Nic Buxom is a 26 year old Pro-Switch and comic artist who "makes light of the inner workings of the dungeon and BDSM scene." She's been working at her local dungeon for 6 years now and creating her comic blog since 2009. She was gracious enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk to me about her art, lifestyle and kink. I am a huge fan of her artwork (as I'm sure you've read before on a previous post) and enjoyed her candid responses and, as always, her great sense of humor.
House Phryxus: In your comic, you show yourself as starting work as a Pro Domme because you were broke, a most noble reason. ^_^ However, what, besides money, has kept you in the business?
Nic: That I got involved in the Pro-Domme industry due only to money problems is half a joke. I WAS looking for a better paying job (retail is a monster) but I also desperately wanted to do something I enjoyed for a living. I was a lifestyle BDSM player before moving to pro so fetish and kink was something I did for pleasure, anyway. Why not get paid to do it? It's everyone's dream to do something they love for a living and working in a dungeon has been exactly that for me through the years. I'm very lucky to be able to say so.
HP: How did you come into the BDSM scene in the first place?
Nic: When I was in highschool I discovered I took pleasure in controlled pain. I had never heard of BDSM or anything of the like but I knew I was fascinated by bruises and liked the way they looked and felt, among other things. I had some friends who shared my interest and we began to explore practices that I now know fall into the BDSM and fetish realms, though at the time I was oblivious that there were people out there like me that shared these interests.
My best friend and I engaged in collar and leash play, puppy play, flogging, bondage and other common practices associated with BDSM. It wasn't until I got my first computer and gained access to the internet that my world was opened up and I realized there were societies full of people just like me. The web was a great tool for me to meet mentors and begin to explore other activities and play partners, as well as visiting my first dungeon!
HP:How did you train yourself as a Domme starting out or were you mentored?
Nic: When I began in the scene I was very submissive. I tried many activities from the bottom and learned from them. I thought I was going to be a submissive forever! I had no interest in topping. I was much more shy and introverted then and didn't get a rush from Domming like I did from being on the receiving end of pain and direction. Still, you can't help but learn in those situations. When I started as a pro I came in as a submissive. Both the Mistresses I worked with AND the clients helped me to learn and train to be an excellent Domme. I still love to switch, though I primarily Domme now. Some clients have been seeing me for years and have watched and helped me to develop. Many of these men gifted me some of my first tools that I now use extensively in topping, such as paddles and my extensive collection of TENS units (an electricity device I specialize with.) Absolutely the most helpful, though, has been the other women that I work with. The great thing about working in a dungeon, as opposed to working independently, is the wonderful family and society you grow with. We all teach and support each other and there are so many different talents to learn from, particularly ones very familiar with the pro-scene. It was essential to my personal growth (in and outside of my business) that I worked with such grand, eclectic ladies.
HP: As a Domme, do you own a slave or submissive outside of work?
Nic: I have never owned a personal slave or submissive because, to be honest, I have never had much time for it. I think it's a fallacy that a personal slave will make your life easier by handling everything for you. Sure, they can run errands and help out but there is still an exchange expected. Your slave cooks you dinner, you sit down and enjoy it and then you're expected to get back up and play with him/her and give her what she's in the relationship for. It's like any other "vanilla" relationship, everyone has to get something out of it. Slaves can be VERY demanding for your personal attentions and I just don't have time in my busy schedule to emotionally support another person. I know many of my clients consider themselves my personal slaves because they are very loyal but they still pay me for my time and so I still consider it business. Plus, I get to send them home afterwards with no hurt feelings and my time spent with them has a solid end point, agreed upon ahead of time. I never have to worry about them encroaching upon "me-time" or personal space. Some people like to engage in 24/7 BDSM relationships and that's great for the people it works for but I like to have my vanilla time when I'm not thinking about business and protocol.
HP: What advice would you give someone interested in becoming a ProDom or ProSub?
Nic: Firstly, this business is not for everyone. It sounds glamorous and easy on paper but I assure you it doesn't lend itself to everyone. If you want to work in the sex industry in any capacity you must, must, MUST be able to tell people "no." Sticking to your limits is so important for your comfort and self-worth and people are ALWAYS going to ask you to betray your morals, scruples and comfort zones. People who can't stand up for themselves and what they believe in will get taken advantage of and made miserable in an industry like this one.
