Q: As well as your fetish work, I adore your artistic nudes. You strike such statuesque poses when working nude, it’s really a vision of female power as well as soft beauty. What are your thoughts and preparation processes when working naked? Have you ever had any hang ups about disrobing for your craft?
P: Thank you so much! I have always been very comfortable in my own skin and because I know others enjoy it too I haven’t hesitated to disrobe for shoots. As far as preparing for a nude shoot, I like to do a few sit ups to get my abdomen into “work mode” and doing that also warms me up a bit. I always bring a robe with me since some photographers, MUAs, hair stylists, assistants, etc can have a modesty level that is much higher than mine. It’s a sign of respect and professionalism when you don’t run around naked in front of strangers. Another thing about preparing for nude shoots is the clothing I wear about 3 or 4 hours before. Things like socks, jeans, bras and tight underwear are a no-no before a nude shoot. All of these things leave lines on your body and can take a while to go away. They will end up being a nuisance for your photographer when he/she is editing the photos. Again, it’s a sign of respect and professionalism if you are aware of this issue and you choose to work around it accordingly.
Q: Yet another element I must mention about your “look” are your elegant emerald eyes, and expressive face. Where did you learn the talent of utilising expression in your shots? Does it come from experience, or do you practice in the mirror?
P: It’s funny how a lot of people think practicing in the mirror is a great thing to do and maybe it is for some people. I personally find that I look different (or I guess I see myself differently) in the mirror than I do in photos. Sometimes a look in a photo isn’t that great in the mirror. Other times, a look comes off super sexy in the mirror but when I try to take a cell phone photo to send to my boyfriend, I get frustrated because it doesn’t translate as well! So after a year or two I abandoned the mirror. Instead, I study women like Mosh and Dita Von Teese and I try to absorb the attitude they give off with certain facial expressions. Instead of trying to mimic what they’re doing, I try to pick up on what they’re portraying, feeling, and expressing. Once I’ve picked up on that, I can recall it in shoots and the looks that come with that emotion just happen on their own. I like that process much better than trying stuff in the mirror. Once I get the photos from the photographers, then I decide if a certain expression is worth keeping or not.
Q: You’re a bit of a dream artist for me as you model fetish, work with latex and perform the art of burlesque. As an art form burlesque is so versatile and enthralling for an audience member, can I ask how you got involved?
P: You’re going to laugh when I say this, but I got started with Craigslist. A local burlesque show wanted to book a few more performers. The first thought that went through my head was, “Hm… I could do that.” So I sent them a video of a quickly choreographed piece in my living room and I was hired! I figured nothing could go wrong and in fact, everything went completely right. I fell in love with the art that night and now there is no turning back.
Q: I think there is definitely something of the theatrical about your personality Pandora and it’s clear from your portfolio that you love to imbibe life and vigour into everything you do. Burlesque must have been a natural outlet for this exhibitionism, but where do you think this love of performance comes from personally?
P: Well, I have been a performer since childhood. I was always in plays in elementary and middle school and in high school I became serious about becoming a dancer. I performed a lot in high school and had the opportunity to train, choreograph and perform on a professional level in my junior year of high school when I went to UNCSA. I was mentally ready for a profession as a modern dancer and choreographer but my body wasn’t. My hips were giving me the most grief but on occasion I would have ankle and foot problems as well. But from there, I turned to photography which then turned me to modelling. Dance found its own way back around into my life so I’m really happy with my decision to stop pursuing it. Besides, the possibility of my getting permanently injured would have increased had I chosen to stick with it and that’s one of my biggest fears!
Q: You’re a very lithe woman and it translates to some athletic displays on stage. Do you have to work hard on your fitness and physique, or does burlesque and your extensive dance background help with keeping trim?
P: I will be completely honest and many will hate me for it but the body I have now is the body I had when I was fifteen (except maybe my hips are wider). I have always been a long-legged, skinny, A-cup girl without ever trying. Because this is how my body naturally is, I didn’t have any incentive to work out or eat healthy in order to stay fit. I always worked out because I liked to dance and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t the healthiest eater either. But in the past year or so I’ve become attracted to the idea of cardio, adding kale and spinach to my smoothies and eating more fruits and veggies for the sake of my health. I start to feel anxious when I don’t get exercise so I jump rope or go swimming. I hate weights and I hate running but a few laps around the mall or doing chores around the house are good enough for me to get my blood flowing.
Q: Do you have any Burlesque icons that you look up to, or people involved with the scene whose work you particularly enjoy?
