U.S. Instagram Models Are Trading Naked Pics For Bushfire Donations
Instagram models offering naked pictures to fans who donate to bushfire fundraisers say their followers have raised nearly $100,000.
Two models say tens of thousands of their followers have helped raise a large pile of cash for fire response efforts.
"I’m sending nudes to every person who donates at least $10 to any one of these fundraisers for the wildfires in Australia," American model Kaylen Ward posted on Twitter on Saturday, alongside a list of charities and fire services.
"Every $10 you donate = one nude picture from me to your DM. You must send me confirmation that you donated."
The Texas-born, Los Angeles-based model told 10 daily on Sunday that she had been left upset and emotional after seeing images of the bushfires on her social media feeds, and was concerned the disaster wasn't getting enough international attention.
"It’s devastating and any normal person would be concerned and want to help," she said.
"I saw so much media coverage about other things happening in the world, like when Notre Dame burned down and lots of people were posting and donating, but I didn't see a lot of people doing that for Australia."
"For the Australian fires to be impacting such a large area, a whole continent, and for not a lot of people to be talking about it internationally, was really concerning to me."
Ward is currently on holiday in the Caribbean, and before going to bed two nights ago, decided to ask her large social media following -- as of time of writing, she has 42,000 followers on both Instagram and Twitter -- to send money to Australian fundraisers.
"I already have people who will buy nude photos of me, so I asked all my followers who already send me money anyway to send that in for a good cause," she said with a laugh.
Ward posted a list on Twitter of nearly 20 Australian organisations involved in fire recovery and response efforts, including the NSW Rural Fire Service, Victorian Country Fire Service, Red Cross, Rotary and Salvation Army.
She asked her followers to donate to those groups, then send her a screenshot of the confirmation in exchange for a nude picture or video.
Ward said she told followers to donate directly to those groups, and that she did not handle or take any of the money.
She said she initially hoped to raise "a few thousand dollars", and chipped in $1000 herself.
Just a day later, she claims she has received around 20,000 direct messages on Twitter, and while she and friends are still going through all the DMs, estimates they've raised at least $60,000.
"I look over each screenshot, make sure it’s legit and not photoshopped or altered to best of my knowledge, then I send them a pic or video," Ward said.
"This rounds ridiculous but I’ve got people I’ve hired to help sort through the DMs. I’m also actually sending the pics I promised, one for each $10. Someone sent me $5000, so I'm sending 50 pics and videos."
On Instagram, she has updated her bio to read "raising money for Australia one nude at a time", and her handle to be @thenakedphilanthropist.
It is just the latest large bushfire fundraiser -- but perhaps the most unconventional -- to be kickstarted to aid Australia's recovery. Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban have pledged $500,000, as has American singer Pink.
Aussie comedian Celeste Barber's viral Facebook fundraiser campaign has -- as of time of writing -- raised more than $22 million.
Australian actress Magda Szubanski and Will 'Egg Boy' Connolly have also just launched their own online donation page, hoping to raise money to aid in mental health support after the bushfires.
"We are liaising with Beyond Blue and other mental health organizations to make sure this money will go to the right places," the pair said in a statement alongside a video posted to Szubanski's Instagram page.
Ward said other models had started their own fundraisers inspired by her idea to trade pictures for donations. One friend, Jenna Lee -- with 764,000 followers on Instagram and 29,000 on Twitter -- posted her own offer of pictures for each $10 donated to bushfire fundraisers on Sunday.
"All the heartbreaking photos of the cindered animals and news of people losing their lives just break my heart," she told 10 daily.
"I wish governments would come together to tackle the global climate crisis."
She said, as of Sunday afternoon, she had verified around $15,000 of donations from her followers, just four hours after posting her offer on Twitter.
"When I first started I was nervous, super anxious. But five minutes later, my inbox was flooded and those thoughts went out the window," she said.
Ward said that, following the response to her idea, that she may do similar fundraisers for other disasters in future, and is considering starting an organisation to encourage other models to follow suit.