Dexx: Bella Bathory, you’re a Pro-Domme and a lifestyle educator, well known in the Los Angeles scene and around the country.
Bella: Thank you.
Dexx: I want to start out by asking you, how you first discovered BDSM.
Bella: I came up in Chicago but I actually grew up in Vegas, which I call it akin to growing up in Disneyland. It’s a very surreal upbringing experience. But I started working as a model when I was 15 or 16. One of my first contract gigs was actually working for DeJavu Love boutique, so I was a lingerie model before I was 18. And I went to my first fetish and fantasy ball at 17 years old and was hooked. I was wearing this stupid white lace angel situation because half the girls were angels and half the girls were devils. I always tell this story because it stole my heart, but there was this woman who walked on stage, head to toe latex dressed like Cruella Deville and she had this giant drag queen wig and she had 3 men on either side of her, butt ass naked covered in dalmation polka dots and I was just like, that’s what I want to be when I grow up. I dove in from there.
Dexx: How did you go about diving in?
Bella: I went that weekend, I did everything that I could possibly do at Fetish and Fantasy, I was just going to the party to do modeling and then I was like, I’m going to do everything. I started finding local parties, munches, taking classes…
Dexx: This was in Vegas?
Bella: All in Vegas. My sexual proclivities have always been a little bit rougher, I knew from a really young age, that the sex I liked to have was really violent and being a woman, I was always bossy. For example, in 3rd grade, I got a bossy award. So, it was really connecting a lot of the dots for me like this is a community of people that behave in a way that I behave, but they do it in a very structured way, and that was really attractive.
Dexx: I’ve been to Vegas a few times and met with people in the scene there and it seems like it’s a difficult place to be in BDSM.
Bella: It is. Their legality is so weird, especially working as a professional, it is so heavily regulated because they do have prostitution legalized in the state, they crack down everywhere else. Strippers have to have Sheriffs ID cards. The thing with BDSM, especially working as a professional, what is considered sex is such a fine line that sticking a toe in a client’s mouth could be considered penetration and you could get popped for a prostitution charge. So it’s very underground and it’s a lot smaller. I dabbled a little bit in it when I was in Vegas but what really stole my heart was the Chicago BDSM scene.
Dexx: Tell me about that. I’ve been to Chicago, but never been to any of the BDSM related places.
Bella: Okay, so Chicago is where they hold Mr. International Rubber, Mr. International Leather. They have leather events throughout the year. They have Midsummer Night’s Fest, which is a gay event in Andersonville that can get kinky, but the great thing about Chicago is that it’s like old guard leather, and I came up with a lot older gay men that taught me protocol, they taught me the foundation of what I loved about leather, the trust and the communication and family aspect. The women there have been doing it for many years, so there’s one thing that I don’t see quite as much in Los Angeles is the lineage. If you come up in Chicago there’s a mistress that you train with. I never worked as a professional submissive. The mistress that I worked with, Von Livid who is still in the scene, she actually owns Latex Company, she trained me on how to do all of the things and she trained me on how to receive the physical aspects of it, but I was never working professionally as a submissive. She trained me and she has a dommy mommy and every mistress there has a lineage. They trained with this person, that’s where they got things from, or they come from a collective of a leather family, where I feel like in LA there are mistresses that appear out of nowhere.
Dexx: So, it seems like part of that old guard mentality is that in order to become a dominant, you must first be a submissive and to experience it from that side and it sounds like you did that a little bit.
Bella: I did it but not on a professional level. I don’t think you can truly understand what you are putting someone through unless you’ve experienced it both physically and psychologically. I would not be able to do that for money with a man. I just do not have the capacity to do that.
Dexx: In terms of people generally coming in to be dominatrixes?… dominatrices?
Bella: There is a lot of debate on that, what the plural is…Domini? (laughs)
Dexx: Do you think that is something they should generally be considering as a part of that?
Bella: Absolutely. There are some mistresses that don’t do that. Cybill Troy runs a house of just mistresses – they train you to be a mistress. And some of the women there are absolutely amazing. But then you see women like Snow Mercy who came up in the house of the Dominion and she’s been in the scene for 10 plus years and she is just so proficient in everything she does. My suggestion to younger Doms would be if you’re not comfortable experiencing the submissive side or the switch side for pay for with strangers, definitely find a mistress to practice with and come up that way. It’s just really important to feel those things before you put someone else through that.
Dexx: Okay, so on that subject, are you mentoring anybody yourself?
Bella: A bit. I feel like I mentor people all the time, I don’t have any current women that are training underneath me. I do look a the Domme Collective which is an amazing group of women and we all kind of train each other. Isabella Sinclair is the mistress and there are a couple other mistresses that are on her level because it’s a tiered system, so it’s myself, Anh Lee, Betty Bondage. I think those are all the senior dommes. So we all kind of pitch in and train the women.
Dexx: So, What brought you to Los Angeles from Chicago?
