Her first name, taken from the Latin word for ‘slavegirl’, is so often mispronounced with a soft instead of a hard ‘c’ that Ancilla Tilia has now given up and adopted ‘Ansilla’ as the official pronunciation.
But choosing a name that flags not just a particular sexual orientation but also a classical education — and by implication, therefore, a brain — has not hindered Ancilla’s rise to fetish stardom. In fact it may even have helped counteract the typical view of all blonde models as bimbos — an issue that’s quite close to her heart.
She began her career as a glamour model and found fame as a Dutch Playboy Playmate before discovering the joys of fetish modelling. Since then Ms Tilia has transformed herself into one of Europe’s best known fetish faces — as recognisable in the UK and the US as she is in her native Holland, thanks to her work with some of the world’s best fetish photographers and regular sightings at international fetish events.
Last year, she MC’d such an event — the German Fetish Ball — for the first time, and this year has already seen her begin fronting Cultus, a new regular club night in Amsterdam. She also MCs Germany’s new Fet-X weekend in April, and will soon make her performance debut in London, at the opening night of Torture Garden’s Birthday Weekend in May (co-hosted, incidentally, by The Fetishistas).
Our interviewer LucyBoots, of KinkySexSlut blog fame, first laid eyes on Ancilla Tilia when she interviewed Katja Ehrhardt of HighGlossDolls.com.
“Ancilla's perfect curves and classic pin-up look easily eclipsed all of the other models on the site,” says Lucy. “As I searched for more pictures of this buxom blondie, I was amazed at her range of styles — from classic to gothic, submissive to dominant— and how each image sent my endorphins in a rage in ways I couldn't control.
“I knew anyone who brought that much grit and personality to her photographs had to be a great interview,” adds the writer, “and she didn't disappoint.” Here, then, are the highlights…
LucyBoots: How would you describe the Dutch fetish scene as opposed to other countries (such as France, Germany, or even America)?
Ancilla Tilia: I was really surprised to notice that in some American parties, they let people in wearing basic wear like black jeans. In Europe, we have very strict dress codes and if you are not dressed the part, the doorbitch will not let you in!
Otherwise, it really creates an awkward atmosphere of what we call ‘looking at the monkeys’ where the crowd is partially fetishists who make a real effort, and partially just perverts who want to watch. That means you will never get a great party with true passionate fetishists and a respectful atmosphere.
The Dutch fetish scene has grown a lot in the past few years. There used to be just one or two big parties that everyone went to (along with some small private occasions) but now there is a lot more competition from medium- sized organisers.
I like the Dutch fetish scene though — people are taking more time to make their own clothing and starting to experiment with different colours and fabrics. I find that the German fetishists like a lot of black heavy rubber and in France they are only just starting to get some fashion sense. We are nowhere near as creative and crazy as the Brits, but we’re getting there!
‘One well-known photographer really tried to push me into doing porn, even though I had told him many times before that I didn’t want to do that’
LB: Are there any photographers you didn’t feel comfortable with? Can you reveal a photo shoot that didn’t go well?
AT: Oh yes, it has happened a few times. There have been some times that I worked with photographers who were big names and figured they could get away with more. One particular well-known photographer really tried to push me into doing porn, even though I had spoken to him many times before about how I didn’t want to do that.
He had assured me upfront that it was not a problem, but later on he complained that the shoot didn’t have a “happy ending”.
More then once I have refused to work with really good photographers because they are known for being rude or taking advantage of their models. I know some girls who have worked with abusive photographers because of their name, even though they knew about their history! I could never do that.
Keep in mind that photographers can be abusive other ways than sexually. Sometimes they withhold your pictures, or try to pay you less than agreed, or there has even been a case of a photographer posting the most unflattering photo online of every model he had a fight with. And you can imagine that happened often! In those cases a photographer is really destroying a girl emotionally and taking advantage of her trust.
I have to clarify this is a very rare in the industry. Not all professional photographers are scumbags, heck, not even a small percentage are.
LB: You have played a bimbo ‘Barbie Doll’ for some of your live performances. Do you ever feel like you are negatively stereotyped or that people underestimate you because of your profession?
AT: My ‘Barbie Doll’ bimbo act is really to make fun of that stereotype a bit. The women who are classified as bimbos are often some of the nicest and smartest I have met.
Most of my friends are from the fetish scene, so I don’t have to deal with those judgments on a daily basis. I know that I have been turned down on some vanilla jobs and modelling competitions, but I’m now more successful then any of the girls who won those competitions so I guess it worked out for the best, haha! I say, stay true to yourself. I am shocked to find that some people see big tits and blonde hair and they think they know me. It makes me think they aren't much smarter than a ‘stupid blonde’ themselves.
A funny story: I premiered the show in Germany, and nobody had told me upfront that ‘bimbo’ in German means something like ‘nigger’! So here I was, prancing around on stage in front of hundreds of Germans in my little pink Bimbo outfit. I felt really embarrassed when someone told me a few weeks later!
LB: What American celebrity do you admire most? Do you have any dreams of making a Hollywood movie?
AT: I’m really a movie fanatic. I would absolutely love to be in a visually impressive Hollywood movie, but I have no aspirations to really pursue acting full-time. For last Halloween I did a shoot as Tifanny (Jennifer Tilly) from the movie Bride of Chuckie. I love her in that movie, great character!
Another dream role would be Jennifer Lopez’s in The Cell. Gorgeous movie, gorgeous visuals, costuming and being captured by a sick serial killer to boot. What more would a girl want?
