C: What was your overall impression? Are female maskers happy people, or are they sad?
CK: I encountered both kinds of maskers. It all comes down to each person’s experience and background. Not everyone has an accepting and supportive family or partner. Living out the female masking lifestyle secretly, while in constant fear someone could find out and reject them, can be a very limiting, frustrating experience. Nevertheless, while photographing these maskers, it seemed that slipping into their alter ego rendered them happy for the time being. I think female masking adds ambiguity to their lives that, on the one hand, fulfills them. On the other hand, it can hinder their being fully in tune with themselves. I met many maskers like you, however, who completely immerse themselves in the masking world and are supported by people close to them. This enriches their life, like any other fulfilling hobby or passion.
C: What did you want to say with this project? Do you feel like you succeeded?
CK: I intend to give intimate insight into the lives of female maskers and the motivations behind their choices. I was specifically interested in capturing my protagonists in daily situations, which is why I looked for maskers who take their alter ego into public spaces—very rare in this scene. It was important to capture the maskers in their personal environment in order to convey the contrast between their regular lives and their alter egos. With this project, as with my other work, I aim to challenge stereotypes while making this topic accessible to those unfamiliar with it.
CORINNA TO CHRISTIAN
Corinna Kern: What is the difference between female masking and cross-dressing?
Christian Cross-dressing typically describes wearing the clothes of another gender but doesn’t necessarily include a mask. A woman wearing men’s clothes is cross-dressing. Female masking is based on wearing a mask. According to my knowledge, it was always linked to wearing latex in the past, but nowadays cross-dressers have discovered female masks and sometimes adopt them in roleplay.
CK: How did you come to be a female masker?
C: When I was 17, I was reading a Playboy magazine with a picture of a model in lingerie. I don’t know why, but I suddenly imagined slipping into her body like a latex skin. This was the first time I wanted to look like a latex girl.
From then on, I constantly looked for female masks. You can imagine how difficult that was before the internet. My early masks were pretty ugly: made of 1-2mm thick latex, non-elastic, with horrible aesthetic appeal. Even using the internet, good quality masks have only been available for a couple of years.
CK: It seems like you made a name for yourself, not only in the scene, but also outside. Tell me about your progress as a female masker and the development of your alter ego.
“I was reading a Playboy magazine
with a picture of a model in lingerie.
I don’t know why, but I
suddenly imagined slipping into
her body like a latex skin.”
C: I started the Chrissie adventure by taking selfies. I loved to see my outfits from different perspectives, and I could post the pictures to Facebook and see people’s reactions. People liked my pictures and commented on them, and my following grew pretty fast. It was overwhelming.
One of the fans asked me if I was the well-known female masking model Mia M Wallace. I said I wasn’t. He said his impression is that Mia M Wallace is the “celebrity” account and Chrissie is the “everyday” account. I liked that: the idea of a neighbourhood girlie addicted by latex. To live next door to such a girl is a dream for almost all latex fetishists, and my dream as well.
I realized Chrissie was more than just a visual object. The neighbourhood girlie idea developed certain characteristics: cute, naughty, friendly, curious, interested in fashion, elegant, sexy, frivolous… All characteristics I personally like. I tried to reflect those characteristics in my conversation and my pictures, and it worked. That was the birth of Chrissie’s personality. And from that point on, it was much more fulfilling to me. She became almost like a real person, and this kind of completion is what people like. It´s not only picture watching. They can talk to Chrissie, follow her life, get an authentic story.