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Scammer, OnlyFans and Addiction: Caroline Calloway, the extended cut

$100,000 in one summer and pills in the bathtub


Content note: This interview covers themes of suicide and addiction

If you don’t know who Caroline Calloway is, let me introduce you to next week’s union speaker, a former Art History undergraduate at St. Eddies who forged her way into Cambridge, a social media superstar accused of intellectual theft by her best friend, a temporary OnlyFans superstar, and an author.

Having been stood up due to “passport issues”, I was initially sceptical of Miss Calloway, whose reputation certainly precedes her. Eventually arranging an interview via WhatsApp Voicenote, The Tab has gained exclusive information such as future plans for not just one, but 10 books.

How are you feeling about speaking at the Cambridge Union?

“I am so excited! I feel like Timothée Chalamet hosting SNL for the second time because the first time didn’t count because it was during the pandemic. That’s exactly what happened to me: This is my second time speaking at the union so I definitely don’t have as many nerves, but I’m so excited to be able to do it in person. I’m even more excited because I’m meeting a few old friends for ‘dinner’. When I got to Florida I told myself that I wouldn’t leave the state until I finished my book, so this is my reward for sticking to that level of self-discipline!”

How did Cambridge affect your health?

“I’m so passionate about speaking about this! I was severely addicted to amphetamines at Cambridge – they’re illegal in the EU but they give them to anyone in the US! They’re treated as the same as cocaine in the UK, but I was totally addicted to Adderall and I obviously was not in a good mental state at that time. I also got hooked on prescribed sleeping pills to help come down [from the drugs] – both of these things affected my physical health so much as I’d be awake for days, losing circulation in my fingers, heart beating fast and pretty disconnected from reality – this is the darkest depths of my third year. I was a high-functioning addict in my second year, but in my third year I didn’t want to see others – I wasn’t doing drugs to have a fun night out or go to a party, but just to do the drugs uninterrupted.

“I’d stay up reorganising my Spotify or cutting my fingernails until they bled – unglamorous I know.”

Did you receive any support from the university?

“As far as receiving support, I was on academic probation in second year, because I had a full time job managing my Instagram – luckily no-one saw because having a job is against the rules as an undergraduate. So I was prioritising this job over my studies, trying to get experiences worth writing about. However, when I tried to get access to any mental support services from my college, they saw that as me getting worse! There was a period when I did try to go to the college to get free therapy, but it just resulted in more meetings, emails and concerns from my tutors –

“I quickly figured out that the quickest way to get off academic probation was to stop asking for help.

“As far as receiving support, I was on academic probation in second year, because I had a full time job managing my Instagram – luckily no-one saw because having a job is against the rules as an undergraduate. So I was prioritising this job over my studies, trying to get experiences worth writing about. However, when I tried to get access to any mental support services from my college, they saw that as me getting worse! There was a period when I did try to go to the college to get free therapy, but it just resulted in more meetings, emails and concerns from my tutors –

“I quickly figured out that the quickest way to get off academic probation was to stop asking for help.

Cambridge (left) vs New York (right), two very different cultures. Photo credits: Keira Quirk [L], Jean-Christophe Benoist [R, CC-SA3.0]

“Cambridge is the city in the world that inspires me most artistically, but it is not the city in the world where I fit in the most, or value the most. The things I value the most – eccentricity, originality and hustle – are things that are highly valued in New York, but Cambridge values discipline, tradition and, unfortunately, the status quo. So I never felt at home in Cambridge, but I felt inspired. I’m so grateful for my time at NYU, not just because it’s Taylor’s alma mater (!), but because I found the city that I love the most in the world.

“You know how I told you I couldn’t leave Florida until I’d wrote my book? I have a rule that I can’t go back to New York until I have three books out, because it’s where I have the most fun.”

You were embroiled in a sex work controversy in 2020 – how did you deal with the challenges associated with that?

People didn’t approve of some of Caroline’s work. Screenshot via Twitter.

“First of all I hate that sex work is controversial, because sex work is real work!

“I have no shame, in fact I feel genuine pride over the fact that I was able to earn $100,000 in one summer by selling topless photos.

