Mistress Sabrina Belladonna
My life was forever changed the moment I met the legendary dominatrix, Mistress Sabrina Belladonna. I’ll always remember that pivotal event in vivid detail.
She opened the door to her private dungeon with the same grace and grandeur that she did everything. Like a classic movie star she commanded attention. She was glamorous, dramatic, and truly dazzling.
Dressed in a custom-made black patent corset with red flames and matching thigh-high black and red stiletto boots, her pale skin contrasted by tattoos and long black hair, she embodied confident self-expression like nobody I had ever met.
Even though she flashed her signature wide smile and welcomed us to the play party with a swooping gesture, I was intimidated by her. Sabrina was warm, generous, calm and patient. She was caring, kind, soft-spoken and nurturing. But somehow she was still always intimidating. She vibrated with a power that you felt deep inside, that naturally brought up feelings of inferiority and submission.
I had met other dominatrices, but none had approached my notion of a true dominatrix, until I stood in her presence.
It was my first visit to a professional dungeon, and my first ProDomme play party. She had approved my attendance as a guest dominatrix based on references stating I was experienced enough to play with the male clients for tips. I was going to have to prove worthy of pro status.
She gave us a brief tour of her fabulous downtown Los Angeles loft. Like all of her dungeons, it was well-stocked with furniture and toys. The entrance room had a full suspension rig and bondage table. Beyond that was an impressive medical room. The huge medical mirror had a warning "Requests for hand jobs will result in immediate castration". Beyond that was a luxurious lounge area for domestic scenarios.
After watching some people play for a bit, I responded to requests to play. The moment I accepted a tip that night, was the beginning of my career as a professional dominatrix.
I was nervous to measure up, as I engaged in short public scenes. I could see in my periphery, Sabrina watching over her party-goers, ready to step in if I proved
Dominatrix, Lifestyle Mistress
BDSM Educator, proDomme Mentor
Community Leader & Philanthropist
unskilled, unethical or unworthy. Sabrina took care of her submissives, she practiced safe play, and tended to their emotional well-being. I was thrilled when she took me aside later and invited me to become a regular guest domme. I had been welcomed into her world, and nothing was ever the same.
In those days, you did not become a dominatrix by simply deciding to do so and listing yourself somewhere on the internet. You were expected to train under an established professional and often to begin as a sub, but always to earn your way up to the status of dominatrix. This was before the rise of what I call the Insta-Domme. Sabrina was one of the world’s top dominatrices, she was respected and revered throughout the BDSM community, and she generously shared her knowledge with many women. She taught classes, mentored and encouraged. She was not competitive, cliquish or judgmental about new dommes, she believed in and embodied sisterhood. She took me and so many others under her wing.
When Sabrina started a house, called The Velvet Underground, she hired me on staff. She was always there for support and guidance, for me and everyone else on staff. When she left V.U., I decided to go out on my own as an independent. Again, Sabrina welcomed me as a renter at her new private dungeon. I owe my start as a dominatrix entirely to her unfailing generosity.
An example of Sabrina’s regard for sisterhood in action was her event, The Mistress Tea. She invited all the Los Angeles professional dominatrices together to socialize in a casual clothes at a private home over afternoon tea. It was a departure from our usual encounters at BDSM events or in sessions when we were in full dominatrix mode, dressed in fetish and playing. Sabrina wisely provided a chance for us to gather in a casual environment. Although we were served by cross-dressed submissive maids, of course! We got to know each other and formed a close-knit community sharing information about resources, client references, business advice and BDSM skills. We all knew and respected each other enough to share our workspaces, share clients and extend invitations for double sessions, and outcalls. The large quantity of dommes in L.A. no longer allows for such an intimate group. However, the tradition of the Mistress Tea continues during the international conference for ProDommes, DomCon, where every year the sisterhood of mutual respect grows.
Sabrina also respected submissives. She treated her clients and personal slaves with regard for their physical and emotional well-being. They felt her genuine care, and as a result they were completely devoted to her.
I learned so much every time I watched her play. Not just BDSM skills, but how a dominant behaves. It was through watching Sabrina with her personals, that I came to truly understand the dynamics of personal servitude. I saw how she gave them the domination that they wanted, and yet, they did not feel as if she looked down on them. They felt cherished. And I saw how much they loved her, which made me more mindful of the emotions and intimacy that a true dominant evokes.