P: I look up to Dita Von Teese not because she’s a burlesque performer but because she is such a smart woman. I am constantly reblogging/saving quotes of hers from interviews and whatnot because she sees the world in much the same way I do and I really love that about her. As far as icons whose work I enjoy - Midnite Martini, Nikki Le Villain and Porcelain. Midnite has choreography that will knock your socks off. She is very inventive and that’s something I really respond to and look up to because of my own choreography background. Nikki has this presence that could silence a room and she carries herself in such a glorious way. And Porcelain is nothing but sex on a set of heels. Her aura onstage is very erotic and I secretly want her hair. Well, I guess it’s not so secret anymore.
Q: I understand you have some Burlesque festivals that you’re involved with, I’d love to know more about the scene. What’s happening in the world of tassels and tantalisation?
P: Well, I just performed at my first one in Boston, The Great Burlesque Exposition in April. That was such an amazing experience and I am really excited to perform at a few others I have coming up. There’s the Carolina Burlesque Festival in Charleston, SC in June and the most exciting one yet, The Toronto Burlesque Festival in July. I’ve never been to Canada and once I perform there I can technically say I’m an international performer! It’s not burlesque, but I will also be at Fetishcon in August with my performance troop, Succubus Sorority. We put on shows with not only burlesque but a variety of talents including shibari, pole dancing, grinder acts, fire breathing/eating, poi, hoops and singing!
Q: Something else I had to ask you about are your wonderful tattoos. You have made some amazing choices in your art work, and they are so complimentary to your body. Can you talk a little about your pieces, and the decisions behind getting them? I especially love your lower midriff design, I’d love to know about that, and what is was like having it done.
P: Thank you! My pelvic design was customized for me by Jeremy at Pygmalion’s in Greenfield, MA. I’ve always had an affinity for steampunk and I met with him to discuss a design that would compliment my pubic bone and my hips without being “too much.” I’m in love with the design he created. It was hard to have it done because he had to pull the skin taut over my hip bones. But he’s a great artist in general because he makes you feel at home and at ease even when he is working so close to private places. :-)
As for the rest of my tattoos, I don’t want to go into each one too much but I’ll give a basic rundown: A matching tattoo with my father (my first one), matching tattoo with my best friend, matching tattoo with my current boyfriend (don’t give me grief, it’s easy to cover), an homage to my childhood imagination, an homage to the belief and idea of soulmates and how they exist in this world, and a slightly altered design of a book cover of my number one favourite book, The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall.
Q: What projects have you got coming up in the near future that you can tell us about? Are you planning any photo shoots at all, or are you looking forward to a specific collaboration?
P: I JUST got back from a shoot with Viva Van Story and it was a dream come true! I admired her work even before I was a model and I’ve been wanting to work with her for years. As for upcoming work, I’m hoping to get together with local photographers to create images I can submit to various publications. It’s my goal in 2012 to get published! Also, I’m the owner and designer of MissPandorasBox, my costume line that I started this year. It’s been on Etsy for a few months and my spike bra design has been selling very well! I have about 8 more designs that I’m going to post hopefully next week. My hopes and expectations for this project are very high so we’ll see how it goes…
Q: Finally can we end with Bernard Pivot’s questionnaire?
What is your favourite word? Balls, said as an expletive. “Balls! I can’t find my G string!”
What is your least favourite word? Panties. Ironic, right?
What turns you on? Kisses, especially on my ears, neck, back and the backs of my thighs.
What turns you off? Bad breath and a big ego.
What sound or noise do you love? Good music, thunderstorms and the beach.
What sound or noise do you hate? Stupid people talking. No, I take that back, that can be amusing sometimes.
What is your favourite curse word? Besides “balls”? Fuck.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Acting, which I’m starting to segue into. Also, working with animals like lions and dolphins.
What profession would you not like to do? Janitor.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Your husband is waiting for you over there. Feel free to do with him what you will. Then, once you’re done the all-you-can-eat pasta buffet is to the left and all of Dita Von Teese’s costumes are to the right. Enjoy.”
Once again, I was humbled by this interview. First of all having the opportunity to work on it with Pandora Von Kit, and secondly, at the quality of the finished piece (thanks to Pandora’s wonderful input). It’s an interview I will be eternally proud of, and I hope there are some readers that are as taken with this lady as I was that first time I witnessed her work. Please check out the links I’ll put below, and enjoy exploring Pandora’s world.
Image credits in order of appearance:
1) Edward A Pinto
2) Ron Tencati photography
3) Lesley Arak
4) Lesley Arak