Gwendolyn Eve Hill likes to play master and servant
Being what is known as an alternative model from the New York City area, how much of an effort is it nowadays to stand out from the crowd? How distinguished is your presence in alternative modeling?
That's a great question because an alternative model by definition is off the mainstream. But I think too many girls think that if they have a couple of tattoos or dye their hair blue, they can have their picture taken and call themselves an alternative model. That's not enough. There's a reason girls like Mosh and Masuimi Max and me stand out. I tell stories with my photos. I put a piece of myself in every shot and people are taken in by that. I have loyal fans because of this.
How long were you intrigued by the extensive divergence of fetishism before beginning your career?
As long as I can remember. I've always found vanilla sex to be boring and I've always explored more taboo forms of expression and pleasure. I love the dynamic of master and servant, which is why a lot of my BDSM work looks very real. I'm not just acting a part. I really love bondage and role playing. It just so happens that someone's there with a camera while I'm having fun.
Do you remember the first forms of sexual expression you explored when you discovered fetishism? Were you aware they were taboo, or forbidden, or just misunderstood by society in general? If so, what sort of gratification did you get from delving into things that were not accepted by the majority?
I've already answered this one. *laughs* I have simply always liked what I like. I never analyzed it, thought about it, or labeled it. There was no forbidden aspect of it because it was my mainstream. Whether or not fetishism is accepted by the majority was never an issue, just like the child of a single parent doesn't grow up knowing that their lifestyle isn't the "norm". It's just the way it's always been.
You professed having openness to new and crazy ideas. You appreciate opportunities to brainstorm new ways of getting a perfect shot. Describe some of the more bizarre concepts people have suggested to you?
That never happens! I'm always the one having a hard time getting photographers to shoot my ideas! I have a sick mind and I don't fight it. I've been trying to do a murder shoot for months. I want to do a blasphemous Jesus with a nun shoot. I will be launching my own adult website very soon where I will feature sets like this. It won't be your typical adult website.
What I admire about the modeling shoots displayed at your MySpace and FaceBook profiles is their uncensored, unapologetic nature. You are a performer who is unafraid to challenge convention, showing tattoos and a kind of Goth aesthetic can be attractive. How strongly does this resonate with those who appreciate your work?
I get just as big a response from my bloody or otherwise darker photos as I do with "cleaner" photos. I really think guys are tired of seeing the same shit. There's a million pretty girls out there taking sexy pictures saying "look at me" but I'm not afraid to challenge what sexy is. I think darkness is very sexy and I probably lose a couple of fans here and there because of my more extreme work but the response I get from my fans is overwhelmingly positive. I definitely have a cult following. I never tire of hearing how sexy I look as a dead girl covered in cuts and blood.
Regarding feedback from fans who consider photos of you as a corpse covered in cuts and blood sexually arousing, what is the attraction? For what reasons do combined concepts of sex and death excite people?
That's hard to explain. I have a blood fetish and I've never been able to explain it in terms that make it understandable. I know why my fans are excited by my gore pictures, but it's just something you get or you don't. I think a woman covered in blood and gashes is just hot. Period. That's like trying to explain why you prefer blondes or Asians or British accents.
To tell a story through a photo shoot is an uncanny talent. Some of your shoots tell stories subtly. For example a photo in your Pumps folder on MySpace shows you in a bar with a sign in the background reading ‘buy your favorite dancer champagne.’ What stories do you wish to tell and how do you wish to tell them?
I will never answer the question, "What does this photo mean?" My wish is that the viewer will find their own story. I love it when people tell me they see things in my images that I never intended to convey. It means they were there in that moment with me and experienced it for themselves. That means so much more to me than hearing that I'm beautiful. Sometimes the concept is silly or sexy or dark but I usually am acting out an emotion or event. Whether it's through wardrobe, location, props or my posing and expression, and I love to hear what people take from it. I enjoy the privacy of my own mind and even though I express myself through art, I don't particularly feel like explaining myself.
You mentioned the alternative models Mosh and Masuimi Max. Are these models you know personally or do you simply admire them for their ability to noticeably differ from the rest of the industry?
Oh, no, I've never met them. I'm just incredibly inspired by them. Mosh has this eerie ability to make even the simplest concept scream at you. Not that she isn't absolutely gorgeous, but it's not her looks that make her stand out. She's incredibly present in her photos and if another model copied the exact same picture, it would never be the same. Plus she's mastered the art of posing. Her creativity is astounding. Masuimi Max is the Angelina Jolie of alternative models. If you dressed her in a potato sack, you'd still be irresistibly attracted to her. I love the way she makes you feel like she's posing there just for you. You can almost hear her call your name. And again, it's not her beauty that is the focal point. She just exudes sex without being trashy. She is a goddess.
If the opportunity arose to participate in a photo session with either Mosh or Masuimi Max, would it result in a shoot to remember? Are there other alternative models that you admire greatly and would agree to work with?
Well, I would like to think it would! I would gladly work with either model in a heartbeat. I probably will end up working with Rubberdoll at some point in the future for her site so I'm excited about that. I love working with other models. There's an energy that's just not there when you're posing solo. I've worked with several awesome models and the results are always to die for.