Beyond that, don't bluff your way into the job. Alot of new Dommes want to preach about all the big names they've studied under and how great and amazing they are. Just stop. Get to know the tools for real. Study under a good mentor for real. And if and when you enter a dungeon or encounter other Dommes don't play "biggest Domme in the dungeon." What I mean is this isn't all about chest puffing and strutting. It's a mistake to think that Dominatrix's stalk about cutting people down with their words and whips. We're all real people outside of and beyond our work and should treat one another as such. When you get in the room with a client and he's paid for his time THEN you can throw on the persona! When you're just interacting with other workers and people outside of a scene then drop the attitude. And DON'T play with a tool you don't know. You'll hurt someone, and not in the fun way!
So, be strong-willed and respect yourself and your limits, really learn the tools and be courteous to others. If you put the time into this, like anything else, it will pay off and be a truly fun and rewarding business.
HP: In your comic you show the weirdest thing you’ve ever done at work, what was the most favorite scene you were ever paid to play in as a Dominatrix or submissive?
Nic: That's a toughie! I've had so many scenes that have tickled me in so many different ways. Some I enjoy more from a pleasurable aspect, some more out of humor, some out of ease.
If I had to pick one favorite I think it would be the night when a very familiar, regular client came in just before closing time. Everyone knew him and he was pretty indiscriminate about who he played with, or even what we did in session. He was a very submissive man who truly enjoyed seeing a Mistress take pleasure from him so he would do just about anything you wanted. (As a side note, many submissives claim to want to do whatever you want and then change their minds the moment you actually do what you like. It's typically bad form to leave a scene negotiation at "whatever you want" instead of being clear about limits and desires. Everyone has things they like and things they hate and it's important to communicate them for the safety and enjoyment of everyone involved.)
Since it was closing time there were only about 4 girls left, including the receptionist. Somehow it was arranged that the client would play with all 4 of us at once. We locked up and headed back to a playroom together. The scene consisted of us all dancing around to silly, bouncy songs on the radio, laughing and clapping while the client danced around with us, naked but for a sparkly tu-tu and headband. It barely felt like work and we all had a great time like it was one big party. The client took turns dancing with us while the rest watched, laughed and danced with one another. We did that until his credit card was declined.
HP: I love your comic, it’s so funny and light hearted. What got you into drawing your life as a Dominatrix?
Nic: I've always drawn. Even when I was a tiny child I drew on anything I could get my hands on. I was the kid who got in trouble for drawing in the margins of her homework (though my grades were still always exceptional.) I've also always loved comic books and have long been interested in writing/drawing one of my own. I decided that in order to practice and hone my skill I needed to start regularly drawing comics, even if they weren't any good to start. I didn't want to use any solid characters or ideas I had because I was too fanatical about character design and getting everything perfect so I knew I had to pick something I could play and tinker with, something light and easy to formulate content for, something I could draw swiftly. It was someone asking me to begin a blog about my Dominatrix work that gave me the idea... Why write a blog when I could illustrate a comic? I began NicBuxom purely as a pet-project! Something to practice. I thought I would move on when I was comfortable with the comic medium. Little did I know it would take off and become so dearly loved by many (including myself!)
NB has taken on a life of it's own. What started as purely humor and practice has become a platform for me to educate people about tolerance and other important issues, in a fun way. I write about my experiences as a Dominatrix as more than just education into the industry and lifestyle but with the underlying message that we're all people, we're all human, despite our differences. I hope I have alleviated people's fear of the unknown for more that just my lifestyle, but of the entire world around them.
HP: Many of your comics deal with accepting self image no matter weight, height and even hairiness. How have you come to be comfortable in your own skin and how does that help in your line of work as a Domme?
Nic: To be honest, starting working at my dungeon helped ALOT with my self-image and my development into the happy and confident woman I am today. I found that being surrounded by very outspoken, strong-willed, beautiful women of all shapes and sizes really helped to change my attitudes. They were the stepping stone and the booster I needed to realize that just because you don't fit the societal depictions of beauty DOES NOT mean you are not beautiful. And it doesn't hurt to have clients that worship you like a queen, either!
One absolutely needs to be confident to work in the sex industry. You have ALOT to deal with specifically regarding your body, personal space, comfort zones etc so you need to be able to say "no" and value yourself no matter what.
HP: On your blog, you are selling “The Things You Love Are Monstrous”, an art book created by yourself and MC Griffin. Do you ever plan to sell a book of comic compilations?
