‘I always found her ability to turn men into stone, when they look at her eyes, to be a metaphor for seduction.’
Lady Medusa is an Australian pin-up and fetish model based in Sydney, with a particular interest in design, film and the arts. She chatted with Victory Lamour about vintage inspiration, uncredited fetish models of the past, and her alluring and deadly namesake, Medusa.
Thank you for taking the time to chat. What originally got you interested in vintage and retro?
I have always admired the fashion and elegance of the 1920’s to 1960’s, and had a fascination with how the roles of women changed as fashion changed. But, growing up while watching The Marx Brothers and falling in love with the beautiful women in those movies is what really started it. Especially Thelma Todd in ‘Monkey Business’, 1931. I remember being so mesmerised by the outfits she wore, her porcelain-like make-up and sophisticated hairstyle.
Above: Medusa in the mirror. Photographed by Mantas Ivanauskas.
How did you decide on your pin-up name, Lady Medusa?
It’s funny, I get asked this more often than I thought I would, and am always happy to share. It actually started with a TAFE assessment for a graphics design class. We had to invent and create a label for a ‘Tea or Coffee’ cafe, and I wanted to use a pin-up lady drinking a cup of tea or coffee. Next was to decide on the name. In the end I chose Lady Medusa as a combination – Lady to bring out the elegance and delicate side to the drink, and Medusa to bring out the seduction and passion from every last drop. After the assessment I fell in love with the name and meaning for myself… I then finalised my alias/stage name to Lady Medusa.
Do you feel an affinity with the Medusa of ancient Greek myth (the serpent haired maiden who turned men to stone unless she was seen only in reflection)? Do you believe she was a maiden, monster, or misunderstood?
This is a very good question. I’ve always known of the myths on the ancient lady herself. Some artworks depict her as either ugly, or even beautiful. When knowing her stories and how she came about she really is a beautiful lady, and definitely misunderstood. I always found her ability to turn men into stone, when they look at her eyes, to be a metaphor for seduction. I must admit, I do affiliate this with my works – When I model during photo shoots or even video shoots and I look into the camera, I am looking at you, luring you into my world. I want the audience to feel a sense of pleasure, seduction, emotions and even a sense of creativity when looking at my final works.
Above: Lady Medusa photographed by Jonathan Jato. Location: Stephanie Zaicew.
What do you enjoy about the experience of fetish modelling? Do you have any favourite pin-up or fetish models or photographers from the past – say Bettie Page and Irving Klaw?
I love everything about fetish modelling and the attire, whether it is wearing latex, a tight corset, bondage rope, or fetish footwear. There’s an artistic eroticism in it all without being too sexually obvious. Just simply posing in a devious way and portraying a darker character, and working with some of the most professional photographers definitely makes it more enjoyable. I’m always influenced by someone when it comes to shooting Fetish. I haven’t really known of many other ‘vintage fetish’ models besides Bettie Page (b.1923-d.2008). She was just a natural at what she did, and of course the photographers she worked with too, and the fact that those shots were saved and then leaked over the media in this modern world is still astounding. They are inspiring. Unfortunately, only a few other fetish models are named, such as Tempest Storm, where as the others that I have seen seem to be unknown, untitled and uncredited.
What got you interested in fetish? Was it through the scene, or through your pin-up modeling?
My interest in fetish was always there, since I can remember. I studied Wicca as a young girl and sometimes when I would look up particular images of this, most women were portrayed in darker, fetish attire. I always understood the proper ways of a good Wiccan, but this darker look fascinated me. [In time] I had found stories and documentaries on the ladies who did pose like these for clients in the 1950’s that I fell more deeply in love with the aspect and rebellious side of these women. ‘They may of been sweet during the day but at night they can be vicious’ was what took me in. I suppose it wasn’t until my modelling days had come that I knew I wanted to show this side of me more. It had given me the freedom to express myself, be comfortable and show the artistic side to it.
What is next for you?
Next is travelling. I am currently saving up to travel overseas to America, then not long after I’ll save up to make my way around Europe. I would definitely love to use my time doing photo shoots over there, and meeting like-minded, creative and talented people.