How I got started: I did my first photoshoot in 2004 when I was 16 years old after being told by several photographers I was photogenic. In 2005 I did my very first photoshoot dressed in latex stockings and gloves with Dove Area, who I would say was the first photographer to put Swedish fetish photography and fetish models on the map. When I started he was the only one here specialising in latex, but a lot has happened since then.
Plans for the Future: I’m still working on the tentacle porno project that has become a rather lengthy process, and my dream is to put together more tentacle themed scenes. But after starting up my own taxidermy business which requires quite a lot of work, I’ve realised that my time is limited.
Pictures: Viva Van Story (with Mosh), Paval Maira, Viva Van Story
How I got started: I was introduced to latex when my former model agency held a workshop collaborating with designers such as Lady Lucie Latex back in 2009. I loved the way it felt, how it looked in photos, and how versatile it was, and so I fell in love. I hadn’t modelled much until then, only a few shoots, not knowing such a thing as latex even really existed until then. I grew up in a very small, secluded town and was never introduced to anything alternative until I left home. I was now thrown into the fetish modelling scene and embraced it all with open arms!
Camaraderie? I think this is a large part of why Swedish fetish models have been successful in the scene. Kindness goes a long way… Sweden is a small country with a very small scene, most girls here have day jobs, and therefore modelling is no one’s main income. That in its turn makes it so that we don’t need to compete over work, we just create and thrive together, there’s no stress over losing a job to another girl, because we all have our financial lives settled on the side of modeling, and modelling is our hobby and passion, and extra income. There’s no fight for survival needed!
Plans for the future: Next year I have quite a lot of tattoo conventions booked, as well as German Fetish Ball with my fire group Ignition Kittens! I will try to find more time to go to fun events and model more, maybe get some fun new collaborations together! I hope to get more covers out there and to be able to go to America to do a shooting tour again! Maybe I can start doing latex again with my brand Virose Affair, with Miss LouLou! If we have time. Time is always an issue for me, ha ha!
Pictures: Marcos Rivera, Bommi, Radiant Inc
How I got started: About four or five years ago when I first discovered latex, I took a lot of self-portraits, but after some time I felt that I wanted more professional looking pictures of myself. So I contacted a photographer and I had my first real latex photoshoot. I never had the thought from the beginning that I would be some kind of a fetish model.
Role Models: My friend Psylocke! She’s gorgeous and she’s really doing her own thing. She often gives me great tips and advice about modelling.
Pictures: FH Photo, Ambjörn Foto (Ambjörn Thorhard), Natalie G Sundling
How did you get started? My modelling started a little randomly with a few designer and photographer friends asking me if I’d like to model for them. And eventually I found modelling to be a new way of expressing my creativity and making art together with other creative and talented people.
Role models: I’m a dancer, and a lot of my inspiration comes from the tribal belly dance community and my dance gurus (Zoe Jakes and Kami Liddle among others). I love art with a dark and a little twisted touch. For me, Tim Burton, Alexander McQueen and Björk are some of the biggest inspirations.
Plans for the future: In the upcoming year I am going to focus on finishing my studies in business engineering while keeping my dancing and modelling more in the periphery.
Pictures: TzR Photography, TzR Photography, Josefine Jönsson
How I got started: I think it was there way before my modelling career as a deep dark desire that I’ve carried my whole life.
Role Models: I have always seen myself as an artistic model but also a singer and actress, so I guess I brought that to my fetish modelling as well. When doing fetish shoots I’m finding inspiration in other creative fields, always trying to think outside the box. One role model I have is David Bowie since he, just like me, is also a chameleon and he has always been one step ahead of his time. He has inspired me in all my creative roles as a model, musician and actress.
Pictures: Joakim Jonsson, NikDesign, NikDesign
How I got started: My friend Cat asked me to go on a shoot with her — a shoot for Slinkyskin (heavy rubber stuff) — and I did. We had so much fun! And since then I’ve been hooked.
Role Models: Among fetish models, Ophelia Overdose is my hero. She is so creative!
