Lady Lila Stern is one of Los Angeles’s fastest rising dominatrixes. When Mike Kulich from Skweezme.com told me about Stern, he described her as “a nice, Jewish, New England girl who rose the ranks to become one of the top pro-dominatrixes in LA.”
A nice, Jewish dominatrix may sound like an oxymoron, but Stern fits the bill. Two years ago, she launched her career when she was just another floundering actress struggling to pay her bills. Looking to find ways to earn extra money, she started working in the sex industry because domming fit her strong personality. Soon she was screwing with guys as a full-time job.
Since then Stern has discovered the perks of her job. Unlike Hollywood actresses who aren’t named Meryl Streep, dominatrixes can see their careers get bigger as they age and become more experienced. Stern’s occupation has also allowed her to find her “inner domme” and transform from a kinky, submissive New Englander into a dominant superwoman. As an ode to her budding career, Stern recently got a large tattoo of a mermaid holding a human heart. “People see the heart and tell me, ‘You know she’s under the water,’” she said. “I don’t give a fuck where she is!”
Interested in learning more about Stern’s work, I met with her last month to discuss her clients, sex work’s perks, and how to make it as a dominatrix in Hollywood.
VICE: How did you become a successful dominatrix?
Lady Lila Stern: They have these parties, and you go to three or four parties. It was pretty crazy to be honest, because even though I had a lot of experience in my personal life, it is a lot different—these people are strangers. That’s why we have clients that stay such a long time. It’s kind of incredible; you can build such an intense relationship.
What do the majority of your clients come to you for?
I do have clients who are into fetish as well as slaves. It’s a pretty good mix of both.
What’s the difference?
They are very different clients. A guy that comes to me for a foot-fetish session doesn’t necessarily want to be degraded and told what a tiny penis he has. Slaves are a little easier to deal with because they’re more submissive. More recently there’s been an emergence of sensual domming, which is like foot fetishes and smothering—things like that I get a lot of calls for.
Why has your clientele changed?
It’s hard for me to say because I’ve only been pro-domming for two years, but honestly I think it’s probably [a good thing]. I think it’s happening because a lot more people are open. You know there was that whole 50 Shades of Grey—a very tame version of S&M, but I’m not completely against the book. I think it opened up a lot of people who were afraid to go there [to see a dominatrix] because they thought they’d beat the crap out of you and yell at you, and that’s obviously not what domming is.
How has working as a dominatrix changed your personal life?
I’ve met so many powerful, amazing women that have become my world. Relationships can be funny, but it’s translated into my personal life amazingly—it’s made me feel so powerful and strong. Relationships are a little tough. When I started domming, I was in a relationship for a number of years with a guy who was heavily into kink. At first it was awesome, but then it got hard as he got a little jealous. I’ve just realized that I’m going to have to be with a very strong man. Most of the dommes I know are lesbians, or at least have a strong preference for women. What’s strange about me is that I am attracted to men who are dominant in their lives. I like to think that anyone who isn’t okay with what I do isn’t the right person for me, or as my mother says, “You sure don’t make it easy on yourself.”
What about the job appeals to you?
I make people’s fantasies a reality. It makes me feel like I’m helping people. Pro-dommes are obviously around for a reason. You’re providing a service for people—a lot of who have wives or girlfriends, who either are afraid or [in the past] they told [people about their fetish] and they were shunned [becuase of] it—so it feels really good to let people feel some satisfaction and feel fulfilled. I met some people in the industry who helped me find my inner-domme.
How did that affect you?
That’s when I fell in love with it, because I knew it was in me—but it was a strange thing when I started because I don’t naturally get off on hurting people. It feels very intense, and sexy, and real. I’m myself doing what I do; it brings out a power that I didn’t even know I had. Domming has changed my whole life. I have never been happier in my whole life. I get to wake up every day and be kinky. That’s pretty awesome.
Follow Sophie Saint Thomas on Twitter.
Re-printed from Vice.com.