Bella: The weather. The weather did that. I love Chicago, I miss that city every day. I went back for Thanksgiving and almost didn’t come back to LA but the last time I was there, there was something called a polar vortex, which I’m not sure if you’ve heard of, but it was 50 below zero. The juices in my vagina froze and I was just like… it’s terrible when you get to a point when you know the juice in my eyeballs and nostrils freezing is normal, but when the juice in your labia starts to freeze, it’s like this is not livable. These are not livable human conditions.
Dexx: This was just last year you came out?
Bella: No, it was the winter of 2013/2014. I’ll never forget that.
Dexx: How have you found the scene in the lifestyle in Los Angeles since arriving here?
Bella: I think the best word I can use to describe it would be massive. There are so many dungeons and so many mistresses and so many BDSM clubs that are just lifestyle. There’s just so much to take in. Chicago’s definitely a smaller scene. It’s still quite a bit more underground. When I left a couple years ago, I think the only mistresses that were producing videos on a regular basis were the mistresses of the studio so Alexandria Sadista, Mistress Simone, and Maya Sinstress. And then when I moved here, it was like everyone has clips for sale, everyone was doing online videos and that just wasn’t a thing that we were doing as readily back in Chicago. But the good thing about LA is there is definitely something for everyone. I feel like there’s a munch every single day. The Chicago scene was a little bit harder to crack.
Dexx: And how did you get involved in Isabella Sinclaire and Ivy Manor?
Bella: Actually through Sir Nic, he introduced me. He’s like my annoying brother and we fight all the time, we both have prickly dog fights about things, but I was transitioning out of Sanctuary and it was suggested to me when I moved to Los Angeles the best way to really get to know a scene is to join a house and Mistress Cyan is pretty infamous for all of the things she does and I had seen her from DomCon, so I had started working at Sanctuary and realized that the traditional house life was not for me. I’m a little bit too busy to be in one place for that long, so I was not really sure what I wanted to do from there. And Nic introduced me to Isabella Sinclair who I had been following her videos and her everything for as long as I had been in the scene and I knew this is where I needed to be. It was like a little bit of a fangirl moment when I met her but she is so human, just a genuine authentic being.
Dexx: That’s great. So the Ivy Manor is a private dungeon but it’s also a collective, as you were saying? How does that work?
Bella: When I joined the Ivy Manor, it was definitely private. It was all private. When you rented the space, you got the entire space to yourself and there were maybe 6 other mistresses sessioning out of there. The things that Isabella Sinclaire is doing, is she just gets so many people who want her to mentor them all the time that she was like, why don’t I make this into almost a house, but it’s not traditional in that the women can kind of come and go as they please. There’s not a lot of sitting around the dungeon for multiple hours. Isabella does very hands on training, so with the newer trainees who are very green, she has them do 2 hour medical play, 2 hour bondage. There’s a really rigorous instruction period before they can even get the trainee status. But it’s independent mistresses working out of one space. The greatest thing about it for me is that we have somebody on call all the time who takes the phone calls and does the appointment booking, which is really helpful because I am so swamped I can’t get to emails as much as I would like.
Dexx: It seems like not only within your collective, but more broadly, at least in LA with pro-Dommes, there seems to be this real spirit of supporting each other as opposed to competing.
Bella: for the most part, yes. I think a lot of the girls that don’t have the mentorship, you know a lot of people get into this scene for money. They think it’s going to be easy money or they like that they get to be bitchy in certain aspects, but any Domme worth their salt, that’s what it’s about. It’s about empowering each other and building each other up.
Dexx: The clients that you have, are they typically regulars that will see you often or do they try it out and then you never see them again?
Belal: It’s a mix of both. I have regulars who I see either on a weekly or monthly basis. My issue is that I travel so often that I just don’t have time to see clients as regularly as they would like. So mine are mostly like once a month, or once every 2 month situations. But I do get a lot of first timers, I think because my aesthetic is very normal looking, very Stepford Housewife, very girl next door and they’re like, oh I can see her and she’ll be normal. So it’s a good entryway for people.
Dexx: Less scary perhaps?
Bella: Yeah, then they get in a session with me and..
Dexx: (Laughs) It’s a mistake.
Bella: Yeah, I definitely always start really easily and I’m very kind with first time clients, but I think people are mistaken by my bubbly demeanor and the blondeness that I’m not as insane as I am.
Dexx: So, when you get a new client, how much do you wait to do the things that you like to do and you specialize in versus the things they request and are looking for?
Bella: I think that is the biggest difference between lifestyle and professional. When I’m working with a client, they are paying for that hour and they are paying for an experience. I also don’t agree with doing things that I am not interested in. I have my specialties and my interests listed on my website. They can say, hey, I’m interested in XYZ and we try to involve things on mutual ground. I feel like if you do things where you’re just, “I’m not into this, this doesn’t get me off” I know mistresses that just don’t do medical play because they’re not into it. And I also know mistresses that do medical play but they hate it and I think that’s what’s going to kill your soul eventually and a client can tell. So definitely, with my professional sessions cater to mutual interest. I never cater to just theirs.
