Jordyn Ryder at her most raw. One of the models who launched IsMyGirl.com tells you how it feels to be the person on the other end of the screen.
“You have zero respect for yourself #trash.” “Are you surprised when guys send you dick pics? You are basically asking for it.” “Put some clothes on fat ass.” “You can’t get pissy at guys making comments like that when you post this shit.” “You like to dress [promiscuously], but yet you get upset when you get the attention [you’re] wanting.” “Slut.”
I’m not trying to make this article about how people should feel bad for me when I receive rude comments, about how all women should feel comfortable showing off their bodies online or to prove some sort of false reality of how my life really is. The truth is, I chose to make my image on social media a certain way, originally to gain a following that meant literally nothing to anyone but myself. Over the last year, social media has been both a curse and a huge blessing on my character and personal life. It has given me a positive platform and a new motivation to take on challenges with a fresh outlook on everything in my own and other people’s lives. In today’s society, we only see what people want us to see about them online. We have this preconceived notion that everyone’s existence, surroundings and situations are better than ours because that’s exactly how it is meant to seem. I want people to know who the girl is behind the social media platforms, just me, without any type of filter, telling my experience.
Some would think that working from home and being on social media all day would be a dream job. What most of my followers don’t realise is that I’m not technically employed any of the people i represent online, but truly, almost everything I do is because I want to prove that I have what it takes to be in this industry and I enjoy it. I get the narrow-minded individuals on my live show or on Instagram who assume I am “only doing this because I get paid.” The fact is that I do not get paid directly from social media. I honestly love the tattoo industry and the amazing people I get to interact with on a daily basis through social media and especially “Mondays with Jordyn.”
Obviously, the internet has become such a gigantic influence on how companies run their business; it has become the norm when it comes to advertisement and marketing tactics. “Mom and pop” companies that have been around for years have had to jump onto the social media bandwagon because they would potentially suffer otherwise. In my case, for my — I guess in the parlance of the times — “brand” it has been fantastic to get my name out into the world, but at what risk? Half of my photos are not appropriate for a family Christmas card, and as soon as I had my breast augmentation, almost every picture revolved around my new chest. I was discovered by websites like theCHIVE and Inked magazine, but I became a person online that I no longer recognised. Would one assume that these “fans” know that I have a degree from Texas A&M, love antiques, talk to my family every single day or that my favourite move is The Breakfast Club? Of course they don’t know. because who wants to follow a non-celebrity who posts “boring” things like that? Men and women follow “Instagram models” for very different reasons, but they still follow nonetheless. True, I could have continued to post photos of my food, dog and flowers, but then who would have discovered me? I want to kick myself for thinking that way sometimes, but at the end of the day, that is just the cold hard truth of today’s society: sex sells.
In my last year or so of college when I had my first photo shoot, I started tagging tattoo social media pages and using obnoxious hashtags to gain the attention of followers. I had this dream of being discovered that quickly fizzled out with graduation and my move back home. I could have used my college degree to get a normal 9-5, but then what? I saw myself slipping into a boring routine like so many of my colleagues who feared to break the mold of a life society had expected from them. After losing an internship with an event planning company when they discovered my tattoos, I moved to Austin, Texas with no job, no a real plan. This was probably the most significant turning point when social media became a greater aspect in my everyday life.
Everything I posted online always revolved around sex in some shape or form. If someone were to meet me in person, they never would have guessed that I was the same girl from my Instagram. Looking at my own photos, I saw a woman who wanted attention for the wrong reasons, someone who probably couldn’t hold an intellectual conversation, and a person who didn’t necessarily lack respect for herself, but maybe who just didn’t care. Life became all about gaining a following, drawing traffic to my website and getting posted on popular forums. I never realised how much my life would be influenced so heavily by social media in a negative and then a positive way.
For the last year or so I have been making a living from posting photos on a website where individuals pay to become a member. Each “model” has her own app where she can upload provocative photos and videos a couple times a week. These photos can be as risqué or as tame as the model wishes them to be; it is totally up to the model’s discretion when it comes to posting the type content on their app. I will admit, when I first became a contributor to this particular website, I felt that I would not become successful if I did not show more of my body. Because of the platform I have built for myself on Instagram and “Mondays with Jordyn,” I later realised that I could afford to tone down my content drastically.
