Masuimi Max is a model, burlesque performer, actress and owner of I AM SIN cosmetics. Known for a wide-range of modeling styles, and unique stage shows. She has appeared on the cover of over 100 publications world-wide! This interview/pictorial was featured in issue #14. Print copies can be ordered here.
Photography by Morat. www.morat666.com
Danny Stygion: What was the first fetish magazine that you came across that made you want to become a model? If not a magazine, what inspired you?
Masuimi Max: I was inspired by many things, that I will go into throughout this interview, but if we are speaking specifically of publications.. The very first publications that really started me on this path.. was Marquis, Skin Two and the Second Slice (The Art of Olivia, Vol. 2) Hardcover book. The image of Julie Strain on the cover of Olivias book stayed with me forever. She is not doing a conventional pose and her expression is fierce. Naturally it was a huge honor to meet Julie then work with her AND Olivia.
Danny Stygion: How did you get started in alt/fetish modeling?
Masuimi Max: If I were just naturally into cheerleading and wearing normal brand names, and then one day decided to become a fetish model I could probably pinpoint the exact moment I got started.. but what I love and what I have become are all things that came about from my genuine interest before I knew there was a label or name for it. The first time I heard the term ‘Alt’ modeling was 2006 and I thought.. hey, that’s a great word to describe everything I love!
The old Batman movie with Michelle Pfiffer is to blame for everything. LOL! When I was a child my family was very Christian, the over-bearing sheltering kind. I had never seen a fetish model or publication, I didn’t even know such things existed. They obviously did exist, my father just had some magic force field to ‘protect’ me. I spent my early childhood living in Korea and the Philippines, so I was brought up with different customs and trends.. When that version of Batman came out, I immediately fell in love with Catwoman, with her shiny black catsuit, extremely high heels and of course the ability to do flips in that outfit really impressed me. I had never seen an outfit like THAT before. The first shoot I did was when I was 18, for obvious reasons it couldn’t be earlier than that.. but I’d say I became a fetishist after I saw that movie. I was 14 and wanted to know more about this way of dress. I started scouring book stores for more.. computers were not that common yet and the internet then was not what it is today, so I looked for inspiration the old fashioned way. Books, comic books, photo books, fashion mags from other countries (they seemed more ‘open’ to strange clothing, nudity and unconventional looks). I noticed that a lot of comic book characters looked like they were wearing latex.. that’s when my love for Cosplay was born, another branch of Alt modeling!
Danny Stygion: What do you think makes a model stand apart from others?
Masuimi Max: A model that can convince you without words will stand apart from the others. The eyes, attitude and pose have to go hand in hand.
There are a lot of pretty girls out there, but just simply being pretty isn’t enough.. Confidence is important and will make anyone more attractive, however over-confident is ugly. If the model can find a balance and produce high quality convincing work, they will rise above. I learned early on, that if you are different people will remember you.. you will stand out. Don’t get me wrong, ‘normal’ models are gorgeous, they get the jobs too.. so I guess it’s up to you. For me, being different is who I am, it’s how I got to where I am today.
Sort of off topic, but I think relevant.. I was at the second Burning Man ever and saw what ‘normal’ people would really look like if they were set loose in an environment without the constraints society puts on us for what is the acceptable way to look. It was incredible! People are so imaginative, I think when we are all set loose we can all stand together but still stand out in our own way.
Danny Stygion: From a model’s perspective, what do you think is the most important aspect of a photo?
Masuimi Max: There isn’t one thing that is most important.. it’s like a song and your instruments are your eyes, fingers, hands, feet and body. The pose can be completely right but it’s all wrong if you’re eyes aren’t convincing anyone. All of the ingredients have to be right.
Danny Stygion: How do you think the alt/fetish modeling scene has evolved since you started?
Masuimi Max: The internet is the biggest factor here, once people realized they weren’t alone, and being exposed to a whole network of people interested in the same thing, has opened minds and doors for alt/fetish modeling. It’s instant! You don’t have to mail photos and wait for the postman to arrive with your response.. you can post photos immediately, email designers, collaborate with photographers, models and well, pretty much anyone.
