Dexx: You’ve had a pretty distinguished career in the kink world already.
Princess Kali: Thank you, I’m a prolific pervert!
So you’ve been a Pro-Dominatrix and you’ve starred on well-known BDSM sites and various other enterprises. I’m curious, how did you get started being a domintrix in the first place?
It was a bit of a stepping stone path just entirely based on my personality. The story that I love to tell, is after I graduated high school I moved away right after. Then I came back a couple of years later and I hadn’t seen everybody. I ran into a guy that I used to hang out with in theater and a girl that was also there and they said what have you been up to? I said “oh well I’m a professional dominatrix.” and literally without batting an eye she said “I bet you’re so great at that.”
When most people meet me they find my past career fairly shocking because I seem really normal and vanilla and I’ve got a girl next door presentation. But I have just always been an assertive individual. When I was a kid I played CEO and Queen of the Army and school teacher. I didn’t play mommy. I told everyone what to do all the time and they did it and it was great and then I just kept doing that. Then I discovered the BDSM world and it was like I’m home!
You started out playing in the lifestyle on the east coast?
Yes, I’m from California, the San Francisco area, but I moved to Boston on a lark in my early twenties and didn’t actually discover the kink world until I moved to the east coast. Of course is not usually the way that it happens, at least here in the states. I like to joke that I really jumped in with both feet! It was a foot fetish party that introduced me to the BDSM world. I was a stripper before I was a dominatrix and consider that to be my bootcamp. If you can control a room of drunk men, one submissive is a breeze! I’ve always been someone who was interested in confronting taboo, and exploring gender, power and control. So when I found the language in the kink community to describe those desires in me I basically just never looked back. Full immersion perversion.
And then how did you come to start doing pro work?
Very quickly actually. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I’ve been running businesses since I was eleven years old. I didn’t really dabble in the lifestyle scene very quickly. I dubbed myself a professional, but took an honest approach about my experience level. I said. “I’m a professional but I’ve never done this before.” so for my first year or two I did a lot of what I call “guinea pig sessions.”
Did you have a mentor?
No, I’m an obsessive learner. Once I found the community I went to as many parties as I could, I read the books. At that time of course we did not have a resource like Kink Academy so I just went out and made myself known and just soaked up as much information and experience as I could.
Do you see kink related porn in general as being a positive influence in terms of kink awareness and education?
I think that it’s a double edged sword. I think that porn is entertainment and sadly for a very long time porn has been used as an educational tool because sex education in general is so poor especially around any sort of alternative sexualities. I mean we’re barely taught the names for our genitals let alone what a fetish is and why it’s totally ok.
So porn ends up being the default for a lot of people. That’s actually why I launched Kink Academy because I think when porn is approached as entertainment and inspiration, it’s a great resource. But people don’t see the behind the scenes stuff about porn. I owned my own FemDomme porn site for more than a decade, PrincessKali.com. It was very successful for being a single person non-nudity site. The way that porn is consumed means it has to be so deeply theatrical. So everything is bigger and bolder and more dangerous and I think that there’s a problem when people don’t always understand the full context of it and the effort put into what they see on screen. They don’t see the full negotiation, all that stuff is pulled out of porn because we’re busy jerking off. That’s the point.
I think the awareness of kink in the mainstream world is good. Even though Fifty Shades is an absolute crap book it has been a revolutionary tool in bringing awareness of BDSM to the world. I will forever be grateful that we live in a post Fifty Shades world, because up until about five years ago when I would share my career history with an average “vanilla” person (aka someone who’s not kinky) it was not always received very well. Even now it’s not necessarily understood, but they have a reference point. So that opens the conversation.
Let’s talk about Kink Academy. Clearly this is one of your big projects going on at the moment.
I’m very passionate about Kink Academy!
So tell me how you came to start it and when you launched and how its going.
We’re going into the ninth year since I conceived of the idea, and 7 years since the site has been live online. I was inspired to launch it because I’ve been a BDSM educator for fifteen years and I get to go to these amazing events and I’m friends with all of these incredible educators. I would see these classes and I realized if you couldn’t go to these events there’s not really a lot out there other than books. And books are great but there’s a difference between seeing something happen and reading about the mechanics of it. So with Kink Academy I very specifically took the approach that it’s not even “edupornment” (meaning educational porn entertainment) or any of those fun combination words. We really are showing the logistics of how things are done. I mean its sexy stuff, we have blow job videos and she’s giving him a blow job but as she’s sucking his cock she’s saying, “do you see where my fingers are cupping his balls…”, we pull the curtain back to show how to DO the sexy, kinky things. Especially when it comes to more dangerous stuff like bondage and needle play and fire play you need to learn how it all works before you go out and do it to another human being. But once you learn, then you go have sexy good times in a safe way. That’s the foundation that Kink Academy was built on. To give anybody, anywhere the opportunity to learn from high quality, educated, kinky people.
You cover a whole range of kinky and BDSM related practical things?
Gender, sex, kink. We’ve got over 140 educators and two thousand videos and everything from spanking and bondage and humiliation and fire play to gender identity and protocol and polyamory. It really is a huge breadth of information. For $20 a month!
