She's the daughter of evangelical Christians from Idaho, so poor they couldn't always manage to put food on the table. A former factory worker who never graduated college, she became one of the most successful performers on the adult subscription site OnlyFans, earning in some months over $100,000 on the platform. She still does one-on-one appointments but only with clients who can afford to pay her current rate of $3,000 an hour.
But Aella is also known for her oddball social media polls, for sexy and silly personal moments on Twitter, and for using her giant platform to spread hot libertarian takes, such as declaring, "I like capitalism."
"I think generally most of what the government does should be privatized," she writes. "I don't think it should be involved at all in healthcare, social security, or welfare."
"I am not okay with you making laws that prevent me from doing what I feel is good for me," Aella told Reason. "That is the border here. This is the respect of freedom."
She's also an outspoken defender of sex worker rights. She compares her current life to what it was like at the age of 19, when she would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to go do repetitive tasks on an assembly line in a windowless factory, often putting in 54 hours a week.
"Why do people talk about survival sex work but not like… survival factory work or survival burger flipping?" she wonders. Yes, there's exploitation in sex work, but "decriminalizing sex work would let workers actually go get police help if they needed it."
Even before she got rich and famous, back when she was "scraping change off the ground to eat," Aella says she still "had libertarian-leaning economic views."
Reason's Liz Wolfe met up with Aella at her home in Austin, Texas, for a wide-ranging conversation about everything from how sex work made her a better data scientist to why many successful practitioners in her industry are selling not just sex but the personal connections that so many of us are missing in our lives.
Interview by Liz Wolfe; edited by Zach Weissmueller and Isaac Reese; camera by Andrew Miller and Weissmueller; audio post-production by Ian Keyser; graphics by Nodehaus.