Posted at 14:59 on 8 Jul 2008 by Pandora Blake
Q: I would like to ask how you became a spanking model and what prompted you to go professional as opposed to just being spanked 'recreationally'? Do you have any fears? Where do you draw the line? What would you not do? (from Hermione)
A: Wow, good questions! I might have to take these one at a time. How I got into spanking modelling is kind of a long story. If you've been spanked recently, you might want to fetch a cushion and get comfortable ...
I started out doing art nude modelling for a photographer friend. I've always been very unabashed about sexuality and nudity, and there didn't seem anything wrong with posing nude for a trusted friend. There was nothing sexual about the shoot - it was comfortable and respectful. I was 20 and had a lot of body image issues; seeing aesthetically pleasing, artistic photos of my naked body was the first step on the journey of learning to see myself as beautiful.
I tend to think analytically about most new things I learn, and looking at the results of my first shoot I could already see things I wanted to do better and ways I could improve my modelling. So I uploaded some of the shots to a modelling site and expressed interest in doing low-key unpaid shoots with local photographers. I turned down a lot of offers which made me feel uncomfortable (one guy wanted to shoot my face while I brought myself to orgasm; I knew for certain I wasn't up for that, although these days it might be a different story), but I did a couple more shoots with a young local photographer. Some of the images we produced together were, if I say so myself, beautiful; modelling was creatively fulfilling in a way I hadn't imagined. I loved how much aesthetic control I had. It was as if I was a painting and the photographer was realising me. I found it liberating and empowering.
I love naked bodies - I think people are beautiful, of all shapes and sizes. As an artist, how can I make something beautiful if I can't accept the beauty in myself? Appreciating and owning my own beauty was an act of self-affirmation which was very powerful for me.
Pretty soon I was offered my first paid shoot. It was more explicit than the art nude stuff I'd done before. "UK Magazine" level refers to explicit genital shots, but no sexual activity (as opposed to "US Magazine", which includes shots of the model masturbating). The reason I was okay with this was that it was for a special-interest magazine (in the States, funnily enough) focussed on unshaven girls. It was sort of a girl-next-door, retro appeal. Apparently there's quite a wide market for it. Now, I prefer to be shaved, but something about the rejection of plastic Barbie-doll mainstream porn really appealed to me. I agreed to grow back my pubic hair and bikini line (legs and armpits were optional) for the shoot. The other reason I went for it is that I was being offered 300 for a day's work. I was an impoverished graduate student and it was a huge sum of money to earn all at once. Why not try it? At the end of the day I could take my cash and I'd never have to do it again if I didn't like it.
It was interesting. Aesthetically, it wasn't my thing - this isn't the kind of porn I'd ever look at, I only look at kinky stuff - but I realised I was quite good at it, and it still contained all the aspects of nude modelling that I loved. The guy I was working with was very professional and I was surprised by how much care he took framing the shots and trying to create interesting and pleasing images. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it didn't feel like selling out. I didn't mind being a part of this industry. If I was helping some bloke who liked fantasising about girls with real body hair get his kicks, I could feel proud of that. I mean, I like girls with real body hair too, so I felt I could sympathise with the viewer. It felt real, and because of that it felt good.
I did a couple more shoots while I was studying as a graduate. I started getting into bondage and other images with kinky subtext. Although I'm happy with explicit shots being included in kinky scenarios, I never did another straightforward "UK Mag" shoot again. Once was fine, but if I know I'm not into it there's no point repeating the experiment.
I realised I loved modelling for painters (not life modelling, but photoshoots for artists creating reference photos for their work); that I loved posing in my collection of gothic Victoriana and corsetry; that I loved the whole "Betty Page" genre of imagery. I kept updating my modelling profile to reflect my interests. A couple of weeks after I'd finished my graduate degree and moved to London I was offered my first spanking shoot. Only light spanking, the photographer said, mostly posed stills, but maybe a bit of actual punishment if I was comfortable with it. I'd never crossed this barrier into my personal kink before, and I was excited by the opportunity. And the money compared favourably to the UK Magazine shoot.
The photographer was called Jason Oak, and we got on well - he was smart, young, kinky and very easy to work with. The spanker was a mild-mannered elderly gent without much confidence or professional experience, but that was possibly for the best given my own nerves! I came out of the shoot with several really cool photosets - in fact, those are the photosets that are in the spanking gallery section of my website.
The shoot took place at CP Services London, a M/m CP studio who produce their own material and offer private sessions to clients. They've got a beautiful townhouse conversion which is done up inside like an old-fashioned headmaster's study, complete with mechanical typewriter and antique newspapers. They hire it out as a venue for sessions and shoots as well as using it for their own business. I got chatting to the owner and he told me I had a lot of promise and could be big in the spanking scene if I was interested. He said they were considering introducing girls to their business model and asked if I'd be interested in sessions. I decided not. Although I can see why my friends who do sessions enjoy it so much - it has a lot in common with roleplaying on camera - I'm personally more comfortable being paid by photographers and filmmakers to make films and images than I am being paid to get spanked off-camera. One of my boyfriends was are also very firm on this point and said he wasn't happy with me doing more "direct" sex-work; the indirect stuff was fine, but he wanted to draw a line at the point where people were personally paying to hit me. That seemed a reasonable compromise to me. My relationships come first and I was happy to keep things within my partner's limits.
Anyway, Keith who runs CP Services London suggested a halfway house: sessions in which he or his partner disciplined me alongside a client. I think a lot of male spankos fantasise about scenarios in which they and a girl are punished together. I wouldn't be spanked by the client, I'd be an actress brought in to enhance their fantasy. The people spanking me would be the CP professionals who ran CP Services London. So I thought that sounded feasible, and they told me to create a website so they could link me and promote me.
I spent the next week locked to my desk creating Pandora's Bot. I'll admit now that I've been rubbish at updating it, and the content is pretty much unchanged since I created it in July 2006. I'll also admit that I never did do a session at CP Services London. Somehow it never quite happened, and by the time I'd joined a few free spanking ad sites and model directories, I was getting offers of film work and didn't need to chase it up.
Being on a film set is exhilirating, and I've found that taking punishment on camera was nothing like playing in private. I'm in character, and if my character hates her punishment then chances are I'm too immersed in her headspace for me to be actively enjoying it. But sometimes, a secret part of me will be turned on, underneath the acting.
Afterwards, I always enjoy having just done it, remembering it and enjoying the high. There's the adrenaline and performance thrill, just like being on stage, but there's also the endorphine surge from the pain. I'd describe myself as a masochist - I get high off pain in the right circumstances - and it turns out that being hurt by another actor on camera is one of those circumstances. I tend not to get physically aroused unless I have a sexual chemistry with the spanker, but the high happens every time. As long as I'm playing in a plausible scenario that appeals to my fantasies, I can reach that place. It's exhilirating and compelling.
The most important appeal, for me, is the creative input. I'm creating the kind of porn I love to look at; I have the ability to produce porn that's high quality, interesting, responsible. A few giant corporations shouldn't monopolise the erotic industry. Porn should be an open market, anyone should be able to produce the kind of porn they're into. I'm certainly glad that I can.
That took longer than I expected! Hermione, thanks for your question - I'll answer the second half of it in a separate post :)