$20 a month will get you access?
To all 2,000 videos. To watch whenever you want as many times. Wherever you want (because we’re great on moble!) It’s a really incredible resource.
If somebody was brand new to the BDSM scene is there a logical progression of where they can start and work through different areas?
The site was recently revamped to make searching and finding the information you need even easier. Everyone has a different interest and wants different levels of intensity, so the best thing you can do is start exploring.
Even the idea of “basic” is different for everyone, but I tend to suggest that people start with the “classics” such as dominance and submission, or some kind of impact play like spanking or flogging. Those are a good start to understanding what you want to play with, and what you want to stay away from.
You said you’ve got a bunch of different contributors that create videos for your site?
Yes, I used to travel around to events and I did what I called insanity tours where I would do ten cities in six days and shoot twelve hours of content a day. I launched Kink Academy before smart phones were so ubiquitous and before everybody had the kind of video editing options that they do now. So I was actually traveling around the country with a ton of recording equipment so I could work with a hugely diverse population of sexuality experts. We’ve got bondage riggers and doctors and therapists and ProDommes’ and all kinds of kink educators who are featured on Kink Academy.
You’re also an author?
Yes! I wrote “Enough to Make You Blush: Exploring Erotic Humiliation”. It is the first and only book about humiliation because it’s such a complicated topic. I’ve been teaching the class for more than a decade and had always thought there should be a book and finally got my act together and wrote it. I’m really proud of it.
When did you publish it?
The end of 2015. I’m self published. It’s my fifteen years of experience plus I also put out a survey that got more than 300 responses so I quote 60 other kinksters in the book as well, to really show a breadth of experience. Humiliation is so personal. It’s not about a single act. If you spank someone it’s a specific act. If I say spank there’s a thing I’m talking about. Humiliation is the exact opposite. It’s so dependent on who you’re playing with and what your psychology is.
Presumably with any given person there are certain things you can use to humiliate them in a good way and other things that are not going to turn them on.
That’s right! It is a fine line. It is edge play. I tend to not recommend that people do “pick up” humiliation play (meaning, don’t do this kind of play with strangers). Don’t jump in the deep end. Ramping up is a big concept I talk about because it’s a softer fall from a lower height and sometimes people want to jump into the maggot-toilet-flushy degradation level stuff and even if you want to get there eventually, it’s better to start slower and work your way up to a higher intensity.
Have you ever seen a situation where somebody’s had a bad experience being humiliated that sort of turned them off of it?
Yes absolutely, in fact there’s a story I tell that share’s where I learned about having what I call a “Trigger Plan”. Because aftercare is what happens when everything goes right, a trigger plan is for when things go wrong. I was doing a small penis humiliation session with somebody who’d spent years fantasizing about it but had never experienced it in person. As soon as I was looking him in the eyes and shredding his manhood he bottomed out and we discovered that some fantasies belong in our minds and not in reality. And that’s ok. There’s plenty of other stuff to explore.
When you were writing your book did you find it a challenge to organize your thoughts?
Yes! I am way more verbal than text-oriented by nature. I actually audio recorded my classes for a year and used that as a basis for the book and then spent a year shaping that and adding to it and editing. The thing about humiliation is that it’s not linear. With something like spanking where you can kind of go; start with the physiology and here are the implements and these are the motions you do. But because humiliation, the idea of humiliation, actually encompasses nudity, sissification, financial domination, foot fetish and so much more. There’s this huge list of things that are under the umbrella of the core feeling of erotic humiliation. Which is something I talk about a lot in my classes. Focus on the feeling you’re trying to create, and then find the activity that creates that feeling. I think kinksters work backwards and they try all these activities hoping that it will trigger an emotion they’re going after but if you actually figure out how you’re trying to feel; are you trying to feel vulnerable, sensual, objectified, in control? Then do a thing that makes you have that feeling.
So you managed to get it all down eventually into your book and organized it?
Yes, I am really proud of it and I’ve had incredibly positive feedback from it.
That’s fantastic. You’ve also got a card game?
Yes, I’m a maker. Because I’m very verbal and I love dirty words and a lot of times people in scenes are scared of words so what ends up happening is people will be like, “You slut, yoooouu slutty slut. Doing slutty things.…” and sometimes you just don’t have the words in that moment. So I’ve created a thesaurus for perverts in an index card form and that’s the “Verbal Humiliation Scene Starter”.
I also recently released truth or dare game. It’s so much fun! I was invited to do some sort of humiliation game for an event I was teaching at, and I settled on humiliation truth or dare and we played it with fifty people. Me and my kinky friends came up with a bunch of dares and truths and it was so much fun. The questions are insightful and a lot of the stuff is fun, its for both dominants and submissives. It’s totally a blast.
Sounds great! Would you say the Pro-Dom field has become increasingly more crowded?
Oh my God! I think on one hand it’s really great that women have an opportunity to be empowered, embrace their sexuality and to profit off of being objectified in a society that says we should be objectified but not benefit from it. Personally I’m moving into more of the mainstream world now. I’m writing a book called The Bitch Stigma about being a strong woman in the world but from a mainstream perspective and I think that pro domination gives women an opportunity to be strong financially, stable in some ways that you don’t have an opportunity to in other fields.