People now consider traditional concepts of sexuality redundant, and seek other modes of expression. Models and vocalists of a “darker” aesthetic are being embraced by the public. Which aspects of darkness are the most pleasing to look at, and do you think the paradigm shift will continue in this direction?
Well, I think there are many factors to this occurrence. Part of it is simply oversaturation of what is mainstream. The masses are always going to want to take it up a notch when the status quo starts becoming a little too familiar. I mean, there was a time when The Beatles were considered hard music! Then someone took it a step further. And someone else further still. But timing is key as well. Bettie Page was before her time and we all know what happened to her. Her art wasn't accepted until her career was over. She was a pioneer. I am not and I do not have to take one for the team. I think this is the perfect time to explore darkness. I find it beautiful and I feel authentic when I'm at my darkest. Personally I'm attracted to many different aspects of it. I certainly have a gothic streak. I adore fetish fashion. I love BDSM. I have an inexplicable fascination with blood. Some may have quite a few choice words to describe because of this but I am what I am. I do believe this shift will continue in this direction. I think there will be a day when what I do will be considered mild.
Why are there so many so-called “alternative models” that think just having an image is all there is to making an impression as an alternative model? Where are you most able to pinpoint the superficiality?
Maybe it's just because I am what I represent myself to be that I can spot those who aren't. I think some models decide to go this route to stand out, but they misunderstand. This is a culture, a lifestyle. You can't just play the part. You will not be accepted here! It's little things that call them out. Look at their body of work. Is there consistency? I've been offered spots in Urban Ink magazine and jobs working with hip hop artists and I turn them down because that's not me. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, but I would be an impostor in their world. I think the fact that there are so many fakes is proof that this movement is catching on.
For what reasons do you believe fetishism fascinates so many people, and how does your exploration of certain fetishes echo the attraction towards supposedly forbidden modes of expression?
Do you think Adam and Eve would've eaten that fruit if God hadn't told them not to? No, we'd all be immortal and partying in the Garden of Eden. But forbidden fruit aside, I think a lot of the attraction comes from childhood. Little Johnny is a bad boy. Mommy spanks little Johnny then immediately afterward dries his tears and comforts him. The spanking becomes a precursor to affection. Lots of early life experiences program us to believe that we have to go through pain to get to pleasure. The process of tying the two together just naturally evolves. For me it's not so much attraction of the taboo. It just quite simply exhilarates me.
Do any childhood-rooted fetishes favor reward over punishment or pleasure over pain? Does the idea of fetishes as forbidden taboos connect to a de-programming of previous concepts of “bad” or “naughty”?
That's a loaded question. I'm no psychologist but I would have to agree that they do. And I think, in our culture anyway, it's confusing because society teaches us what's accepted and what is not, but at home you may be learning a completely different lesson. Fetishes are only taboo because we say they are. In other countries they are not considered so. So, yes there is a de-programming of sorts but it's unique to our culture. I personally don't get off on doing something because I'm not supposed to do it. If that were the case, there would be a laundry list of things that turn me on. What I enjoy just happens to be considered taboo.
What are your thoughts on the following fetishes: bondage and discipline, female wrestling and cat fighting (not what you see on Jerry Springer, but pioneered by Bettie Page in the 50s), pulp sci-fi and fantasy (from the Flash Gordon serials to Raquel Welch’s One Million Years BC), erotic dance, suspensions and piercing to name just a few? Would these or any others intrigue you as far as doing photo shoots in the future?
BDSM has always been a favorite treat of mine. None of the others you listed besides erotic dance (I've been an exotic dancer for 10 years) really catch my interest. There are tons of fetishes and I've explored a lot of them. I've done cat fighting shoots and it was fun but it's not something I would do on my off time. I really just don't have any thoughts on those fetishes which I am not personally interested in. I'm not against them in any way. I just don't think about them.
How many occasions have viewers perceived something in your photo shoots you hadn’t expected them to experience? In what ways is this more meaningful than just having a viewer comment on your appearance?
I can't really say because not every single person that looks at my pictures gives me their take on them. Sometimes they see things that I never put there but after the fact I can understand how they see that. I've been asked what I was thinking or feeling in a certain photo. Sometimes they notice things that were accidents and have no meaning whatsoever in the photo. Like when you noticed the "buy your favorite dancer champagne" sign. I had no idea that was in the background but to you, it meant something. I guess it depends on what they're taking from it. It's not the least bit flattering to have someone tell me "oh, you so look like you want it! You do, don't you?" I feel there are two factions of people that look at my work. My fans and the pervs. The pervs couldn't give a flying fuck about me, what I represent or my art. The only pictures they notice are the ones of me in next to nothing in suggestive poses and all they comment on are body parts and what they did to themselves while looking at them. They don't support me as an artist, they don't spend money, and they just want to ogle. They're obviously going to see things that's I'm most definitely NOT saying to them. People have asked me how I deal with the never ending stream of horny guy comments and my answer is that I don't. I just move on to the next one so as not to waste my time on them. Then there are my fans that I adore and cherish. If I need votes to win a contest, they are there, not only voting but spreading the word. (I've never lost a contest by the way and I just recently won August's Ultra Vixens contest in Bizarre magazine. Yay!) When my Face book page got deleted three times, they came to my rescue and built it back up. They keep in touch with me, ask me how my day was and those are the awesome guys and gals that are moved by my work, not just my nudity. It is incredibly humbling to listen to their comments because they really appreciate what I am doing, not just how I look. This is infinitely more meaningful because I can't take credit for something that I had nothing to do with. I'm not responsible for my looks. Telling me I'm gorgeous doesn't get you far with me. Tell me you appreciate my talent and hard work and you will have my undivided attention.