Dexx: What are your main things that you focus on, is it bondage? Is it D/s? Is it pain?
Bella: D/s is mostly in my personal life. I definitely do D/s in sessions, but I don’t feel like there’s enough time in an hour long session to really implement the kind of power exchange and energy exchange that you need, it can be done, but I definitely like my D/s with a little bit more depth. I’m a sadist, in my heart of hearts, that’s what gets me off. Medical play, I love medical play. Sissification, the emasculation of men is just kind of what I’ve built my life around so being able to do that for someone, it just makes my heart pitter patter, so those are my things that I really love. Cock and ball torture is fun, anything where I can inflict pain, I adore, I adore that.
Dexx: I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there for whom they get reciprocal pleasure in equal amounts.
Bella: Yeah, there is no shortage of that in Los Angeles.
Dexx: it seems like bondage is something that gets less attention from pro Dommes that I’ve spoken to. They’ve seemed to be more into the things that you just described. Is that something that you think is underserved by the market?
Bella: I definitely think that bondage is a specific fetish. I personally love bondage, I like to have people in really uncomfortable positions. I love the beauty of bondage. My rope work is good, it’s not as great as I would like it to be, but I also love saran wrap. Saran wrap is one of my favorite things. I do think it is underserved though. Again, when you are looking at professionals who…sometimes when we have a client who wants a longer session, but when you have an hour long session and they have a full list of things that they’re like, hey I want to try this out, bondage can eat up, easily 40 minutes to do a comprehensive, good tie.
Dexx: I was talking to another pro Domme recently about the strange aspect of the lifestyle that you’re disconnected from many people’s “other life”, their family, their friends. So when somebody passes away, we sometimes don’t hear about it, we just don’t see them anymore.
Bella: Yes, they just kind of disappear into the ether. That’s been a hard thing for me. What we do is so intimate. I get the most intimate details of people’s lives. Things they aren’t telling their friends, they aren’t telling their wives, they’re not telling anyone else, especially clients you see long term, you have this really intense connection. There was this one client I saw at Sanctuary like clockwork. Every Wednesday at 11 am, he had this very specific session and he was much older and I was always worried in the session that one day his heart was going to give out and that was terrifying. When I left, he hadn’t been in there in a couple months and it was just this thought; no one’s going to call the mistress when they pass away. But I think that’s where the professional remove comes in and the difference with pro and lifestyle. When they walk out of my dungeon, they walk out of my space. Our energy exchange is over and that is why they’re seeing me as a professional and not as a partner or as a lifestyle type exchange. So having that professional remove and kind of having that compartmentalization is helpful in those situations, but it doesn’t ease the discomfort of the, “I don’t know if this person who I’ve had an intimate exchange with for a couple years is alive or not.” It feels unresolved.
Dexx: Yeah, that is unusual. So, you mentioned how intimate a relationship you can have with your clients and does the fact that you have these conversations that maybe not even their wives are aware of, does that bother you that these people are doing these things that are outside of their relationship, or does it not really concern you?
Bella: You know, I actually think that that’s part of the erotic nature of seeing a professional dominatrix, it’s that taboo that can be attractive. I also look at it from the perspective that a lot of these men may have children and they may have certain religious beliefs that make it not okay for them to explore in their personal lives and we get to provide something that no one else can. Especially when it comes to the really taboo stuff, like when you’re talking about race place, or really severe play like that, can you imagine how hard it would be for some vanilla dude to go to his wife and say, “hey, I want these really intense things, hey I want you to tell me how you’re going to make me suck another man’s cock.” And go back to being the man of the household afterward. It’s sometimes easier to do it with almost a virtual stranger and have that remove, have that confidentiality than it would be to have it with an intimate partner.
There’s so much stigma with BDSM still, things are changing a bit, we’re not in “the BDSM is a disorder,” any longer, kind of vaguely, they changed the wording, but still, there’s so much stigma and looking at case histories, I know somebody who’s really involved in the scene and is fighting for custody of his children, so he’s not able to go out in public without a mask on. He can’t be really out about a lot of the things that he loves and he’s it’s ingrained because his ex wife would take his children away. So when you look at things like that, you don’t know everyone’s stories, you don’t know the ins and outs and I don’t believe in shaming my clients for coming to see me, and I don’t have that moral high ground where it’s like, you should be exploring this with your wife because sometimes it’s just not possible.
Dexx: It seems like for a lot of your exposure to BDSM now is through professional interactions. Do you still get to any lifestyle public play parties and play for fun? Or is it all work for you now?
