have them saved on their hard drives. I *NEVER* EVER want to be seen endorsing smoking, even historically. (I quit 10 years ago and it literally saved my life....but that's a whole different AMA!)

FlintRock2275 karma

This is so interesting.

I was maybe 2 years old or so when you started camming. Woah. :o

How did you communicate with your fans and other people back then when you'd be on cam? With twitch, youtube, and other platforms it's usually live chat. How did things work back then?

ambrosia_R12 karma

Camwhores had a main page, with a live chat module that was constantly going. There'd be a few of the cams at the top of the screen -- in order of whichever was most recently updated, with the prime first spot automatically given to anyone who was doing a members-only show -- and then the chat screen would just scroll up as everyone contributed. And the chat was quite lively. There were always a ton of people active on it. We all got to know each other quite well. I imagine most people would be surprised at just how friendly and respectful the chat was on a site called "camwhores".

We also had the option of adding a caption directly into our uploaded image. Until a camgirl was a full member, they didn't have access to the actual chat -- it was a probationary period -- and we'd respond to chat questions by uploading pics with our responses embedded in the picture. Which did make the back-catalog of a given camgirl's pics a little obscure, sometimes, as obviously there was no link to the chat from the response in the picture.

SunnyGrrrl7 karma

Fantastic description! Here's a screenshot to help!

tonoocala5 karma

What would you say is the main element that will draw people to a particular cam room (aside from the model's beauty)?

SunnyGrrrl9 karma

Camming is 99% personality.

CaldariPrimePonyClub5 karma

Did you ever do Ascii porn on pre internet BBS days? God those were glorious times, but I definatley do not miss my Jansen 300 baud modem! We used to have what you'd call bloggers now on our BBS in the mid to late 80s, but we didn't have a specific name for them either.

Edit. Nice work on keeping the history and links, I wish we'd done the same. This was a real trip down memory lane, thank you for sharing.

SunnyGrrrl6 karma

I never did, but back in the day people sent me lots of Ascii versions of my cam pics. I'll admit, I never really got the appeal, but they were still kinda neat. Wish I'd saved some of those.

Ubersheep4 karma

Happy birthday! Did you get everything on your list?

SunnyGrrrl6 karma

I'm a camgirl, my wishlist is HUUUUUUUGE! Back in the day though, on my birthday, my wishlist would be bought out completely, which was super fun. This year my husband got me a Mark Ryden book I've been dying to see and my friend sent me edibles in the mail, so it's been pretty good gift-wise so far. Still waiting to see what Kid A & Kid B have in store for me....

RexxGunn4 karma

Not a clue if you're still answering questions, but what are your thoughts on the commercialization of nudity beyond what camwhores accomplished at the time? moving into things like suicide girls, and other subscription sites, and more recently things like onlyfans and so on? There seems to be good and bad sides to the more individualistic nature of nudity these days.

SunnyGrrrl4 karma

I think it is absolutely fucking crazy and amazing and wonderful that a housewife can make $150k/month on OnlyFans. I never could have dreamed of that in 2001 and I feel OnlyFans is the future of camming (for now, anyway).

On the other hand, I miss the community aspect that happens within a small portal like Camwhores, because otherwise all cam "communities" revolve around one single camgirl, and then those camgirls are competitive with each other and possessive with their members. We weren't like that.

tonoocala4 karma

Thanks for doing this. Is a webcam studio in a foreign country a good investment? Assuming you find top models... Concern is: Is this market oversaturated? Are there too many models

belindamshort2 karma

I wouldn't. Most people know they can just do it on their own, and have access to at least semi decent computers. You wouldn't keep them in the studio long.

SunnyGrrrl2 karma


SunnyGrrrl4 karma

Also, gross, you'd basically be a pimp. Do you really wanna be a pimp?

South_Guava98122 karma

If you could go back and live “the golden camgirl years”, what years would those be? What makes them your favorite?

SunnyGrrrl8 karma

2001-2006 were the best years because in 2001 we really were this underground subculture of nerdy girls who coded our own sites and programmed our own various cam utilities. As much as I hated InternetGossipDotNet at the time, I thought the idea of "cam paparazzi" was hilarious and I don't think you could have something like that again now, without it being mean. InternetGossipDotNet was funny. (And mean, but mostly funny.) In 2004-2005 I was being filmed for a documentary and got to meet 20+ other camgirls that year, which was amazing. There were camboys too, for sure (Joe Rogan was on Stile Project's Portal 9!), but mostly we were a true sisterhood of allies to each other. Camwhores was a good community until the day it went down in 2015, but 2001-2006 felt like we had a more cohesive happy family. I've never been able to find community like that again.