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Hazel Gaskin Mistress Eva
Photography Hazel Gaskin

Mistress Eva: Make-up tips from a dominatrix


From acquiring a fitness instructor sub to being made up by her slave girl, dominatrix Mistress Eva shares with us her beauty tips

Rituals is a monthly column that looks at the obscure beauty routines and sacred acts of self self-care different professionals practice as they prepare for a typical event or performance. Mistress Eva is a professional dominatrix working across Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Bali. From acquiring a fitness instructor sub to being made up by her slave girl, dominatrix Mistress Eva shares with us her beauty tips. 

As a young child, perhaps even as young as four, I can remember meeting adult women with my mother who would often look at me and remark: “she’s so pretty”. I found it significant that wouldn’t ask for my name or how I was until after commenting on my appearance. It made me aware that the physicality of my face was something that others picked up on and judged very quickly.

That said, growing up I was quite oblivious as to what I looked like. There was a period of time during adolescence where I relished in the beautification of what foundation, coloured contact lenses and lipstick achieved - visually and socially. But as I distanced from high school I must admit that I have gotten progressively detached. I think even now I don’t really know how to completely embody the idea of feeling beautiful in a physical sense. I understand that my physical appearance can give me an advantage, but I think I spend so much time alone, and live a largely interior life, that I don’t really think about what the external me looks like much.

These days my focus on my appearance is more shaped by how it will benefit my work.I can’t say that being a dominatrix has shifted anything much more than the frequency of how often I use make-up. It’s almost as if I see make-up as more of a costume - and not necessarily something that touches my inner identity or sense of self. When I am not meeting with new submissives I rarely use make-up. I also have quite a lax relationship to skincare, although at the encouragement of fellow dominatrices and my slave girl I am trialing a bit of a skincare routine at present.

The first time the idea of becoming a dominatrix came up, I was standing in a doorway speaking to my then boyfriend who mentioned that I would “make a good dominatrix.”  He wasn’t sexually kinky but I think he saw it from a psychological aspect as something swimming in my personality. I didn’t have a clear concept of what the term meant at the time, the image of a dominatrix hadn’t had much air time in the media while I was growing up so I simply brushed it off and kept on talking about whatever it was I was talking about.

A few years went by and I thought very little of it, until I reached a turning point in my corporate career. I had reached a pinnacle in my then earning capacity but realised that I had become stagnant and quite dead to the work despite its perceived rewards. I had an agency role in strategic consulting for FMCG and consumer electronics clients. The use of the research that I was a part of was both disenchanting and disheartening - mass manipulation of sorts. With this realisation there came a turning point that lead to a Google search which found a dungeon hosting interviews for new Mistresses. I went for an interview at a dungeon called Salon Kitty’s in Australia, started a few days after and ended up training and working with them until they closed. This was in 2012.

Prior to my first day working at the dungeon, Head Mistress Amanda encouraged me to wear a full face of make-up, paint my nails and toenails red, and to wear red lipstick - because she said that the clients liked this. She also sent me a list of local shops and wrote their merits next to them. These included retailers that sold traditionally boned corsets, latex and pole dancing shoes. In the lead up to my first day, Head Mistress Amanda was also kind enough to give me a book list that included ‘Different Loving’, ’SM101’ and ’The Topping Book’, which I still recommend to anyone who asks how to start.

I turned up at the dungeon with more make-up on than anyone else; red lips, red nails and two outfit options (both black) with six-inch high ankle boots. I ended up quickly toning down on the make-up to liquid eyeliner and lipstick, but the outfits served me quite well for a solid few months. In terms of hair, I’ve always been lucky and haven’t had to do much to maintain my straight Asian hair. I’d mostly just wash, comb and air-dry. I took to wearing it on my left as I read somewhere that this placement could be used as a sign of dominance - but I quickly realised that the job was what you brought to it and wasn’t about catering to tropes but dismantling and distorting them as we saw fit.

When it comes to my beauty look today, I have my slave girl Aria Luxe to thank who is also a recent make-up school graduate. She kindly does my face before sessions and shoots, but for the times when she can’t be around she bought me a full set up and patiently taught me how to use it. This includes a foundation, eyelid primer, contouring palette, highlighter, eyeshadow palette, mascara, eyelashes and a host of brushes - all which I did not own prior to my slave girl’s generosity. My favourite products include: Dr Bronner's Castile Soap, mist sprays that enliven plane journeys, Korean face masks worn with friends, The Ordinary Peeling Solutions, eyelash extensions, gel mani-pedis, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks and Weleda’s Skin Food.

I enjoy the finished product of a full face, especially the result that I see in a photo; and so I have been motivated to incorporate the techniques my slave girl taught me into different variations for different scenarios. The full face comes out for photo shoots and a lesser variation that eliminates foundation emerges for sessions. However, anything social that won’t end up in a photo likely won’t have any make-up attached.

Some visually driven submissives have mentioned that it communicates to them a level of sophistication. But honestly, I don’t interpret it as such. I think I invest in it as an external polish or extra shine to what is a high-level experience to me (emotionally, mentally and often financially).

It’s not much of a habit or interest of mine to look in the mirror for very long after I’ve finished a session. I think I take more time to look at the final image when I look at my photos. When I do this I think more about the balance of the composition and colour; how it contributes to my body of photos and what my closest submissives may take from it. These photos add to the greater sense of what ‘Mistress Eva’ looks like in a public sphere than anything else to me. Perhaps it comes from my strategy days but I tend to be more big picture when it comes to these visual tokens. I’m not sure how this happened, or if it’s a common experience in any way, but sometimes if I’m very tired I can then look in the mirror for a very long time because it’s as if I am looking at an external and obscure object, not ‘myself’ so to speak.

When it comes to taking care of myself physically, mentally and spiritually, my main focus is lowering my stress levels so that I can travel around different cities from Hong Kong, to Singapore and Shanghai for work. I spend a lot of time in an isolated part of Bali surrounded by nature. I can go without seeing another human except for my partner and staff for three weeks; and then I enter the cities in full force again for that one week a month. I have also recently acquired a slave that is a physical trainer who has put together a fitness plan for me. I began the pilates component a few weeks ago, but am having trouble getting into the cardio component of things. I’m not much of a masochist.

In terms of physique, I grew up dancing from the age of five to my early 20s so perhaps that stays with me a bit - but it isn’t something I should or can rely on really. Mental and physical health go hand in hand and I should really discipline my own self more to get a proper routine going in addition to my self-preservation in Bali tactics. When I am not interacting with my subs, I am usually asleep or staring at my jungle.

Becoming a dominatrix has been and is an incredible opportunity. It has taught me that my personality has a right to exist, and is even deeply appreciated by many. That what some deem demanding others recognise as powerful. That I have the right to ask for exactly what I want in whichever way that I want to ask, with care and consent. It has taught me how to navigate care and consent in a way that listens to my limitations and needs and those of others; and it has also given me a better way to live through appreciating myself and the benefits that it brings to the world around it. I also very much enjoy the level of financial freedom and freedom of time and movement that it affords me.

Of course becoming a dominatrix has also been infinitely challenging however. Being a sex worker puts you on the margins of society and this is both an isolating and often an unsettling experience. There is a lot of community building, research and self-reflection that needs to happen in order to get to a grounded space amongst such marginalisation - and this is a very tough and ongoing process. But having gone through what I feel as the bulk of it, I feel quite unshakeable - but also with a deep seated sense of empathy. There aren’t many roles in life that can afford you such nuance and strength.

I am infinitely grateful.