Bella: I play at home, I play at home for fun. My issue with the lifestyle public parties is that because I am so well recognized in the scene, and because I do it professionally, I have to be on all the time. They’re watching you as a professional, they’re watching you as a mistress from the Domme Collective, or a mistress from the Ivy Manor, and so many people would be demanding; can you spank me, can you do this, can you do that, and sometimes I just want to go home and beat the shit out of my girlfriend in private. So it’s harder to do it in public or at lifestyle events.
Dexx: I guess that’s the price of fame and success in the scene. (Laughs) In our little community, right? So, you’re a pre-med student?
Bella: Yes, I’m working on a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences.
Dexx: How big of a focus is that for you with all of this other stuff you have going on?
Bella: In my tier of importance, it’s definitely the second most important thing in my life.
Dexx: Are you working toward eventually becoming a doctor?
Bella: Yes that’s the goal. After I finish this bachelor’s, which I have taken my time on, I’m not rushing my way through it because I want to live and enjoy life and I don’t want to be one of those people that turns everything off and then gets through school and is insane, so I’m taking my time with my bachelor’s because I know once med school starts, I’m not going to be able to be anything other than a med school student, but I’m planning on going into infectious diseases and working specifically in gay men’s health. That was one of the thigs with being so public and so out, is there’s a lot of places where I can no longer work. I probably couldn’t work with children. I’m probably not going to be able to work with any catholic teaching hospitals. I’m going to have to go to a public university like UCLA because there are just so many regulations on the code of ethics that they could call into question if I was ever outed, so I am working in gay men’s health, besides the fact that I love diseases, they’re my favorite thing ever, I love spill-over viruses and studying how those work, but working in gay men’s health, I can actually use my work as a dominatrix as a positive. There is a doctor in Los Angeles who is an ID doctor who was actually Mr. International Leather in 1988. He has that on his website.
Dexx: I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anybody saying that they loved diseases before, so that is a first. So, apart from the difficulties you mentioned about certain places that might not want to hire you because of being kinky and out, do you think there’s any issue within the education system itself, or getting certified as a doctor that could be a problem?
Bella: I don’t think so. It’s touchy, with the Hippocratic oath, that whole “Do no harm” but I also feel like harm is something in the eye of the beholder, like if you can cut someone open with a scalpel to help them heal from some kind of malady or perform surgery then I’m not any different than me wielding a whip and me helping them work through something in a different way.
Dexx: There are obviously a lot more Pro Dommes than there are male Pro Doms, but there do seem to be a few male Pro Doms out there. What do you think is behind the disparity?
Bella: My theory on this is, I also identify as a bit of a misandrist, so it’s probably going to go into that territory, but I believe that men do a lot of thinking with their cock. Men don’t do a lot of follow through, they don’t do a lot of research, they don’t want the emotional investment, so when they’re like hey I want to have this need served, hey I want to be tied up, hey I want to be pissed on, hey I need this specific thing, they’re willing to pay for it. Whereas women are a little bit more nuanced, and if I were a woman and I were a submissive and I wanted to find someone to serve these needs, there are a plethora of men that would do that for free, so I don’t think there are as many women willing to pay for it.
Dexx: It’s interesting because conversely there are lifestyle events where women will do those things for free but perhaps you might argue that they’re not doing it in as skilled a manner?
Bella: There’s also the aesthetic to it, right? If you’re a male seeking this sort of service, you’re paying for a fantasy and a lot of the dommes I know hold themselves to a very certain aesthetic, like they’re nails are always done, their hair is always done, they’re always dressed in a very specific way, and then when you have a lifestyle situation, the amount of money it costs, I mean a $400 whip, a $300 latex dress, then you want them to wear Louboutins and Cuban-heeled stockings. Men are just so usually tied up in the visual and creating that fantasy that it’s hard for lifestyle women to reflect that at that level.
Dexx: Do you or any other Dommes you know ever have female clients?
Bella: I do. I love my female clients. A lot of the mistresses I know have female clients. They aren’t quiet as available as the male clients but when we get them, it’s definitely an amazing exchange. I have a female client that I see that, she’s had some sexual trauma in her past and didn’t feel comfortable exploring a lot of the things that she was interested in with a man for the first time, so for our session she had all these things she was willing to try and this is where my rule of, I’m only doing things I’m interested in kind of went out the window, because I was able to show her, “Here’s how you do this, here’s how you do this safely, here’s what this is supposed to feel like and so she was able to go back into her life and take that knowledge and do it more safely with other partners.
Dexx: I’m sure the female clients still appreciate the nails and the Louboutins and stockings.
Bella: Oh they do! And the great thing about female clients is I prefer women in every aspect of my life, but I get to tell them to wear heels and wear lingerie and get them all dressed up for me, so I get to enjoy that part of it too.
Dexx: I’m sure there must be some satisfaction in that.
Bella: Oh there is.
Dexx: So, you go to a lot of fetish events all around the country, what’s your favorite.
Bella: MIL. Mr. International Leather.
Dexx: In Chicago?
Bella: Yes. That’s where my heart is always. That is a room full of sweaty old leather men that just have been doing this for, some of them 40 plus years.