How much recognition has winning Bizarre magazine’s Ultra Vixens contest gotten for you? Any other contests you have won recently that are worth mentioning?
Actually, they still haven't even mailed me my prize! I really thought there was going to be a bigger bang but it really didn't do much for me. I guess my fans aren't Bizarre readers. I mean, I asked for their votes and they obviously gave them but other than that, I don't think they care (laughs).
Is there anything planned for the website you’re launching to make it stand out from the usual fetish modeling websites viewed on the Internet? Besides the subject matter of your shoots, what special features will it have?
Well, I actually paid a month's subscription to all the top alt model sites and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I felt like all the shoots were the same thing. A girl in fetish wear gets naked. Some of them play with toys. But it was so repetitive and way too pretty. Where's the knives, the blood, the zombies? Anyone can take their clothes off and stick their fingers in their cooch. After my month was up I had no desire to keep paying. The biggest difference between my site and theirs IS mostly the content. I'm not gonna play it quite so pretty. There will be dark, disturbing and evil concepts in there as well as fetish boudoir and glamour. There is going to be so much variety. As far as any features, I'm really not sure yet. I'm so focused on getting the content together that I haven't even gotten that far.
Have you found any interested parties who would take part in a murder shoot or a Jesus-and-nun shoot? Are there any other original and inventive ideas thought up by you or your viewers you would most want to pursue?
There is only one person I want to play Jesus to my nun and he will most likely be one the very few males to appear on my site. As far as a murder shoot, I had a model lined up for a sacrifice shoot but that didn't go through. When I find the right model, I'll know. I've already done several shoots with other models for my site so I'm in no rush.
Concerning your idea of a blasphemous Jesus with a nun, how important a role does sacrilege play into your work? What are your views toward organized religion and do you express those views in your photo shoots?
I am openly anti organized religion but specifically Christianity. If I had never heard of God or religion and you tried to tell me that story was real, I would laugh at you. I particularly enjoy blasphemy because Christianity has profoundly affected my life negatively in several ways on a personal level. Yes, I will do a blasphemous and extremely sexual Jesus and nun shoot because that is what I think of their God. It's not a theme I choose to base my entire career on but I want that one little "fuck you" under my belt. I do tend to have a darker theme to my work, but I want to clarify that I am not a Satanist. That is also a religion. I'm anti religion. Period. You will never see me in a photo holding a Satanic Bible or wearing a pentagram. I'm just attracted to darkness. I'm seduced by it.
You appeared onstage with New Jersey’s Immolith in 2010, with a performance of being sacrificed to Belial. You likewise appear in a promotional video of theirs covering Bathory’s classic Raise The Dead. What led to your working with the band, how many appearances have you made with them and do you anticipate working with them in the future?
They contacted me via MySpace and said that they needed a girl for a sacrifice performance, that they had it down to a couple of models and would like to know if I was interested. I jumped on that instantly and they decided to go with me. I performed with them twice and was supposed to perform with them again October 2 but they decided not to do the act since they were releasing their new album which didn't support the sacrifice theme. I don't think there will be another show but it was such an awesome experience and I am so happy to have been a part of it. I still have to model their T-shirt, though.
Are there other bands in the death and black metal community that have expressed interest in working with you on stage or while filming promotional videos? Which bands do you know of that you would like to collaborate with?
I haven't been doing a lot of band work lately because I've been really focused on getting my site together. I went from getting paid to model to paying models and photographers. There is one band I must work with, though, before my career is over and that's Dope. I know they're not "metal" but I just have a huge boner for them. Every song I hear from them I just picture myself dancing in a sexy video. I'm hoping I can use one of their songs for a video for my site. I gotta get Edsel's attention somehow!
Which U.S. cities and overseas countries would you most like to visit, and do you anticipate working for professionally made promotional videos by aboveground metal bands at some point in your career?
I am a lover of traveling. I would go anywhere but I'm most interested in countries that are a little less sexually repressed than this country. I would of course love to visit Amsterdam. And I don't even smoke pot! As far as above ground metal bands, sure. I'd love that. I just wouldn't work with any band that wasn't legit. No Metallica, please.
How do you most want to be remembered a century from now, in terms of the impact you made with your career?
I'd love to be immortalized like Betty Page was. I'm not in this to half ass it. I want the world to remember me as the girl who did it her way and did it the best.
Photos by S plus S Photography, Paul Gomez, Paolo Demo Photography and Eric Scott