“Also I think that doing my art history degree in Cambridge fully desensitised me to the female nude – do you know how many ‘titties’ I had to see for three years? Thousands, maybe tens of thousands – so being topless for me just felt very artistic. I’m proud of it, and I don’t really see it as a controversy.

“I had such a good time being Orlando, or slutty Jane Austen characters, Belle from Beauty and the Beast and others, but yeah it’s a pity that it is so controversial.

“Also decriminalise sex work! No I’m sorry that last bit was so random but yeah, it shouldn’t be controversial.”

Were you ever concerned that being at St. Eddie’s would hinder you socially?

“Absolutely! That’s why I lived at Downing during my second year and King’s during my third. Just yes! It definitely did! For anyone else from the hill colleges or just, you know, a college lower on the Tompkins Table, whatever you’re feeling about being isolated, FOMO or jealously, I felt them too, and to be honest I feel them today. People have booked formals at their colleges, and I’m not going back to Eddies, so it’s a bummer that I can’t have these perks as an alumna in a social way.”

Best and worst memory at Cambridge?

“I can’t tell you completely because I’m saving it for a future book… but my friends and I wanted to go to the best May Balls, but you know what’s better than going to the best May Balls? Breaking into the best May Balls for sport. What’s better than breaking into the best May Balls for sport? Breaking into as many of them in one night as possible and doing a giant scavenger hunt all the way to Oxford. We hired a giant party van in the middle of the night and hit up all the Cambridge ones, then drove to Oxford and hit up all of the balls at Oxford!

“Sneaking in, climbing over walls, pretending to deliver burgers, wearing a high-vis jacket. That’s my favourite story but I’ll save the details for my book…

“My least favourite memory was probably wanting to die in the third year. I was so fragile and suicidal, which was probably not just one of my worst memories at Cambridge but in my life.

Advice to budding entrepreneurs/social media stars?

“Easier said than done, obviously, but don’t let what other people in your year say about you affect you. This is specifically for people trying to build up some form of online presence, my advice would be to tone out – sorry tune out, I’m so fucking tired – the bullies. I had to do that, and now I don’t think about them at all – I barely thought about them at Cambridge, but I could hear their whispers and their screenshots on group chats and it broke my heart, and I wish it didn’t. You’ll never see these people again, and now they’ve all got boring jobs and they all went bald – seriously all of them –

“Karma’s a bitch.”

Most underrated spot in Cambridge?

“In a punt at 7am after a May Ball. Most colleges start their punt slots at 7am – if you book a punt at 7am after the May Ball, then you and your friends have this one hour period with your friends from when the ball ends to that 7am mark, all dressed up, and then you can all get in a punt and its just so underrated! And one of the best things I could recommend.”

What’s next for Caroline Calloway?

“I just recorded the most eloquent answer and then deleted it! Anyway, SCAMMER is the first part of the Instagram trilogy. I’ve already announced the other two titles and front covers on my Instagram, and I have more day books planned – 10 in total. ‘Day books’ are books that are under 200 pages (SCAMMER is 158) – they are designed to be read in one day, evoking the childish satisfaction of reading a book cover to cover in one afternoon. So yeah, [I’ve planned] seven ‘day books’ after the trilogy; after the trilogy I will be allowed to visit NY, but after this talk at the union I’m seeing my friends briefly, then I’m heading straight back to Florida – no friends, head down, just grinding and writing.

“Lastly, after I finish the ‘day books’, I’m going to move them to publishers – before I was making them by myself as a one-woman indie press, but hopefully contracts will be signed so I can make a VERY SPECIAL announcement at the Cambridge Union next Wednesday – all nine remaining books should be moved to a real publisher, with smaller luxury runs of the first edition – so SCAMMER had a luxury first edition run of 10,000, for the others I’m thinking more like 2,000- 3,000, then you’d have to wait for the paperback edition.

So there you have it – stories of addiction and promises of future content. The whirlwind celebrity turned author can be seen at The Cambridge Union on 22nd November at 8.30pm. For the exclusive opportunity to meet her at the Union drinks reception, fill out the form.