Camaraderie? Agree! We aren’t that many, and yet we have so many big names. So yes, I definitely agree.
Pictures: TzR Photography, Belinda Bärtzner, Tobias Walka
How I got started: I think it started at the same time as I started with alternative modelling. Two of my first three shoots actually involved latex garments which I had bought previously as I had been curious about latex wear. So I guess it just developed naturally since I already had fetish wear in my closet.
Camaraderie? In Sweden there exists a lot of rivalry. Some fetish models are more prone to this than others, but I do have a nice relationship with a couple of Swedish models too. To conclude I guess that we are as open to other models as in other countries. Some fetish models are more inclined to be hostile towards other models (or playing the friend game, but talking behind their backs) and some are just genuinely adorable creatures. However, at events I think everybody tries to give a good impression and therefore no real rivalry is seen during these events.
Pictures: TzR Photography, Dick Andersson, Peter Dominix
How I got started: I had been modelling in the alternative scene since 2004, but had a long break between 2008 and ’12, and then Kari Berg asked me if I wanted to be in a fashion show back home in Umeå, and I kickstarted my modelling again. She was going to the German Fetish Ball in 2013 and pulled some strings and helped me get in touch with Dekadenzia Couture, and I got to walk for them at GFB. I had my first latex photoshoot with Nikdesign just before GFB, and well, here I am now!
Role Models: Ellegy Ellem and Psylocke are my two biggest heroes, they both give me so much inspiration and ideas for photoshoots.
Camaraderie? Totally agree! I have never felt anything but love and warmth from my fellow Swedish fetish models! We’re a bunch of rubber-sisters!
Pictures: Dove Knutsen, Yurika Palmqvist, Fredrik Larsson
Role models: My absolute hero in the beginning was Mosh, she inspired me a lot!
Camaraderie? I agree. One special thing I like about us fetish models from Sweden is that we are not competitive. We are all friends who see each other in our free time. Why not welcome new friends who share the same interest?
Plans for the future: Model even more, attend more events, and hopefully have the guts to get on the stage and perform!
Pictures: Joakim Karlsson, Josefine Jönsson, Josefine Jönsson
How I got started: I did a shoot with Fredrik Larsson and had a blast. We got a great response too, and I wanted to try it again. It was about one year ago that I did my first latex shoot, and I was hooked! It looks beautiful on pictures, I love the shine!
Role Models: The fetish models who inspired me most to start modelling are Sister Sinister and Ophelia Overdose. I have an inspiration folder on my computer filled with pictures of different models, but mostly of them. When I first started looking at pictures by Sister Sinister I had no idea she was Swedish! And used to live in my home town!
Camaraderie? I feel the same way! In November last year I went to my first fetish event, Dominatrix. And only about one month earlier I did my first latex shoot. I felt truly welcomed and like I was a part of ‘the gang’. I was extremely starstruck by meeting everyone who I had only seen in pictures before. But everyone, Swedes and non-Swedes, welcomed me with open arms.
Pictures: Joakim Jonsson, Fredrik Larsson, Maxime Avet
How I got started: I ended up as a fetish model by mistake. I borrowed a latex dress from Maebelle Latex and I was hooked. The rest is history.
Role models: I have many heroes among mainstream models, ironically. Cara Delevigne — she doesn’t take life too seriously and I think it’s important to have a distance to everything you do!
Plans for the future: More international events and shoots and collaborations. I have a daytime job which keeps my model life suffering a bit. But it is all good as long as the latex line flows.
Pictures: TzR Photography, Belinda Bärtzner, Anunnaki Photography
How I got started: I started get in to the fetish scene when I was about 14-15 years old. But I was a bit scared to start with fetish modelling at that young age, so I started out as an alternative/commercial model. Then when I was 18 I did my first latex fashion photoshoot and after that I went from fashion to bondage/rope and heavy rubber.
