There are plenty of potential pathways for child stars to take, from cautionary tales to well-adjusted adults.
Madisyn Shipman, who starred on Nickelodeon‘s Game Shakers from 2015 to 2019, is taking a non-traditional approach, earning her living as a content creator on Playboy’s digital platform designed to rival OnlyFans.
Shipman, now 20, told Fox News Digital that the experience has allowed her to shed some of the sexual repression that she believes is part and parcel of being a child star and being forced to maintain a childlike identity well into her teen years.
“I’m going to be completely honest with you,” she said. “I have always felt a sense of repression in terms of my sexuality and showing my body. And I think a lot of that is because I grew up on a Nickelodeon show. You’re taught that you can’t wear crop tops… you can’t show too much skin. You’ve got to be presented as a little girl constantly. And whenever that ends… I had a little bit of an identity crisis because I didn’t know who I was.”
She continued, “Now, I’m reclaiming my power. I’m reclaiming my sexuality. I’m doing what makes me happy. And I have no issues posing in a bikini or a lingerie set. It’s just me. I think it’s so empowering to be able to pose like that and feel great in my skin. I love my body, so being able to do this in such a respected area and get so much love and support from it is so rewarding.”
Shipman also said she appreciates having control over how much skin she shows. “I always said, especially to my fans, that I was never going to join a paid creator platform because I didn’t want to show my body,” she noted. “That was the biggest thing. That’s not how my goals align. So I made this clear to Playboy, and they said, ‘You don’t have to do that.’ That’s the great thing about Playboy. If you want to show everything, you’re more than welcome to, but you don’t have to.”
Shipman is now “able to fully self-fund my music career, which is wonderful,” she said. “I have my own house. I’m fully taken care of. I’ve got so much financial freedom and I truly wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for Playboy.”
Still, she does regularly decline requests that make her uncomfortable. “There are definitely some odd requests,” Shipman admitted. “I mean, no shame to anyone involved, but I was never exposed to the fetish world, so that was a shock to my system. There’s been some weird requests in terms of fetishes and that kind of thing. And I don’t entertain the ones that I’m not comfortable with just because there’s no sense in me stepping out of who I am as a person.”
Game Shakers ran for three seasons on Nickelodeon, starring Shipman and Cree Cicchino (Mr. Iglesias) as two seventh-graders who turn a science project into a wildly successful gaming company alongside investor and rapper Double G (Kel Mitchell, of Kenan and Kel fame).
Shipman said many of her clients on the Playboy platform are just fans who want to connect with her. “They have so many opinions of who I am as a person because they grew up watching me on TV,” she told Fox News Digital. “Most of my requests are pretty tame. Many folks just want to hear about my day. Many of them just want to have a conversation.”
Her former costars, who also include Benjamin Flores Jr. and Thomas Kuc, are not only aware of her new career path, but also probably saw it coming — at least according to Shipman. “I was always pushing the boundaries back then,” she recalled. “I would always get in trouble for posing in a crop top or wearing a bikini that was showing a little too much… So I think they expected it. But they fully support me. They know what I’m doing makes me happy.”
Playboy’s digital content creation platform, formerly called Centerfold, launched in 2021. Much like OnlyFans, it allows its creators to post photos and videos of themselves, while also sharing exchanges with users in exchange for compensation.
Though Shipman feels like she “missed out on having a typical childhood,” she said her her past experiences also “made me the woman I am today.”
“It all goes back to freedom of expression,” she added. “And I’m showcasing who I truly am. I’ve escaped this ‘child star curse.’ I’m not living my life for other people. I just want to make myself happy. I’m not doing anything that is outside my boundaries or my comfort. And my fans are fully supportive of me.”
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