Lauren Kwei is a 23-year-old EMT working in New York City. The New York Post outed her OnlyFans account, and she expected to be fired. Instead, she found numerous supporters and sparked some real conversations.
New York Post reporters Dean Balsamini and Susan Edelman tried to shame the young medic. For a moment, Kwei believed the interview would ruin her reputation, and she'd get fired. A Facebook group of a famous podcast celebrated Kwei's dedication to her patients while trying to make enough money to have a decent living. Soon, the reporters were accused of doxxing.
Lauren's fight again The Post started on Twitter, where she did her best to explain what happened. She stated:
"There are many people telling me what they think I should do and giving me advice I did not ask for. Let me be obvious: I did not want the NY Post to run this article, much less use my name."
"When Dean Balsamini first "interviewed" me, he did not tell me what this was about until after I disclosed most of my background."
Her hunt for justice continued as the 23-year-old got a chance to clear up the situation by talking to The Rolling Stone.
Kwei's dreams and reality of working as an EMT
Lauren Kwei came to NYC wanting to be a dancer. She quickly realized that Broadway's not in the cards, and she started her EMT training.
Soon enough, she had to quit since "I couldn't put myself through paramedic school on minimum wage."
Instead, she worked as a hostess and finished school in February 2020. She's been working ever since, which means that Kwei's been a frontline worker since the pandemic started.
"I had panic attacks at work and even had a supervisor tell me I should consider another profession if I didn't grow a thicker skin, I am a damn good paramedic."
Lauren proudly added:
"I LOVE my job, and I love taking care of people. I don't want to quit my day job and get my bag on OnlyFans — I want to serve the city of New York."
On her Twitter, she shared one thought that everyone can resonate with:
"The NY Post gave me a voice. So here I am, showing myself to the world. I'm here to tell you all that my First Responder brothers and sisters are suffering. We need your help."
Just before the interview with the Rolling Stone magazine, a young woman stated:
"[These reporters] wrote this article in an attempt to shame me. "
"But instead, they shed light on the fact that New York City EMS workers don't get paid enough and that a lot of us have two or three jobs or side gigs just to keep afloat in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I don't think they knew going into it that I was willing to put up a fight."
Kwei's side of the story
She started the interview by expressing that people don't talk enough about EMT's mental health. She told The Rolling Stone magazine:
"Mental health is not spoken a lot about in EMS. I wouldn't say it's looked down upon; it just is kind of not spoken of. And there were three, at least three New York City EMS workers that died by suicide this year, and we think it's the effects of the pandemic.
"There was a 24-year-old, brand-new EMT who worked for the fire department, and he shot himself after only two or three months on the job. He had reached out to people saying how helpless he felt, and he just didn't get the help that he needed and ended up dying. "
"There are so many stories like that that we don't know about because of the death and despair that we saw as paramedics. And we are just expected to go on to the next job and work 30-40 hours a week doing the same thing every day where we would have several patients in one day dying on you. And you just were expected to just let it roll off your back and keep on going."
Lauren's been dealing with mental health issues most of her life, so the pandemic almost pushed her over the edge:
"I've actually struggled with depression almost all my life, and recently anxiety as well. And I know that I can't take care of my patients if I'm not well myself. So I did struggle a lot, I'm a very empathetic person. "
"It was really difficult for me to see people dying, maybe not in my ambulance, but there were numbers just shooting up and people dying when nobody could save them. At the time, I had roommates, but I didn't know them. And so I would come home to a lonely apartment, and after a long day's work and just cry. I felt so lonely. I felt like I wasn't allowed to speak out about what I was seeing, I felt helpless, like there was nothing I could do except watch these people die."
Despite challenges, Kwei, as a real fighter, thinks that the pandemic made her stronger:
"I think it's a blessing and a curse to have started my career during the pandemic. Personally, it's made me stronger. "
"I struggled with suicidal ideations a lot this year because of the loneliness, because of the helplessness. I found myself thinking, why would I want to be in a world with so much pain and despair? It felt like people had forgotten about New York City."
Lauren speaks about the OnlyFans account
Lauren Kwei told The Rolling Stone that she started her account back in November to earn extra cash.
"Originally, I started with a fake name and all of that, but it was harder for me to get people to buy the content because I didn't really have a following. And then I felt like I was hiding something, and I don't really like to hide things."