The site has absolutely been a blessing to me financially, but at the same time, advertising for my content on social media did cast a shadow on the way fans saw me. Every time I would upload a new photo set on my website, I would post a “teaser” photo on social media. In my mind, posting these sexy photos was the only way to get my name/site out into the world. I never wanted to be one of “those girls” that only posted pictures of that nature for attention. I hated how young girls would comment #bodygoals on my photos. I didn’t want the woman on Instagram to be someone they looked up to, I wanted them to look up to me as the person I am on my live segment, the real me. I would try to validate my posts by reminding myself that I was all about business and this was a “temporary job”.
Other days I would tell myself that I was being a voice for those women who weren’t confident with their sexuality or their body. Sometimes I would post a “trashy” picture and think about how I was at least getting paid to take them when so many other girls do it for free. There were days when I wanted to post something funny or inspirational but with the audience I built with those types of photos, I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as many Likes. We are more concerned with the amount of Likes on the photo than if we actually love what we posted. I probably wouldn’t have stopped feeling this way or strove to become something more without “Mondays with Jordyn.”
Mondays with Jordyn
When I was first approached by Inked US about doing a live Q&A on their Facebook page, I had assumed that it would be a one-time occurrence – an easy way to get my social media platform out to several thousands of people. The live feed was about what I had expected: lots of tattoo questions and even more men telling me to “jump” (so the “girls” would bounce). I was actually instructed to wear something more revealing because unfortunately “sex sells” and that was the only way to get a substantial amount of views. I wouldn’t say that the experience was a negative one, but if you were to tell me I would be doing it every single Monday, I would have told you to take a seat.
The only reason I went on a second time was because someone had cancelled and the time slot needed to be filled. This was very last minute, I hadn’t done my hair or makeup and I hadn’t picked out a sexy outfit. Needless to say, I panicked. I was nowhere near prepared to go live in front of several thousands of people being totally natural in glasses and my pajamas. The outcome from this particular feed is what truly started what is now called “Mondays with Jordyn.” People seemed to relate more to this natural version of myself, a person who didn’t just sit there and smile, someone who fought back a bit.
Obviously, I had the jerks, religious fanatics and extreme feminists chime in their opinions, and they still do to ths day, but the vibe was absolutely different from the first show. Even with the great feedback, I just assumed that it was a lucky day and I would not be caught off guard with my appearance on the next show. I tried to figure out what type of pattern the live show had in regards to what I wore, my demeanor and the topics discussed. During some of the segments sex really did sell – I only reached a million views in an hour if I had on less clothing, or if I became super sassy and talked like a sailor. Other weeks I would just sit on the floor in my jammies being super calm and collected, gaining the same amount of views. So what did people really gravitate towards? I was answering most of the same tattoo questions a countless amount of times, telling the same stories and giving people the same reactions to negativity… so what kept a million people coming back every week? I think once I found my flow and discovered a happy medium with how I dressed/presented myself, viewers saw me as a normal person they could tune into every week. Mondays suck anyways, so having something or someone familiar to watch/listen to on a lunch break must be somehow comforting. I still find myself wondering why so many people watch the show every week, but then I think about the same reason I watch YouTube videos or other live feeds… there is just something relaxing about the voice of the person and the routine they provide.
I really didn’t realise the impact my show had on people until I started getting the messages on Instagram and emails. I don’t see myself as a saint by any means, but to only get recognition for the “sexy” photos on social media then suddenly be appreciated for being myself… really started to feel gratifying. I have gotten countless messages from men and woman stating that “Mondays with Jordyn” is the highlight of their week and that they feel like they are spending an hour with a friend. I have been floored and humbled by the young women and single mothers that contact me saying that I have given them the confidence to stand up for themselves, to not be ashamed for being comfortable with their bodies and that I am a role model to them. A role model… I never would have imagined anyone saying that to me after this “character” I created for myself on social media. Someone who had given off this persona of sex and shallowness shouldn’t be a role model.
