Spanking is sometimes known as “the English vice” – and it’s fair to say that spanking and corporal punishment, as a niche in the porn industry, seems at its most mature in Great Britain.
For fans of the genre, the name Pandora Blake is almost certainly familiar. Arriving on the scene in 2006, this gorgeous brunette has made a name for herself as one of – if not the – most popular models on the spanking circuit. And in recent years, she’s matched that success on the business-end of the camera with success behind the lens as well.
Jacques magazine pinned Pandora down to ask her a few questions about her life, career and her aspirations for the future.
Pandora. You’re one of Britain’s – if not the world’s – most renowned spanking models. How did you get into the spanking industry? How closely does it tie in with your natural sexual proclivities?
Firstly, wow, thank you! I’m not sure that’s correct, or if it is perhaps it’s just because I’ve been working for seven years now, since the summer of 2006. The spanking industry is thriving, with new performers entering it all the time, many of whom are supremely talented. I am among very good company!
I’ve had a fascination with pain, punishment and helplessness literally all my life, and my earliest memory of daydreaming about such things is from I was about 4 years old. I can date my interest in spanking back to reading Roald Dahl’s autobiography “Boy” when I was six or seven, which cemented my obsession with historical boarding school punishments, and the cane. I started experimenting with spanking in real life as soon as I could (earlier than I can admit to here!) and discovered I loved the reality even more than I’d imagined. I met the first of my long term partners, Tom, when I was 19, and that was my first fulltime spanking and dominance/submission relationship.
Shortly afterwards I started doing a bit of nude modelling to earn some pennies as a student. I listed fetish modelling as an interest on internet modelling profiles, and before long was invited to do a “simulated” spanking photo shoot with a lovely photographer, which gave me the confidence to build a modelling website and approach some of my favorite spanking studios looking for work. I haven’t looked back since!
You’ve built a career by being in a submissive position on camera, and are sexually submissive to your partners, D and Tom, but seem to be anything OTHER than submissive in other areas of your life. What do you make of the contradiction between Pandora the submissive spankee, and Pandora the capable, focused, hard-working entrepreneur and outspoken kink activist?
Well, these days I don’t identify as submissive, but as a switch. I have a sadistic streak, and there are definitely dominant and submissive sides to my sexuality, as well as to my personality.
I think everyone has different sides to themselves. We use dominance and submission, aggression and passivity at different times in our lives depending on the context. Negotiating a business opportunity, dealing with a family conflict and running a campaign all require different approaches.
When I started modelling, I identified primarily as a sexual submissive rather than a switch, but that never meant I was submissive to just anyone who came along. For me, that identity means that I tend to respond submissively to my primary romantic partners, and that my fantasies usually involve elements of pain and domination. (These days, I’m also capable of reacting dominantly to submissive partners, and that I also fantasise about dominating people). Either way, expressing those fantasies on camera is exhilirating, but it doesn’t involve any submission or dominance in the real world. The fantasy might involve an unequal power dynamic but in reality it’s an equal collaboration between bottom, top, director and everyone else on set.
The thing is that even in the kink scene, no-one is submissive or dominant 100% of the time, and that’s not the definition of “true” dominance or submission. It’s quite common to find alphas who are sub in the bedroom, seeking relief from responsibility and catharsis from their stressful lives; and sexual dominants/sadists are often pretty chilled out and introverted in real life. (D and I certainly tick these boxes!)
Political campaigning requires active engagement, confidence and dominance, and so does running a business. That’s true for everyone, regardless of your preferences in the bedroom. All kinksters have other interests and no-one plays the same role in every different area of their life. In other words, we are all real, rounded human beings whatever our sexual fantasies.
I bring my dominant side to my work, my creative, intellectual and political pursuits, and the flip side of that is that I get to unwind by letting my dominant partners see my more vulnerable side. I don’t think that’s inconsistent – just a sign of being a (relatively!) balanced individual. This diversity exists in all of us: you might defer to your boss, parent your child, look after your partner and lead a local group without there being any contradiction in your personality; it’s just that different contexts and relationships draw out different sides of ourselves.
You launched your own kinky online empire – what inspired you to take the leap from model to actual producer of porn?
Well, I’m not sure one site counts as an “empire”! But yeah, it didn’t take me long to start thinking in terms of production rather than just modelling. Right from the start, modelling appealed to me as a visually creative activity, in terms of designing a look, composing shots and so on. Any model knows that being in front of the camera is just as involved and creative a process as being behind it.
Right from those first shoots in 2006, I was interested in writing my own scenarios and expressing my own fantasies on porn. In the twelve months after my first spanking shoot I shot two feature-length films with Roue Productions, both with my real life partner Thomas Cameron, and he and I wrote both films together and had a hand in production with the second one.
Early on I was approached by a couple of producers offering me a solo site. Luckily, I had good advice from friends and partners and didn’t say “yes” too soon, trapping myself in a bad business deal. But it did motivate me to start shooting my own content at home. Pretty soon I realized I didn’t want to work for anyone other than myself, and I started laying long-term plans for the launch of my own website. The dream finally became reality in December 2011.
Your porn is often referred to with terms like “free range”, “ethical” and “feminist.” What is your philosophy behind porn production, and how do you live up to that?
I don’t think everyone has an obligation to produce feminist porn, only people who identify as feminists; but I do think that fairtrade production is a labor rights and ethics issue that we should all support.
