VIP Interview With Mistress Couple – A Guide To Bondage!

The adultsmart community blog is honored to welcome Mistress Couple the Head Mistress of La Domaine Esemar the world’s oldest BDSM training facility.  Mistress couple is also the author of The Ultimate Guide Series and most recently released her book titled The Ultimate Guide to Bondage: Creating Intimacy Through The Art Of Restraint from Cleis Press.

Welcome Mistress Couple.  Let’s get straight into it – how did you first get involved in the BDSM scene?

When I was 24, I was involved in what I considered to be my first adult sexual relationship. My partner at the time was wonderful at communicating about his fantasies and boundaries, and our chemistry was the best I had experienced up until that point. For my 25th birthday, I got up the courage to ask him for an over-the-knee spanking — something that I had been fantasizing about for a long time. He agreed to the act, but after we got home from a lovely birthday dinner and I bent over his knee, he panicked. “I just can’t hit a woman,” he said. I was crushed!!! The next evening, I went out to a bar for a “Ladies’ Night” with some of my girlfriends. They all knew that we had this birthday spanking planned and asked how it went. When I told them that my partner was unable to follow through with it, many of them commiserated. At the end of the evening, my little sister’s best friend waited until everyone left, and walked me to my car. “You know,” she said, “if you’re serious about that spanking I know somewhere you can go.” That friend is now a world renowned dominatrix known as Mistress Blunt. At the time, she was secretly training at La Domaine Esemar. She brought me there for my first BDSM party, and by the end of the first night, I knew that La Domaine was to play a major part in my personal and sexual development.

You are now known as a world renowned Mistress – but that was not always the case.  You entered the scene as a slave.  How did you make the transition?

By my second day at La Domaine Esemar, I felt a deep connection and bond with Master R and Mistress Collette. I offered myself to them as a slave, and they accepted me. However, before they did, they told me that they saw that I had a great capacity for dominance and asked if I wanted to be a Mistress-in-Training. At the time, I was very naturally submissive and had a very hard time seeing myself as a Domme. It was because of the duality that they saw in me that they named me “Couple.” At the time, I was a professional ballroom dancer, and I was told that just as I learned the follower’s parts before the leader’s parts on the dance floor, I’d do the same in the dungeon. When ballroom dancers go into competition, we all wear numbers on our backs to identify us to the judges. My complete slave name was “Couple Number 69.” Through the course of exploring my submission, many misconceptions that I had about Dominance were dispelled (primarily that it was all about punishment or being mean). Eventually, I found myself attracted to a woman who was more submissive than I, and she was able to draw out my inner dominance. I soon realized that I was going to need a lot of help in growing into this role, and at that point I became a Mistress-in-Training at La Domaine.

Domme Couple

What is your definition of a slave and how they prepare for that role?

First of all, I think that it is imperative that people understand that a person should only be called “slave” if they choose the title or consent to it. In BDSM, a slave is someone who offers their autonomy to their Dominant. Each Dominant has different goals for their slaves, so preparation for the position varies depending on the couple. I require that all of my slaves strip naked upon entering my home, that they don’t wear perfume or deodorant that will cover up their natural scent, and that they practice a series of mantras and training positions so that they’re able to serve me efficiently. Many of them also have sexual assignments such as edging or chastity training.

How do you define your role as a Mistress?

I would define myself as a leader, healer, caregiver, and mentor. I like to call myself a shamanatrix , because I help my submissives to reach altered states of consciousness and learn about themselves through the exploration of BDSM. The most common comment that I get in response to people finding out that I am a dominatrix is “But you’re so nice!!!” I think that’s a common misconception that people have—that you cannot be nice and also be a good Dominant. Another common misconception is that Mistresses should always punish and never reward their slaves. People are always telling me that I’m too kind to my slaves. I think that’s ridiculous. If they were never rewarded for good behavior, why would they want to serve me? To me, without the appreciation, the rewards, and the positive reinforcement, BDSM just turns into abuse.

You are now the Head Mistress of the world famous La Domaine Esemar featured in press such as Cosmopolitan, Netfilx, The Huffington Post, People, and so many more.  An esteemed position – how did you manage to secure it?

I think that I was always meant for this position. Three years prior to becoming the Head Mistress of La Domaine, I had a premonition about it during a meditation session. At the time, I was still very submissive so I pushed it out of mind and dismissed it as merely a fantasy. I’m still not quite sure how the rest happened! Sometimes life takes you on unexpected adventures.

La Domaine Chateau

You are also a pretty good dancer and hold a degree in choreography.  Do you incorporate that in your role playing?

Oh yes! I absolutely love working dance into my training in as many ways as possible. Be it position training for submissives, a trampling tango CBT session, feminization or sissification ballet classes, learning to walk in heels, etc. My experience as a ballroom dance instructor has also proven to be incredibly useful in couples instruction or BDSM coaching sessions. It’s all about learning to communicate clearly and with ideal intent.

You have invented a ‘new form’ of dance called the ‘Tangle’.  What can you tell us about that?

Tangle is not exactly a new form of dance. It’s a class that teaches tango through the lense of power exchange and bondage. Early on in my professional ballroom dancing career, I noticed that the traditional gender roles for leaders and followers did not suit everyone. (Go figure!) This class gets rid of the gender binary and allows all folks who identify as Dominant to be leaders, and all folks who identify as submissive to be followers. Believe it or not, people learn to dance much more quickly when they’re in the role that they identify with! Some of the class activities involve learning non-verbal leading and following through leash training, practicing the tango rhythm by spanking each other, using blindfolds to establish trust, and binding the bodies together in order to reinforce connection. The class definitely makes a wonderful date night activity.

You have recently completed writing a book.  What inspired you undertake this task?

Honestly, a magical moment. I was on vacation in New Orleans, which is my spiritual/social second home. I was at breakfast with some friends and casually mentioned that perhaps now that I was 30 years old it was time for me to write a book. I didn’t think anything else of it, but at 3 PM that day, there was an email from Cleis Press in my inbox, asking if I would be interested in submitting a proposal for The Ultimate Guide to Bondage!I was flabbergasted. I saw it as a sign from the matriarchs of New Orleans, submitted my proposal,  and never looked back.

Available December 11, 2018

There are many BDSM and bondage guides and books available.  What sets yours apart from the rest?

This book really is the “Ultimate Guide.” In today’s BDSM community, there is a surplus of rope bondage and rope suspension images, instructors, workshops, etc. Unfortunately, what I have found is that knot tying can be incredibly intimidating to novice bondage practitioners. I’ve seen countless people have one frustrating experience with rope and decide that bondage isn’t for them. There are so many other forms of bondage, from mental bondage, which requires no equipment at all, to fashion bondage such as corsets and hobble skirts, mummification using bondage tape or even saran wrap… and many of them are covered in the book. I would say that only about 20% of the book is about rope bondage, the rest of the book contains information about safety, theory, the psychology behind why people are attracted to bondage activities, exploration of various types of bondage, and even some wonderful erotic essays that lend insight into participating in bondage activities.

