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Shawna Kenney
"I Was A Teenage Dominatrix"

Shawna:  Where are you calling from?

YourMVP:  Cleveland, Ohio.


You sound like a radio DJ, "Where are you calling from?"

I do?


Oh! <laughing> "Where are calling from?!" <with gusto>

To start with, I read the book "I Was a Teenage Dominatrix" and I guess I just wanted it to keep going.  What's happened since the book ended?

Let's see . . . I graduated school . . . moved to California . . . worked in the entertainment industry for a while . . . .

What does that mean, "worked in the entertainment industry?"

I worked as a production assistant and did what everybody who comes to Hollywood does.  I did these stupid film jobs and decided I didn't really like it and I've been freelance writing for the past couple years.

You were with "WHAP!" magazine?

Yeah, I was with "WHAP!"  Now they're out of business. They're pretty much just an online thing.

They encouraged you to write the book.

Yeah, I ended up editing at "WHAP!" and telling stories around the office about my old job as a dominatrix.  They asked me if I'd ever written about it and I was like, "No.  Why?" <laughing>  When I lived in D.C. I wasn't really very open about what I was doing for a job.  Now in L.A. pretty much anything goes and I got more comfortable talking about it.

I would imagine the people at "WHAP!" would have these kinds of similar experiences especially if they were editors.

Yeah, they were all into it.

But they were fascinated by your stories?

Yeah, I guess just because, like . . . I don't know . . . I guess they just liked my take on things.

You're a good storyteller.


You're currently living with your boyfriend and your snake.

Actually we just let the snake go recently because he bit my boyfriend.

<both laughing> What kind of snake was it?!

It was a Florida corn snake.  It wasn't poisonous. It's just that it was getting too big and we didn't want to get a bigger cage.  And then he bit my boyfriend.

Were you kind of secretly enjoying the fact that your boyfriend was in pain at the time?

No! <laughing>  My boyfriend doesn't deserve pain. He's very good.  He's a very good man.

How long have you been with him?

Five years.

Wow!  How long has it been since the time at the end of the book?

The end of the book was probably 1995, when I graduated.  I met him when I was in my last year of college and my last year of domination.  We were just friends and I told him what I was doing for a job.  He didn't believe that that was really something that went on in Washington D.C.  We were friends for a while and then we started dating.  So, he knew me for about six months of my domination career.

He moved out to California with you.

Yeah, we moved out together.  I was going to go alone and ended up kind of falling in love with him. <pause>  I kind of changed the end of the book to be what it was originally going to be.

I understand!

It could have been another story . . . <mocking a dreamy voice> "I fell in love and moved across the country."

The first run was 5,000 books.  Are you working on a second run?

Yes, we're working on a second print right now.  The first one is pretty much sold out . . . there are only 300 left.

Oh my!

So I'm a little nervous.  <laughing and mocking shouting> "Hurry up and print them!"

You have an agent with ICM now.

Yes, he's selling the film rights to the book.

Any news on that front?

<pauses>  I can't really say, but yeah, he's talking to somebody right now about making it into a "Movie of the Week."

On TV?!


Lifetime Channel?

No, no, no.  A big network.  Maybe Meredith Baxter Birney will play my mom or something. 

Oh my goodness.

Tori Spelling will be me and Valerie Bertinelli will be my head mistress <laughing hard>.

Valerie Bertinelli?  Who's she?

You know, from "One Day at a Time."

That's right.

All of those people you know that are always in all of the made-for-TV movies.

You can tell you're an 80s child.


Speaking of your parents, are you currently speaking to them?

<answers cautiously> We are working on it.  As soon as the book came out and I started to do a lot of press I called and told them about it.  They didn't know about my old job and they didn't know about the book.  It was kind of a big bomb to drop, but I wanted to speak to them before anything came out in the press.  They were pretty angry.  We didn't talk for almost a year until this past Christmas.

Wow, that's like, three weeks ago . . . four weeks ago?

Yes.  I actually went back to D.C. for the holidays.  They didn't know I was coming.  I stayed with my boyfriend's family and went to see a lot of friends and stuff and kind of popped in on my parents and surprised them.  It went really well.


Yeah, we're working on things.  But they were really surprised and shocked and unhappy with the whole scenario in the beginning.

The book came out about a year ago, correct?


Do you think your parents are out celebrating Martin Luther King Day today?

Do I think what?

Do you think your parents are out celebrating MLK Day today?

<laughing hard>  Definitely not, but they're probably enjoying the holiday off.

That's what started the separation from your parents.

Yeah, that's kind of what . . . I mean, I guess relations hadn't been great for a long time. . . But they officially disowned me when I started dating my black boyfriend.