It’s evolved into a force that can’t ignored by the mainstream. Everything from risque fashion to tattoos and colored hair, it is so much easier to be a creative person now. Just 10 years ago people were pulling at my clothing to look at my tattoos, or licking their fingers then trying to rub my tattoos off all the while asking if they were real. That doesn’t happen anymore! There are so many walks of life enjoying this lifestyle and dabbling in things they might have made fun of back in the day. The internet has opened up a lot of minds, and is responsible for the growth of Alt/fetish modeling. It’s creeping into our culture more and more.. hey, even CSI has a character that looks alternative!
I have so many favorites, some of them have told me that I inspired them to model! Raquel Reed, Miss Overdose and Visha Loo are examples of creative Alt models doing their own thing. They were inspired by many but have created their own unique world. I’m so proud of them!
One of my early favourites, Russian contortionist Zlata has done some incredible iconic work. She’s so good models could learn a thing or two from her, and they have. She’s on the cover of Marquis #36, doing an amazing backbend, that since published, a lot of alt models have attempted. I say attempted because she’s an Olympic gymnast/contortionist.. and we are not worthy! Ha ha! Check out her amazing work - http://shop.marquis.de/de/887-marquis-nr-36-english.html
Lastly, You don’t need tattoos or colored hair to be an alt/fetish model.. you can be the girl next door, wearing a latex jumper of course! Just look the way YOU want and do it well.
Danny Stygion: What do you suggest for a model just starting out in alt/fetish modeling?
Masuimi Max: I suggest explore everything and anything as long as you’re comfortable with it.
Find what YOU like, there is no uniform and there is no standard way to pose if you want to be an alt/fetish model. It’s quite the opposite! You can try out the poses your favorite models have done, it’s a good way of figuring out what to do with your hands and feet.. once you have the basics you’ll eventually come up with your own ideas. You will want to try different things and sometimes the ideas won’t work, don’t let that stop you, just learn from it.
Don’t ever lash out at anyone for copying you.. cause you KNOW you saw it somewhere else first. That’s like the pot calling the kettle black.
As models we are all copying poses done before, and it is our JOB to show the public new fashion and new ways to style yourhair and makeup. We don’t own this information, we are sharing it with you, that is our job.
In order for this alternative universe to work, we have to work together. Even if you don’t think you’ll ever need that bridge, why burn it? I refer work to other models and performers all the time, and they refer work to me.. we are not the mainstream, so we don’t have to do it the mainstream dog-eat-dog way. There are no ladders to climb, we are all in this together. We are Alternative models and performers, and our alt way of working is WITH each other! I am telling you from my experience, I have been an Alt/fetish model since 1996.. you don’t last this long because you are a dick.
Danny Stygion: Clothing wise, what are your fetishes and why?
Masuimi Max: Latex, corsets and really high heels will always be my fetishes. I have a special rack designated for my latex and a really cool double rack to store my corsets. I have kept 90% of all my corsets and only part with my light colored latex after I’ve worn it a few times. If you were to walk into my closet right now, first.. you would think it was a bit Dexter. Each latex outfit and each corset I own is stored in a clear hanging garment bag, color coded and arranged by sleeve size.
Latex is my favorite when I want to be a super hero or super villain. Latex is the closest thing to what comic book characters wear.. when I was a kid I had no idea where one would get an outfit like the characters in comic books, they always look so skin tight and shiny. When I discovered latex I realized that this must be what they would wear in real life! A lot of my latex reflects my love for Cosplay.
Before I knew what fetish was, I fell in love with corsets. From history class to museums, I was exposed to imagery of hourglass women with giant skirts. I don’t know exactly what it was, but I FELL IN LOVE with this imagery. A lot of the movies I saw also influenced me, Interview with a Vampire had incredible costumes, when I first saw that movie I wanted to dress like that all the time. I have so many corsets in my collection now, I started collecting in 96!
Danny Stygion: This is the second time you will be appearing on one of our covers. How much magazine covers have you appeared on?
Masuimi Max: Thank you very much, it is an honor to be featured in your magazine again. The quality and content is superb!
