Every once in a while on this blog I conduct an interview with an artists that ticks all of my personal boxes. This next interview with the fantastic Pandora Von Kit is an example of one of those instances. A tattooed alternative/fetish model, who works sublimely with my favourite material, latex, and is a devotee of burlesque. Quite simply it was a sheer joy to conduct and work on this piece with such a charismatic and intelligent lady. Her passion for her craft is undeniable, and the energy and effort she put in during this interview is there for all to see. I felt honoured to talk with Pandora about many aspects of her career and work, and we even touched on a very important topic in the performance realm. That topic is names and personas. It’s an often overlooked facet of a performer’s repertoire, and it was fascinating asking Pandora about her recent name change. We don’t think how such an event can influence a model’s career when it’s forced upon them, but if you read on you’ll understand the monumental task Pandora faced, and how she’s risen above and is continuing to delight her audience.
Q: What’s in a name? Well for a model there’s quite a lot actually. When modelling and performing, it is the individual that is the “brand”, so a catchy moniker is a must for any aspiring artist. You’ve had quite the issue of late with your name haven’t you Pandora, could you explain what you’ve had to deal with recently?
Pandora: I adopted the name Pandora Fox in January 2011, when I first performed burlesque. I was originally attracted to Pandora for no specific reason and the emcee of the show I was in suggested the last name Fox. I researched the name and didn’t come up with any results so I went ahead and put it to use. Ever since, I have spent my time building up the name and trying my hardest to become as well known as possible on the east coast with hopes of eventually becoming known nationwide. When you search the name on Google, tons of images/videos/sites come up with my face all over them. Whatever I was doing, it was working.
About a month ago two producers approached me at different times asking me about a troupe from Ohio that they had recently booked. They believed that I was or used to be in that troupe. There is another performer named Pandora Foxx who is travelling with said troupe and the only reasons the producers booked them is because they believed her to be me. This was obviously unsettling for a number of reasons. Not only is it hard to accept that someone else has the same name as you (different spelling or not) but no performer wants their reputation to be mistaken with someone else’s. I researched Miss Foxx and found that she was not easy to locate on the internet. I did find, however, that she had been performing since 2009 and therefore had seniority ownership over the name.
I had a lot of discussions with performers and producers in the industry and some urged me to keep my name since I was more popular on the web. I almost did because at that point, it would have been easier for Miss Foxx to change her name on her 3-5 websites than it would be for me to change my name on 20-30. But out of respect for Pandora Foxx and her seniority and to keep my reputation to only myself, I decided the right thing to do would be to change my name. I was applauded on this decision and many in the industry saw it as a noble thing to do. It was very difficult for me but I know that in the long run I will be grateful that I took my moniker in a different direction in order to have and keep it entirely my own.
Q: The new name is quite becoming if I may say, how did you arrive at it?
Pandora: Since Pandora was the first name I was attracted to from day one, I didn’t want to change it at all. Also, so many people call me Pandora that it would have been difficult, obnoxious and confusing to change the first name AND the last. I played around with fox references such as Vixen, Kitsune, Renard and finally, Kit. Pandora Kit didn’t have enough ring to it for me. Fox was such a strong and solid sound and Kit is more cutesy and fun. So to add a bit of sexuality and strength to the name, I stuck Von in the middle and it quickly started to grow on me. It was a pleasant surprise being introduced with that name for the first time. I hope that the new name will treat me well.
Q: Your outstanding work speaks for itself and I believe that only you could produce the pictures and put on the performances you have to date. There is only one of “you”, so is the name change more of a hassle logistically, changing email addresses and website info etc?
Pandora: The second I realized Pandora Foxx had adopted the name two years before I did, I was perfectly fine with the idea of changing my name. The one and only reason I hesitated was because of the “fame” that name had built for itself. Not only did I have to change personal things like email addresses and usernames on social media networks, but I now have to create a new YouTube channel, rename photo/video titles, request photographers change my name on their sites and on top of all that, simply wait for Google to start recognizing my new name and bringing it into search results (which it has finally started to do!)
Q: Are you taking your new title as a fresh start, and maybe an altered approach? Or are you still aiming to produce the same fantastic output that you have done these past couple of years only with a tweaked alter-ego?
P: That’s a great question. The new name isn’t affecting my performance persona at all. I have a pretty solid fan base that loves and support the persona I’ve had. Plus, my persona isn’t too far off from my actual personality. It would be a huge chore for me to adopt something entirely new. The only thing that’s changed is the name. My quality/style of work will always grow and change but always within the general essence of who I am, Pandora.
Q: You have a very deep well of talents at your disposal being a model and performer. If I may start with your modelling please, as it is how I was first introduced to you. How did you get into modelling? Was it a career you thought about early in your life?
P: I never thought about modelling in the context of “I would love to do that!” but I did always have a huge appreciation for beautiful people and the ads in Vogue. I was actually turned on to modelling when I went to photography school. I started off on the other side of the camera and was there for about four years before I fell in love with being in front of the lens instead of behind it. In photography school we all used each others as models. Apparently, I was great at posing. Along with that, my willingness to go nude and my ever-changing neon hair were also factors in my demand. I started doing it often for friends and just couldn’t stop. The inertia kept going of its own accord and before I knew it I was actively pursuing it.
