Interview With Cordial Lee
You Are Cordially Invited To Read Cordial Lee's Interview
How did you become interested in fetish/BDSM?
I first got drawn to the world of fetish/BDSM through the imagery. It was probably a year or two prior to me entering high school and I was always keen on art and creative outlets and when I stumbled on some great photographs by Philip Warner (Lithium Picnic) and it made me peek down the proverbial rabbit hole.
Do you enjoy fetishism/BDSM play in your personal life, and if so what are you into?
I do enjoy some fetishes in my personal life, everything from more light hearted notes, that involve wardrobe to higher heels to a bit more extreme cases in terms of the bedroom and more sexual nature. I've always been into a control/dominance aspect in life, in fact, I believe I was into it all before I knew a name for it. I find the psychology of it all quite thrilling and perhaps the most appealing.
Are there any fetishes that you don't find appealing?
Of course I do, but there's no rule that says I have to like everything in the fetish world, and I respect and acknowledge those fetishes that don't appeal directly to me. I think it is beautiful that there's such variety though, there really is something for everyone and I find it really nondiscriminatory, which is very comforting as I'm sure most people would also agree with that, the fetish world is very accepting as bizarre as it may seem to some. Since I am a make up artist as well, hygiene and sanitation are very important to me, so fetishes that cross those boundaries in extremes just don't cut it for me.
What excites you about fetish modeling?
I adore that I've found another outlet to express myself. I love that I'm not limited to just one creative channel or one type of modeling. Modeling, be it pin up, fetish, beauty, or alternative, to me is just as great as being able to paint, draw, and write, and I am proud that I can flow in and out of all those styles and take pride in those skills. I also enjoy bringing some light into the fetish world for those around me who may not be as familiar or who may not have considered much of it in the past. I've had friends and others come up to with their minds blown because after seeing my images it's the equivalent to being introduced to another part of me and to another world that they might not have been able to see otherwise.
Classic pinup has become a huge phenomena lately, what about it first captured your interest?
Classic pinup work caught my eye because it encompassed so many different facets of women in the past. Photographs, drawings, and paintings were always such a mix of fun, humor, sexiness, and showcasing the female form in a very tasteful manner, which I admire. The challenge of executing a proper pinup image and look was also a big part of what got me into the style. At the time I was doing a lot more alternative styles and what my good friend coined as "dark beauty" sets, so pinup was almost a complete departure from that and I wanted to, in a sense, test my capabilities as a model and as an artist to see how much I could execute.
What is it that excites you about pinup modeling?
The exciting thing about pinup is how much it has developed! I love the classic works by Elvgren and Vargas, and I love the more modern interpretations by the more talented artists and photographers of today that even include more of a glamour, alternative, or rockabilly twist. Tabatha Jacobs, a photographer I've shot with, just recently started to go back to the more traditional feel of pinup imagery which I highly respect, she does absolute stellar, hand rendered, digital airbrushed art pieces that look true to form to the classics. I love being able to see talent like that in this day and age! Being able to evolve into something that caters to generations down the line and still seem like something brand new is a very attractive quality, and one that ensures longevity too.
What are your favorite types of outfits to model in?
Here's a tough one! I think the best way to answer this question is to go about it as determining the types of concepts I like to shoot more, rather than focusing on just an outfit or two. Outfits are accessories to a concept in my view, similar to make up or a hair style. I love very in depth, very involved concepts that require more thought and care, it makes picking things out such as outfits and styling more important and much more of a respected process. On the other hand, when I get to work around pieces from designers, it almost sparks a reverse in the whole process. It's almost very MacGyverlike in the sense of I have to acknowledge that I have this, this, and that, now what can I do with all of these resources and supplies but still maintain a fresh, creative take on the project. I just recently wrapped up a shoot where I got to work with Toria Best of Blu Zombie Designs, who is a delight to work with, by the way! The topper (hat) that I got to model was really the first piece of the shoot puzzle, so I had to come up with styling and what manner to carry off the topper in front of the camera. The outfit I created for her set was inspired by the topper, and I think I probably brought out all the roses from surrounding craft stores three weeks in a row!
