You haven't a clue what sexy is until you have met sass and seduction personified in Savannah Darling. If you have had the opportunity to spend some time in her presence, you already know how charming her candor and natural warmth can be.
After meeting her at last year's Catalyst Con West in Los Angeles, California, I was immediately smitten. Her intellect and ferocious nature make her an insightful conversationalist and a fierce champion of her movement. As conference season descends upon us, she took the time out of her schedule as a Pro-Domme, fetish performer, and self-proclaimed "fantasy-maker and super villain" to tell me about her first experiences in the sex industry, as well as talk to me about her role as Catalyst Con's Sex Worker Escort Liason.
So let’s get the basics out of the way: How’d you become a domme? What’s the story?
I started my "official" foray into the adult industry in 2008 but truly, my first real introduction into domination began many years earlier while working as a bartender. One night while closing up the bar with the owner, "Joe", he flat-out asked me if I would watch him jerk off. Now, I had known Joe for years and he was cute, flirty and successful at 24 so I was um, receptive to say the least.
At the time, I was NOT sexually adventurous by any stretch of the imagination so this was totally shocking. So dirty! So naughty! So...perfect! I was pretty much ready to begin my rebellious stage right then and there. It struck me as a little odd that he didn't want sex; just for me to watch him but hey, I was down for it. Once he got his pants down he asked me something that I had never heard before: he wanted me to humiliate him. Even more unusual, he wanted me to humiliate the size of his cock. This totally caught me off guard; I had NO idea where to even begin but begin, I did. I must have done a passable job because in 5 minutes, he was exploding. Afterwards, he handed me a hundred bucks and told me if I did this for him regularly, he'd give me "bonuses" like this each time.
We continued our arrangement for months until I eventually left bartending for a corporate job. I never even knew what being a Domme meant. It wasn't until I decided to start selling my panties years later that I realized that arrangement with "Joe" all those years ago was a pretty common fetish. Or that I probably could even have made a living exploring that line of work from the very beginning! I guess I was just destined for this profession.
I know you said you’ve moved from cam to having more in person sessions, and that you enjoy the latter more. Why do you prefer the in person more? What is the draw for you?
Unlike camming with a public-chat platform, in-person sessions allow me to manage almost every aspect of the appointment which makes a control-freak like me very happy. Plus, let's be honest, you just CANNOT duplicate the chemistry of a face-to-face experience. Phone and online play are absolutely fabulous but getting to see how much my pet is enjoying having his fantasies made reality, up-close-and-personal? You just cannot beat that.
Describe your ideal client, either cam or in person.
My ideal client has respect for me as a living, breathing person and not just some robot from whom they can order a check-list of services like ordering takeout. They can communicate their desires and requests effectively, preferably using full sentences and proper grammar since caveman-speak will get you absolutely nowhere with me. My ideal client will have read my site completely and will respect the boundaries I have outlined. Most importantly, they will come prepared to have their world completely rocked by the best Domme they've ever had the privilege of seeing.
Do you have any tricks of your sleeve about your domme style? Or any philosophies on domination that you’d like to share?
That's a really good question and it's one that I get asked often by those who are new to domination. The only trick I have is to be myself and take on clients and sessions I enjoy. I do my job SO much better when under those circumstances, haha. Seriously though, I have worked terribly hard to be able to see who I want and do what I want, when I want. I know I'm extremely privileged to be able to say that and I do not take it for granted. Happy Domme, miserable client. It's my job to make myself happy making them miserable! Isn't that a beautiful thing?
What are your favorite toys to play with?
Like many of my colleagues, I LOVE my strap-on but... by far, my absolute FAVORITE to play with is my handcrafted wooden paddle and wooden-handled leather strap set. They have worn out so many asses, I've lost count.
What’s one thing that your clients would be surprised to know about you?
That I am not Hispanic! haha. I get asked ALL the time if I am Asian or Hispanic but in actuality I am Polish, African American, Italian, Irish, German and English. I'm like a walking Benetton ad.
You help put together Catalyst Con AND you're the new Sex Worker Liaison! What inspired you to start volunteering as a sex worker/sex education advocate?
I am indeed the new Sex Worker Liaison for Catalyst Con! I am so excited about that and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again in September.