Q: Could you talk us through your first forays into the modelling industry? What were your first shoot experiences like, and how did you feel the first time you stood in front of a camera as a model?
P: Since I first started shooting with friends on a casual level my experiences were mostly fun and adventurous. I didn’t feel a whole lot when I was in front of the camera for the first time. I’ve never shied away from having my photo taken but I’ve never been a photo ham either. It was a feeling of indifference for me starting out because I didn’t see myself as a model, I saw myself as a photographer. Once I started getting really good feedback and seeing the photos that I was creating, I started to feel excited and anxious about modelling. I started itching when I was behind the camera or watching my photographer friends shoot other people. I wanted to be in front of the lens, wearing the awesome outfit or playing with the cool props.
Q: It’s a job that I will forever be fascinated by. What are your thoughts on the skill behind the profession? Is it a set of techniques you can learn to utilise, or is it more about an appreciation of beauty and knowing what looks good/works on camera?
P: Well knowing what looks good and works on camera is, in itself, a technique. Many non-professionals see certain images and think they are absolutely brilliant while professionals can view the same image and know that it could look a million times better if certain things in it were different. I think that knowledge comes with experience. After you discover a new pose and you realize it looks better than ones you’ve done before, you have improved your craft. But if you’re not a professional, you won’t really have a need to discover new poses and therefore your standards aren’t those of a high fashion model.
As far as learning to be a model, it’s a little like dancing. Everyone in the world can learn how to put their feet there and their hands over here, but not everyone will look good doing it. Everyone can model but not everyone can “be” a model (be in demand, get paid, get published, etc.)
Q: You’ve dabbled in a number of different genres of modelling, but your fetish work is some of my favourite imagery. Did you start out with an interest in fetish, or is it an avenue that opened up as your career progressed?
P: That’s a great question that no one asks these days. They just assume that if I’m doing something fetish related it’s because I have fetishes. I actually didn’t get turned onto fetish modelling through modelling; it was through photography when I was still shooting. Photographers like Lithium Picnic, Viva Van Story, and RedRum Collaboration were all photographers that inspired me behind the camera. It wasn’t until discovering my love for modelling that not only did I like the way those photographs were created, but I loved everything the models were doing and wearing. I wanted to look like them and pose like them and didn’t even realize it until a few years later!
Q: Are there any aspects of the fetish realm that you’d like to explore in future shoots?
P: I still haven’t shot enough latex in my opinion, it’s impossible for me to get tired of it. I’m actually beginning to work in the homemade/amateur fetish realm to supplement my income. They aren’t the most glamorous shoots but I do enjoy creating new things I haven’t considered before. Foot fetishes and stepping on things like cake and lasagne were never of any interest to me until I realized I could make money doing it! So back to your question, while I continue exploring this side of fetish I hope to encounter new fetishes, especially shibari and tickling.
Q: You mentioned your work with latex and I just have to dwell on that here. It’s one of my favourite materials, and I think it really transforms the wearer. What are your thoughts on working with it, and does it have an affect on you when you wear it? Also, do you have any tips for working with latex?
P: I absolutely ADORE latex clothing. Because there are so many people who are truly deeply affected by latex I can’t rightly call myself a latex fetishist - it would demean those who are. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a great appreciation and love for the material. It’s rare that I find a piece of clothing that impacts me so much that I will search for more of the designer’s work, but that seems to happen quite often with latex clothing. When I wear it I feel sexy and fun and if I’m wearing latex bottoms they make me want to bend over. ;-) While it is tight and difficult to get into, it’s so comfortable and comforting for me when I wear it. The comfort comes from the reassurance it gives that my sex appeal can be empowered by an inanimate object and that alone is a very powerful thought.
Always, always, always be extra careful with latex! I have been so terrified of ruining latex clothing and so careful when putting it on and yet I still managed to rip a great stocking! So even those who are always careful, I will still warn you to be careful! Lube is the best way to get into latex and I suggest rubbing it over your body as opposed to trying to coat the inside of a garment. Also, don’t just cover the body parts that the garment will be worn on, also cover the body parts that the garment has to go over to get to where it needs to go. I once wore a latex dress for Vengeance Designs and I had to step into the dress. She covered my entire butt, hips and the front of my thighs so that the dress would easily slide up over them. While I advocate lots of lube, don’t go too crazy with it either. Things like underwear and even some skirts/dresses can be put on with just a little bit of wiggling and no lube at all. Trim your fingernails if you’re going to put latex on and if you can’t trim them then either use lots of lube or have someone without long nails to help you. Lube allows you to slide the garment on while gripping it with your palm and pads of your fingers instead of pulling it on by grabbing while your fingernails dig into it. Long answer, but there’s a lot of advice one needs when working with latex for the first time!
Image credits in order of appearance:
1) Ryan Holbrook, Christine Sawyer
2) Lesley Arak
4) Travis Mayhem photography
(Pandora on tumblr) http://pandoravonkit.tumblr.com