walk the walk
Florence Derrick meets dominatrix Madam Storm, whose Strut masterclasses empower women
It is the most empowering feeling when you walk into a room and don’t even speak, but just you walking around the room makes someone tremble Madam Storm
Dominatrix, motivational speaker, seduction tutor. I knew from the start Madam Storm would be a formidable woman. But I wasn’t prepared for how downto-earth and downright lovely the female empowerment coach was.
“Hi darling,” she cried as I stepped into The Book Club in Shoreditch, leaping up from her latte in a flurry of faux fur, leather and stilettos the same crimson shade as her lipstick. “You’re beautiful.” If Madam Storm’s job is to make women feel good about themselves, the first two minutes of our meeting showed her to be a total pro.
We’d met to discuss her Strut masterclasses, which she started running in September last year.
In the sessions, Madam Storm teaches women to walk confidently in high heels. But it’s about much more than that.
“Strut is all about not giving a s***,” she said. “It’s about you saying, I am here, I am powerful, I own my sexuality and I am authentic. “A strut is me.” Towering more than six feet in her heels and having worked as a dominatrix for 11 years, Madam Storm comes across as the epitome of confidence and sass.
But I quickly learned she didn’t always feel so comfortable in her own skin – despite the fact she’d always been strutting.
“People celebrate me for being this confident, sexy woman and everyone wishes they had it,” the 34-year-old said. “But it’s a blessing and a curse. “I had so many challenges growing up. I was sexually assaulted, I was bullied. I had my power taken away from me and my coping mechanism was to be like, ‘No, f*** that. I’m going to take back my power’.”
Madam Storm grew up on an estate in Tulse Hill, relocating to Vauxhall (where she now lives again with her boyfriend) and eventually Croydon as a teenager.
“I didn’t grow up with privilege,” she said. “I grew up poor. My parents were cleaners and I remember getting up at four in the morning to go to work with them.
“But from Vauxhall you can see central London. I remember even then thinking, one day I’m going to be out there, exploring the world.
“Now I’m in black taxis going over the river. I’m like, yay.”
Growing up, her struggles had nothing to do with an identity crisis.
“I remember being 11 and knowing what it was to be sexy,” she said. “To know you have some sort of power that allures the opposite sex. But it kind of f ***** with me. There was no way I could switch it off or tone it down because I didn’t know what I was doing.
“I’ve always been tall and curvy, and I’ve always strutted. I’d walk into a room and command all this attention, but that came with bullying. I ended up going to seven different schools.
“I had a really hard time being me. Adults would feel uncomfortable around me and that would make me feel uncomfortable – dirty and ashamed about being the person I am. As a teenager, you’re not allowed to express yourself in a sexual way and for it to be positive.”
In her early 20s, Madam Storm found a non-judgemental environment for the first time – in a community she’d only heard spoken about negatively before. “Being a dominatrix allowed me to express myself for the first time after all those years of being bullied for who I was,” she said.
“I finally found a place where women were supportive of me. They loved the fact I was tall, and different – they encouraged me.
“And suddenly I had men who wouldn’t even look at me without my permission, who would treat me with the utmost respect.
“Being a dominatrix healed and empowered me.
“It is the most empowering feeling when you walk into a room and don’t even speak, but just you walking around the room makes someone tremble.
“I grew up on an estate where I couldn’t even go to the shops without being harassed. I was bullied for having this attitude and presence, but then in domming I was celebrated for it and I could whip the s*** out of men at the same time. I was like, ‘Yes’.
“I like that exchange of power. And then to get paid s***loads of money for it? It’s like, ‘Alright, I did that, girl’. “It was very therapeutic for me.” It also opened up to her a life of glamour – “I said to myself, one day I’ll live in Chelsea.
“And I ended up living just off the King’s Road and thought, I made it” – but the lifestyle that accompanied the scene didn’t always have a positive effect.
“Earning that much money at such a young age, you get caught up in drugs and alcohol,” she said.
“That fuelled the demons I had from being sexually abused.
“I used to sleep until 3pm because I could. One hour’s work domming would be the same as someone else’s wage for a week.
“One day I was like, ‘No, this isn’t it’. I couldn’t have gone through all this and for it to not be for a reason. “I always felt I had a purpose.” Madam Storm swapped partying for early-morning exercise and eventually competing in the World Bodybuilding Federation. “It changed my life,” she said. “People saw my transition and were inspired by it.
“I got flooded with messages saying: ‘You’re such an inspiration, I love your confidence’ – but I was just being myself.
“But I loved the feeling that I was making people feel good about themselves.
“I always had the ability to make other women feel empowered. Because I was bullied, I couldn’t understand why someone would want to make someone else feel s*** about themselves.
“I was the girl who’d walk into MAC, see you putting on a lipstick and say: ‘Oh my god, that looks so Continued on Page 12
The confidence coach helps women find their feet with poise and stilettos