Nic: First, let me say that MC Griffin is an outstanding artist and that if you can look up more of his work, you should. He's been my friend a long time and we collaborate frequently, though "The Things You Love..." is our only attempt at publishing together.
As for a personal collection, I've long and hard considered it. I admit, I've become quite comfortable in the webcomic medium and that "The Things You Love..." was a way for me to test the waters on interest in my work in a more physical, tangible form. I don't feel that a hardcopy of NicBuxom would do well, considering all of the content is free online. Sure, I would offer never before seen sketches but I don't agree that that is incentive enough for a publication to be worth my time and money right now. Were I to publish, I think I would publish a collection of sketches or pin-up style unique characters. Something from me you couldn't see anywhere else and as a taste of the further extent of my work. For now, I have no intentions of doing a hardcopy publication but you never know what the future holds...
HP: Your blog and comics show your travels across the United Stated for personal and work reasons. Have you found that areas differ on how they view your line of work?
Nic: I have not worked very frequently outside of LA so don't take my impressions as an authority on any other region. The number one thing I have noted is that (surprisingly) many areas do much more "hardcore" play than we do here in LA. My dungeon is a legal business and so we abide by the laws of our city. We are particularly careful to abide by prostitution and obscenity laws in my place of business. When I travel I get asked for much more wild play and often things outside of my personal comfort zone. I've nothing against girls who engage in prostitution but I personally chose not to. I've been asked much more frequently in other states if I am a "full service" Dominatrix and the East coast has a higher interest in scat and other play involving bodily fluids and functions. Many of the women I've worked with who were first Mistresses in New York are shocked by the softer interests in LA. It's more my style out here but maybe it's just because this is the scene I've been raised in.
What I'm particularly surprised by in other areas is that people have no concept of what a Dominatrix is. I don't expect anyone to know the ins-and-outs of my business and I understand better than anyone that there are many misconceptions but for someone to have NO concept at all doesn't make sense to me. Our media consistently portrays BDSM activities. Look at any of your favorite pop artists music videos. There's bondage, spanking, latex, crops, ball-gags, puppy play and more. Not to mention our media, movies, radio etc. I expect someone to at least get "whips and chains" coming to mind when they hear Dominatrix but I've met many people who needed a full explanation and could hardly believe I wasn't weaving them a fairy tale!
HP: You’ve been to a few different adult conventions, which was your favorite? Why?
Nic: It used to be AdultCon. When I first started at these conventions they were busy, people were friendly and I'd prance about the whole day getting lots of attention and selling lots of product. There was also plenty to see and lots of fun goodie bags. Unfortunately, lately with the economy the way it is and other factors the old AdultCon scene has become abit tired and much smaller. Suddenly the crowd is different, too, and while I'm very tolerant by nature and practice I've still noticed the ratio of creeps has grown much higher. (I even had a small stalking scare...)
My new (and unexpected) favorite has been HempCon! I don't smoke marijuana and I've never even tried it so when I was first assigned a HempCon job I had a bad attitude about it. I thought I wouldn't be able to associate and make a connection with the people there and that there wouldn't be anything interesting for me to see. While it's true that the hordes of friendly offers to share a smoke are wasted upon me there, I was proven wrong about the people and convention itself. Vendor and attendee alike were overall very easy to get along with and very friendly. The people are what really make a good time at a convention but there's lots of amusing things to peruse, as well, even for a non-smoker like me.
HP: What can we expect from your comic and blog this year?
Nic: This year there are alot of personal changes in my life and so I know those will be reflected in the comic.
I'm planning to move into my own place (for the first time!) with my boyfriend and take on new business ventures. I'll likely be doing some independent Dominatrix work outside of my dungeon and I've also recently begun cam and phone work, something completely new to me. I expect these new venues to give me loads of new script ideas for NicBuxom and expand the realm of sex-industry that I've thus-far explored. I may even take on some vanilla work again (which I haven't done in over 6 years) and I know I'll have alot to say about that. I may have some retail complaints that more people can associate with! But worry not, the main focus will still be BDSM.
I hope to also have some more artwork up for sale as I'm beginning to expand onto painting wood cut-outs that I'll proudly be sharing on NicBuxom (and maybe even displaying at future conventions!)
HP: What plans do you have for your Dominatrix career in the year 2012?