Dexx: So, to clarify, that’s a gay event?
Bella: It is. And the pageant is amazing. Their pageantry system is beautiful. Seeing the lineage and knowledge that these men have, I love the boot black competitions, they also have a puppy play area, but they have classes and workshops and men in sobriety that are part of the leather community and that’s the place that they go and this is what leather means to me.
Dexx: You must be somewhat in the minority being a woman there.
Bella; I am yes. I also relish that too. I am such an exhibitionist and borderline, medium narcissist that the mistress that trained me, Von Livid, her and I always come up with ridiculous matching outfits for MIL, we get our outfits together for the whole week and they’re just dying over us because she’s my height, we’re both 5’11” and both very Barbie-esque figures and we show up in matching pony gear, or matching ridiculous latex outfits or matching ballerina latex outfits. And the men are just fawning over us. But besides that, straight events, Dom Com is really great, I love the informative aspect of that. I’d never been to the Fetish Factory party, the big anniversary party because it’s always MIL weekend, and it always takes priority. I would love to check that out someday.
Dexx: So you touched on sobriety in the scene and I found this as well, there’s actaully a number of people who are alcoholics or drug addicts in recovery and are no longer doing those things, to be clear, but they’re in the BDSM scene and for many people this is a way of achieving some sort of release, or some sort of a rush that they can get through BDSM and it helps them, to deal with that.
Bella: I’m 6 and a half years sober, I’ve been in the program for a while. I think for a lot of people that are in the scene, it’s even less about the endorphin rush than it is about the spirituality aspect about it, that deep connection with another human being. And a lot of people that are working certain sobriety programs, the honesty and the open mindedness and the willingness, even the sponsorship aspects of recovery bleeds over a lot to BDSM. Like I was saying, at MIL they have meetings every hour on the hour and hearing these men and the way that they’ve gone through these really intense pain and experiences and the way that BDSM has carried them through a really rough spot in their lives, it’s an intense form of community having the BDSM and the sobriety in tandem. I also was brought up that you can’t play safe, sane and consensual when you’re inebriated and I don’t expect anyone else to get fully sober, it’s a thing that works for me, but I don’t think that playing when you’re drunk, you can’t consent. You don’t have full awareness of what’s happening and when you imbibe in anything, your inhibitions are lower, your ability to communicate and all that.
Dexx: How well do you think it’s adhered to by the community at large?
Bella: It’s not. It’s hard when you see someone, you know, it’s different when you see someone that’s a little bit messy and playing, but you can also see things go horribly wrong, you can see someone get hit in the kidneys or you can see someone agree to something they never would agreed to and psychological damage can ensue.
Dexx: You mentioned before that videos are a pretty big part of being a pro domme, if you want to become known. A lot of those are adult videos, do you consider yourself therefore, to be a porn star?
Bella: No, no I don’t. I was actually discussing this with someone last night. I think that, the scenes that I do, and all the video that I’ve done, I have directed either completely or been able to set the scene and choose who I’m working with. Also with being a fem dom, there’s not a lot of vulnerability on my end, like when I see the women that do porn, I commend them so much because I can’t imagine showing up to work one day having someone slated to work with and being able to have that kind of emotional exchange. I guess I’d be porn starlet because it’s just not as physically involved. I guess I’m getting pretty well known in the video scene, I just had my first cover come out for Severe Society’s Perversion and Punishment, which is pretty exciting, and I didn’t know it was going to video and it popped up on my twitter and I was like, there’s me and Cybill Troy on the cover just smashing some dude’s balls and then there were scenes from all the clips that I did which is pretty awesome. But that’s one of the best ways to market, with photoshop, I talk to a lot of my clients about what they look for when they’re seeing a pro dom, and they say if there’re no videos out there I can’t really trust it. You’ll get a photoshop photo of a girl that maybe was 10 years ago and you show up to a session and she looks nothing like that, or she describes herself to be one way and you get to the session and it’s not her demeanor, whereas my clients get to view my videos, see how I play, see how I sound, see how I interact and know that going into it, which is really great.
Dexx: It seems like, as you kind of mentioned, there’re a lot of pro dommes popping up, and some of those I think, are porn stars…
Bella: Yeah, doing the transition…
Dexx: Do you think there’s been a bit of a wild west of pro dommes that haven’t really been properly trained?