Is your current boyfriend black?

No, he's white.  But not because of anything other than circumstances <laughing>.  May the best man win!

<laughing> I believe you!  I was hoping to bring up a couple of things going on in the news right now and hear your thoughts on them.


A woman in Milwaukee has been brought up on charges for buying her 13-year-old son two dozen condoms.  The mother "failed to prevent her child from being sexually abused," and that's a felony.  The mother says that talking to her son about sex is constitutionally protected speech.

Yeah!  Right on.  I agree with her.  I'd do the same thing.  I mean, if I thought it was the right time for my child to have condoms.  You don't go buying a child condoms when they're six-years-old and they're not ready to discuss that or be sexually active.  You know, I guess you just use your best judgment as a parent.  I don't know, I'm not a parent.

Would you like to be a parent?

I don't think I want to have children.

At all?

If I were in the right place financially, if I had a lot of money I would love to adopt, like, 10 kids and just give them great lives.  I know I have the love in me and if I had the means it would be awesome to do that for someone.  But I really have no desire to procreate.

Are you afraid of the pain?

Partially.  Partially it's overpopulation.  I just think it's irresponsible.  I don't have that ticking clock in me that I hear women talk about.  <pause>  I don't have a desire to have a child come through my body.  It's like science-fiction to me. <laughing> I mean it's amazing, it happens every day!  And people are . . .

Overjoyed . . .

It's cool for them.

You can't see yourself holding your own child in your hands and going, "Wow."

I don't really think it has to be my own child for me to love it and raise it and give it a good life. Someday if I'm wealthy I would love to take some children that are otherwise unwanted and give them amazing lives.  But no, I don't really care to procreate.

What's your sister been doing?

She's a computer programmer.  She's really wealthy and successful.

Is she really?!

Yeah.  She's younger than I am.  She lives in D.C. She's pretty much O.K. with the book.  She was pretty supportive.  When I toured the East Coast I stayed with her and she was pretty open-minded about it.  But compared to me she's really conservative.

Are you calling her a Republican?

Hmmmmm . . . I don't know if she's a Republican.  I didn't put her real name in the book, let's put it that way.  I didn't want her to have any problems at work or socially or anything.

That's good.  Does she plan on having kids?

I think so.  Yes, I think she'd like to be a mother. She's dating.  She's not seeing anyone seriously, I don't think.

No other siblings?


On Saturday, in Nigeria, they reduced the sentence of a teenager for having pre-marital sex, which is against Islamic law, from 180 to 100 lashes on her back.  There's a quote from the article that says, "Under Islamic law the man who gives the flogging must hold a copy of the holy Koran under his arm and cannot raise his arm high.  It must be a very soft beating. There must be no sign at all left on her body."  Now you can speak to that on two fronts, you personally about the flogging and about the laws that vary around the world regarding sex.  What would you say to this girl before she was flogged?

I don't know.  I'm not into flogging women at all.

Against their will . . .

Well, even if they begged me. I've had women beg me to spank them and I wouldn't do it just because I don't feel right hitting a woman.  Even if she's submissive and that's what she digs in her sex life, that's cool, but I don't have to be the one to do it.  <pause>  I don't know, I feel like we get enough shit as it is in everyday life.  I don't really need to add to that for anyone else that's a female.

With these kinds of laws over there in Nigeria I'm sure there are most likely no dominatrices.


I'm sure you would have a booming business.

No, the women live in bondage every day there, so to speak, you know?  They have their religion.  I guess I could never fully understand it but it seems to me that women are treated really poorly in some of those countries.  I just read a statistic that one out of every four murders is a compassionate murder, husbands murdering wives in the Middle East for acting lusty or cheating on them.

Do you think these kinds of punishments stop people from having sex?

No.  You're never going to stop people from having sex or acting out their fantasies.

Do you think these domination/submissive kinds of fantasies run rampant all around the world?

Oh yeah.  I've had clients from all over the world and all different races.  Although the most common demographic is the older, Caucasian man in my field.

But I did see all kinds of clients and the other mistresses I worked with saw all races, too.

Did you ever have two male clients at once?

Yeah!  This isn't in the book, but I actually had one guy, a regular, who kept eluding to the fact that he sort of wanted to be forced into some sort of homosexual situation.  He chickened out every time I suggested it.  He'd get really scared but finally I did bring in  another submissive.  They were both blindfolded, but I brought in another male submissive who jerked him off.

Oh, OK!  Whew!  <both laughing>

That was a really interesting one for me.

Have you received offers to resume your role?

Yeah, but I'm not planning on coming out of retirement.