At its simplest, I think porn production should prioritize informed (and ideally enthusiastic) consent; respect performers, represent them honestly, and give them space to express their true selves without pushing them to do anything they aren’t into. I think men and women should be paid equal wages for the same jobs, and I think porn should show people with a range of body types enjoying their bodies and sexuality, including diverse shapes and sizes, skin colors, ethnicities and genders.
I live up to this as best I can, and so far I think I’ve done well on the labor rights, consent and fair pay stuff – although perhaps you should ask the performers I’ve hired rather than letting me speak for them! My cast is primarily built of trusted friends and play partners, and thus far I am proud to have worked with beautiful people who are thin, fat, athletic, disabled, cis and trans, but it could always be more diverse. I am thrilled to have booked a shoot with a person of color this year, as that was well overdue. I’m very much looking forward to shooting with the sexy spankee Lola Marie.
Puritanical Britain is cracking down on “extreme” porn, using very vaguely worded legislation that’s open to interpretation. Meanwhile, European legislators are mulling a complete ban on hardcore pornography like Iceland has. What do you make of this situation, and how do you think it will unfold?
Cameron’s war on porn is certainly worrying, and I find it particularly upsetting that it is people calling themselves feminists who are pushing these ill-thought-out, unnecessary and harmful regulations. Internet filters are notoriously unsuccessful, and tend to block educational resources as well as their intented targets. The proposals make almost no technical sense and will be very difficult to implement. I am crossing my fingers that they won’t get very far in practice; if not we will have a long and tedious untangling job on our hands once it becomes obvious that the porn block is unworkable in practice.
The original “extreme porn” legislation was an early 2010 amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2009. Since then, very few successful prosecutions have been brought under this legislation. Any new legislation adding simulated rape to the list of banned materials will probably result in a similar situation, and end up mostly being ignored, resulting in very few prosecutions. Although we also have the example of Canada, where anti-rape laws have been used to target minorities and arrest distributors of LGBT pornography.
I don’t believe that rape porn teaches or causes rape; in fact studies have found the opposite, that simulated non-consent porn created in an ethical way (such as, for instance, animated kiddy porn) can serve as an outlet and reduce the number of crimes that are committed.Porn reflects our culture, and can also influence those who encounter it. To counter any damaging messages sent by porn about women or anyone else, we need to create more porn that sends better messages, and educate young people to be media literate and critique the porn they watch. Censorship does not work, and never has.
You’ve already fallen victim to corporate censorship yourself, when billing company CCBILL and PayPal refused to allow you to post certain types of spanking videos, and “froze” (i.e. stole) money in your account. Do you think this corporate trend is reflective of porn politics in general?
I think as a society we’re moving both forwards and backwards. Popular opinion is slowly, by degrees, becoming more tolerant and progressive, and I think this trend will inevitably continue. But that’s a generational thing, and we will see improvement over decades rather than years. In the meantime we are struggling against a reactionary, regressive backlash, and the prudish alliance of conservative ideology which holds sex to be a sin with the radical, second-wave feminist movement that finds all sexual expression in our culture to be inherently misogynistic. Part of me simply intends to ride out the storm until that generation dies out. I don’t know how much censorship these groups will achieve in the meantime, but I do know that despite the legal situation, diverse sexual expression will continue to flourish at the grassroots level, and that even with a porn filter, you cannot stop the spread of ideas on the internet. Censorship never succeeds in the long run, particularly not since the world got online.
The internet has opened up and democratised porn. Anyone can view and produce porn now. Given enough time, the trickle down effect of that increased accessibility has to be improved tolerance, I think. But I daresay it’ll be a rocky road getting there.
Where is Pandora Blake’s porn empire going? Where do you see yourself and your company in five years? And if you knew you couldn’t fail, what would be your ultimate ambition?
I’ve received a strong positive response to my work as a creator of female gaze kinky erotica, which is awesome, and I’d love to expand this beyond the spanking niche and open my work to a wider audience. My next site will be a male submission erotica site focusing on the beautiful bodies and personalities of submissive men, and the honour, dignity and courage of masculine sexual surrender. It’ll be the antidote to the “femdom” genre, which focuses exclusively on the female dominant as an object of sexual desire; instead I might call this “malesub”. I’ve explored this theme to some extent already on Dreams of Spanking, but I’d like to take it further. There’s a way to go yet before I’ll be able to afford to delegate enough of my editing to start a new project, but that’s the aim.
I’d like to produce more feature-length films, and mainstream films and documentaries about kink and spanking which educate and inform about alternative sexualities, and present them in a positive light.
I’m also interested in exploring alternative business models which break away from the traditional paysite structure, and use some of the ideas from free economics and the open source community. I have a “pay what you like” porn site in the works, and I’ll be interested to see how that goes. One dream is to open that up so anyone can upload any porn they want to it, and sell it for however much they want – a bit like Bandcamp, only for porn. I will probably have to take legal advice before embarking on that one though. If there are any lawyers reading this who would be willing to give me a consultation in exchange for free porn, let me know!
You were recently here in America, in nearby Atlantic City. When are you next visiting, and would you ever consider appearing in the pages of Jacques magazine?
I’ll be back next April as it happens, for Boardwalk Badness Weekend, which is an amazing gathering of wonderful likeminded kinky souls. The bonds you can form staying up all night talking, connecting and playing with so many intelligent, kind-hearted, accepting individuals are just remarkable. You should come!
And yes, I’d love to be in Jacques magazine. Let’s book a shoot!