I've been a dominatrix for 11 years. I was entirely self-taught, picking up the trade as I went. Two years ago, I decided to open a school to help other women who were keen to learn about being a dominatrix: it's called the London Mistress School.
I teach the basics: corporal punishment, which includes spanking, whipping and flogging, then rope bondage, then 'tied and teased', and finally humiliation. Classes are always one-to-one and cost £200.
The very first class is always a consultatation. I ask the student to come to me and talk about what they want from the classes. The last lesson is a live client consultation, where the student gets to be the mistress with our in-house model and demonstrate what they’ve learned.
Most of my students are women, although occasionally couples come to me to explore BDSM in a safe environment. It's very rare that a man will ask to be trained as a Master as there isn't much of a market for them, but I have trained one transvestite as a Mistress.
The idea is get my students to a level where they can go and set up in business as a dominatrix themselves. Sometimes ladies come just to learn to be a mistress in the bedroom. The book 50 Shades of Grey has definitely helped. Some of my students have mentioned reading it. It's helped pique the interest of the uninitiated.
People sometimes ask me whether it was counter-intuitive to open a school when I still work as a dominatrix, but my clients tend to have very specific tastes. If they wanted a blonde Mistress, they wouldn't come to me. I have a certain look. Also, it turns out that most of my students come from abroad, some as far afield as Japan. I am the only person (that I know of) who teaches BDSM in in a formal, structured way, which means that people will travel for miles to enrol. Some other Mistresses might take on a protege occasionally, but not many.
I split my time between the school and being Mistress Josephine, which means that no two days are the same. Students tend to book in advance, but my clients will often make last-minute bookings - I rarely get more than 24 hours notice. People presume that the dominatrix holds all the power in a client relationship but we're actually slaves to their schedules. They decide when they want to come and they might not be flexible.
The beauty of being a dominatrix is that I work when I want. If I want to take a client at 9pm, that’s what I’ll do. I also really enjoy the psychology of it and meeting different people. Everyone thinks that BDSM is all about pain and torture; it’s not. It’s an interesting way for people to express their needs. People also assume that it is a sexual service, which is not true. There is a sexually charged atmosphere, of course, but that is as far as it goes.
There is a myth that only high-powered men like being dominated. The truth is that anyone with a naturally submissive nature will enjoy it. People from all walks of life want to do it, there's no set age or demographic.
It's incredibly interesting to watch students learn the skills of being a dominatrix and get into their stride. Some people learn about fetishes they didn't know they had. There are amusing moments too, when people are outside their comfort zone. When my students first arrive, they usually don’t imagine actually administering whipping strokes to the model. But it's not enough to sit and watch a dominatrix, you have to learn by doing.