Within the first couple of weeks of Stella Barey and Rara Knupps’ nascent friendship, the two had already become intimately acquainted with each other’s genitals. In fact, anyone with access to the internet and some spare alone time has the ability to do the same. If you’re chaste or not chronically online, I’ll tell you now that Stella Barey and Rara Knupps are best friends and pornstars, and that they’re very, very well known for being both. Rara, who parlayed a series of outrageous YouTube storytimes into a lucrative OnlyFans career, became friends with Stella, (aka Anal Princess) ex–pre-med–student–cum–TikTok/OnlyFans creator, when they were shooting adult content together about a year and a half ago. The two hit it off–mostly because, as Rara tells me, they “view the world in the same way.”
At this point in their careers, the two are known not only for their unpretentious performance of sexuality online, but they’re also infamous for their raunchy takes on feminism, sex work, and the detritus that comes with internet cancel-culture: “Not to be a pick-me,” Stella smirks, “but girls really don’t like us that much. We like each other because we both speak our minds. It’s rare to find a good female friend.”
Stella and Rara are good female friends, by any account: they’ve traveled the world together, they’ve made money together, they’ve explored each other’s bodies—for work (when they’re not being paid, both of them are, in Rara’s terms, ‘strictly dickly’). They refuse to fight over trivial matters—though they did get in a mushroom–induced tiff whilst on what seems to be a wild double date in Spain: “I thought you were the devil,” Rara giggles to Stella, referencing a memory I can only assume was mildly traumatic for the both of them.
Though the two live on opposite coasts, Rara in Los Angeles and Stella between Florida and Puerto Rico, they make time to visit one another; Stella recently threw Rara’s 25th birthday bash in LA, and Rara took some time in the midst of a personal hardship to visit Stella in Florida months prior. Rara tells me this kind of thing happens often–Stella, who financially supports her ex-boyfriend and has recently purchased her mother a house, is an emotional stronghold for the people with whom she surrounds herself. “Everyone in your life relies on you,” Rara tells Stella. “Everybody goes to Stella when they need help. Who does Stella go to?”
Indeed, on a personal level, Stella supports her friends and family, but on a broader scale, Stella has, perhaps unwittingly, catalyzed a minor internet sex revolution among Gen Z women. After she blew up on TikTok during the pandemic for her candid stories about her experience with (and deep passion for) anal sex, she accrued hundreds of thousands of followers across all platforms, many of whom were young women who flocked to the account for her honesty—a phenomenon which happened to Rara years earlier on Youtube. In an era where the online realm reckoned with the complexities of female sexuality via half-witted jokes about men’s inability to find the clitoris, Stella and Rara’s frank storytimes felt like a sincerely funny means of communicating just how sexual women could be, and people—especially women—loved them for it.
Now, years into this internet superstardom, people also hate them, perhaps because our internet sex icons are, after all, people that exist outside of the internet, and, after all, sexual. Stella’s exploit with her father’s best man on the night of his wedding merited a New York Post article and lots of online discourse. Rara’s support for alleged sex offender and internet personality, Andrew Tate, whom she dubs “a genius,” has garnered understandable distaste on behalf of lots of female fans. It is admittedly strange to see how the tides have changed: though the two rode waves of viral adoration from those who wanted to hear about their insane sex lives into big bank accounts and astronomical follower counts, the pair have increasingly come to recognize that other girls don’t actually like them that much in real life.
Perhaps this phenomenon is due to their shared views on feminism. “Second-wave feminism was not it,” Stella tells me. “We’re not feminists, we’re humanists. I think women are equal, and people should do whatever they want to do.” They backpedal a bit: “Don’t get me wrong. I love women,” Rara tells me, “but most women don’t support other women like they say they do. These people who are chronically online are sick in the head.” This isn’t a revelatory insight on Rara’s behalf: the friends often talk about their political and social opinions on YouTube vlogs and on podcasts with fellow pornstars. Though their school of thought is oft incompatible with those shared by a number of adult entertainment stars and women alike, they don’t really mind the controversy because, like they’ve always done, the girls speak to their own experience: “People always try to scapegoat you,” Rara tells Stella, “and it’s unfair. You’re just real, that’s how you’ve always been.” They tell me, sentences spilling into one another, “We’ve always been crazy. That’s why people like us. That’s why we like each other. That’s why we understand each other.”
Stella and Rara are best friends who love each other so much that they (as horribly cliché as it may sound) finish each other’s sentences. They’re friends who got famous independently of one another because they lead lives that most other people could only dream of, and they connect because they reason through that dream better than anyone else who could possibly try. Like the language of any good friendship, theirs is inconceivable to an outsider, fraught with laughter and secrets and symbols mired in memories of their own making. Anything you could possibly want to find out about them, you might find here, or on Instagram, or TikTok, or OnlyFans. However, if you truly want to know Stella Barey or Rara Knupps—know them not in the sense that you’ve seen the crevices of their bodies, or their thoughts on politics, or their affinity for literature, you won’t be able to. If you want to know Rara, you have to be Stella. If you want to know Stella, as you might have guessed, you have to be Rara.
Photographed by Chris Yellen
Styled by Rachel Thorson
Written by Annie Bush
Hair: Tania Becker
Makeup: Gabrielle Alvarez
Producer/Flaunt Film: Bree Castillo