BDSM Model & Author
My memoir, Playing To Lose
Soon to be published by Unbound.com
Copyright John Tisbury
"What would you do if at the age of sixteen, you realised that your sexuality made you a danger to society and to yourself? Contemplate suicide? Bury it beneath as many layers of denial as you could gather up? Or face it, understand it, and turn it into your career, in the hope of helping future young people to investigate their own sexuality with joy, not shame? I did all three. The first two made me miserable. The third gave me my heart's desire."
In my memoir, I chart my journey from a strict religious upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness to my current position as one of the most widely published BDSM performers in the world. My route between the two included a period as a wretchedly miserable, teenage political activist, in ashamed denial about my inconveniently submissive sexuality. In my book, I call back through time to that desperately guilty sixteen year old, to reassure her that not only is it ok for her to be kinky, but that one day she'll win awards for it. Through talking to her, I seek to speak to anyone who's ever felt ashamed of their own sexuality.
My book is about BDSM, and it is about sexuality, but most of all, it is about the struggle of self-acceptance, and the rewards that come from confronting who you are with honesty and compassion.
If I'm honest (and I am. Honest), I don't really know how to be an author yet. I mean, I knew how to write a book, more-or-less without falling apart after reliving the very worst and best bits of my life. I learned how to write a synopsis. After a lot of watching YouTube videos, I found out how to acquire a literary agent. But the rest of it's new to me. So writing an author bio, which, I'm reliably informed, must be in the third person, feels awfully silly and pretentious. Nevertheless, I'm nothing if not obedient, so here's a proper grownup bio. I sound monstrous, and as though my face is permanently set in the above expression. Which it isn't. I'm doing this face at the moment.
Right. THE THIRD PERSON. Jeez.
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.
Phew, I'm back in the first person. Sorry; I didn't enjoy that. I feel all pompous and puffed up like bloody Mycroft Holmes. Gawd. Here's a picture of me looking embarrassed, but you can't tell cos I've had Botox.
What I Look Like At Work. Ironically, Not Safe For (Your) Work.
Perfectly Safe For Mine.
Righty ho, as you'll know from reading my bio (unless you skipped it, in which case, good for you) I'm a BDSM model. This may not be a job you've heard of, so here are some examples of the sort of things I do when I'm at work. I've tried not to be too extreme or nakedy, but don't scroll down if you're offended by nudity or worried by sadomasochism.
Still with me?
Ok. Good. Here's a slideshow.
So there we are. Sometimes I'm naked.
Sometimes tied up.
Quite often being spanked.
Always in control of my own career.