Thanks to my lovely friend Roped Prose, I had the most lovely interview with Ariel Anderssen, who may just be the sweetest woman I have ever met. Her new book is about how she escaped the Jehovah's Witnesses and began a life as a sub fetish model. This amazing story is available for preorder at her website and Help support Playing to Lose by Ariel Anderssen at @Unbounders https://unbound.com/books/playing-to-lose
Ariel Anderssen is a veteran, multiple award winning, British BDSM model with a lifetime’s fascination for submission and masochism. She grew up in Horsham, West Sussex. The daughter of a nuclear physicist, Ariel and her older sister Imogen were brought up as Jehovah’s Witnesses by their devoutly religious mother, and to a lesser extent by their father, who was busy with the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the wake of the 1986 disaster.
Having grown up in a religion that was confidently predicting the end of the world by the mid 1990’s, Ariel didn’t expect to actually reach adulthood and need a job. Consequently, she spent her childhood immersed in imaginary worlds of her own making. Though her favourite games often included themes of punishment, retribution and capture, she was unaware that these would eventually form the foundations of her sexuality.
Having trained in classical ballet throughout her childhood, Ariel won a place at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London. Here, she specialised in Shakespearean performance, dramatic combat and physical theatre. Upon graduating, Ariel was cast in a series of fringe Shakespeare productions in London, followed by several national tours, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (in which she played Titania) and Twelfth Night (Olivia). Her TV credits from this period included The Real Casanova (Channel 4), Real Crime - Jeremy Bamber (ITV) as well as numerous music videos and short films. She played a leading role in Kelling Brae, which won Best No Budget Picture at the London Independent Film Festival, and won Best Actress for her role in The Dossier at the Independent Film Awards.
Bumbling into an exhibition of BDSM artwork by mistake at age 25, she discovered to her delighted surprise that she was not alone after all. A well-known BDSM photographer exhibiting at the gallery offered her a photo-shoot; she accepted with alacrity and launched her career as a model.
Subsequently, Ariel became one of the best-known fetish models in the UK. Bringing her classical actor’s training to the world of BDSM film production gave her the ability to play a wide range of roles, and by 2010 she was one of the most recognised BDSM models in the world, working extensively through Europe and beyond.
Ariel formed a creative partnership with Hywel Phillips, CERN particle-physicist-turned-award-winning-fetish-photographer early in her career. Together, they created multiple series and feature-length films for Hywel’s online bondage magazine, Restrained Elegance. Ariel continues to work as a mainstream model and performer alongside her fetish career, having modelled for many British designers, walked at London Fashion Week, appeared in works exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, featured in a campaign for Coco de Mer and modelled extensively for various well-known painters.
Today, Ariel focuses on creating BDSM-themed work that shows other people they are not alone. To this end, she has built a reputation for honesty and frankness about her sexual identity, career and personal life. She has a YouTube channel about ‘How to be a Really, Really, Really Old Model’, and Tweets daily about her life as a submissive masochist. She lives in Wales with her husband Hywel, surrounded by mountains which they climb in their spare time. Her hobbies include dressmaking, trying to bake Swiss rolls that don't crack, and collecting antique swords.