Renee Gracie reveals how motorsport pushed her into joining OnlyFans

Renee Gracie will be seen in a new doco at the upcoming Doc Edge Festival in NZ.
Renee Gracie will be seen in a new doco at the upcoming Doc Edge Festival in NZ. Photo credit: Getty Images / Supplied

Renee Gracie was just 19 when she began racing V8 Supercars at Australia's legendary Bathurst 1000. 

But despite breaking records on the track, the sexism and sexualisation, such as being pressured to look more like a "woman", forced her out of the sport. 

Fighting fire with fire, she set up an OnlyFans account, becoming Australia's biggest earner on the subscription adult content site. She then used the money to set up her own Supercars team. 

Her story is captured in a new documentary, Renee Gracie:Fireproof, screening as part of the DocEdge festival in June and July.

Gracie told RNZ's Saturday Morning that she discovered her passion and love for motorsports during a family holiday.

"The second I hopped in [the Gokart], I was hooked and the rest is history.

"It was just so much fun and I remember it being just the most exhilarating experience."

Gracie was 13 years old and the only girl amongst teenage boys when she first started racing.

"I always joke and say to people, 'Even though supercars and everything in the future ... was difficult, there's nothing more savage than teenage boys'.

"It was really, really difficult but I just loved it so much."

Being the only woman did not change as she grew older and as she started to move into professional motorsport, the difference in treatment because of her gender grew more and more clear.

It got to the point where, for her own mental health, she could not take it anymore, she said.

"The feeling of knowing and seeing how people treated me and knowing that it wasn't fair and equal and even, I think was probably the most painful thing out of all of it.

"It was something that ate me up inside for many years after I stood away from the sport because I thought if I just got the same treatment, I wonder where I would be."

Taking back control

Gracie's journey into OnlyFans was not a thought-out or planned process.

After leaving motorsports, it was a "dark time", because the one thing she had devoted her life to was gone, she said.

Fans encouraged her to create an OnlyFans account. When she did, it was the first step to reclaiming control over her my own life, she said.

"I thought, 'I can start this and I can do this and I don't have to ask for permission'. It honestly could have been anything, but it just happened that OnlyFans was the thing that was the first decision I made on my own."

Compared to motorsport, which was not an accepting place, OnlyFans welcomed people who were different, she said. 

Gracie got a breast augmentation when she was 19. She said the decision was spurred by the sexualisation in racing and being "flat-chested and looking like a tomboy".

She felt like she was not "womanly enough and not feeling like a pretty girl like I should have been".

She has since had a number of other plastic surgeries, but said she had now been surgery-free for four years. 

Co-director of the documentary Frances Elliott said it was interesting how people reacted to Gracie's decisions.

"When Renee was racing she was told continuously by management and audience and fans, 'You need to have a bigger bum, you need to have boobs, you need to be this perfect looking woman', and so then she went and did it after all this pressure was put on her and now the audience reaction is ... 'Oh, you're fake, you're plastic'.

"I just feel like in society women can't win."

She said at the core of the documentary were issues of power and control.

Gracie was excessively controlled in motorsports and pressured into being a sex symbol whereas on OnlyFans, she had the power and agency to do that herself, Elliott said.

Returning to racing

After spending a few years away from racing and being in a better mental head space, Gracie started to think about returning to motorsports.

There were times when she thought there was no way she could, but she realised her passion for the sport was still there, even after everything she went through.

"I just knew deep down, I've always loved motorsport, I never actually hated it. I hated the environment and the people and the things that I went through and my journey wasn't ideal but to the core, motorsport and racing cars is a one true passion of mine," she said.

She knew going back would be a different story and she was older and wiser about what she would be willing to put up with.

Gracie said trying to get back was tough in the beginning and it took 12 months of being ghosted and various articles being written about her.

But once she did re-enter the scene, she said she was "blown away" and "amazed" by how accepting people have been.

"There was a real shift in people's view and opinion of me and I could just see it.

"Obviously some people aren't going to like me, they never have and they never will, and some people will have their opinions but I'm not forcing people to like me anymore, I'm not trying to do what I was doing in my last career."