In four days, 20-year old 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.
In a recent tweet she hints at almost hitting the $1million mark.
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 85,000 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.
Australia’s bushfires have drawn a number of high-profile charitable contributions. Comedian and Instagrammer Celeste Barber has raised more than A$40m to support the New South Wales Rural Fire Brigade, while celebrities including Kylie Minogue, Pink and Nicole Kidman have made individual contributions of A$500,000