By Chadley BrittonI had the honor and privilege of being able to sit down with a woman who has been a trailblazer in the NYC Fetish scene for over 15 years. Voluptuous, whip-smart and steeped in intoxicated sensuality, Mistress Malika has worked in some of New York City’s premier and elite S/M and private events. As women of color, we spoke about how her race and Caribbean background played into the Fetish world and how she handled being an “exotic” and “different” look in an industry that promotes and often capitalizes on White or Asian fantasies. Now living as an artist in the sultry Caribbean, Mistress Malika finds pleasure at the end of a paintbrush instead of a flogger.Chadley Britton: How old were you when you came into the BDSM lifestyle?Mistress Malika: The BDSM lifestyle was presented to me at 15 years old. I was fortunate to work at my first BDSM dungeon at 17 years old.CB: As a woman of color, were there any challenges you had to overcome?MM: As a woman of color I faced racism in the beginning of my career. Clients and fellow Dommes were shocked that I was well-spoken and traveled. They assumed all women of color were uneducated and “loud.” I was told early on that I was “rare.”CB: What is the most important thing about being a Pro-Domme (professional dominatrix)?MM: The most important thing about being a Pro-Domme is to remember that you are a fantasy. Those that choose this profession must sustain that fantasy as their personal reality in order to be successful. The whimsy of them must shine at least once in the realm of a session. If this important fantasy factor is lost, most Dommes become overwhelmed by their personal and professional lives intermixing.CB: What did your friends and family think about your lifestyle choice?MM: Once I decided that I wanted to dive into the lifestyle, I lost many friends. They thought I was crazy, weird, or simply a prostitute. Yet a few saw that BDSM was my calling and were very supportive. My family accepted that my natural personality matched my desires and were supportive early on. My mother often jokes when I tell her about someone I’m dating: “Do they know you like to beat people?”CB: Do you still work as a Pro-Domme?MM: As with any beauty-based profession, I reached my peak in professional domination. I no longer do professional sessions. Yet, it will always follow me, and I occasionally receive requests from dedicated clients.CB: What’s your favorite part about BDSM and/or working with clients?MM: My favorite aspect of BDSM is the vibe. I have always felt a part of a secret world that only the brave, whether submissive or dominant, enter. Once you feel the “high” of dominating someone, the addiction never leaves you.CB: Did you ever regret any choices you made?MM: No; everything, from the horror stories to the lavish gifts, has taught me strength. The only moments I wish to return to are the ones when I wished I could have helped fellow Dommes. I watched many Dommes suffer from drug addiction, legal trouble, and/or homelessness as a result of the BDSM world. I always keep them in my heart.CB: What would you tell other women who are seeking the lifestyle or interested in becoming a Pro-Domme?MM: If seeking the lifestyle, do a lot of research, attend a lot of events, and get opinions from many respected individuals, If not, BDSM can be very dangerous for a naive novice who jumps in headfirst. Any woman who is interested in becoming a professional should only do so out of the love for working in a respected dungeon or the craft – not because she desperately needs income. If her confidence isn’t at its peak and she is inexperienced, BDSM can be a very dangerous world to be involved in.CB: As you have grown wiser, do you feel that your view on being a Pro-Domme has changed?MM: I do feel my view of Pros has changed. Being behind the scenes of the glamour has taught me many secrets – secrets that I never want anyone to experience. I feel women in today’s sex industry are at a disadvantage for not receiving classic BDSM training, so techniques of today are not as perfected as they were years ago. I was trained by elder Dommes who had trained around the world. Many younger Pros will never experience this, as it is no longer required by management or clients.CB: How do you feel about the new generation of women Pros?MM: The new generation of Pros are mostly women who need extra money. Many are not Pro because of the love of BDSM. Many are brats who feel they should be respected immediately. Those that actually love the craft will shine as long as they understand what it takes to be a true dungeon Domme. I enjoy watching their journey and keep them in my prayers for their safety.–Learn more about Chadley Britton on Instagram.**A version of this article appeared in print in Honeysuckle Magazine’s HERS issue, summer 2017 edition.