I wrote two weeks ago that Zivity founder Cyan Banister was not just an executive at her adult-focused photography startup, she was beginning to model for it as well. At the time, though, she was still partially clothed.
Now, she’s starting to go “full monty.” She appears topless in five photos included in a new set titled “When in Paris.” I’ve included one (censored) image above.
Shocking? Somewhat. But as I said before, at least she’s eating her own dog food by modeling for the site. She doesn’t just do this to promote the site, though. It’s also a form of self expression. In an email she says “I don’t take my clothes off just to promote Zivity. I also do it for the model community and for myself. I want to change how people view nudity and beauty in the same way major television shows opened our minds about other issues…I really enjoy being on Zivity and being nude and sexy in photographs is enjoyable! I look at my photos and I smile. That’s my body. I can do what I want with it. It is beautiful. Nobody can take that away from me.”
“I started Zivity because I believe in empowerment business models that enable people to be entrepreneurial,” she added.
Whatever the reasons, people like her pictures. She’s currently no. 8 on the list of top models. Banister is also doing other photo sets that are being added to Flickr. See the NOT SAFE FOR WORK images here and here as examples.
Zivity has a unique business model that pays models and photographers directly based on the number of user votes they receive. The more votes, the higher they go on the leaderboard and the more money they make. About 40% of gross revenue is given directly to the talent. They first launched at the TechCrunch40 Conference last Fall. The company raised $1 million in seed funding in August 2007.
Zivity is still in private beta and slowly adding the 20,000 or so people on the waiting list.