If my suitcase bursts on the morning commuter train, it would be a more dramatic moment than for most. If a dapper businessman doesn’t drop his coffee all over my designer rubber wardrobe, the poor girl behind the tea trolley may slip on a ball-gag. From the expressions on the faces of everyone else, I am likely to know: A) if they have a fetish, and B) what it is.
I’m a fetish model. That is my job. I started off my career while I was in school, earning some extra cash modeling for a friend’s bondage website. When she encouraged me to join a site that specialized in fetish modeling, I booked enough work to go full-time after finishing my degree. Since then, I’ve been photographed in 13 countries and four states, tied up everywhere from stunning church ruins to secret underground dungeons below country mansions and have stomped down catwalks in just about every kind of outfit imaginable. (See above!)
My job is to make the fetish gear I’m modeling look desirable, encouraging viewers to invest in the outfits I wear, subscribe to the websites I appear on and buy the magazines I am featured in. While I may modelwhips, cages and skyscraper heels made for crushing amenable men, I am not a dominatrix. It is not my job to punish or restrain anybody. I’m the face of the fetish industry, but not its arms and legs.That isn’t to say that I don’t get to see the arms and legs of the fetish world. Every city has its underworld and my gigs often take the form of fetish club fashion shows. So I’ve seen some things.
Coming from a small town, I never imagined I would come in contact with people who resembled beautiful alien creatures. I never imagined witnessing orgies in glittering dens or watching flesh piercing performance art. I occasionally forget that most people never see these things and have accidentally begun many a conversation with a phrase like, “That time when I worked at Torture Garden…”
I’ve been a ponygirl, a pin-up in vintage stockings, a caged slave wearing nothing but medieval shackles, a latex mistress of ceremonies. I’ve fallen backwards off an enormous marble lion in a slippery, rubber catsuit, I’ve taken part in a “guerilla” fashion show on the New York subway and had some of the most entertaining conversations of my life while tied up and dangling upside down!
I’ve also learned a lot about the psychology behind fetishes. It’s fascinating hearing how somebody becomes attached to something seemingly mundane.
“When I was growing up, young ladies all wore trench coats. These were the girls I admired, fantasized about and eventually dated. The silhouette created by a lady in a trench coat now reminds me of my teenage years,” explained a man who started a fetish website dedicated to… you guessed it: trench coats.
While the infamous bitchiness rampant in all facets of the modeling industry exists in the fetish world, I have made many of my closest friends through work. And as is the case with any kind of modeling career, I have an expiry date. Nothing like that realization to make a 25-year-old feel geriatric! But before that date arrives, I intend to visit all the countries I can, soak all the crazy experiences I am able to before I pack the handcuffs away forever.
I never had a burning desire to be a politician or lawyer so my previous occupation looks unlikely to hold me back (though ironically a never-ending stream of politicians are caught in fetish scandals and dominatrixes see a disproportionate amount of legal professionals!)
While I’ll miss the rush of seeing my face on magazine covers, I’m looking forward to a clothes drawer that doesn’t contain lubricant (we use it to get rubber outfits on), living in a house instead of the airport. Even later on? I intend to be there at the front of the women’s knitting circle with my blue rinse, recounting my experiences without any regrets…or rope marks.
[Photo of Roswell Ivory courtesy of Gothic Image]