The ongoing bushfire in Australia has caused alarm not just in the country but in the whole world. This is because the main cause of these wildfires which is climate change does not just affect Australia but the rest of the world too.
Ever since the series of fires started, the social media world has been flooded with photos of poor animals losing their lives helplessly. Because of these, help started to flood for Australia as many famous celebrities and organizations have pledged to donate huge amounts of money.
But this particular Instagram model has earned buzz on social media for her own way of raising funds about the bushfire in Australia.
According to The Guardian, in four days, 20-year old ‘Naked Philanthropist’ Kaylen Ward estimates she has raised more than $700,000 for the victims of Australia’s bushfire crisis – by sending nude photographs of herself to anyone who donates more than $10 to one of her chosen charities and sends her the receipt.
The California resident has worked as a nude model since August 2019. While vacationing in the Caribbean she says she fell into a “rabbit hole” after reading about the unprecedented fires that are raging along Australia’s eastern and southern coastlines.
“I donated $1,000 myself,” she tells Guardian Australia. “I had a substantial amount of followers, maybe 30,000 at the time, and I thought that a lot of my followers would pitch in and send in some donations for the wildfires.”
At around 10pm on 3 January, Ward tweeted a nude image of herself – with an angel emoji acting as a modesty strip – alongside a list of charities her followers could fund. That evening she raised more than $7,000. “The next morning I woke up and it had gone absolutely viral and I was flooded with messages. It quickly just blew up and went upwards of $100,000 before I knew it.”
Ward’s original tweet has now been retweeted 77,000 times and she has started calling herself the Naked Philanthropist. “Not all heroes wear capes,” has been one of the most common responses to her efforts.
The cause is a personal one for Ward, who was affected by the Carr and Campfires in northern California in 2018. “I got to see first hand how fires like that can affect people and how devastating they are,” she says. So far, Australia’s bushfires have burned through more than 8.4m hectares. “To put [the California fires] up to scale with what’s happening in Australia right now, it’s not even comparable.”
Ward explains that she is offering something people were already prepared to pay for. “I already use my Twitter platform to make money by selling nude photos … I have a loyal fan base who buys content from me and that’s how I pay my bills.”
However, she was unprepared for the “overwhelming” amount of attention she has received and is struggling to keep up with the demand. “I’m still a little bit in shock about how much positivity I’ve received from this.”
Since posting the viral tweet, Ward has faced criticism for previous posts she has made on social media. “Mostly it’s not people saying anything negative about what I’m doing. It’s more people trying to dig and find out who I am and try to find out anything they can about me that’s negative. It’s become almost an obsession with a few of these people.”
Ward has also been upset that her Instagram account, which had more than 60,000 followers and was a significant source of revenue, has been deleted. “Every time I try to make a new account it’s deactivated, and what’s concerning is there are a few fake accounts who are impersonating me that haven’t got deleted. People are stealing my identity through Instagram.”
Ultimately, Ward remains upbeat about the situation. “People are always going to have their opinions especially if you’re in this line of work” she says. “If you’re doing it for a good cause and you know deep down you’re a good person, never let anybody get to you or make you feel that you’re less-than.”