Having looked through the book there were many pictures or images that really made it easy to follow.  Did you oversee the imagery?

I am so glad to hear that! Yes, I oversaw the imagery which was created by two of my very talented friends. Emily Dorr did the beautiful illustration, bringing some of the concepts of the book to life. I think that the first time I saw the images that she created was the first time that I thought “Wow—this is going to be a REAL book!” The photographs in the book were taken by my friend Kiki Vassilakis. That photoshoot might have been the most fun thing I have ever done! For 2 nights, we turned the La Domaine dungeon into a photo studio. I invited over about 25 of my friends, broke them up into teams, and assigned each team a few of the tutorials. We listened to music, ate great food, and created some amazing images! Creating these images together was incredibly inspiring, and having a variety of perspectives allowed us to think outside of the box and create some groundbreaking bondage images. After the photoshoot, I stopped calling The Ultimate Guide to Bondage “MY book,” and started calling it “a book that I created with the help of my community.” I am so grateful to all those who participated.

What are you most proud of in writing this guide?

Finishing it. This project was certainly the biggest undertaking of my life, and I was still running La Domaine Esemar, hosting, teaching, and sessioning while writing it! I am also very proud of some of the new ideas and perspectives on bondage that I presented. I hope that I’ve made some valuable contributions to the understanding and acceptance of bondage enthusiasts.

Is your book aimed at the newbies to give them insight into BDSM or the hardcore participants?

This book has a little something for everyone. The tutorials are simple enough for a beginner to complete, but unique enough that they might pique an expert practitioner’s interest (balloon encasement, predicament bondage, and even ice locks are covered). This book covers 10 different areas of bondage (Japanese Rope Bondage, Device Bondage, Objectification Bondage, Mental Bondage, Costume Bondage, Sensation Bondage, Sensory Deprivation, Fetish Bondage, Physically Stressful Bondage, and Self-Bondage). Even if someone is an expert in one or even a few of these areas, there are still a variety of new approaches and applications for them to explore.

What do you most enjoy about power play in BDSM role play?

To me, BDSM is not role play, it is my sexuality and an expression of my personality. The thing that I love most about power exchange is that by choosing to assume or relinquish control with a trusted partner, people can access the deepest, most secret and sacred parts of their sexualities. I have gotten to know myself much more than ever before through practicing BDSM.

When you get stressed or tired – what is the downtime activity that grounds you?

This depends on whether I want to be in a Dominant headspace or a submissive headspace while I am relaxing. If I want to be in a Dominant headspace, I cook. Cooking requires a lot of executive functions such as organization, problem solving, and multitasking, but it also gives me the opportunity to engage my senses. By smelling, tasting, feeling, seeing, and even listening to my food as it is cooking, I am honing the same skills that I use to read my submissives during a BDSM scene. I find it to be a relaxing, meditative, and incredibly sensual activity. If I am in a mood that precipitates a more submissive approach, I go out social dancing in the role of a follower. I just turn off my brain, and let the music and my dance partner guide my body around the room. It really is sweet surrender!

As well as offering [play] sessions at La Domaine, there are training sessions, too.  What does a training session incorporate?

Training sessions are for individuals, couples, and polycules up to 6 people. These sessions are instructional in nature and cover a variety of BDSM topics from relationship structuring to bondage to impact play, and beyond. They can be talk-based or technique-based.

There are many fetishes that fall under BDSM.  Are there any that you would not personally explore and what is your favorite?

There are plenty fetishes that I would not personally explore, but I’m not going to put them on blast because there is so much shame and stigma associated with fetishes and I do not want to contribute to that. As far as my favorite fetishes go, balloons, shoes, feathers, and leather are at the top of my list. To learn more about my balloon fetish, check out the erotic essay portion at the end of the book!

To purchase the Ultimate Guide to Bondage by Mistress Couple click on the book image above!!!

Rick is the owner of the Adultsmart, an online sex toy shop that stocks over 13,000 products. He has been involved in the adult lifestyle industry for more than 25 years. Rick is an active sex blogger who provides a wealth of information and experience. He is an advocate of equality for gender and sexuality.

VIP Interview Tanya Simmonds – Erotic Author!

The adultsmart lifestyle community blog is proud to introduce Tanya Simmonds a renowned author of erotica, specializing in the FemDom genre. Tanya is a former criminal defence lawyer who in 2004 wrote her first erotic piece as a result of booking a male stripper. She went on to become a number one bestselling author on Amazon.

Welcome Tanya. So two occupations that are really polar opposites. First off what sparked your interest in criminal law? It was a brave decision to turn your back on a ‘stable’ and ‘lucrative’ career in law.

Put simply – I hated the job. It was originally driven by parental pressure, so I never really had the opportunity to discover my own identity. I was exposed to the most negative sides of life on a daily basis, and the environment thrived on rules and extremely narrow ideas about reality. It was stifling, but I was planning on my ‘jail break’ from day one. I lived very frugally, invested wisely, and after twenty-five years, I escaped with enough money to live off the interest, better than I even had. Freedom is priceless. Emoji

What was the catalyst for you to do this? You got right into it and wrote a novel a year. This would have required some dedication to your work. Where did you find the perseverance as writing can be exhausting and challenging?

I’d always had this dream of being a novelist, and now I had the time to pursue it. However, I needed a resume. I was completely unknown, and some time down the line, I learned that the easiest literary genre to get published was BDSM, specifically maledom. However, there was something about that which unsettled me. My experience had taught me that men dominating women was anything but a fantasy. Then I noticed the flipside of the coin – femdom. At face value, it was absurd and almost cartoon-like, and that made me feel more comfortable. The only problem was – I didn’t know anything about it.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

Ironically, the reason I never suffered from writer’s block is because I didn’t know what I was doing (lol). After I posted my first erotic short story two years earlier, I was approached by members of the BDSM community who wanted me to write stories for them. They were more than happy to disclose their innermost fetish fantasies to me, and while it was all a bit jaw-dropping, they gave a template to work with. I also derived ideas from femdom artwork and imagery online. My task was to weave it into a story line with a common theme.

Your novels are quite unique in that they are BDSM FemDom dealing specifically with orgasm denial. I have read in your bio that this subject choice is somewhat inspired as a result of the masturbation prohibition of your partner at the hands of the Pentecostal cult. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

The more I looked into it, the more I became aware that this had to be the hook. Femdom is fantasy. Masturbation prohibition isn’t. With this concept on board, I felt more confident that I could inject elements of reality and believability into the narratives.