Sabrina loved to play and she kept several personals, she was a genuine lifestyle Mistress. One of Sabrina's faithful longtime personal slaves was a sweet and sassy cis female. Initially she always wore a mask and went by the name slave odette. She was often at play parties, smiling and laughing while leashed to her Mistress.
Sabrina had such a profound effect on odette’s life that years later, despite her fame, she took off the mask and proudly revealed that she was owned by Sabrina to the media. She became a ground-breaking role model by using her real name, Jane Wiedlin (of The Go-Go's) and openly discussing BDSM. They remained Mistress/slave and very close friends until Sabrina’s death. Jane started out secretive but ended up sharing about her kinkiness with the world. That is the kind of positive, life-changing effect that Sabrina had as Mistress to her personal slaves.
Sabrina created community. After bringing together the city’s dominatrices at parties and the Mistress Tea, she began inviting the pros to meet up with the BDSM lifestyle crowd. Even today, these two branches rarely come together to socialize or play. But years ago, Sabrina united everyone involved in BDSM at her elegant Fetish Dinners. Held at a restaurant or dungeon with a multi-course chef cooked meal served by submissives, the dinners were a new fetish-dress date night. Many people brought their romantic partners who were otherwise seldom included at events. We all mingled during cocktails then sat down to talk over a lovely meal, creating new bonds. The dinners were a popular occasion that greatly expanded our community.
Sabrina was a philanthropist to the BDSM community and beyond.
She teamed up with Mistress Ilsa Strix to raise funds for dominatrix's attorney fees and other costs associated with legal issues. They developed a membership website called ProDomination. The content featured photos, interviews, videos, and live webcams of professional dominas playing in dungeons. We donated media and our time toward the common cause of supporting our ProDomme sisters. There was also information about why most dominatrix businesses were not violating vice laws. Many dommes benefited from that fund in a time of need. The website is since discontinued and I don't think there has been anything like it since.
Her magnanimity extended to beyond her social network, to people she did not even know.
After Sabrina was diagnosed with breast cancer, she had a double mastectomy, and held a fundraising event, Bowling for Boobies, to pay for her breast implants. But for years after she had her own surgery, she continued on with the annual event, raising donations for other women's financial challenges in fighting and living with breast cancer. Again, Sabrina had changed women’s lives with her generosity and spirit of sisterhood.
Sabrina was a true friend, as anyone who knew her will tell you.
She was extremely loyal. When Ilsa's affair with The Matrix director now named Lana Wachowski was outed in the media, Sabrina repeatedly turned down large sums to discuss her friend's relationship. It was rumored that one person was paid a million dollars for going on record in The Enquirer.
Sabrina's integrity clearly impressed the Rolling Stone reporter who wrote about her refusal to talk. Why else would the article describe her telling the reporter that the couple clearly wanted to keep out of the press or they would talk about it themselves, and then hanging up on the call? Sabrina’s classy refusal to comment was commendable. Sabrina stood by her friends.
She was my role model, not just as a dominatrix, but as a woman. And I miss her shining example of what the title of dominatrix truly means. Especially now when I see how drastically the professional dominatrix world has changed due to a massive influx of pros who are minimally taught, self-trained or even entirely uneducated, unsafe, and unethical. The internet has made it easy to claim dominatrix status without the previously required educational experience in the BDSM community or a mentor. We need women like Sabrina now, more than ever. I can only hope to have a fraction of the impact that she did, as I try to emulate her in all that I do in this role that she made possible for me and so many others.
I loved our time together when it was slow between sessions (which was rare back then). We would sit on the couch smoking and talking between answering client calls. Mostly we talked about BDSM topics. But sometimes we shared about other aspects of our lives.
One time we tried to one up each other with tales about our poverty-stricken childhoods, saying “We were so poor that...”. Sabrina’s story topped mine.
And then she purred in that elegant voice “But look at us now. In our Gucci heels. With our glamorous designer wardrobes. Here we are...famous dominatrices, world-travelers, and successful entrepreneurs.”
And I owed it all to her.