Bella: Yeah, you know it’s interesting. I’m dating this Suzy Q James, who is a porn star from San Francisco, and she works for the Free Speech Coalition and she’s super activist sex worker porn star and you know, I was actually talking to her after a panel that I did with Justine Cross, Natalie West, and Isabella Sinclaire, and we were talking about this, the new dommes that were coming up. There are some people that really crassly refer to the newer girls as a hooker with the whip, so they’re escorts who are just like, I’m going to start offering this service. My perspective on it was that my ego was bruised that these women were coming up and I’ve trained and I’ve earned this title and I’ve done all of this work to get the mistress status and there are these girls who are coming up out of the woodwork who are willing to work for less than what I’m charging because they don’t have the experience and it’s undercutting what I’m able to do and Suzie, my wonderful San Francisco girlfriend, pointed out that we’re supposed to be empowering each other and some women just don’t have the financial means to train the way we did. Some women don’t have an in to the community like I did. And you know, a lot of the classes that I took, I paid a lot of money for. I spend a lot of money yearly on classes, perfecting my class, and some women just can’t afford that. So, it’s hard to do this long term if you don’t have a vested interest in it and there are a lot of women coming out of the woodwork that don’t necessarily have the training. But if they stick around, they’ve obviously found some passion in it, so I try not to be judgmental about that because they’re just trying to do literally the best they can with what they have.
Dexx: That’s fair. What do you think that means for a perspective client that wants to find a mistress? How do they sort through that to find a true, properly trained mistress?
Bella: You know, the videos help, right? You can see a reputable mistress. Everyone knows who Isabella Sinclair is, everyone knows who Lady Hillary at the Dominian is, everyone knows who Mistress Cyan is. So you find women that train under that if you want something specific, but there are a lot of people that are like, I’m not really willing to pay for this, but I want it at the cheapest dollar amount possible. They’ll go to experience the session and it may not be what they wanted, and it may not be what they were looking for, and they do a little bit more research. It definitely muddles the pool of women and it’s harder to distinguish, I imagine, for potential clients, but if they’re willing to do the research and willing to put the time in, they’ll find what they’re looking for.
Dexx: Are you out to everybody in your life?
Bella: I am. My mom knows what I do. My dad knows what I do. I had a submissive for several years, but when I told my mom that she was living with me my mom was like, “you know, I don’t know a lot about this, but I have seen a lot of SVU, do you ever let her out of the basement?” I was like, she doesn’t live in the basement mom, but my parents get it, they’re just proud of whatever it is that I do and as long as I’m happy and I’m being safe that’s all they really care about.
Dexx: Are they aware that you’ve kind of risen to become pretty successful within this particular niche?
Bella: My mom is. She stalks me on the internet sometimes.I was actually on the cover of the Fight magazine, which is actually a local gay magazine and they chose me as one of the 5 people to represent the LGBTQ community and I sent her a copy of that and she kind of lost her mind, so she’s proud of me. She’s shocked sometimes but she’s just like whatever makes you happy.
Dexx: That’s fantastic.
Bella: Yeah, my dad, who I refer to as my father, is my stepdad and he’s wonderful. My biological side of the family is not…my biological father is not interested in anything that I do and we don’t have a lot of contact. A lot of that is because there’s a lot of judgement and a lot of religion.
Dexx: It doesn’t mix well with BDSM.
Bella: But growing up with it, gave me a wonderful religious play fetish, so there’s that.
Dexx: I’m sure you’ve got some nun outfits.
Bella: I do, yeah.
Dexx: Has your profession, your pro work, ever caused difficulties for you with romantic relationships?
Bella: You know it’s interesting, my last relationship, my last romantic relationship was with someone I met in a dungeon. She was working as a professional submissive and that’s sort of where our relationship was born. I don’t think I could have a relationship with someone who wasn’t in the scene in some capacity. I don’t think it would work. So, I haven’t personally had any problems with it, because I just keep in the pool of all this. It is hard though, and it’s not the scene specifically, but just the amount of play I have to do publicly, and the amount of traveling and being on all the time, it is hard sometimes to come home sometimes and be like, alright, I’ve been beating people for 12 hours and then want to have that interaction with your partner, so it’s good that my current partner Suzie, she’s also been in the sex work life and she gets it. She’s like, let me just make you some tea and we can cuddle, so that’s great too.
Dexx: Do you have any new projects that you’re working on at the moment?
Bella: What am I working on right now…It’s not a new project, but it’s a big part of my heart. The event that I do at Bar Sinister monthly, I host an event called FemDom Fatale, that event started when I was working at Sanctuary. I was a guest mistress in the upstairs in the purgatory, and that’s where a lot of people go for their first introduction to BDSM and they’re not really ready to go to a full on club, and they’re not really ready to book a full on session, and they just want to dip their toes in. Paul and Phoenix are amazing but I wanted to bring some female energy into there, and they liked me so much that they moved me from upstairs in the play area to the main stage and over the past few years it’s grown into an amazing, crazy, shit show of awesome and they do monthly themed events and we’ve done everything from Harry Potter to Alice in Wonderland. We do a circus themed show, we do military and medical, and the people get really dressed up, the crowd gets really into it and we do live stage play all night, which is really great, because they get to play with some of the best mistresses in the city. They do it for the tips, but they get to experience something publicly and safely which is great. And we also do performances, so all the mistresses I work with are all either burlesque or side show, some kind of weird performances, so at 12:30 and 1:30 we do like a big show, so it’s really cool to see that it’s gone from something little to this huge thing, and when we do the shows it’s standing room only, it’s one of the biggest shows at Bar Sinister.