Camaraderie? We do have a great team of photographers and models here. Not sure why tiny Sweden has been so big in this scene lately but maybe it is because we all know one another and I do not think we see each other as competition. It’s more like I’m doing my own thing and you are doing yours, instead of fighting with each other. And we do help each other too. Maybe that makes us more comfortable about working our way up. I remember when I stated with modelling I was feeling pretty lonely with the thing I was doing, so I think back on that when I meet new fetish models — that they maybe want some tips or a helping hand, if they are asking or trying to reach out.
Pictures: Peter Dominix, Marcus Gloger, PervyImages
How I got started: I ask myself the same question everyday! Joking aside — I got started in modelling just by chance. I had camera fright and wanted to challenge myself. I had kind of fun doing it and it resulted in some nice pictures that I and the photographer used on an online platform for models and photographers. After that I got requested by other photographers to shoot and agreed to do another one, and then it just kept going from there. That I got into fetish modelling I think was natural to me, as at the time I was in a Goth phase of my life, and I wore a lot of PVC and had just discovered latex online and bought my first dress.
Role models: I remember seeing a lot of pictures from Bianca Beauchamp and Swedish former model Elva around the time I started, and they inspired me to give it a try. These days I’m more inspired by dance, music and movies.
Camaraderie? I do agree with you there. We are all friends and some of us hang out a lot in our private life too when we have the time. They are all lovely people and there’s no reason to not be friendly. We all have different styles of modelling and looks and we don’t compete with each other, and we support each other in our different projects. It just makes everything more fun.
Pictures: Belinda Bärtzner, Josefine Jönsson, Bommi
How I got started: I got contacted by a hobby photographer on a fetish/BDSM site here in Sweden who wanted to do a shoot with me. I thought it could be a fun thing to do so I tried it, and since I already had a fetish for latex and high heels, that’s what I decided to wear. I never even thought of becoming a model at that time, this was really just for fun. It wasn’t until my second shoot with another photographer that I really felt like becoming a model and really doing this.
Role Models: RubberDoll, Bianca Beauchamp, Susan Wayland and Sister Sinister have inspired me the most. Love their work!
Camaraderie? The fetish scene isn’t that big in Sweden so most of us are basically all friends. We’re always taking care and helping each other out in all kind of things, even though some of us live in different cities. It’s really amazing and I’m so happy to have these people in my life. This makes everything much more fun, ’specially at parties and events.
Pictures: Belinda Bärtzner, Belinda Bärtzner, Belinda Bärtzner
How I got started: It started when I was about 17-18 years old. I found the agency Nocturnal Models and though that I wanted to be one of them. In my mind that was the absolute top of the gothic/alternative scene and it inspired me to start modelling. I found the Swedish agency Chaosmodels which agreed to have a test shoot with me, and I became a part of their agency. At the test shoot I met photographer Joakim Karlsson, and without him I would never have been where I am today. When younger I had this dream about modelling and how fancy it was. Well it wasn’t as I suspected and with ‘alternative’ modelling there isn’t any money, but it sure is fun and a great experience!
Role Models: My biggest hero is David Bowie. He was before his time, and dared to be out of the box. He is artistic and has a great creative mind. Otherwise I’m more inspired by things I find here and there, a specific picture I see, clothing, sorroundings, etc, so you can say I find micro-heroes here and there.
Plans for the future: At the moment I don’t have that much time, as I have four Chinese Crested dogs and most of my spare time goes into travelling to different dog shows. I’m also starting my own kennel and will hopefully have a litter next year. Apart from my dogs I’m kind of a nerd, playing Guild Wars 2 all the time so I’ve had the urge to want to try making my own cosplay-armour. Despite all my other goals, there is one thing I really look forward to next year. Hopefully I will go to Cologne and if I do I will have a photoshoot with a very talented latex/fetish photographer.
Pictures: Lambis, Joakim Karlsson, Joakim Karlsson
How I got started: I got started after being spotted by a photographer when I was walking in the Stockholm Pride Parade in 2007, dressed as a corset-wearing Mad Hatter. I’ve had so much fun since then and I’ve met so many incredible people through my modelling. Most of the other fetish models in the scene are total sweethearts.
