Photo courtesy of Elsewhere.

Remember breadfacing? It became a thing in 2015 when a woman in her late twenties began posting Instagram videos in which she squished bread with her face. The videos are all the same: a sexy tune plays in the background as she sits at a table and lowers her face over a piece of bread, relishing its sponginess, softness or coarseness. Sometimes she gently smooshes the bread; other times she mashes it with a vengeance.  

Even as Bread Face’s popularity has skyrocketed to nearly 200,000 followers, her real identity has remained hidden. Now, she’s heating up the wholesome entertainment by launching a Patreon account that’s all about… foot fetishes and findom? 

The Instagram star is currently taking donations that start at $2 a month to support the “bread fund” and continue with monthly installments of $20 for access to posts that are “PG-13, personal, erotica, semi-risqué…”, $30 for the “foot boys,” and $50 to enter findom (financial domination) territory where Bread Face promises to “drain you pay pigs. you will get nothing extra because I don’t owe you shit.”

The grand prize went to the first ten to pay $70 for a one-time-only, seven-minute video of Bread Face “getting covered in sweetened condensed milk.” The event sold out.

On the crowdfunding site, she explains: “bread isn’t free, no more close friends, see deep deep deeper, come to me, hear my sounds! i’ll show you what you’ve always suspected.” 

What we’ve always suspected was that there were sexual undertones to the gimmick that launched her into internet stardom, even though in an interview with the Times she denied she was catering to gluten fetishes. “I get it,” she said then. “I don’t think it’s weird — food is tactile and sexy, and we can’t help what turns us on, just don’t overindulge yourself. The other part of me wonders if anyone would even bring that up if I weren’t an Asian girl. I mean … I don’t wonder that much, I know the answer.”

In a post explaining the Patreon account, the anonymous Brooklyn-based artist shared a cautionary tale about how virality finally got to her, how she knows she was lucky to have gained an “accidental audience” but also how the influencer lifestyle left her feeling sad and anxious most of the time. “You’re suddenly thrust into another orbit: you have to deal with completely new experiences that you’d otherwise never have had to deal with and…most of them, in my experience, have been negative. So i’ve been wanting to quit,” she wrote back in July. 

Nauseated by Instagram but still wanting to create, Bread Face turned to her followers: “Having a creative outlet is important to me—it relaxes me, it’s cathartic, and I wish I had more time and money to do it which is why I am here to ask you for more time (in the form of your money).”

The crowdfunding site shows that 132 patrons are currently making monthly contributions totaling $2,916. B+B contacted Bread Face for an interview, but didn’t hear back.

The erotica inherent in her videos is not lost on Molly Surno, the art director of Bushwick venue Elsewhere. The nightclub commissioned Bread Face to work on a series of installations for their in-house art program, including a bathroom stall covered entirely in mirror, then lit and soundtracked. “So when you are peeing, or whatever you are doing in the bathroom stall, you are participating in her installation,” Surno described. “It’s very mysterious, it’s sexy.” 

In another Bread Face installation, a mysterious portrait plays on loop on the dance floor. “Seeing music is a very sensual as well as physical experience. You’re drinking, you’re around other bodies,” Surno said. “You’re dancing, you’re sweating, and breadfacing is sort of a choreography in a way, although it’s not a dance in a straightforward sense.”

“Evolution is a natural part of any artist’s progress,” she added and considered that doing the same thing over and over again would be boring for anybody. “I think that there has been a history of artwork that has engaged in that sort of sexual relationship with collector, patron, think about Tracey Emin work or Andrea Fraser,” she said.

In the meantime, Bread Face assured her fans that she’s not jumping ship on IG and that she will continue to press her face into pretzels, rolls, muffins or loaves of bread free of charge.