Dexx: I noticed some other mistresses that also do kind of burlesque style performances and some belly dancing, some things like that. Do you think that there’s a contradiction between this sort of aesthetic objectification of that sort of work versus the image that you’re building as a Dominatrix?
Bella: You know, I think that’s where a lot of people get all fucked up in seeing being a dominant as an image. For me being a dominant means doing whatever the fuck I want to do when I want to do it. Whether I want to get naked on stage, whether I want to instruct one of my female submissives to fuck me, whatever I do, I do it in dominant fashion. And that’s where I think that the ego and dominant thing is confused. If I want to get butt ass naked on stage and cover myself in paint and climb into a balloon, I’m still doing that from my perspective, and I think that objectification and empowerment is just who is holding that and for me again, I’m a huge exhibitionist, when I walk on stage, often times my clients will be at the show, they also realize I would never get naked for them in a session. They’re never going to be able to touch me naked, so it’s also an extended tease and denial. I mean, that’s the thing with being a dominant is I can do whatever the fuck I want with my body. It’s not for anyone else, this is a thing I’m doing for me. And I just don’t care enough about the old guard…some mistresses are like oh you can’t do that, you can’t do that. And I’m just like, but I can. If I didn’t, that would be me submitting to your thoughts and your processes.
Dexx: I get that you like to travel internationally. Have you been anywhere interesting recently?
Bella: Let me see, last august I spent in Nepal with Snow Mercy, we were doing some really good work out there for an organization called All Hands, and that was no makeup, really gritty, but the last week we were there, we actually rode an elephant through the Chitwan Jungle, which was amazing. And then I went to Jamaica, Tokyo, I travel back and forth across the states, and then I’m actually headed to Bangkok at the end of January.
Dexx: I know some of the serious shibari guys around LA often go to Japan and learn from some of the masters there.
Bella: You know what’s interesting is Snow and I did not do anything super fetishy when we were in Japan, we just ate amazing food and we explored the town and went to a Goat Café and a Cat Café and the Hachiko Station. If I go back again, I’d like to experience it but we’re so blessed living in LA that we have masters in everything in this. When I go to another country, I really want to experience what that life is like.
Dexx: And maybe take a break from kink as well.
Bella: Right. I mean, Snow and I did do a Mistresses Without Borders project when we were in Nepal, and found some good uses for some Nepal rice spoons and things like that, but it’s so much a part of who I am I don’t need to seek that out in other countries. If I’m with a partner, we’ll play but I would love to go to Germany and do a fetish club there because that is a part of that culture. But I’m more about experiencing everything else. I am twat deep in kink all the time here, just everywhere.
Dexx: So, the Fifty Shades sequel came our recently. Any thoughts on that?
Bella: You know, I managed a sex toy store in Chicago called Taboo Taboo and I was working there when the first book came out and there were women coming in being like, I want these little silver balls that people can put in to spank me…I’m like kea gals? Like what the hell are you talking about. So we all had to actually read the books to see what the fuck they were talking about. I have just so many mixed feelings on that. I feel like it is a terrible representation of a D/s relationship. It is abusive and manipulative and I am so fucking tired of seeing straight white male doms portrayed in the media. I would love to just see a sane female domme in the media, once, maybe that’s not triggered by emotional abuse or inflicting emotional abuse, that’d be great. But what it has done is that I think it’s opened the door for a lot of people that wouldn’t have discussed it publicly. I definitely think there are couples in fucking Wichita, Kansas that watched the movie together and can now be like, “Hey, Billie, can I get a gang bang?” So I definitely think it’s opened doors in areas that wouldn’t have been opened previously. I think it had to be that super vanilla, cheesecake, stereotypical, hetero-fucking-normative situation with the rich dude and the virginal girl for it to be palatable, but now that that’s out there and those doors are opened, I think it’s going to give room for a lot more discussion and better actual art pieces to be done about it. But Sunny Megatron and Ken Burg are huge figures in the BDSM scene in Chicago and they’re the ones that taught me one of the biggest things that I carry into all of my scenes is that you don’t have to be serious all the time, I don’t have to wear head to toe black latex and leather. I can if I want to, but you can have fun with this. It’s supposed to be play. They also gave me my love for clown fetishes (laughs). Im actually world reknowned for my balloon bondage. Snow and I had a PlayboyTV special.
Dexx: Balloon Bondage…
Bella: Balloon Bondage, yeah, it was a PlayboyTV special. Snow and I teaching balloon bondage. But Sonny actually had a season of her show called sex with Sonny Megatron on Showtime. But it’s really great because she is, I’m not going to say an older woman, but she’s not a 21 year old woman who is real thin and looks a certain way. She’s gorgeous but she looks like a normal fucking human being and she has the greatest sex ever, so the show is all about her interviewing people about things like race play and bondage and she goes into these people’s lives and they sort of walk her through, or she’s helping them bring a fantasy to life. It was really cool to see something like that and see such intense fetishes portrayed on Showtime, so that’s a good thing, I’d recommend people checking it out.