Are you being offered a lot of money to do this again?

Sometimes after some of the readings that I've done there are always a couple of older men in the crowd who want to talk to me afterwards . . . and make some crazy offer.  Nothing that I would do. I'm just not into it, you know?  I'm not what they call a "Lifestyle Dominatrix."

What are you doing now?

Freelance writing for lots of pop-culture and music magazines. It's what I've been doing for a few years now.

Any recent articles we can check out?

The new issue of "While You Were Sleeping," it's like a young men's graffiti magazine.  I interviewed Ian MacKaye of Fugazi.  I have a Henry Rollins interview online at musicbooks.com that's out right now.  And also in "While You Were Sleeping" I did an interview with a female wrestler . . . she grapples.

Is she like a WWF wrestler?

No, she's not WWF but she does Jujitsu and she does fetish grappling.

Did you guys compare notes?

<laughing> No.  I did that and I'm working on an article for "Gear" magazine right now that should be out in April.

What's the best movie you've seen recently?

Hmmmm . . . recently.  I don't know, but I think my favorite movie and the best movie of last year was "Almost Famous." I loved that just because being like a rock writer myself and starting out at a young age doing that I can relate to a lot of the movie.  That was really cool.

It didn't do too well at the box office, unfortunately.

I know!  But I still thought it was an excellent story.  I love true stories.

Do you have any plans to do TV?  Have you done any national TV?

Yeah, I was on "Extra!"  They have re-run that a couple of times. I've had the most bizarre calls, like blasts from my past . . . old friends from high school saying, "I saw you at 3 a.m. on 'Extra!'"<laughing>

<mimicking Canadian friend> "I thought it was just the beer but, it really was you!"

"What the hell have you been doing?!". . .You know . . . a couple of alumni from my college and just like, weird people turning up.  I was on "Extra!" and I was on "National Enquirer TV" and a couple of local shows here in L.A. and one in Philadelphia when I was on the East Coast.

Do sales jump when you go on those shows?

You know, not as much as I thought they would.  I don't think people who watch "Extra!" read that much.

<both laughing> They're up at three in the morning watching TV!

Yeah, I don't think they went right to Amazon.com and ordered my book.  Sales kind of spiked up when they featured me on Salon.com.

Your book is available in e-book format right now.  You can download it to your Palm Pilot.  What do you think about that technology?

I think it's cool, but me, personally, I read a lot.  I've only downloaded one e-book and it was the beginning of that Stephen King book, "The Plant."  I never downloaded the rest of it!

So you don't know how it ended?!

No, I didn't care.  I didn't think it was such a great story. <slight pause> Sitting at a computer or looking at a Palm Pilot reading a book does nothing for me.  I like the pages . . . I like the smell of the paper . . . I like holding a book in my hand, you know . . . the artwork on the cover.  I'm a big book lover.  I don't think books are going to be gone anytime soon.

Do you remember your parents reading to you when you were young?

I learned to read at a really young age, at about two.  I remember reading in a crib. <laughing>

Really?!  What were you reading back then?  Any Dr. Seuss?

Oh yeah.  Dr Seuss, Curious George, all the usual stuff.

What would you read to these 10 children you're going to adopt?

Same thing!  I still have all of those books.

Oh, wow!

I'm a big book collector.  I love children's books.  I actually wrote two children's books that I hope to put out some day . . . probably not directly following this book <laughing>.  Someday.

Any young boys who are wizards and have bolts of lightning on their foreheads?

No, no.  One is a bedtime story called, "An Oink in My Underbed" and one is like a multi-cultural awareness sort of book for young children called, "Me and My Friends." <slight pause> That probably came out of my life experiences.

Had you thought of that while writing the book?


Did you draw any pictures with it?

I had a friend of mine do the artwork.  I have pictures but I haven't submitted them to a publisher or anything like that.

The publisher that published your current book probably wouldn't put out those children's books.

No, they only do fetish and S&M books.  I'm actually working on a new book and it's not fetish at all.  It's called "Chicks, Tits and Lips: Women ReFLecting on Body Image in the 21st Century."  It's an anthology that I'm doing with an author named Cara Bruce.  We've got a bunch of really great women writers contributing to it.  Hopefully that will be out by the end of this year.

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This Issue!!

In the Mix
Locker Room
Film Review

Buy Shawna's Book

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Madison Avenue

Rena Mero

Kaila Yu

Deborah Gibson

Maya Days

Danni Ashe

Shae Marks

Barbie Benson

Melanie Thornton

Julie Strain

Elke Jeinsen

Samantha 7

Kristine W

Erin Gray

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