Obviously, the way that I make money does rely heavily on the advertisement of sexual imagery to an extent, but that was really all I focused on in the past. Having my live segment has given me a chance to show so many people who I really am; it has inspired me to start posting images and context not as an “Instagram model” but content that mirrors who I am as a person!
2016 was absolutely a year of growth and self-awareness. I became extremely independent, I began to branch out and travel a bit, I realised what my full potential could amount to, I discovered who and what is meant to be in my life. I fell in love and I had my heart broken. I often get asked how my family and my boyfriend, now ex-, responds to my “social media presence” and my website. When it comes to my family, I have always kept a lot of what I do for a living hidden. Of course parents want to know where their child is getting money from when they don’t have a conventional job, but sometimes I had to tell them not to go digging if they didn’t want to find out information they wouldn’t like.
I don’t receive them as often as I did in the past, but I would get comments from people asking “are your parents proud of you for posting this kind of stuff?” or, “you must have daddy issues.” On the contrary, even though I didn’t talk about work much before, I am extremely close to my family. It took them years to finally let me live my life as an independent adult to make my own choices without bombarding me with questions. I do ask that my parents do not follow my social media platforms that involve “inappropriate photos,” but my dad actually does enjoy my live segment (besides the cursing), which makes me extremely proud.
When we were together my ex-boyfriend was never a fan of my social media presence or my website, but I didn’t realise how opposed he was to the whole thing until a year later. He always seemed to be content with the idea that my job was only temporary and that I would eventually become something greater. He saw a potential in me that I didn’t always see in myself but he just couldn’t look past the competition he had with my phone and my fans/subscribers. If I could say one thing to a woman in a similar profession as mine, please know when to separate your work and personal life and always remind the person you are with that they matter. I wouldn’t say I put my “fans” above my relationship, but as he saw my following building more, he got to a point where he simply didn’t want to be a part of it. At the time, “Mondays with Jordyn” was just starting out and he only saw it as another way for men to stare at my chest, which to be honest, is what it was in the beginning.
Even though I am still involved with the same type of websites and other social media platforms, I am finding myself again and I feel good about it. Obviously it would take a confident person to date someone in my position, but at the same time, I have honestly acquired so much insight from another’s point of view that I will take with me to my next relationship. I am gaining the confidence to put my body out there and not feel ashamed of it because of how others feel about it. How can I be a voice for people who are afraid to challenge the norm when I myself have been hiding behind this bold woman I portray through my photos?
Post tits and the creeps will come. It really shouldn’t be an expectation to have to deal with the douchebags and weirdos online when a woman posts a sexy photo, but unfortunately it can be. I am often asked why I call out the rude people on Instagram and my live segment, and I am pressured to not feed into their comments because they are just trying to get a reaction out of me. If they want a reaction, I am damn sure going to give them one that not only makes them feel stupid, but shows other people how to not to just sit ideally by and take abuse either.
If you follow my Instagram, you know that I often post screenshots of the jerks that send me horrific and offensive messages. I have no problem at all with calling out these idiots, even if it is for just a few minutes. With these posts I obviously get the morons that come at me with the “what did you expect with the photos you put up?” This topic always seems to be what most people do not understand, it’s not that I don’t expect it the reactions, I just refuse to accept them. Do I get paid to post photos “not safe for work” on a private website? Absolutely, my app is for people to pay to see these images and the rest is up to them. Do I deserve disgusting comments and photos thrown at me personally through social media? No. Needless to say, since I started blasting comments and direct messages, the negativity severely slowed down. When it comes to “Mondays with Jordyn,” I have stated this before on the show and I still stand behind it – if people watch because it makes them happy, great. If they watch it because they need to bitch at a stranger because they are unsatisfied with life and they are having a bad day, so be it. If I can help one person out by giving any type of advice, by being a motivator or a punching bag, at least I can say I made some sort of difference at that moment.