It must be quite a challenge for a new Dominatrix entering the space to kind of stand out from the crowd and establish themselves now?
There are a lot of similarities and it’s not about trying to be so utterly unique that you don’t do anything anybody else does because that’s just simply impossible. The women in the ProDomme industry have these nuanced expressions of themselves so if you’re smart about it you don’t have to rip off somebody else’s persona to be successful. To be successful, be authentic.
You were the original Princess and now there are thousands of them?
There really are. And it’s been interesting to me to see the context of what a princess is change. Now the personality that often comes with those who choose the title of Princess is bratty and very self-centered. It’s this whole, “I don’t care about you” sort of thing. Whereas for me it was more inspired by royalty. I will take care of my people and they should be scared of me because I am in charge and I could chop off their head but I wont if they’re not dicks. That’s my royal philosophy! Again I think it’s great for women to be embracing and exploring these different aspects of themselves, but it’s unfortunate that some women see it as a opportunity to be a nasty person.
You think that even though Dommes might enter the scene from a perspective of personal interest in BDSM that it might be a good idea for them to stop playing in the lifestyle because it can get in the way of their success in terms of their positioning as a professional. It seems like a great shame to me though this sort of having to do this when that’s the reason they do it because they enjoy it.
Not so much stop playing, but make sure that you’re presenting yourself in various arenas in the way that you need to be seen. I agree, it is a shame and I’ll be honest there was a long period particularly when I was launching Kink Academy I called myself the “theoretical pervert” because I was so exhausted by the profession of kink that I just couldn’t muster it in my own personal life. I am personally kinky, and any time you turn a hobby or a passion into a job there’s going to be some sparkle lost. I think that’s why for some women having compartmentalized places where they can play as themselves (not their ProDomme personae) and not have to be concerned about those things is important but that’s not the same thing as expecting the people around you to always know when those boundaries are being set.
Like I say, Kali wears the same face as Princess Kali so I can’t always expect people to know if I’m being personal or if I’m being professional. It’s just about choosing your arena.
Ok, got it. And do you think most Dominas eventually fall into the ideals of Female Supremacy?
Of course (laughs). A lot of them drink the Kool-Aid. I used to teach a class about female supremacy and one of the talking points was its not about putting down men to raise up women. I realize that was too complicated so I’ve now morphed that class into other things because I think that there’s a balance. We live in a world of misogyny and in fact FemDom is based on misogynistic qualities. The idea of a man being subservient as being automatically humiliating is inherently misogynistic. What that’s saying is that it is beneath you to be beneath a woman.
We can’t get away from the real world context we all live in. I’m never trying to be a boner killer or lady boner killer but the reality is that we live in a world where sexism, classism, misogyny effects us. So some people I think when they find a space where they can swing in the opposite direction they take that and they run with it. I think that some women, sometimes they need to work through what I affectionately title “Dommeitis.” Where you get infected with your own fabulousness. I went through it my first year I was kind of a asshole and thankfully if you’re smart you grow out of it, if you have people around you that can help you through it.
Any advice that you would give to any kinky ladies that are reading that might be interested in becoming a Pro-Dom?
I will give a plug again to Kink Academy, it is a really great start particularly if you don’t have a lot of in-person resources around you. Sites like Fetlife are certainly a resource but they can be so overwhelming and you honestly have no idea who you’re listening to.
I think the best advice is to really research women who have been in this industry for a long time. One of the things that annoys me the most is young women who are coming into this industry that don’t understand the decades of history. I’m not talking about some kind of high-school pecking order-that’s not what it is. I’m not trying to step on younger Dommes, but I think that when you come into any industry there’s a sense of humility simply about knowing the people that came before you. So I think that if you’re interested in being a ProDomme on a real level and not just a flash in the pan kind of “I’m gonna spit on some men and make some money” kind of Domme, because that will never last. You will never be successful that way. If you really take some time to get to know what the veterans of the industry are doing you’re going to have good role models even if you don’t have a personal mentor.
Princess Kali takes her kink seriously and has spent over fourteen years exploring not only the how but the why of alternative lifestyles. Her experience working as a professional dominatrix has given her a unique understanding of the motivations behind erotic humiliation play as well as a passion for helping people participate in it more safely and enjoyably. Her dynamic and engaging style of presenting has been welcomed at more than 150 venues including kink events such as Dark Odyssey, Fetish Fair Fleamarket, Kink in the Caribbean, and IMsL as well as mainstream venues such as Harvard University and SXSW.
As the founder of Erotication.com she is a pioneer of the “kinktrepreneur” business model, creating sites such as Kink Academy, Passionate U, and Fearless Press for easy access to adult sex and BDSM education. Her work continues to inspire and support many other kink educators, writers, and enthusiasts.
Princess Kali is currently focusing on personal coaching and group workshops to help people safely discover their own style of kink with the benefit of her experience and guidance. She is also hard at work on her next book Authentic Domination as well as A Deeper Shade of Red, which is the sequel to Enough to Make You Blush. Kali resides in the San Francisco area but travels often for workshops and events.