I met Mistress Clarissa on Twitter when she asked me about some of the T-shirts I was selling on the site and offered to model the F**K NEWS tee. We exchanged a few emails and I asked her whether she would be interested in answering a few questions about herself. The whole master/slave, dom/sub culture is one that is still pretty underground and misunderstood - I myself know very little about it - so I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn a little and for Mistress Clarissa to tell us about her lifestyle and art.
Q. On myspace you define yourself as an artist. Would you qualify that with any other description, such as S&M artist, or bondage artist?
A. i consider myself an artist that uses many things both traditional and non traditional methods to create beauty and connect with others. i consider S&M a type of performance art. rope, floggers, whips, Whartonberg Wheels, long nails and other BDSM/fetish paraphernalia are just like different brushes and oils to a painter. pain and different sensations are different notes and pitches to create a type of music. just like a trombone and a sax sound completely different even when playing the same notes; a quirt and flogger can both be painful but in completely different ways. i am also a more traditional artist. i sing (soprano as well as alto) as well sculpt, i use mixed media, write, i had been a pro stand-up comedian when i was in college and after, create jewelry using sterling and semi precious, write and create humorous and fetish vids and act. i actually prefer to stay behind the camera though. so i think i am best define myself as an artist. it's also why i was drawn to your shirts. your words and the aesthetic of your words are brilliant.
Q. On your clips for sale pages you have a number of videos for sale which show you interacting with your slaves. When did you start videoing sessions and do you have someone who helps you out with this?
A. sometimes i am the camera person and do everything from soup to nuts and sometimes MasterVirage or Dominar Stark are often my cam artists and partners in crime. every now and again i have a guest cam person like Mistress Katya behind the lens. it allows me to experiment in front of the lens and in editing.
Q. How did you get into the mistress/slave lifestyle/culture?
A. i have been in this since i was very young. grade school. i would tie up other children and buy stockings and garter belts with my candy money. it really wasn't until i was in college did i put the pieces together and realize it fell under the fetish BDSM umbrella. i really got into the scene then. so i was about 18 or 19.
Q. How much of Mistress Clarissa is the real you? Is she purely a role you play or is she an extension of your everyday personality?
A. she is an extension of who i am albeit more graceful.
Q. I noticed that at least one of your slaves is a woman. I guess I just assumed that all your customers would be men. Do your female customers ask for very different services than the men?
A i dominate and play with the person. i am interested in what's between their ears, not their legs. the main differences are women usually can take way more pain, complain less, and are less likely to forget what being a slave/sub/bottom means. men often make the mistake of confusing fetish porn with actual submission. more importantly, i do not offer a service. i offer slaves the opportunity to serve as well as to learn, grow, experiment, have fun. Freedom is Slavery but 2 + 2 still equals 4 unless of course you live on Fox News (but those fuckers wouldn't get this reference anyway).
Q. Do you ever refuse certain requests? Do you ever refuse customers completely?
A. absolutely and i absolutely refuse slaves. there are many fetishes that do not amuse me and at the end of the day it is about me having a good time with someone who is of like mind. if someone wants it their way they can go to Burger King. those who i outright refuse are those who mistake what i do for prostitution or think i'm a stripper (i am definitely not graceful enough anyway) as well as anybody whose politics i object to. so if ann coulter approached me for a session it's just not going to happen. i don't like the personality and i would be waaay to tempted to do real damage. finally, anyone who is obese or has bad hygiene. between the health concerns and the assault of my senses it's a no go.
Q. From a psychological point of view what do you think your customers are looking for? Are your services a kind of therapy for them? Why do you think some people seek this out and not others?
A. the people i play with come for different reasons. the irony here is that i offer a safe place. where as our society likes to say that you're a bad person if you like to dress in women's clothes, or your transgender, gay, pain slut etc...i say that you are perfectly fine (provided the context is correct). i put a male slave in frilly panties and sticky my stiletto in his crotch at a fet party like Suspension in NYC or in a dungeon that's a fun time. Not so much if it's at his 20 year high school reunion. so acceptance is part of it. it's also a creative outlet for both. boring thoughtlessness has no place here. this is a type of over the top theater therapy for all of us. have you seen some of our outfits? the whole thing is extremely cathartic. even the pain portion and bondage/restriction aspects. the 800lb gorilla in the room that no one speaks about is that pain often releases endorphins and becomes a natural high. why do you think the religious flagellators saw angels? i could go on and on but then you would have to dedicate half your website to this.
Q. I read on one of your blogs on myspace that you are married. Has your profession ever caused any conflict with your husband? Is he involved in any way with your work?
A. he's my partner in crime (Dominar Stark) and a fellow artist. we like to co top. i feel bad for those who sneak behind their partner's back. he often is my muse and collaborator on my non fet projects. he has acted for me, i run ideas past him, he is my photographer, we often sing together (he has a classically trained baritone) and plays guitar for my stuff. Not to mention he does all my photoshop stuff like sara palin ball gag http://twitpic.com/qkqyd and we can geek out/nerd off together with movies, cartoons, and vid games. he out geeks me. he created his own table top game (kicks D&D ass) and is a rock star in the gaming scene with DR http://darkrefuge.net/ . yes, the nerd girls throw panties at him at conventions.
Q. How would you define your political outlook? How does it tie in with your work and lifestyle?
A. power liberal. liberal on steroids. politically active liberal. i believe we should all have human rights and need social justice, we must reign in greed and the all powerful megacorps that steals the wealth and property of the people and call it savvy business , we need to take care of the planet and it's inhabitants, and have a populace that is healthy. it's also very important to people like myself to have personal freedom whether is the choice of religion (or lack their of) and what we do with our own bodies. all these things have an impact on this lifestyle. when we have a weak and dieing middle class, there is no money to be spent on people like my self and no discretionary for paraphernalia. the 1 percent of the populace has 90 percent of the wealth with much thanks to corrupt politicians and voodoo economics. trickle down theory only means that the wealthy are pissing on us. social conservatism or basically making laws based on religious fundamentalism hurts this lifestyle and society in general as those people like to pass laws that make what i do illegal or persecute people like me. reality, statistics, history, reason, and logic may say that what they want doesn't work nor does it jive with the constitution but hey they want a reason to feel morally superior. their type of thinking works for the taliban right?
Q. What misconceptions do you think people sometimes have about the lifestyle you lead?
A. so many. that we are bitchy and self centered. some mistresses are but usually they just use the moniker Mistress or Domina to cover the fact that they are annoying twits. a big one is that BDSM/fetish must include sex, or nudity, or pain. my sessions do not include sex, i am never nude, and on occasion i may include slave pain. that i/we are plain old sadists. sadism has many shades. i enjoy the suffering of those who enjoy it or deserve it like mazzos (masochists) and rush limbauch (deserves it). many dommes feel the same. pain and suffering for suffering's sake is just plain SERIAL KILLER. also many people do not realise how expensive this lifestyle is. when someone contacts me a lot (text, phone, email) or wants to play, that costs me money in cell phone and high speed internet and other expenses. corsets, leather, manicures, dye, pedicures, equipment, stockings, transportation, floggers, space to play etc.. it's extremely pricey so when a so called slave gripes when i tell him to pay for something it is frustrating. i'm expected to have all this. it really is TAKING ADVANTAGE and it's the ANTITHESIS of real slave/sub behavior.
please note that i purposely write in lowercase. since i speak softly when i play with others and have taken to writing many online/text things in lowercase so that i can bring attention to important words in uppercase, this is the closest i can get to expressing the MistressClarissa experience;-) remember, there are no italics or bold on twitter and text.