Masturbation prohibition can be found throughout history, up unto the present day, especially among certain religious communities and penal systems. From the church-ruled Middle Ages, to the governess culture of the Victorian era, to modern religious cults (especially Pentecostal, Mormon, and Jehovah’s Witness sects) and the US penal system; this demonstrably-lethal and sadistic monster is still alive and well in the 21st Century.

Tanya Simmonds Online

This seemed to be the theme of many of your books. What was it like to write erotica on a subject that you opposed?

Indeed, I am opposed to it. It’s an arbitrary form of torture that carries numerous identified health hazards, both mental and physical. It also demonstrates the most extreme examples of totalitarianism (the denial of an individual’s right to body and thought) for which there is no place in a supposedly-civilized democracy.

Whilst it is graphically illustrated in my novels, the personality types who enforce it are demonized with a wide variety of negative traits (hypocrisy, neurosis, sociopathy, and psychopathy.) The femdom enthusiast will lap up the scenes with eager passion, but between the lines, I am also having my say. One can’t destroy a monster without first showing it.

The following books of a series were written by you – The Paramount Rule – Book 1 The Gaol: The Paramount Rule – Book II Reformation: The Paramount Rule – Book III, Under the Paramount Rule: Tales of Oakpark Grange ending with the book ‘The Penitentiary’ Which was your favorite and why?

‘The Penitentiary’ is most definitely my favorite of the five novels. It was originally written and published in 2012, toward the end of my journey into BDSM literature. The first two, ‘The Paramount Rule – Book 1’ and ‘The Gaol: The Paramount Rule – Book II’ were very much ‘fan-driven’. By the time I got to ‘Reformation: The Paramount Rule – Book III’, I felt ready to put my own stamp on the series. Nothing like ‘Paramount Rule III’ exists anywhere else. The creativity is taken to the next level, along with numerous shock twists, and an array of diverse personality types that leads to the most controversial ending in femdom history.

With ‘The Penitentiary’, I was closer to writing the type of book I truly wanted to write than ever before. It’s very story-based, with elements you wouldn’t expect to find in a femdom novel. Set in the modern era, I used a more contemporary writing style than in the Paramount Rule series, and wrote it as an-almost mainstream novel. In addition to some extremely graphic sex scenes, it also includes strong character development, unremitting drama, action sequences, cliffhangers, and ends with two of the most jaw-dropping twists I ever wrote. It’s what I would describe as a ‘femdom thriller’, and plays out somewhat like a movie-of-the-week.

In many of your novels there is an integration of fact and fiction that has been twisted to fit the fictional femdom tyranny. Things like the penis guillotine, the nullifier, and incarcerated ban on masturbation. Did you do much research on these things?

Yes, I did, and it still horrifies me. Whilst I don’t know of any such thing as ‘penis guillotine’ to have actually existed, I did discover a few terrors that seemed to be heading in that direction. During the Victorian era, inner-spiked penis rings were fitted upon young boys to prevent night time erections. In places like Somalia today, young girls are routinely clitoradectomized by their own family members as a means of preventing sexual pleasure and ensuring chastity. Religious dogmas about sexual desire and masturbation continue to traumatize the young and impressionable in some sections of society. It has also led to documented teenage suicides. Fed on a diet of hellfire myths that make them terrified of their own sexuality, over which they have absolutely no control; it’s really not difficult to see how such tragedies can occur. And all in the name of totalitarian control.

The US penal system employs an anti-masturbation rule in most prisons today. The idea underpinning it is to prevent prisoners from ‘getting it out’ and masturbating in front of female officers as a means of intimidation. That’s fair enough. The problem is in the wording of the rule itself. It simply stipulates ‘masturbation’ and makes no reference to specific circumstance. A vindictive corrections officer can report an inmate if she catches him masturbating discreetly under the sheets with the lights out as a result of this lack of specification. This usually sends the inmate to solitary confinement for up to two months. When young, virile men are incarcerated with no access to any sexual outlet whatsoever, testosterone is going to be rife. This, in turn, will increase aggression and endanger the very lives of the officers who seek to enforce the regulation. In the UK and Europe, such a rule would be considered a serious human rights violation – as is solitary confinement. Both fall under directives which prohibit cruel and unusual punishment.

The paperback book business has taken a knock over the years with online and a couple of your publishers went bust. How has that impacted upon your career? It has been said recently that ‘The Penitentiary’ is going to be your last novel. Why?

After I wrote The Paramount Rule Trilogy, it was taken on by a publisher in the UK. Soon afterwards, they went bankrupt. It was then picked up by a publisher in the US, but they wanted me to re-edit the Trilogy into a series of stand-alones with no plot connection to one another. I reluctantly agreed, and after the release of the first one, I was head-hunted by several other publishers of erotica. These titles (The Paramount Rule, Prisoners of the Governess, Reformation, Reformation: Stronghold, Under the Paramount Rule, and The Penitentiary) were ultimately released through four publishers between the US and the UK. But, alas, it was not to last. The last publisher folded in early 2016, and the publishing rights returned to me.

In 2017, I decided to polish up my original, unpublished series, The Paramount Rule Trilogy, and release them myself. By November, 2017, I had self-published all five titles on Amazon and initiated a marketing campaign. That’s when I saw my publisher’s problems for myself. Virtually no book promotion companies will touch these titles. All of them stipulate ‘NO EROTICA’. In addition, Amazon suppresses them from public visibility so they are very difficult to discover by chance. Amazon have also recently started banning books of this nature outright. It’s only a matter of time before I receive an email from them, telling me my books have been removed from sale.

I have a plot in mind for ‘Penitentiary 2’ and I’ve had a few requests for it. But what could I possibly do with it? It would be an enormous amount of work, not to mention the expense of cover design and initial promotion (albeit with only four promotion companies that will touch them.) With so much against me, I cannot conceive of where I could go with it now.

What is next for Tanya Simmonds?

Other than being at a loose end, I do enjoy life. I travel a lot, so it’s a lot like a living vacation. Emoji

For anyone who might be interested, ‘The Paramount Rule – Book I’ is currently FREE on Amazon Kindle:

Paramount Rule Free

Rick is the owner of the Adultsmart, an online sex toy shop that stocks over 13,000 products. He has been involved in the adult lifestyle industry for more than 25 years. Rick is an active sex blogger who provides a wealth of information and experience. He is an advocate of equality for gender and sexuality.

VIP Interview – Nellie Wilson A Professional Cuddlist!

