Social media influencers have the power to make a universal change, with one single post and tweet they are able to cause a whirl.
The devastating Australian bushfire has destroyed nearly 9.9 million acres of land and at least 1,400 homes so far.
With many human and animal lives lost, influencers took to social media to raise awareness and donations for the cause.
However, Kaylen Ward, a 20-year-old social media influencer and X- rated model took farthest measures to help out by offering to send out nude photographs to those who donated to fight the Australian bushfires and the results were overwhelmingly shocking.
Ward was able to raise $700,000 in just three days.
An estimated $700K has been raised for the Australian Bush Fires in response to my tweet….
is this real life?
— THE NAKED PHILANTHROPIST (@lilearthangelk) January 6, 2020
The social media influencer who goes by the Twitter page “The Naked Philanthropist” who donated at least $10 to the campaign to fight the fires would get a nude photograph in return.
“I’m sending nudes to every person who donates at least $10 to anyone of these fundraisers for the wildfires in Australia,” Ward stated in a tweet.
“Every $10 you donate = one nude picture from me to your DM. You must send me confirmation that you donated.”
“I was seeing all the posts on Twitter about the Australian fires and I was really concerned there wasn’t a lot of media coverage and not a lot of people donating,” she told BuzzFeed News.
Ward told BuzzFeed that she had a team of four people who were helping her out to verify the donations and DMs.
Amid all this, Ward’s Instagram handle got deactivated.
My Instagram got deleted 😭🥺 pic.twitter.com/nBRQlByYAR
— THE NAKED PHILANTHROPIST (@lilearthangelk) January 5, 2020
However, this did not stop her from helping out, “I got to see firsthand how many people were affected,” she told Buzzfeed.
The California resident has worked as a nude model since August 2019. While vacationing in the Caribbean she says she fell into a “rabbit hole” after reading about the unprecedented fires that are raging along Australia’s eastern and southern coastlines.
“I donated $1,000 myself,” she tells Guardian Australia. “I had a substantial amount of followers, maybe 30,000 at the time, and I thought that a lot of my followers would pitch in and send in some donations for the wildfires.”
At around 10pm on 3 January, Ward tweeted a nude image of herself – with an angel emoji acting as a modesty strip – alongside a list of charities her followers could fund. That evening she raised more than $7,000. “The next morning I woke up and it had gone absolutely viral and I was flooded with messages. It quickly just blew up and went upwards of $100,000 before I knew it.”
Ward’s original tweet has now been retweeted 77,000 times and she has started calling herself the Naked Philanthropist. “Not all heroes wear capes,” has been one of the most common responses to her efforts.
The cause is a personal one for Ward, who was affected by the Carr and Camp fires in northern California in 2018. “I got to see first hand how fires like that can affect people and how devastating they are,” she says. So far, Australia’s bushfires have burned through more than 8.4m hectares. “To put [the California fires] up to scale with what’s happening in Australia right now, it’s not even comparable.”
Ward explains that she is offering something people were already prepared to pay for. “I already use my Twitter platform to make money by selling nude photos … I have a loyal fan base who buys content from me and that’s how I pay my bills.”
However, she was unprepared for the “overwhelming” amount of attention she has received and is struggling to keep up with the demand. “I’m still a little bit in shock about how much positivity I’ve received from this.”
Ward’s efforts have inspired other sex workers to offer naked photographs in exchange for donations to Australia’s bushfire relief funds.
But not all of the attention has been positive. Since posting the viral tweet, Ward has faced criticism for previous posts she has made on social media. “Mostly it’s not people saying anything negative about what I’m doing. It’s more people trying to dig and find out who I am, and try to find out anything they can about me that’s negative. It’s become almost an obsession to a few of these people.”
Ward has also been upset that her Instagram account, which had more than 60,000 followers and was a significant source of revenue, has been deleted. “Every time I try to make a new account it’s deactivated, and what’s concerning is there are a few fake accounts who are impersonating me that haven’t got deleted. People are stealing my identity through Instagram.”
Ultimately, Ward remains upbeat about the situation. “People are always going to have their opinions especially if you’re in this line of work” she says. “If you’re doing it for a good cause and you know deep down you’re a good person, never let anybody get to you or make you feel that you’re less-than.
“It is a little bit overwhelming that I’m so vulnerable and everybody’s staring at me. Especially because I’m naked on the internet right now. [But] I’m only one person and I’m helping so many other people, so I’m not the most important thing right now.”