‘I have really noticed that the girls I meet are very much from the same background as me — including an absent father and a difficult childhood’
LB: In psychology, I've learned that many girls who go into occupations dealing with the sex industry come from broken homes, had father issues, or even survived a traumatic experience in their past. How do you feel events from your past have shaped the person you are today?
AT: Unfortunately I cannot deny this stereotype. I have really noticed over the years that the girls I meet are very much from the same background as me — including an absent father and a difficult childhood. I have even noticed most lifestyle submissives are vegetarians, like me!
I moved from Holland to Belgium — from the big city to a small village and back again — all before the age of 12. When you arrive at a new school in the middle of the year and you have a strange accent, you are inevitably teased. I think I was always a girl of extremes though; I was either bullied really bad or very popular. I either had the best grades in school or I only got Ds. I've been on every edge of the scale.
I've even been bullied so bad I got really suicidal and I had fantasies of totally beating up one particular girl who teased me a lot. When I see kids shooting up their school in the US, yes it's really horrific, but I can totally understand where it comes from. When you travel a never-ending loop between the hell of school and the hell of home every day, no wonder you think you have nothing to lose.
I can only speak for myself when I speak about how it has affected me though. Sometimes I feel that I have become stronger and more determined because I have this background. At a certain point in time I had to really cut myself loose from my past and my parents and not feel like I needed people’s approval to do what it is I wanted to do.
I think I’m a lot stronger and more independent than most people my age, so I like to think I took the best from my experiences.
LB: Your MySpace bio says you like to roleplay. Can you give us some insight into your favourite roles?
AT: ‘Ancilla’ is Latin for servant or maid, so that should tell you a thing or two, hehe! Generally I like all the traditional dominant male/submissive female roles such as boss/secretary or teacher/schoolgirl.
I am mostly turned on to know my partner is turned on and seeing how far he can take me in my quest to please. One time my partner wanted me to wear big white briefs. They weren’t sexy at all, but because they turned him on, they turned me on. Another time I slept with a guy who wanted to wear pink fishnet pantyhose in the bedroom. Not my first choice in guy’s clothing, but because it was his thing, I really liked him wearing them.
Lately I have been exploring my domme side more. The best way to describe my way of dominating is that I am just myself — only more demanding and sadistic! I try to take my personal fantasies with me into photo shoots, but sometimes it is hard to translate, especially since I don’t do boy/girl shoots. I just did a really sexy shoot where I get tied up and extorted with Polaroids from the past! That was a sexy fantasy of mine.
‘Lately I have been exploring my domme side more. My way of dominating is that I am just myself — only more demanding and sadistic!’
LB: In many of your BDSM-type pictures you have a sexy, bewildered, helpless, almost scared look on your face. Do you make that face because you get turned on by feeling like a helpless captive or because your audience likes it? Psychologically, where do you think that comes from?
AT: I do the photo shoots that I would enjoy seeing myself. I do a wide variety of photo shoots, and not all my photo shoots appeal to all of my fans. I am okay with that though, because they are all things that I personally like and want to act out.
The captured girl-fantasy has been in me for as long as I can remember. One time in kindergarten we were playing cowboys and indians and my friends told me I could only play if I was the one tied up. I can clearly remember saying ‘Oh, I don't mind at all, I love being tied up!’
I think the ‘helpless face’ comes from my fascination with the drawings of artist John Willie. Most of the captured girls in his drawings have a certain frightened shape in their eyebrows.
I know it sounds a bit weird but I remember looking at his paintings and thinking to myself that the shape of those helpless frowning eyebrows were the sexiest thing ever. I guess I have a thing for eyebrows. I try not to take it over the top though! Some American bondage models take the look so far that I find it comical to look at. I try to keep my pictures… well… grim and sexy.
LB: What article of clothing makes you feel the most empowered and why? What article makes you feel the most submissive?
AT: The item that makes me feel most sexy and like an über-woman is a simple pair of high stiletto heels. I always feel like I am walking on a pedestal of female power and the higher, the better! I also really like wearing sheer stockings. I’m so lucky to be a woman!
As for clothing that makes me submissive, actually one subtle touch or the way a man speaks a sentence can make me feel more submissive then any piece of clothing ever could. It's not so much what he says, more how he says it — when, why, in what context.
Any subbie-attire should only be an addition, not something to make me submissive on its own. Nice additions though, would be a blindfold and a restrictive corset.
LB: What is the one accomplishment you are most proud of in your modelling career? What is something that you regret?
AT: I have just gotten myself a photography studio of my own to take my shoots to the next level. Previously I have always been dependent on what locations the photographer and I could arrange. I literally have room for my ideas now!
When you ask me if I have any regrets, it is really hard for me to think of something! I have always made decisions with integrity, and you do what you do how you know to do it best at the time.
The best I can come up with is something silly like I should have invested in more basic black latex pieces when I just started out, not in crazy-coloured dresses that you can only wear once and that don’t match with anything. Black latex stockings are classics for a reason.
What I am most proud of is that I have accomplished all the goals I set myself when I just started out. I made the cover of Marquis magazine, the cover of Dutch FHM magazine, and my website now has almost 2,000 visitors a day. I am really proud that I have been able to create something that apparently people like to come back to. I guess I have to come up with new goals now!
The text above is extracted from LucyBoots’ interview with Ancilla Tilia for her KinkySexSlut blog at Blogspot.com. You can read the full interview, entitled Confessions of Ancilla Tilia: An Exclusive Interview with an International Fetish Model and Dutch Playmate, by clicking on the link in the left-hand column of this page.