INtroduction

Reba Maybury demands your full attention. Tall with long dark hair, Geisha-style lipstick and, more often than not, wearing a PVC mac, matching thigh-high heels and an imperious glare, she is nothing if not striking. In conversation, she is equally arresting: with cutting intellect, she holds court on everything from the class war within the fashion industry to the top tier disco of Larry Levan. She is brilliant, robust and hilarious company.

When Reba isn’t lecturing subversive thinking to the next generation of fashion talent at London’s Central Saint Martins or taking part in rabble-rousing exhibitions and talks on sexuality and power across Europe and the US or, under her imprint Wet Satin Press, publishing books on fetishes like “women wearing office appropriate heels submerged into water”, she works as a dominatrix called Mistress Rebecca. For her, these roles are connected, fuelling and shaping each other into one continuous loop of study: “they’re all, in their own way, about how social progression can unfold for the repressed,” she shrugs matter-of-factly.

Here, the one-woman cultural dynamo discusses her work as a dominatrix, giving a unique glimpse into the practicalities and intricacies of ritual humiliation; followed by an exclusive reading from her novella Dining with Humpty Dumpty, a semi-fictionalised account of her adventures with one submissive (“a 34-year-old Tory with a feeding fetish”) at a string of dull London chain restaurants. Now, sit back and get comfortable – but not too comfortable – for an audience with Mistress Rebecca.

Who is Mistress Rebecca? An alter ego, a role you play…

Mistress Rebecca is whoever you want her to be!

When and why did you start working as a dominatrix?

It must have been in 2014. Like any job I did it because I needed money. However, I wanted to make money on my terms. I have always been fascinated with concepts of sex, shame and taboo so my understanding of online perversion was relatively nuanced; as a result, it wasn’t hard to establish myself online where I would meet needy men. I suppose being a dominatrix gives me the most sublime feeling of freedom, which is really quite hard to compare to any other ‘conventional’ form of work.

Describe your first work experience as Mistress Rebecca?

All of my first experiences were online, getting to grips with the ways that money is exchanged in a world that has no rules or definite concept of a job done ‘well’. It began with chatting on skype, without video call, and trying to understand to my best ability how I could emit power and desire – and what the potential of this performance could entail. Quickly, I realised that there were and are an abundance of timewasters so these were definitely my first experiences, a form of frustration that men were getting their kicks from me for free. I remember a man trying to play chess with me over video call, and lying to me that he’d sent me money when he hadn’t. He was good at manipulating me to use as much of me as possible for free!

Are you ever shocked by requests?

I get shocked by forms of fetish which involve severe forms of self-hate. Race play, for example. It shocks me because they hate themselves because of our destructive imperialist history and I don’t ever want to contribute to that. Other elements that shock me are the incredible audacity of people’s stupidity – most often involving stunted ideas or stereotypes – which is unfortunately boundless.

How do you select your submissives?

There is never a type; I have men from all backgrounds. However, I only dominate straight, white men – preferably with right wing values. I have no interest in being cruel to other types of men. In fact I couldn’t do it! I’ve had all sorts from CEOs of banking firms to builders who still live with their parents in Essex. These men are often totally different but their almighty privilege unites them into having some pretty profound guilt!

Do you have a favourite submissive?

Yes, ‘Wormy’ is my favourite submissive of all time. I love him more than life itself and no one will ever compare to him. He was one of my first submissives and his enigmatic pureness is rarified and beautiful.

What do you charge for your services?

As a socialist, I charge on a sliding scale depending on how much money the submissive makes. If one really doesn’t have anything at all – like ‘Wormy’, who works at a petrol station – they can make me work, like drawings or essays and I will dominate them in return. Bankers have to pay accordingly to any other luxury they consume in their life; I try to calculate it based on how much they spend on their shoes, a haircut, or how much they would spend on a dinner.

So, is your work as Mistress Rebecca political or sexual?

It’s both. The experience of dominating a man can never be polarised purely into one category. Just because I don’t get wet from dominating a man doesn’t mean it’s not sexual for him. The very notion of meeting or having a conversation with a man which is fuelled by shame or secretary feeds into my own sexuality and how I navigate desire. Everything is political and our sexual autonomy is one of the most repressed yet powerful elements of our individual humanity.

Has this line of work changed your attitude towards men?

The men I dominate aren’t men I am attracted to so it hasn't changed how I am attracted to men romantically or sexually. It has made my romantic life more challenging but it means I wean out men who are strong and intellectually exciting to be around as they understand the depths of what I do, and that my personality is more multifaceted than the initial shock factor of Mistress Rebecca. There have been men who have been intimated by it but its better that I don’t remain with them if they can’t keep up with me!

What is the biggest misconception about being a dominatrix?

That I lack sensuality.

Away from the job, what do you feel about your subs? Pity, compassion, disdain…

I don’t feel sympathy for a healthy exertion of sexuality. I think it’s a good thing. Our sexual drive is one of the most powerful things we have! Denying it is unhealthy.

How do you define fetish?

A fetish is a deeply personal eroticism magnified then condensed into absolute clarification.

As Mistress Rebecca, what’s your mission?

A life devoid of shame and the destruction of stereotypes.

dining with humpty dumpty reading


Reba Maybury is a writer, artist and dominatrix. She teaches on the Fashion Masters course at Central Saint Martins and is signed to Arcadia Missa gallery. Dining with Humpty Dumpty, published by Wet Satin Press, is her first book