At the moment I have been on the cover of over 100 publications, ranging widely in variety from alternative to mainstream. You can see them all on my website, along with links to buy them. I have a few more coming out this year.
Danny Stygion: You started your own make up line last year. Can you talk about this?
Masuimi Max: Oh yes! I AM SIN is my new baby.. it’s a Cruelty-Free makeup line, tested on ME. My best friend and business partner, Laura Byrnes, strongly suggested I create a makeup line.. so we did! She knows how much I love makeup and creating different looks. Lot’s of girls and sometimes guys email me to find out what I am using in my photoshoots, so instead of promoting another line, I have created my own. Which doesn’t just stop at the makeup, I designed the website http://iamsin.com to showcase models of all colors, shapes and sizes in photos and video demos.
I’m really excited for this year, the launch party was May 30th last year and it is already carried in a few stores around the world! I’ve been doing makeup parties at some of the stores that carry my line, the last one I did was with Blame Betty in Calgary. It was a huge success! The next one will be on Feb 28th (2014) with the Pinup Girl Boutique in Burbank, CA. I believe in my product so much I want to be there when people try it out! The parties are fun, the ladies that put on the event are so friendly, the last one I did we all ended up putting makeup on all the guests. Literally dragging girls to the makeup table to put lipstick on them.
Creating the makeup line wasn’t the final goal for I AM SIN, there’s so much more..
Danny Stygion: What are some of your different products?
Masuimi Max: Currently, I AM SIN is a collection of pressed shadows, loose dusts, matte and creamy lipsticks, gel liners, glosses, pencils and blushes. EVERYTHING is TOP QUALITY, highly pigmented with staying power. With really strong staying power.. I need to develop a really good eyemakeup remover. *grin*
I will be introducing some new stuff for the line, more news on that soon!
Danny Stygion: Do you have any other upcoming projects you would like to mention?
Masuimi Max: Starting this year, Morat and I are offering shoot packages where I do the makeup and hair and offer assistance with posing. We’ll release more info soon!
I’d like to explore acting more, I’m not very good at it yet, but I will be. I’ve been working with Full Moon Horror, we did two movies last year, Gingerdead Man Vs Evil Bong and Unlucky Charms. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from them and from watching the final product. I’ve done so many photoshoots, so many stage shows.. this is something completely new to me, so it’s really exciting! I did a signing at the last Comic con with them, it went down really well so I may be joining them for a few more.
Danny Stygion: You are also a headlining fetish/burlesque performer. Do you have any favorite routines?
Masuimi Max: My favorites are usually my newest shows.. I get bored easily and you can’t be bored with something new. There are two shows I am touring with this year, there might be a third but I’m still working on it. My Imaginarium show is my most creative show to date. It is comprised of 4 songs and two set changes. I start the show inside a miniature stage, wearing a 65” wide pannier and a beautiful gold corset made by Jupiter Moon 3. The rest of the show consists of me revealing the skeletons I have hidden in my skirt (which is as big as a closet, ha ha!) and stripping down to a sparkling nude panty and pasties. There is a part in the show where I go back into the miniature stage, close the curtain then spin the stage around, to reveal a Garden of Eden that came out of nowhere. It’s like magic! I made the pannier and prop, the entire thing fits in two large suitcases.
Making the prop was fun and should have been filmed. I bought several yards of copper tubing from a hardward store down the hill from where I live. Then walked back up the hill wrapped in copper tubing. Cars slowed down to stare, lol! To bend the copper tubing I had to warm it up. The way I warmed it up was I would lay on the floor on my back, then hold my legs up and out, feet together (pilates style), and place the copper on arches of my feet. Then I’d gently pull the copper down towards me, while spreading my feet apart. This was hard, but it worked and it gave me a good leg workout!
My Secretary routine is a crowd favorite, and it’s one of my favorites because I don’t have to lug around huge props, lol! This show starts off with me sitting in a chair, blind-folded and restrained to a bondage bar. I strip out of my skirt and open my shirt while restrained to the bar and dance blind-folded till the second song. The second song I shake my BOOTY TASSELS! AKA ASSELS! I love saying that.. but I love doing it more! It really gets the crowd going, I think they love seeing girls shake their assels more than their tassels!
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