We are pleased to introduce Nellie Wilson a professional Cuddlist to the Adultsmart community blog.  A Cuddlist offers therapeutic benefits to individuals that need the healing power of platonic touch. 

Welcome Nellie, how did you first get into cuddling?

I grew up in a fairly physically affectionate family so I think I’ve always been into cuddling. I found out about Cuddle Parties, a social cuddling event and workshop about boundaries and consent, and started going to them years ago. I really enjoyed the safety and connection of those events and am now a certified Cuddle Party facilitator. I found out about professional cuddling, specifically Cuddlist, through a friend and realized that I knew the co-founder, Madelon Guinazzo. She and I had attended a workshop in 2010, Foundations of Facilitation, which is part of the Cuddle Party Facilitator certification program. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to get back into doing body-based meaningful work that really helped people and what Cuddlist offered was a great fit for me. I’ve been a Cuddlist for about a year now.

Being a Cuddlist would take a great deal of compassion and empathy for others.  Where did you gain these traits?

My grandmother was one of the biggest influences in my early life that really taught me about empathy and compassion. She had such a big heart and welcomed people into her home, and our family, who others in the community wouldn’t have. She was a good listener. She was there for me, and others, when we were in need. I’ve cultivated both of those traits in myself as well as having other people who shared and guided me in being skilled in true compassion and empathy – both of which I believe are learned traits.

Many people would not be aware that being a Cuddlist is a recognized occupation with many courses designed to develop this therapy.  Can you run us through how you became a Cuddlist and what someone would have to do to be qualified?

Cuddlist has a rigorous screening and approval process for its practitioners. There is an application process to be accepted into the training. You then complete online coursework, are paired with a mentor, and have to complete an in-person practical evaluation with a certified Cuddlist who is trained to do approval sessions. After the approval session, there is a final evaluation with Director of Training before receiving certification.

After certification, Cuddlist provides ongoing weekly and monthly support for marketing, peer support, and professional development.

Human touch is so important to the development of human beings.  From birth through till death, in good times or bad, nothing beats a cuddle to share joy, sadness, empathy and closeness.  Do you prefer to receive of give cuddles?

As a professional cuddler, I am in a position of giving in sessions with my clients, even if it might look like “receiving” from an outside perspective. In my personal life, I enjoy both giving and receiving. I like to share caring touch with those I love and sometimes I need to be held and cared for. The real key to good cuddling is good communication — being able to ask for what you want and need and hear if the other person is a yes or no, and being able to negotiate to find a mutual yes.

At Adultsmart we are strong advocates for human rights.  Some of our passions are the right to sexual freedom and expression and the rights for people with disabilities.  How does cuddling help these groups of people?

Cuddlists address the basic human need for touch and connection. We work with all genders, races, sizes, sexual orientations, and abilities. Everyone deserves to feel nurtured and cared for. People in marginalized and minority communities can often experience isolation for many different reasons so can be particularly vulnerable to having lack of good touch in their lives. My work helps people to be able to meet these needs in a way that is empowering to them. I believe every person I see is a whole person with agency and rights to their bodily autonomy. I strive to make sessions a safe space for people to be able to be comfortable and self-expressed without shame.

The cuddlist dot com

Do you offer specific cuddling sessions for people with disabilities and how do they differ from standard cuddling techniques?

Yes. Depending on the disability, I offer home visits for people who cannot come to my office due to mobility issues or chronic illness that prevents them from traveling. There aren’t any

“standard cuddling techniques”

that I use. I work with each client to find ways to provide them with the physical contact that they would like, which sometimes involves getting a bit creative. If there is a position that they or myself are not comfortable doing, we find something else that works for both of us.

Cuddling parties are happening around the world.  What can you tell us about these?

I’m a certified Cuddle Party Facilitator as well as a Cuddlist.

“Cuddle Party is a playful social event designed for adults to explore communication, boundaries and affection.”

The event starts off with a workshop that covers the ‘rules of cuddling’ which goes over communication skills on how to ask for what you want, practice saying yes and no, and listening openly to people’s answers to your requests. After the workshop part of the event, people are welcomed to explore cuddling with each other and practice the kind of detailed asking that we do in the workshop.

Cuddle Parties are a great place to connect with others who are interested in practicing active consent, sharing physical affection, and being playful. It can also be a space to practice saying no and feel how empowering that can be.

To find out more about these events and see where Cuddle Parties are happening in your area check out:

Cuddle Parties Website

Hypothetical – I am a newbie who has contacted you for a cuddling session.  Can you run us through the procedure prior to a cuddling session?

Once I receive your request for a session, I contact you to set up a phone conversation where you can ask any questions you have and I go over what you can expect out of the first session. I have clients fill out a waiver agreement that spells out what Cuddlist is and is not (aka. I’m not a psychotherapist or doctor so I don’t diagnose or treat people for conditions). We talk about payment and go over some basics about boundaries and the Cuddlist code of conduct. The first session is designed for us to get to know each other. The session is client lead, which means that I support them in speaking up for what they want and discovering what that might be if they don’t know.

Other Cuddlist may have somewhat different client screening processes but we all take time to talk with prospective clients to make sure that we are a good match before having a session. If I feel that a fellow Cuddlist might be better suited to work with someone, I will offer a referral and they do the same.

Platonic cuddling has been known to help people that have suffered trauma and/or loss. How do you personally cope with their grief?

I have found that having my own support, with a therapist and through peer-support with other certified Cuddlists, is really important in being able to process and move through any emotions that might come up in response to a client sharing their experience with me in session. In sessions, I feel that I am channeling a sense of compassion and love for my clients that is larger than myself. Being in this state of openhearted flow helps me to hold space for any emotions shared by my clients. Grief, anger, confusion, numbness, feeling ashamed, sadness, etc. are all natural responses to trauma and loss and its important to be able to express emotions in a safe confidential space, which is what I provide.

When someone has chronic illness and may have few family or friends, cuddling may form an important part of the transition.  Do you participate in these types of sessions?

I’m not sure I fully understand the question however – I work with clients who have chronic illnesses. I myself have a chronic illness and know how isolating it can be to have a chronic condition that limits your ability to participate in life and activities. Caring touch can be a big support for people who are chronically ill as well as for those with disabilities. My personal experience with chronic illness is part of what drives me to do this work and make it as accessible as I can for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to be able to receive this kind of care.

You hold workshops on cuddling.  Can you tell us a bit more about this and to participate?

See Cuddle Party info.

I offer Cuddle Parties and workshops on consent and communication in the Northampton Massachusetts area. You can find out more about workshops at my or on my Facebook page –

Nellie Cuddles Workshops
Nellie Wilson Website

What do you do in your ‘down’ time?