Dexx: It’s getting to be more normalized. You reading anything good at the moment, or any good movies or shows that you like?
Bella: I just actually finished Jeanette Winterson’s Gut Symmetries, which was a beautiful book that one of my good friends suggested to me, which was just a medley of physics and words strung together like Chuck Palahniuk.
You know one of the things that feels like coming home to me is Chuck Palahniuk. His words just, if I were a book, that’s how I would read. So every time I try to read new novels, I end up hating them, but his books I end up reading over and over and over again. And shows, I’m a nerd, I do like Game of Thrones and Walking Dead. Fantastic Beasts just came out and that was awesome. Huge Harry Potter nerd.
Dexx: So, in terms of religious play, you would have liked the bit when the nasty nun finally got her comeuppance on GOT?
Bella: Oh my god, that was so funny. Because I was preparing for my last Fem Dom panel at Stockroom, I sent out this list of questions for the mistresses to be prepared with and Isabella Sinclaire was like, You know this is a little bit heavy. I do this because I like it. I do this because it feels good. It doesn’t need to have a big emotional cerebral…sometimes it just feels good. I’m like Isabella Sinclaire sounds like Cersei Lanister, this is great. This is great! And she wasn’t even doing it consciously, but it was just like that very, it feels good. It was amazing.
Dexx: Cool, anything else that you’re working on?
Bella: I work with the Stockroom, I’m their offsite events coordinator, I travel with them, and do a lot of fetish events.
Dexx: So, tell me about how you got involved with Stockroom in the first place.
Bella: I actually worked with them during IML in Chicago, they would have a booth there, and this gentleman named Eddie Hibbs was running the store and when I moved to LA they offered me a job immediately, which was really great, and I worked in the retail boutique briefly, but I am not the greatest at customer service.
Dexx: The customer is not always right?
Bella: The customer is not always right, especially not in BDSM. You know, I love the knowledge of it, I love teaching, I love that aspect, but I moved up into this position where I get to travel and do things like Dom Com or Folsom and do off-site business.
Dexx: All on behalf of Stockroom?
Bella: Yeah, which is really fucking great, so I get to be a brand ambassador for them and travel to all these places. You know, Stockroom is still pretty widely known but a lot of people don’t see the full scope of what we have, so it’s fun to bring all of that to these events.
Dexx: They certainly seem to be kind of the giant of BDSM goods in the scene. They’re one of only a handful of brands that’s quite well known. The other dominant one, not in that space, but in the porn side, is Kink.com, of course.
Bella: I believe we’re actually working on a project with them, doing some custom stuff for the kink.com store. Which is really cool.
Dexx: So, Stockroom, I’ve covered them in a separate interview with Hudsy, but they seem to be doing really well, and generally founded by somebody who’s in the scene and does it because he loves it.
Bella: He really does. You know one of my favorite things about working in Stockroom is you get to see something from the inception of a design to completion and production, which is really amazing, so our lead designer, Joel, is like I want to do this thing with the neon wand, or I want too make this really awesome harness and let me get your feedback on it and here are the sketches and they travel and get the materials and you get to see it come to life. We also do a lot of studio services. We did the new X-men movie, we did a whole bunch of stuff with the Big Bang Theory. We designed the labcoats for West World. So it’s really cool to turn on the TV and be like, oh there’s our stuff, there’s our stuff again.
Dexx: It’s so funny that you designed the coats for West World because I was watching it and I thought that they looked a lot like the latex that we see in the scene.
Bella: You know office Christmas parties, how they’re jus the strangest? So we had our office Stockroom Christmas party last weekend and we had karaoke which was fascinating, so you get to see all of your favorite kinksters, like Joanna Angel was there, and Johnny White, and myself and Hudsy Hawn, and Betty Bondage, and everybody is drinking a little bit and singing karaoke and at one point, Hudsey Hawn is on stage and she’s singing and then she just stops. Have you watched the show? So she just stops moving and it’s just quiet. The sound stops. Joel comes out in full west world, I mean, he’s got the hat, he’s got the lab coat, he’s got the gloves, he’s got a clipboard and they did this whole shtick where Joel pulled Hudsy off stage while she was stationery, it was really fun and really silly. But you get to have moments like that which is amazing.
Dexx: Cool, so it seems like you’re pretty much living your dream life at the moment.
Bella: Yeah, I’m definitely living my best life.
Dexx: Congratulations on achieving everything that you have.
Bella: Thank you.
Bella Bathory is a lifestyle and professional Domme in Los Angeles. She hosts Femme Fatale at Bar Sinister once a month. She is a the Event Coordinator at Stockroom as well as an educator for Stockroom University.You can learn more and