"So there came the point where I was just like, I don't really care. I came to terms with the fact that there could be consequences to this. I always knew that could happen, but I never thought it would be to this extent. But I believed that one didn't have any effect on the other, and I was making a good pocket change on the side. Often it helped me when I really needed it."
Speaking of the connection between her job and content on OnlyFans, the medic worker said:
"My thought on pretty much everything is, as long as you're not hurting anybody or hurting yourself, do what you want. Mind your business. I am in full support of anybody who wants to do sex work consensually. "
She added that she has no regrets. Kwei is now able to live a bit better:
"I don't really feel comfortable disclosing how much I made, but I will say that it definitely helped. And in times when I needed money for food or rent, and I had no more money in my bank account because I paid rent or my bills and now I don't have money for groceries, well, now I have money for groceries because of the nude pics that I sold online."
Kwei Vs. The New York Post
Explaining The Post debacle, Lauren stated to The Rolling Stone she was naive:
"Dean [Balsamini, the reporter for the New York Post] messaged me on Instagram and asked to speak with me. I asked him what it was regarding, and he said, well, let me call you. I'll give you the rundown. And he called me and just started firing off questions about my history, my background."
"In my naiveté, I thought maybe he was questioning me about if I was making an article about paramedics in the pandemic. After I gave him a brief history of myself, only then did he disclose that somebody had given a tip to the New York Post that I was a paramedic that had an OnlyFans. I actually began crying on the phone with them because I was just so stunned. I asked him if he was allowed to use all of this information without my permission. He said yes. And he basically told me, like, we're going to run the story with or without your say. So the quotes in the article are me defending myself to him, not me necessarily taking part in the interview."
Lauren was scared that she'd lose her job:
"I was really concerned that I was going to be fired, and that because my name was out there, that every New York City EMS company was going to blacklist me and never want to hire me again. And I had worked so hard to be where I am right now, and it felt like I was just another sex worker to this man, that it didn't matter what I've done in my life or what. All that mattered to this reporter was that I was a sex worker."
Kwei's personal hell lasted for two weeks, but the strangers helped her:
"I felt so helpless, and I felt glued to my phone, reading the article, reading whatever anybody had to say. I truly wanted to crawl under a rock and just hide forever. Then my friends just started plastering my story everywhere and how disgusting it was. That's when I first realized that this was turning around."
"I had reached out to a Facebook group for fans of a podcast called My Favorite Murder and a subgroup of the fan page called First Responderinos. It's basically first responders that are fans of the podcast."
"I said, "Please help me. I don't know what to do. Do I have any legal standing here? I'm worried that I'm going to be without a job now." And that community really lifted me up. People that I've never met in real life were the ones to make the go fund to start the GoFundMe for me. I was so shocked that people were even donating. And then it just seems like I blinked, and suddenly it was $10,000. $15,000. $20,000. I truly cannot believe how many people have gone to bat for me and spoken up on my behalf. But the real holy crap moment was when AOC tweeted about it."
A lightning rod
The Rolling Stone magazine called Lauren "a lightning rod," asking her what made her stand out. She told them:
"I think they thought that I was just going to cry about it. But I wasn't raised that way. I was raised to speak against people when I'm being discriminated against, and when things are unfair, I'm going to speak up about it. And this was not fair."
Lauren's continued explaining her new position:
"Now that I've been given a platform, I feel like I have this responsibility to my fellow EMS workers to speak out about issues that we've been struggling with for months about not having enough PPE, not having much federal assistance with that. It's really the wages for me, is the biggest issue."
"We are putting our lives on the line. We are risking our lives. And we are the lowest-paid first responders in New York City. EMTs get paid $15 an hour starting and then starting off as a paramedic, I am paid $25 an hour. Meanwhile, there are people who drive busses, who I'm so thankful for, that get paid more than we do. Not to say that they deserve less, but just to say that we deserve more payment."
She will not give up on her job, despite that she made good money on OnlyFans. Instead, she quit the platform for good:
"A lot of people are telling me I should quit my day job and make money on OnlyFans, and that would be the easy thing to do. I recognize that there are people who want to do sex work, and I empower them to do whatever they want to do. But personally, it just wasn't for me. "
"It was something that I did to make some extra money. And if I don't have to do it, I don't want to. I don't want to do it anymore, and I have a responsibility to the citizens of New York. I made a promise to them that I would serve them."
This young lady didn't just show The Post that she's not some silly sex worker. She proved that she's passionate about her job, despite all the struggles. And she's using the newfound fame to help her coworkers. The world needs more Lauren Kweis!