Back in the fall, I received an unexpected text from a man I had just started seeing. “Are u on wikifeet?”
Assuming he was joking, I laughed and said no. Then he sent me a link to my wikiFeet page. I had never actually heard of the website — basically an encyclopedia of celebrity foot photos for fetishists and foot enthusiasts — until that moment.
To be clear, I am not a celebrity. I have decent Twitter following from having reported on politics for over a decade, from tweeting jokes about politics and appearing on cable news sometimes. But I was pretty shocked to be looking at my own wikiFeet profile, which included my full name, birthday, and photos of me and my exposed feet, dating back to a family vacation in 2013. The images seemed to have been lifted from my Instagram page, which I keep public because I share my work and media appearances there sometimes. My feet had a very sad 3.5 out of 5 stars rating, which categorized them as “okay.”
The discovery was surreal; I wasn’t offended or unnerved, though I can understand why someone would be. I mostly thought it was funny, and posted a video of me wiggling my painted toes in a flattering filter to my story “for my fans,” as a joke. Within minutes, a screenshot of it showed up on wikiFeet.
At this point, my investigative journalist instincts kicked in. I figured I could triangulate the person’s identity by refreshing wikiFeet over and over after posting a barefoot photo, and then checking my list of story viewers as soon as it showed up. This narrowed the list of suspects down significantly, but not quite enough to be conclusive. I decided to try a direct approach: I posted a story that said, “If you are the person posting my foot content please DM me! No shade, I just have questions.”
I assumed no one would come forward — so much so that I forgot to even check my DMs from people I don’t follow until months later. It wasn’t until last week that I noticed, to my surprise, the man had reached out. His name is Robert Hamilton, a 58-year-old salesman from northern New Jersey. “Okay,” he wrote. “What questions do you have? I admit I posted, if it bothers you I apologise and will not do it again.”
Robert agreed to go on the record and was helpful and responsive as I tried to set up an interview. I was only reminded of the nature of our relationship at one point when he asked, right after saying he was available to chat Thursday, whether my feet are ticklish. (I dodged the question.)
I called him on Thursday afternoon, while he was in the middle of watching a Yankees game. He’s gregarious and has a thick Jersey accent. We spoke for nearly an hour, almost entirely about feet.
Robert! Is it just Robert, or do you go by something else? You sound young.
Yeah, just Robert. And I’m almost 60 years old, young lady.
Do you consider yourself a foot fetishist?
That’s very specific. What happened when you were 6?
A couple things have happened, but we’ll start there. I have five sisters — well I had five, two of them passed away. But a lot of their friends would come around, and we had a pool in the backyard, and they’d be barefoot. You know, they’d be here while my sisters weren’t here, they’d just come over and use the pool, and I would give them foot massages.
What was the other thing?
When I was about 9, these new people moved on my block, right? They were older girls. And they had their own pool across the street. We were playing this game, and they were like, “Well, we have to tie you up, because we captured you, you know? You’re the bad guy.” They tied me to a lawn chair, with my hands over my head and my feet tied down. And they started tickling my feet, and it just drove me crazy.
I think that’s what made me realize there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s fun. I just didn’t feel like it was weird or anything. So I’m thinking to myself, Hey, what is the problem with this? This is who I am. I’m not hurting anybody, I’m not robbing banks. Just let it ride. That’s when I decided, Who gives a shit?
How do you interact with wikiFeet? How much time a day do you spend on it?
Well, for example, if I’m watching a movie with a beautiful actress that I like, I’ll go on there and check out her feet. Or if I’m reading a story about someone like you who I think is very pretty, I’m gonna go check and see if she’s on there. Because I’m curious, and I love feet.
How many photos have you posted there?
A couple hundred.
How did you first discover my feet?
I can’t remember how I first discovered you. But I looked on Instagram and saw you on there and you had a lot of barefoot pictures, and I just followed you, that was all. I also like your dog. I like Pedro, he’s cool. Your feet are quite beautiful, by the way.
Thanks. What makes a foot attractive to you?
I like the painted toes. I like an arch, the more pronounced the better. I’m kinda weird with the toes, I like a rounded big toe. If it’s more square it’s okay, but the rounded is better. I definitely like the soles. But I like the arches, that gets you turned on.
I’ve noticed that sometimes within ten minutes of me posting an Instagram story that shows my feet, the screenshot is up on wikiFeet. How does that happen? Do you spend all your time on Instagram waiting for new foot content to drop?
I don’t sit here looking for it. If I just happen to see it and I like it, I’ll put it on there. But I’m not sitting here all day staring or anything. That doesn’t pay the bills.
So why not just look at feet on Instagram, or screenshot them for yourself? What do you get out of posting them to another website?
You know, that’s a great question. I don’t really get anything out of it. I just like to share it. I mean, people like feet, like me, and you have beautiful feet, and I just put it on there. I just think I’m helping other people out. I mean, I do save some for myself.
There isn’t much of a community on wikiFeet. It’s not like people can heart the photos or whatever. Sometimes someone will send you a little note like, “That’s a good picture, thanks a lot. Good job.” That’s really it; you don’t really connect with anybody. I just like to share the picture with other people, I’m generous that way.
Like that one of you on the stoop in what was it, a flying-nun getup? And you were barefoot …
I was dressed as a handmaid for Halloween. You posted that one?
Yeah. Sorry. That was very sexy.
Do you ever think about how it might be a bit invasive to take someone’s personal photos and put them on a fetish site without their knowledge or consent? That some people might be unsettled by that?
Yes, I do think that. You know, except I can’t call up Jennifer Aniston and ask. But it does cross my mind, because I have five sisters and six nieces, and I guess not everybody would be kosher with it. Believe me, it crosses my mind. I do have a conscience. I think people seem to have a good sense of humor about it. I mean, you obviously do. Some celebrities say it’s a badge of honor.
I noticed that wikiFeet has pretty strict rules about whose feet and what kinds of photos you can post. The person has to have an IMDb page to be fair game. Do you pay attention to those rules when you want to post someone like me, who isn’t as well-known?
Yeah. For example, a musician from England who performed barefoot, like I’ll find a picture I think is sexy, and I’ll put her name in IMDb. And she didn’t have a page, so I couldn’t post hers. But you did.
Who else’s feet besides mine do you like to post?
I put up Jennifer Aniston. Kelly Ripa, though I don’t really like her, but anyway … Kate Beckinsale, I put her up a lot. Musicians. Sheryl Crow.
What are the best feet you’ve ever seen?
Marilyn Monroe, Kate Beckinsale, Laura Bassett. I’m ass-kissin’, baby! Grace Kelly. Rita Hayworth, oh my God, I love her.
You’ve posted Rita’s feet?
Yeah, I did. But she’s gone, so I don’t think she gives a shit.
Do you rate women’s feet on wikiFeet?
Do you ever rate them poorly?
No, you know why — and this is silly, like I know these people — but I don’t wanna hurt their feelings. If they’re ugly, I just don’t go there again.
What are your main interests besides feet and the Yankees?
Live music. The last concert I went to was Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul at the Beacon Theatre, November of 2019, just before I got this damn heart surgery that almost killed me.
You almost died?
Yeah, I had a quadruple bypass, and it was a heck of a lot of fun. But you know what? When I was in Florida in the hospital — I’ve had a couple surgeries — I had the nurse coming in at night showing me her feet. I actually took her out to dinner a couple times. I can just get girls out of their shoes, it’s a thing I can do.