'I went from a parole officer to working on OnlyFans. It has nothing to do with the money.'

A few years ago, OnlyFans creator Tessa Snow was working a high-pressure job as a parole officer, with plans to join the police force one day. But, what she didn’t foresee was a battle with her mental health that resulted in several hospitalisations and chronic illness diagnoses, which cause her daily pain.

“Throughout the last couple of years, I have struggled with my mental health and have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADHD, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, endometriosis and a recent diagnosis of PMDD, a condition similar to PMS but much more severe,” Tessa tells Mamamia.

Tessa's days are mostly spent balancing her pain management with doctor appointments and as much activity as she can handle in the mornings. She sees her pelvic floor physiotherapist, psychologist, and usually two other doctors each week. She also needs to rest often, as the pain can be unbearable, especially later in the day. 

Tessa's physical and mental health limit her to working a maximum of eight hours per week, as assessed by her psychiatrist and doctors. This makes it extremely hard for her to find a conventional job. And, at the end of last year, she underwent endo surgery, which was followed by a mental health relapse. As a result, she had to spend 10 weeks in the hospital, which prevented her from starting her new admin job with the police force.

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"I was heartbroken when I had to call them from the emergency room to say I couldn't start my new job. I've also been working with a disability employment agency for over two years, but they haven't found a suitable job for me yet. What was I going to do? We know having a job, money, and something to do is a protective factor for your mental health, and I needed that."

Tessa has received a lot of online criticism for her seemingly "relaxed lifestyle." However, she wants people to know that she wishes she was capable of working full time. "I wish I could work in the justice sector again, but my mental health and chronic illnesses make it impossible," she says.

Living on the disability pension for a couple of years now, which is around $1,000 per fortnight, Tessa was looking for ways to supplement her income due to the rising cost of living.

She’d been an influencer in the past and thought she’d give OnlyFans a go after seeing other successful creators online that worked entirely for themselves. “I'm creative, confident, and I like taking photos, so I figured it was worth a try.”

Since then she has been creating content online, including photos of herself in lingerie, reporting her earnings to Centrelink and paying herself a wage, she says. “I might spend as little as three hours on it in a bad week, and maybe eight in a good week. But any money I make mainly goes towards medical bills.”


Tessa wants to be clear that she isn’t “rolling around in it.”

Image: Tessa Snow.

“It’s a business income and I was able to make my yearly wage from the pension in a couple months. I also haven’t been able to work full time for three years and I don’t know if I ever will, so this additional income has been so helpful,” she says.

"The best part of my job is that I don't have to be anywhere on days when I'm not feeling well, whether it's due to my mental health, my period, or a chronic illness flare-up. If I had a traditional job, I'd have to show up even when I'm in pain, vomiting, or physically unable to get out of bed. It's hard for employers to be understanding in those situations when they happen often."


“My medical appointments take a lot of energy out of me. So, in the afternoons, I'm usually on the couch, watching Netflix or whatever. That's the part that people don't see,” Tessa says. “I think a lot of people don’t get it because they only see me when I'm going to the gym or doing other things that require a lot of energy. But on bad days, I struggle to eat and make food.”

For women considering joining OnlyFans, Tessa has a word of advice: "Make sure you're in the right headspace, especially if you have chronic illnesses or pain. Only do it when you're feeling good and not in crisis mode, when you're thinking clearly. Also, get guidance from other creators, this has helped me so much. And lastly, stick to what you're comfortable with."

While OnlyFans isn’t a long term career for Tessa, she’d love to get to the stage where she does more photo shoots and instead of posting them for free on Instagram, putting them behind a paywall instead. “I’d also love to work with other creators, just to really embrace every part of the creativity on the platform,” she says.

Tessa has no intention of returning to a full-time job in the near future, and instead plans to invest the money she has made on OnlyFans into a business with a friend to support women on their healing journeys. “I know what it's like to live with a chronic illness and to hate yourself for it. I just want to support more women through that.”

Feature Image: Tessa Snow Instagram.

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