HONESTY TIME • (warning, it's sappy and most of you won't like it)••• If you have been following me for a while you all know that I'm usually pretty open and responsive to people. I'm approached by so many men and woman that ask me how I'm so confident with myself, my body and my posts. Others assume that I must have an amazing sex life because they see how "sexual I am on my sites and social media"…the truth is..when it comes to sexuality in my daily life, I am not this person. •••This isn't something I would normally talk about, but I really feel so alone in the world when it comes to this topic. Relationships are almost impossible when you don't want to be intimate 90% of the time..your partner feels unattractive, unloved and not wanted. Imagine being so into someone, even in love with them…and not wanting to be intimate with them. I'm not sure if it's a mental block or if I'm just THAT stubborn. •••Many people tell me, "oh you haven't found the right person"- that may be true but how did this happen to me? I don't remember always being this way..but now every relationship ends up the same. The issue is that post these photos for my job but I can't be sexy with the person I'm dating and they end up leaving so they won't cheat on me. This is 100% accurate..I shut down and become nothing but the best friend who doesn't want to be touched. ••• do I need to see a therapist? Hypnotism?medication? I don't want to be this way…I want to WANT my partner. Maybe it's the "profession" I'm in or an event from my past but I just honestly wanted to know if any of you out there have the same type of struggles. I know a relationship isn't just about sex…but when you are constantly blocking out the person you want to be with…and you don't know why..it's HEARTBREAKING for both of you. I think the expectations of sex in a relationship push me away even more. (thank you to the countless people who have already reached out to me about this…I'm glad I'm not alone and I love you all so much ❤️)
With as much as I talk about the negativity of posting sexy images online, I still have a place in my heart for sites that allow girls to take control of their finances and sexuality without having to get involved with actual porn. I was recently sent to an adult convention to represent their new website called IsMyGirl.com and was introduced to a very different world. The website that I have been working through is very private and I can take photos of myself from the comfort of my own home, but these woman at the convention were accustomed to something more intense. So many women think that this type of industry is only revolved around actual porn, but with IsMyGirl.com women will be able to submit their own content at their own discretion and have the potential to make thousands of dollars a month just by taking selfies. The sex industry is changing and moulding into something that is more accessible to the everyday woman who wants to either make extra money or potentially create a career.
I would have no problem whatsoever encouraging another woman to join a site like IsMyGirl because it does not have to be about actual porn. I know women who do not even show a nipple and they are very successful regardless. This site is about taking control of our lives, our finances and our body. Ismygirl will probably be another path for negative comments and judgments from people who don’t know the real me, but then why should they matter? I am by no means a feminist, let’s make that very clear, but I am all for women doing whatever they feel comfortable with when it comes to their body and how they display it. I refuse to let another person make me feel bad about what I do for a living just because, and I quote, “[They] can’t make their problems go away just by taking [their] shirt off.” When we start to allow others to dictate how we see ourselves and how we choose to live our life, we forget who we really are. This industry is not my life nor is it my future path, but I will be damned if I don’t take advantage of the platform I have created to help out whoever I can, emotionally, personally or financially.
Current and Future Goals
I no longer feel ashamed to make money the way that I do, nor for the fact that I don’t have a specific plan for my future. I am 26 years old and the possibilities are truly endless. Because of this new platform that may or may not continue to grow, I have been approached by a company to be the face of their brand that does so much to keep kids off the streets and away from gangs. They appreciate the fact that I can communicate with men and woman with a confidence and relatable demeanour while still having the look that they were searching for. I always told myself that social media was temporary, but why should it have to be? I just needed to find my niche and some type of purpose and cause.
I decided at the end of last year that I would start a separate Instagram, one where I could post exactly what I wanted, not what was expected of me. I called it @just_jordyn_ryder because that is exactly what I wanted it to portray, a display of my love for sad poetry and simple images. I wanted a place where I didn’t have to worry or care about the amount of likes or new followers, an obsession that I am sad to say often overcame me. For business purposes, I will continue to advertise myself in the same way I have been, with provocative photos and other posts, but I will not make that my main focus. I have a new drive to grow as a person and to help others grow in whatever way they may need it. What is the point of having a large social media platform when no one truly benefits from it at the end of the day?
If you made it this far, I truly appreciate that you did not just glance at the photos and continued to look on – thank you for hearing me out. I value your time so I’ll keep my summation brief, in fact I’ll do in the metric of social media at 140 characters: What I do can be wildly fulfilling or soul-crushing, social media has given us “trolls” but also connected you to interact with the real me. Thank You. Jordyn Ryder