When I’m not seeing clients or teaching workshops, I enjoy gardening, hiking, singing, and spending time with loved ones and friends.

You have a master’s degree in Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching.  How do you incorporate this to your cuddling sessions?

My background in integrative health and wellness coaching informs my Cuddlist work in being able to coach clients into getting clear about what they want out of a session, in sharing information about the mind-body science of the health benefits of cuddling, and offer resources for clients who want to work on other parts of their health and wellbeing outside of touch. I believe strongly in whole person care and I have a referral network of other health providers to share with clients that may need additional support.

Nellie Wilson – Certified Professional Cuddlist & Consent Educator
Offering Trust-Based Therapeutic Touch & Experiential Workshops

Rick is the owner of the Adultsmart, an online sex toy shop that stocks over 13,000 products. He has been involved in the adult lifestyle industry for more than 25 years. Rick is an active sex blogger who provides a wealth of information and experience. He is an advocate of equality for gender and sexuality.

Miss J Domme VIP Interview

Hi there Mistress J – i’d like to thank you in advance for your time in looking through these questions. FemDomme is something that a lot of people are curious about and these questions will allow people to see a little bit more of you, as well as help our readers work through their curiosity and explore a unique fetish.

I have to start at the beginning and ask – how did you get into domming? Was it a natural process, or was there an a-ha moment?

At first, I got into being a professional Dominatrix because I needed the money and thought it would be easy money. I soon found out that it’s not easy money at all and it takes a lot of hard work. I walked out of my job in a psychiatric hospital in New Jersey in 2011. I was tired of working in a system where I would do double shifts all the time and still had to decide whether to put food in my fridge or play the light bill. Don’t get me wrong it can be feast or famine as a professional Domme and sometimes you are making a lot of money and sometimes you aren’t making any money at all. That’s why I also prefer to have my eggs in other baskets rather than just the pro-Domme thing but even those other baskets have to do with BDSM. In August of 2012, I started putting ads up on backpage and craigslist. Craigslist was always a pain in the ass and I got the majority of people from backpage anyway. My first session was with a man who liked his balls kicked and who like to worship feet. I enjoyed what I got to do with him and I enjoyed the money for something I actually enjoyed. I never had any formal training but I had the right attitude, always practiced safety, always got consent and negotiated a scene, always communicated and established a level of trust. To me, those things have always been common sense but some do not have common sense. I have also been pretty dominant throughout my life so this came naturally to me and things I didn’t know about I researched.

How large is the BDSM community in Denver, Colorado?

  In my opinion the BDSM scene in Denver Colorado wasn’t like the east coast scene for me. I am from the Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania and always had an easier time on the east coast getting clients and having people to play with. Denver was a little slow for me and I don’t think I was ready to slow it down so in July I moved back to Pennsylvania. I do think the spanking community is huge in Denver but I don’t always fit in with the spanko community and I think it is because they see that I am really big into the BDSM scene and maybe that makes them nervous that I might not respect their limits. I did meet some great people at some of the spanking parties I attended in Denver and had the pleasure of meeting Michael Masterson (realspankings.com ) and got to watch him film some spanking videos at his studio in Denver. I did meet some excellent Dommes out there who are truly masters at what they do, Miss Victoria Marx and Domina Elle. I had a great time playing in their dungeon and got great vibes and great energy from them. I never worked out of their dungeon in a professional capacity but I did attend a party or two at their dungeon.

What’s one of your favorite things about taking control during erotic play?

Some of my favorite things about taking control in erotic scenes are of course the giving up control to me and the trust they put in me to do that. Basically, I get off on the power and trust and the connection I have with people while playing.

MIss J Lair

One of the things that i find most fascinating is that whilst you identify and play as a Domme – you are in a Ds relationship as a submissive to your Sir. How do you navigate through that difference in head space – between work and pleasure? Is there a difference at all?

When I moved to Denver it was to go live with my Sir who is a sadist. He and I communicated, negotiated, established trust, discussed limits many months before I moved out there but you never really know someone until you live with them. I actually wanted him to train me to become a heavy bottom but that didn’t happen. It didn’t happen because I realized he was full of shit and not a real dom. He was constantly yelling at me when I wasn’t in total agreement with him all of the time and he didn’t respect my limits many times. There were also a few times when he put his hands on me out of anger and the last time he did that I decided to move back to Pennsylvania. Believe me by that time I was very homesick for my lush green state and just needed to get away from him because I knew things were not ok. At first, we were in negotiation for him to move to Pennsylvania but I realized later why he didn’t want to, I have a heavy female influence out here kink wise and vanilla wise. Strong women who would have had my back when I told them about him. I also have men on my side out here who would have never let him get away with the abuse. So he basically pulled a cult move on me and got me away from everything I know and family and friends and what he wanted was to control me but I fought tooth and nail every day. I say that to say this, anyone thinking about getting into a D’s relationship needs to be careful because there are many who call themselves dominants but they are really domineering and it can turn into a very bad situation. The relationship I was supposed to have with him was supposed to be nurturing because that’s what a D’s relationship is supposed to be about and both of us getting what we really wanted and sex of course 😉 The professional Domming I do has nothing to do with sex though. Only when I am in a relationship with someone there might be sex involved but I definitely don’t get involved with clients sexually. It’s a total difference being in a D’s relationship compared to being a professional Dominatrix. I get pleasure from both but only one involves sex.

You state, ‘I am argumentative, bratty when I don’t get what I want, opinionated, headstrong, and independent and I have a problem following orders or any kind of chain of command’. How does your ‘sir’ handle that?

Yes I can be argumentative and bratty when I don’t get what I want but I am a Domme and used to getting what I want so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it 😉 I do not think my sir was a good dom mainly because I know what a good Domme is and refuse to listen or submit to anything less than that. He couldn’t handle me being opinionated, headstrong and independent even though he stressed those things that he wanted in a woman during all of our months of communication but I soon found out that it wasn’t really what he wanted, He wanted someone weak and timid who he could step on and push around and become totally dependent on him. He soon found out that he couldn’t do that to me and it really created a volatile situation.

Have your friends, family, partners been supportive of you being a professional Domme?

My friends and family, most of them know what I do and have been supportive. As far as partners go I don’t think a man will ever truly trust what I do because it’s in the back of their head that I am having sex with clients and not being truthful. Just my opinion though and let’s be clear, I DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH CLIENTS!

 Have there been any challenges and how did you overcome them?

There are challenges in doing what I do. Early on I was worried that I might not look the part of or have the right clothing and too worried about other Dommes who might have better clothing and equipment. I realized later that equipment and clothing have nothing to do with it and it’s about your attitude and how well you can improvise without all of that equipment, your knowledge of BDSM and leave someone happy that they came to see you.

