Jade is a financial dominatrix. New to the term? It basically means that she demands money from 'slaves', devoted worshippers who don’t want anything in return for their cash. Though it’s straightforward enough on the surface to explain, there are complexities and surprising difficulties that come with being paid by strangers to do very little, which are unpacked in Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s’s six-part podcast, Random Men Pay My Bills.
Host Riyadh Khalaf is given access to Goddess Jade’s world. She lives alone in London and since getting into the findom (financial domination) business, she’s made more than £250,000 in the last six years. Probably one of the most surprising things for listeners who may never have heard of findom before, is that all it takes is asking. With little more than a tweet requesting money to pay for a champagne lunch at a fancy Mayfair restaurant, Jade can have the money in her account in a matter of hours.
Jade tells Riyadh that she started out as a cam girl at university, which helped to pay for her degree in behavioural neuroscience. She originally wanted to do clinical psychology professionally but soon found her way in the findom sphere. Now earning approximately £60,000 a year, it’s easy to see why she hasn’t looked back.
Of course, this way of life comes with a price. The podcast is acutely conscious not to glamorise a lifestyle that can actually be pretty dangerous. There’s the fact that Jade's family doesn’t know what she does for a living because she is worried about the concerns they’d have about her lifestyle. Her sister is the only one who knows about the financial domination set-up but there remains a difficult tension between the two of them whenever the subject of her work is broached. Then there’s the practically risky side of things, having to give so much of herself online, being so reliant on both social media and strangers to survive and, as you'll discover in episode three, sometimes having to meet these strangers in person for a physical cash exchange.
Jade and Riyadh touch on the topic of whether financial domination aligns itself with sex work, which Jade disagrees with, although findom is often understood to be part of the BDSM family. Reliant on the fact that her subjects get pleasure from satisfying Jade (albeit financially), it's clear that the lines are a little blurred and wider understanding is lacking. Jade thinks she's happy with her lifestyle but as the episodes unfold listeners gain an insight into the less pleasant circumstances that led her to it and have shaped her perspective on operating in such a way. With few friends and unable to share a big part of her life with her family, the upsetting downsides to Jade's experience of findom are as evident as the monetary upside. As Random Men Pay My Bills uncovers, there's always so much more nuance – good and bad – to a lifestyle like this which, on the surface, seems little more than easy money from people willing to offer it.