As for what inspired me to start volunteering, I think I felt compelled to show my appreciation to those who are making a difference. There is such an awesome, diverse community of sex workers, advocates and allies on the front lines right now, working to change the status quo and I just wanted to be a part of it in some way. I figured if volunteering my time helps in any way to facilitate getting those voices and messages heard by the masses, it's the least I could ever do.
How did you get involved with Catalyst Con in the first place?
I met Dee years ago when she was involved with the Sex Blogger Calendar, where the proceeds benefited Audacia Ray's Sex Work Awareness project. I had been a big fan of Dacia's and when I saw they were looking for lapdancers for a fund-raising party in NYC, I was so in! After having a blast with those ladies, I attended the first Momentum Con, the conference Dee co-organized before Catalyst Con. I pitched in where I could, helped out where it was needed and finally felt like I had found my people! So when Dee was starting Cataylst Con and asked if I would come as well as be on the staff, I jumped at the chance. The rest is history! Fun fact: Dee was the first person I ever followed on Twitter.
I know that you really have one name that you go by for both activism and work purposes. Over on tits and sass there was recently a roundtable on professionalism and boundaries, and we talked about both the pros and cons of using different pseudonyms for different reasons. Do you feel like there has ever been a conflict for you about using one name?
You know, it all happened so gradually that I never thought of creating a different name when I started volunteering at events. I honestly have a hard enough time keeping my sex work and civilian lives separate, there's no way I'd be able to manage keeping THREE lives from spilling over into each other. Just thinking about it makes my head spin. Also I think it keeps me honest, I say only the things that I can live with everyone knowing about, clients and friends alike, if that makes sense? I'm ok with my clients knowing about my activism and volunteering and that I have thoughts that may not always be about fetishes and getting people off. The clients I've had the longest enjoy knowing that I see them because I want to and that I'm a real person. I think getting to know all of me has made for even better sessions.
Have you ever had a client come to Catalyst Con?
Not that I know of! If any of my clients have attended the conference, they haven't approached me, though I'd certainly welcome it! I don't bite (at least when I'm not on the clock, ha!) I will go out on a limb and say that since it's not necessarily a fan-focused event like AVN or Exxxotica that there probably wouldn't be the same kind of interactions at CatalystCon that you may find at a fan convention.
One of the things I love about Catalyst Con is how Dee and the team works to make it a welcoming space for sex workers. That said, it always seems like the visible turnout of sex workers is actually not that big! Do you feel like there is a reason for that? Has it fluctuated over the course of CCON's growth?
I think more sex workers attend than we realize. Since really it's up to the individual to make it known what their profession is, and I know how guarded I was initially, I think there are more sex workers attending than we're aware of. For example, I tend to find out after the fact that the smart, fun lady I met at lunch one day is a PSO once we've reconnected on Twitter after the event. It has happened so many times!
I want SEX WORK LIAISON obnoxiously giant and bold on my name tag this year so perhaps others will feel safe sharing their sex worker status if they want to. I hope that with this new opportunity as SWL, I can help figure out ways to let our brethren know that Catalyst Con is a safe place to be "out", if you want to be. Plus, it's just awesome how relaxed the conference is. It's nice to get to be with others in the sex industry and not have to be "on" all the time. It's one of the things I like best about Catalyst Con. Oh and the networking is ridiculous!
Do you have any goals you'd like to make happen as the sex worker liaison, maybe something that isn't already happening or something you'd like to improve?
Personally, the pre-conference meetup is my favorite part of the whole event and I want it to be the favorite of other sex workers too. We're always working on plans to keep improving and expanding it to better serve and meet the needs of sex workers. Laura [Lasky] from Solace SF has been so wonderful with sponsoring fabulous gift bags that were a HUGE hit in DC and she has agreed to send them along again! Audacia [Ray] from the Red Umbrella Project is sending some fantastic goodies as well.
I also have been arranging to get information and literature from sex worker orgs and service groups to have it displayed in the meetup so anyone who attends and may be new to the scene can get a glimpse of all the resources available to us. I'm so excited about the response we've gotten so far from those I've reached out to. I'll be co-hosting the mixer again with Sabrina Morgan, who was Catalyst Con's first sex worker liaison and laid the groundwork for some of the work that I'm doing now. We're going to have a blast!
If you would still like to register for Catalyst Con, Miss Savannah Darling has generously offered her discount code: Use "darling" to get $10 off your registration. Make sure to thank her on Twitter, and find out more about her right here.