When I first started out I was using a hotel in a not so nice area so it was hard to establish trust just because of that but I always appreciated those who put on their big boy panties and came to that hotel to play. Some of those guys are still with me to this day and we sometimes talk and laugh about that cruddy hotel they came to and how nervous they were just to walk into the hotel. Another challenge is that vanilla friends and family don’t understand that I don’t work a 9-5 job and yes I might have more free time but when I want to work then I want to work and it can be at odd hours. I also have to shut my phone down at certain times or it turns into a 24/7 job and nobody wants to work 24/7. Lots of men have no care in the world when they contact you even when times are clearly posted so sometimes you have to shut shit down. Then you have the time wasters who want to send incessant emails and texts and who just want to get off but will never book a session with you. So I have learned to give these guys very little wiggle room to manipulate me or my time. I have also become very adept at distinguishing the real from the fakes when they make contact with me.

Miss J Leg Fetish

You say on your website: “I am really into quite a bit of mind-fuckery.” – Could you explain what that entails?

I am into a bit of mind fuckery. I like tying someone up and pull out my throwing knives. Of course, I am not going to throw them but the look in their eyes and how their breathing changes are priceless. Or have them tied and show them knives and then blindfold them and run cold knives across their flesh. I also enjoy knowing someone’s’ limits such as not getting hit in the balls and then pretending I am going to hit them in the balls just to watch how they react and jump. FYI I always respect people’s limits. Another favorite is a roleplay session where they try to dominate me and take control and I turn the tables on them and show them how a Lady really takes control.

What makes a good submissive to you?

My favorite submissives are alpha subs. They aren’t subs you can just step all over. They are secure, independent, intelligent and not necessarily what people think about when they think about submissives. Nobody wants a weak submissive and I have a sneaking suspicion that those who want a weak submissive might be quite predatory in nature and not necessarily good Doms. Again that is just my opinion because of some of my experiences in this lifestyle. I love submissives who truly want Mistress to be happy and do what she wants even if it isn’t something that is not a particular interest of the submissive’s.  They will do what they have to for Mistress and believe me not all of them are built like that. I find the older gentlemen to be a bit more like that than younger men. I don’t enjoy bratty submissives at all. I won’t tolerate it because most are being bratty to get what they want and I won’t give them what they want for being bratty.

What makes a good dom to you?

A good Domme is one who respects limits, negotiates a scene, has consent, safe and sane, respects privacy and establishes a trust level.  A good Domme should be able to read people very well and have the ability to call a scene right before the submissive calls it. A good Dome doesn’t really want to hear a safeword called because they want to remain in control the whole time and if a sub calls it first you gave a little bit of control back to them. A good Domme isn’t abusive and respects someone’s limits.

What’s your go to comfort food?

I can’t say that I have favorite comfort food but I do really love peanut butter and bananas together.

What’s one of your favourite activities to do when youre domming?

Some of my favorite activities are needle play, ballbusting, heavy impact play, humiliation, nipple torture, CBT, spanking and paddling, and roleplay.

If i may – What’s your favourite activity to do when you’re subbing/bottoming?

Some of my favorite activities while I bottomed were nipple torture although I cannot handle clamps on my nipples, my leather strap being put to my inner thighs, hit on my back with my bamboo loopy, being spanked and I liked to be bit. Of course, I needed build up for all of this and my sir at the time didn’t try to build me up first. He expected me just to take things without a warmup.

I love the idea that you explicitly state that you’ll listen to your subs interests – a lot of Domme’s don’t necessarily worry about that. What sets you apart as a domme, and what can people that sign up for your tribute services expect?

I do listen to my subs. I like someone to give me information on things they have done and would like to try and their limits. This lifestyle is about communication and these are things I need to know to be able to negotiate a scene with someone and to play safely.

Miss J Fetlife Profile

What sets you apart from other Dommes?

 I don’t know what sets me apart from other Dommes except that I am real, I don’t bullshit and pretend to be something I am not. I think many Dommes have something to bring to the table even though their whole style might be different than mine. So with that being said just be real and the clientele you are supposed to have will gravitate to you and ones who aren’t pulled to you will hopefully find a Domme that is better suited for them. Anyone who comes and sees me can expect someone who loves what they, have a fun session, and that I will always respect their limits and privacy.

If there was one thing that you could change with how people view FemDom and domination – what would it be?

There are a few things I would like to change, how people FemDommes and domination. First of all, some think being a Femdomme means that you also hate men which isn’t true at all and as a matter of fact I love men. I also think some think we just pull people off the street and beat and torture them which is definitely not true. We run off rules in BDSM, basic elements to practice our art safely. People also don’t realize that these relationships are supposed to be nurturing, not just a bunch of yelling, torturing and giving orders. It’s a lot more than that. I wish more people would research BDSM and get rid of their misconceptions about BDSM. I would also appreciate if newbies would do some research into their own submission before contacting me because I believe it is their responsibility to themselves and to me to do so.

Rick is the owner of the Adultsmart, an online sex toy shop that stocks over 13,000 products. He has been involved in the adult lifestyle industry for more than 25 years. Rick is an active sex blogger who provides a wealth of information and experience. He is an advocate of equality for gender and sexuality.

Meet Velvet d’Amour – The World’s First Plus Sized Super Model!

 Adultsmart is proud to introduce Velvet d’Amour to our lifestyle community blog.  Velvet is the first plus-sized female to make it as a ‘super-model’ in Paris and is the founder of Vol Up 2 magazine which has an emphasis on curvy women, as well as those forgotten by fashion. Welcome and thank you for agreeing to participate in this interview.

Thanks! My pleasure.

Velvet d'Amour Interview
Interview With Velvet

You were born in USA and achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the NYC School of Visual Arts.  What did you learn there?

Yes, I am a proud native of Rochester, NY. My major at SVA was actually Illustration, because I thought that meant I could make Fine Art and get paid for it, lol But in the end my focus tended to be on photography.

You spent a year abroad in Florence Italy.  What was the inspiration for you to spend time there?

I did. I adored it and it actually gave me the impetus to move to Europe.

As an artist, pretty much everything about Italy is inspiring, especially the men, LOL Realistically, the vibe of Italy suggests a time when artists were sincerely valued and art was incorporated into every facet of life. Each corner you turn is adorned in sculpture, and even when I studied there, you could come across a random opera singer singing on the street. They would have an evening where they made a never ending dinner table down the middle of the street, so everyone shares dinner together! Just living in a manner that feeds the soul through connection was inspiring.