What are your least favorites?
I'm really over executing very basic, more editorial commercial images and styling. It's not that I hate or detest those types of images, it's just not something I see myself taking a part of. To me, there's not as much challenge in putting on a dress you get at a mall or department store, standing in front of a camera and getting your image snapped with your hands on your hips as compared to having on a full burlesque getup or a restrictive latex dress on, finding the right intensity of expression, and posing in a way that shows off form, figure, and grace. The ordinary can be too easily done by so many people, and if it suits them, then great, I aspire to more on the other hand. I'm in no means in a rush or anxious to do Sears catalog type work, unless it's paid, of course, I mean, if I'm going to do elementary work, I might as well receive some benefit from it. As much as this field has an artistic quality, I'm also intelligent enough to know there is most definitely a business side.
Do you think pinup and fetish are becoming part of the mainstream culture?
I believe pinup and fetish has always had a part in mainstream culture, even if it's not represented as the most "in" thing or the biggest trend, it's always evident in comparison to what it contrasts. I do see more and more fragments of both worlds coming through in more mainstream media outlets, for example, I think it's great that if someone can watch a Timbaland and Justin Timberlake video ("Carry Out") and see some of the styling and explore the more retro and pinup world, then it's just another case of being able to introduce something spectacular to someone. Mainstream culture is always on the look out for what they can showcase next when the public becomes too jaded and full on one look or idea, so in the case of the fetish and pinup world, like mentioned before, there's so much variety, it seems like a whole new exciting world to dive into.
What kind of music do you like?
My tastes in music vary as much as my looks in my photographs! Everything from rock, alternative, electronica, metal, industrial, dance, hip hop, pop, 80's, and then some cater to my liking! I guess I'm just in love with variety, as long as I can be exposed to something new, I'll give it a try and see if it falls into my favor. Music is a reflection of mood, so many times I listen to artists or songs that I can relate to or connect with. I am a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan though, they're probably by far my favorite, but I also have Divine Heresy, Lady Gaga, Mushroomhead, La Roux, Fluwid, She Wants Revenge, Incubus, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Pitbull, and Landon Pigg in rotation too, just to name a few.
What do you like to do for fun?
I'm a big fan of baking and making sweets! All my friends love that I cater to their sweet tooth! I also love the many forms of expressing myself through art, from painting (I work primarily with acrylics), drawing, writing, designing (I make everything from custom dresses to accessories like hats, cuffs, and collars, for myself and other models), and being a make up artist and hair stylist. For me, make up artistry is like painting, but on a different type of canvas, the face, and hair styling is similar to sculpting, but with hair as my medium. I've dabbled in some photography here and there, as well, mostly I shoot those who inspire me or those I find that fit my creations well since I design pieces and can't possibly model all my own products! Traveling is another past time I wish I could partake in more, because not only can I take in new sights, but traveling also allows me to collaborate with others in the field of art and photography! There are so many individuals I would love to work with, I'm constantly amazed at all the talent that I see around me, it definitely breaks up the ho hum daze that can settle around every once in a while. Dancing is a bunch of fun as well, I'm not too keen on clubs, they get a bit frantic for me and the crowd is usually less than savory. I suppose I just like to dance, but I don't like others dancing on me, and it's hard to get away from that aspect, when I gogo dance, I get relief from that. Gogo dancing is very freeing because it's just me, a platform, and music, I've been to venues where there's been one person on the dance floor and where there have been hundreds, and regardless of the numbers, I still dance as if I don't have a care in the world. The outfits that I wear for shoots are similar to what I would wear for my performances, so I relish the fact I get to take what would appear to just be ready for an image to the next level by putting movement with it, creating a moving visual is just as stimulating to the eye as a still one.
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