Camaraderie? If your work is good, you bring something new to the scene and you’re a nice person, you’ll be just as welcome as any experienced model. I think one of the most important things is that most of us are pretty silly people at heart; the atmosphere backstage is always full of laughter. No one takes herself too seriously, but we’re all serious about our work. I think that really helps to make it a welcoming scene for newcomers.
Plans for the future: University studies aside, my creative goals are mostly music-related this upcoming year, since I recently got involved as a singer and lyricist in Ashbury Heights.
Pictures: Kitty Carol, Josefine Jönsson, Belinda Bärtzner
In talking to my Swedish interviewees, the mysterious phrases Jantelagen, Janteloven, Jante Law or The Law of Jante have often come up.
They are offered to explain Swedish reticence and the fear of standing out, or even as a theory about the spirit of co-operation between more established fetish models and photographers and newcomers, which seems pretty unique to Sweden.
Living in Denmark as I do, I also experience this Scandinavian phenomenon, which is often cited as a reason fewer Danes impact the creative arts, outside the accepted mediums of furniture and interior design, or currently, detective series and food.
Expat friends sometimes struggle when their gifted offspring are discouraged from taking accelerated classes, or when a mother really goes all out to create a gorgeous cake for a baking sale and is instead chided for making others look bad.
On the other hand, it makes for a great work-life balance if individual accomplishments aren’t recognised, much the opposite of what this American experienced back home.
The term first appeared in 1933 in Danish-Norwegian writer Aksel Sandemose‘s novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks (En flyktning krysser sitt spor).
This satirical tale is set in the imaginary Danish town of Jante (a stand-in for the author’s town of Nykøbing Mors) — a town where everyone knows each other’s business and the inhabitants are kept in strict check by a code of conformity, and distrust of the individual.
One could assume the term is outmoded and no longer relevant to Scandinavia, or even that it translates more or less to ‘tall poppy syndrome’. But most Scandinavians still struggle with standing out and making waves throughout their lives.
I think this has a real effect on how things are done, how lives are lived and celebrated, and why sometimes a foreigner struggles to understand the flatness and reticence which can characterise Scandinavian society.
These unspoken rules allow for a more egalitarian society where one is less inclined to encounter classism or crippling expectations at work, and for a pleasant down-to-earth attitude. It may even explain why partying is so important, as stark relief from homogeneity and repressive emotions!
Michael Booth, an English journalist and author of The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth About the Nordic Miracle has a more positive take on this characteristic of Scandinavian culture, saying:
‘After all, Jante Law is just one facet of what makes living in Scandinavia so great: the comparative lack of flashiness, and a disapproval of ostentation, snobbery or show-offiness. This is good, surely?’
Here then, are the rules:
You’re not to think you are anything special.
You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
You’re not to think you know more than we do.
You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
You’re not to think you are good at anything.
You’re not to laugh at us.
You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
…and the sinister eleventh rule: Perhaps you don’t think we know a few things about you?
Knowing this undercurrent beneath the surface of Swedish culture makes the explosion of uniqueness and creativity in the Swedish fetish environment all the more impressive to me.
And finally, if you haven’t seen it, do watch the film Babette’s Feast, based on a story by Danish expatriate Karen Blixen aka Isak Dinesen showing Jante Law in the context of one village.
BELOW: The 16 fetish models Heidi interviewed
Author’s note: The links for fetish models that you’ll find in the dropdown panel below are not by any means a comprehensive list of all models working in the Swedish fetish milieu. But they are a representative selection of women I have come into contact with through travel, my range or through other friends. You’ll also find links for all the photographers mentioned or featured, and all the designers mentioned above.
LINKS: FETISH MODELS
LINKS: PHOTOGRAPHERS MENTIONED/FEATURED
LINKS: CLOTHING/ACCESSORY LABELS FEATURED
LINK: SWEDEN’S PIONEERING FETISH CLUB
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