James White Instagram

But I was very fortunate to have James White as my Photography teacher in Florence and he is so genius as a teacher, as he could see my passion for photography and he would be so supportive and encouraging. He even gave me a key to the darkroom, which was in this astoundingly beautiful centuries old building and I would spend hours and hours there developing my film and agitating my prints to life.

Velvet D’Amour Photographer

It is there that you developed a passion for fashion photography.  Tell us a bit about that?

I always had a passion for old photos, my parents were much older when they had me so I was always looking at these amazing old black and white pics from the 40’s and my love of fashion and photography initially stemmed from there.

In High School I took my first photography class, and it was fun to try to shoot fashion even at that early age. Then in college I would always peruse photographers like Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel and Ellen Von Unwerth, they were some of my favorites back in the day and their work definitely influences my own.

But as a Fine Art Major they forced us to take photography with a Pentax K1000 and I was so intimidated by technology that I had previously just worked with crappy little automatics, but when I managed to learn how to deal with the Pentax I really feel in love with the instant gratification that photography provided.

As a Fine Artist I was very interested in figurative studies so drawing and painting could take eons to complete a concept whereas with photography in the simple snap of an image I have made my statement. Voila!

And at the time very few women were fashion photographers so it was quite cool to delve into a subject that was formerly very much a male terrain.

Velvet d’Amour modeling

You then went onto the other side of the lens and started modeling.  How did this happen?

When I was in High School I’d go out and inevitably people would ask if I was a model because I was tall-ish at 5’8. So they had one of those Model Agency Scout things come to a mall in the suburbs where I grew up and I went and was told I, “had the face of talent” but at 140 pounds I was too fat to model so they suggested I lose weight. I had been competitively swimming for ages and so my body had that tiny waist huge shoulders thing and then I did shot-put and discus on track so let’s just say I was hardly the breakable Kate Moss flavored model of the moment. So I went about losing weight to try to get signed to an agency by doing a 500 calorie diet which was so not healthy, and since it was the 80’s and most models were on the cocaine diet, lol, I wasn’t about to be getting emaciated anytime soon, since your body can’t maintain 500 calories eternally. So when I started yoyo dieting I gained weight and I was having difficulty, as so many young women do, to accept and love my body. I read FAT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE and I went to see a therapist and I started to try to find examples of bodies in mainstream media that were like my own and there were none. Maybe at the Opera but beyond that, nada.

When I started shooting models who were signed to agencies they were the IDEAL, and yet I would see that they too were struggling to accept their utterly idealized bodies! So to me it was a bit of a mind-fuck putting it bluntly, that no women were loving their bodies! So given those two concepts, I started to use myself as a piece of subversive art through photography, by emulating the poses and flavors one would see in mainstream fashion magazines but with myself.   At the time it was considered exceedingly audacious but I was making a point.

Velvet Plus Sized Model

When I moved to Paris they had just opened the first plus size model agency in France, AGENCE PLUS, I knew that very few photographers were interested in shooting plus size models so I offered my services and I sent a photo showing that I was a plus size woman myself. They said they would like to meet me first as is normal for photographers but when I went in they said they wanted to hire me AS A MODEL!?! So while I couldn’t get signed to an agency as a young straight size model, I actually ended up getting signed at age 39 and near 300 lbs. We were able to use all the shots I had created as an artistic revolution as my portfolio and my book ended up standing out a great deal from other plus size agency models, as well as the fact that I was the fattest model ever to be signed to a model agency.

Agence Plus France

What was most exciting about this was that I had come to love myself and thereafter this gift of getting signed came along and that was such a lovely payoff to the self esteem I had worked so hard to build.

For most people this would be more than enough to occupy all of their time but you then became a recording artist.  When did you learn to sing?

Thanks!

I always loved to dance, and in high school they had a SHOW DANCE group, but in order to audition you had to sing. So being typical me, I was making fun of singing Opera and the teacher heard me, and said I had A GIFT! I ended up getting into NYSSMA, which is the best young singers of New York State, and was fortunate enough to spend a summer being taught by the best, up in Saratoga Springs, NY. And from there also studied opera in NYC and Italy.

In 2006 you starred in the film Avida as the main character Avida.  That must have been a hell of an experience! How did it come about that you got that role?

The very first casting I went in through my French model agency was for the role of AVIDA. They were looking for a very fat women who didn’t take issue with being naked. The nudity was part of the film as art and the role was quite interesting as she was an aging singer who had become quite depressed and wanted to commit suicide in a very spectacular manner. When I went to the audition I was able to sing some opera, which was quite fun and unexpected, lo,l but because they saw me as ‘too glamorous’ I didn’t end up getting the role!

Velvet VIP

So as a sort of joke, you get that I’m a bit of a jokester at this point, lol I had my friend take THE most unattractive images you ever did see of ME! Then I sent them and thanked them for seeing me as such a glam doll. WELL they ended up calling me back! UGLY PICTURES PAY DAMMIT! lol They said the person they had gone with ended up being more American than Belgian and I ended up being more Belgian then American so they went with me in the end.

I had a blast shooting it! The guys who made it are kinda like the Saturday Night Live comedians of France, very antiestablishment Frenchies, quite funny, always drunk and laughing and having an absolute BLAST while they make ART. So I had pretty much forgotten about it when they called me in NYC where I was at the time and they said THE FILM HAD MADE IT INTO THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL!!! Then it got into THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL!!! So freakindeakin cool man!!!

Avida Cannes Film Festival
Avida Starring Velvet

It is a very artsy film, if you like Jacques Tati you’ll dig it.

The difficulty is that there are little to NO roles for women my size in film and that really needs to change. I mean think about how many fat people you see walking down a street. Then think about how many roles in films, let alone lead roles, where they include a fat woman. How many do you come up with? Maybe, GILBERT GRAPE? And most all involve pure mockery not any real substance. So it would be awesome if there was more inclusivity within film making and not just hiring thin actresses to wear fat suits, etc.

What do you feel the main differences are between still photography and moving pictures?

I actually make videos for VOLUP2 now so I live that difference, lol I think the possibilities in film are overwhelming when one is accustomed to still imagery. Still photography breaks down a millisecond in time, it literally stops time, whereas film is like liquid motion it can tell a million stories in a million ways and editing it down can be a bitch. But it is the future of fashion. I am currently working on a submission to Nick Knight’s SHOW STUDIO which is the Mecca of all Fashion Films.

Global Fashion Studios

And I have to agree with Nick that it is the future of fashion. It isn’t stagnant in any way and because clothes move with you it is one of the best ways to showcase fabric which in the end is what fashion is.

I love both arts and think they both have their place in the world.

Then you played as the lead dancer at a Lionel Banjo piece at the Pallais Chaillot at Trocadero.  Did you have any formal dance training prior to taking this part?

