OnlyFans CEO Amrapali Gan didn’t follow the typical path to the corner office—but she’s not leading a typical company
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A Monterey Park lawmaker reflects on the tragedy in her hometown, a prominent executive leaves Spotify, and OnlyFans’ chief is an unlikely CEO for an unusual company. Have a great Tuesday.
– Over at OnlyFans. Amrapali Gan didn’t follow the typical path to CEO. A longtime marketing and communications exec, she hopped between organizations as diverse as Quest Nutrition, Red Bull, and a Los Angeles cannabis cafe before landing her current gig.
But perhaps that’s fitting for a CEO who’s leading a far-from-typical company. Gan, 37, is the CEO of OnlyFans, the subscription-based platform known as a popular home for creators of adult content. Gan, formerly the company’s chief marketing and communications officer, took over the job from OnlyFans founder Tim Stokely in December 2021.
She’s spent the past year on a dual mission, which I dive into in a new feature for Fortune’s February/March magazine issue, published online today. First, to welcome adult content creators and sex workers to the OnlyFans platform after a short-lived plan to ban them in 2021 lost the trust of many of the site’s highest-earning stars. Second, Gan aims to broaden the public perception of OnlyFans from a home for nudes and porn to a mainstream-style social media site that can be used for content of all kinds, with a username listed in a bio right next to Twitter and Instagram handles.
With her comms training, Gan calls that strategy “clearing up misconceptions” about OnlyFans, which brings in nearly $1 billion in annual revenue. The company takes a 20% cut of the earnings its 3 million creators receive from 220 million users. That allows creators to keep 80%, among the most direct sources of monetization available online, compared to the 45%-55% cut of ad-share revenue vloggers keep from YouTube or the brand deals and product-hawking required to earn a living on Instagram.
OnlyFans has had an eventful history since its 2016 founding in the U.K., including some run-ins with major financial institutions, which I outline in my story. Creators like Kazumi, a porn performer who earns $300,000 a month, or Vanniall, a sex worker who relied on OnlyFans after an HIV diagnosis threatened her ability to earn a living in the pornography industry, told me how the platform has changed their lives.
Gan says OnlyFans continues to be a “creator-first platform”—especially as it works to evolve in public. As OnlyFans chief strategy and operations officer Keily Blair told me: “We’ll have succeeded as a company when it’s clear that you can join OnlyFans for whatever reason, and there isn’t an assumption that you’re going to be taking your top off. But equally—it’s fine if you want to, as long as you’re 18.”
I hope you’ll read the full feature here.
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ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Spotify layoffs. Spotify joined Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, and other big tech companies in announcing layoffs this week. Leaving alongside 6% of staff will be Dawn Ostroff, the chief content and advertising business officer credited with Spotify's podcast strategy. Hollywood Reporter
- Hometown tragedy. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) has served as a politician in Monterey Park, a majority Asian city where a gunman killed 10 people on the eve of the Lunar New Year, since the early 2000s. She called the city resilient and wants it to be remembered for its diversity. Time
- Challenge ahead. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) announced that he will run for incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's seat. Sinema left the Democratic Party to become an independent in December, and Democratic leaders worry their votes will be split if she seeks reelection. New York Times
- Secret Justice. A documentary made in airtight secrecy made a surprise appearance at Sundance on Friday. The film outlines the FBI’s investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, all of which he has denied. FOIA requests by the makers of Justice revealed that the FBI received approximately 4,500 tips that they did not investigate. Associated Press
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Former Hudson's Bay Company CEO Helena Buonanno Foulkes was named executive chair of the board of directors for Follett Higher Education. Murielle Thinard McLane has joined Intuitive Ventures as a partner. Claire Biernacki has been promoted to partner at BBG Ventures.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- The Queen is back. Beyoncé performed for the first time in four years for an invite-only audience at the new Atlantis The Royal Resort in Dubai. While she didn't perform any songs from her 2022 album Renaissance, there is a possibility she will make an onstage appearance at the Grammy Awards. Variety
- 'Utterly abhorrent.' New Zealand's incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins called for more men to hold each other accountable for respecting women. He said that Jacinda Ardern, who unexpectedly resigned as prime minister last week, faced misogyny and treatment that was "utterly abhorrent." Bloomberg
- Subsidized IVF. China is exploring a new policy to cover part of the cost of IVF under national health insurance. This is one measure the government hopes will buoy the country's declining population, as the fertility rate in China is below the global average. New York Times
ON MY RADAR
Kim Kardashian partners with Italian actresses from The White Lotus for Skims campaign Wall Street Journal
What's the matter with men? New Yorker
Trans artist rebinds Harry Potter series to erase J.K. Rowling’s name Washington Post
The forward momentum of Women Talking The Cut
"We're boldly declaring that enough is enough—and using our collective power to demand our government, our employers, and our culture finally put moms first."
- Reshma Saujani on changing the name of her organization, formerly known as the Marshall Plan for Moms, to Moms First
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