I was very into volunteering to help people with AIDS and HIV and as such I worked for a nonprofit and was collecting donations which I was rather brazen about, lol.  So at a restaurant one night I asked the cutie next to me if he would like to donate and we ended up becoming great friends. We both liked Hip Hop so we would go to this tea dance in Paris and spend hours and hours dancing all night there, it was SO FUN! He saw me dance and he was the administrator for the well known Lionel Hoche dance company MEME BANJO and so he said one night that he may have a role for me in their next piece! SUPER COOL! I played the role of a vegetarian ogress, lol.  And it actually was performed at the coveted Palais Chaillot Trocadero! I about passed out when I first got on stage. But the most difficult performing is live theater, having 1000 people staring at you while you dance and act in French is beyond the realm terrifying but it made everything else seem easy, so I am so appreciative that Lionel took a risk on me. I was very impressive with the sense of inclusion the world of contemporary dance had. Their bodies tend to be smaller by virtue of the work they put them through but there was a wonderful lack of judgment, not only from the dancers but from audiences as well.

I actually started out with dancing for Lionel before I modeled. It was Adam Vidocvic who ‘found me’ before anyone else.

Velvet on stage

As an influencer and female activist, your message has been that using yourself as a vessel of change combating the stereotyping of what a woman should be portrayed by mainstream media.  Where have you been most successful in achieving this?

I suppose by infiltrating high end Parisian fashion through taking the runway for John Galliano

Velvet and John Galliano

and then Jean Paul Gaultier

Velvet and Jean Paul Gaultier

would be considered my greatest coups. That, and getting into French VOGUE being included in an editorial shot by Nick Knight was great!

One of the preferred images I created with Maya Guez was…

(image too small to publish)

But I made my point by actively working to be included in editorial fashion so modeling for iconic photographers like Daniele Iango… Kourtney Roy Etc. So I feel pleased to have gotten as far as I did to work with so many incredible artists.

Velvet and Daniele Iango
Velvet and Courtney Roy

Thereafter, I ended up doing a reality TV show here in France called, CELEBRITY FARM where they ship pseudo celebrities off to work on a farm. But I was so fortunate that the year they included me, we were flown to the South African bush to care for animals!!! I actually managed to hang in there for 9 of the 10 weeks so I ended up beating out the vast majority of other celebrities, and the best part was each week you raise money for your chosen charity so I ended up making around $72,000 for ENFANTS DISPARU which helps missing and abused children and their families.

Velvet Celebrity Farm

My favorite part was feeding the crocs! I did get bit by a snake but that probably happens every 15 minutes in Australia, when one isn’t being attacked by a shark, so I won’t end up impressing anyone on here with that ,lol.

You describe your photographic works as allowing you ‘to share beauty that otherwise may be overlooked’.  What do you most enjoy in taking an alternate perspective of beauty?

I most enjoy sharing the beauty that is humanity, because mainstream media completely ignores it, and chooses instead to create optical illusions in order to drive capitalism, versus celebrating the innate beauty that each and every person is blessed with.  I encore bucking the norm and changing how society views beauty so that it may be more encompassing.

People often want to denigrate imagery which is inclusive of fat bodies in particular, because they like to perceive any admittance of such as a ‘Glorification of Obesity’ and therefore UNHEALTHY. Yet the reality is, by including only images of beauty which are now utterly unattainable- for anyone really, there was a point that like, 1% of the human population who happened to be young, white, able, size 0’s, who were 6 ft tall existed, but now you have all that plus retouching! So now even those few can’t attain the current beauty ethic, unless they can walk down the street Photoshopping themselves. This creates so much self loathing, which not only fat people are effected by, but the preponderance of the population! So while the topic of Health is the number one reason people cite as their reason for prohibiting fat bodies from mainstream media, they never touch upon Mental Health. And that is genuinely a crisis in modern society.

I have had a look at your magazine and personally love it.  What is the general feedback you get from viewers?

Thank you! We are fortunate to receive really positive feedback. People are craving to feel represented and I genuinely try to include numerous types of people who fashion has forgot. Why don’t we ever see burn survivors in fashion? Did you know that burns are the fourth most common type of trauma worldwide?!

Velvet Models

Why don’t we see amputees?

Amputee Model

Or people living with Albinism, Downs Syndrome, Wheelchair-bound, Treacher-Collins, Vitiligo, Alopecia, elderly, different ethnicities, sexualitys, the list of people that we systematically exclude is fucking endless, seriously.

Velvet and Racism

But I aim to change that, to ‘be the change I want to see’ in my own very small way. I actively showcase difference and NOT in terms of shock value, (which is where you MAY see some different types of people included in fashion, an able bodied model posing in a wheelchair for instance comes to mind), its more an exploitation of difference then a glorification of humanity.

Everyone has flaws and in your magazine you encourage people to revel in their imperfections.  What a fantastic outlook to have.  Did you ever battle to accept any of your own imperfections?

Yes, sure I did! In the end the mere fact that I was in a position to worry about my imperfections is a privilege in itself, as so many in the world suffer just to simply survive and that I am very conscientious of that.

But there certainly was a time I hated myself mainly because, like so many, I was working inordinately hard to achieve the unattainable beauty ideal through crash diets, and doctors would give me metabolizers and appetite suppressants etc etc which only served to make me fatter ironically.

I remember after losing like, 80 lbs the hair and makeup people that I was reping at a Hair and Makeup Agent in NYC encouraged me to join a popular plus size model agency there. I went to the open call and was told that – my nose was too wide, my face was too long and my eyes were too close set. I literally laughed out loud! I just couldn’t grasp that beauty could be so formulated! Thereafter, I ended up getting signed by Agence Plus in Paris and made it into so many coveted fashion spaces that it just went to show there is no formula. Period!

But what I think is one of the keys to self revelry is to honor those that came before you. Why put more respect into a system that is setting out to intentionally force you to reject yourself, so that you will invest in whatever they are marketing to you, versus dignifying the millions of ancestors that came before you?

You are a successful woman that has done so much in your life.   Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

Thank you! I very much live in the moment to be honest, so not sure, but hoping to be living each day to the fullest!

 

Please find Velvet’s links here!

Vol.UP.2 Magazine
Facebook Vol Up 2 Magazine
Instagram Vol Up 2 Magazine
Facebook Fan Page Velvet d’Amour

 

Velvet d’Amour on Linkedin

 

Rick is the owner of the Adultsmart, an online sex toy shop that stocks over 13,000 products. He has been involved in the adult lifestyle industry for more than 25 years. Rick is an active sex blogger who provides a wealth of information and experience. He is an advocate of equality for gender and sexuality.