Art & Design

Miss Meatface is Just Your Average Kinky Housewife with a Camera

Art & Design

Miss Meatface is Just Your Average Kinky Housewife with a Camera

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Kat Toronto may be shy, but Miss Meatface isn’t. Her part BDSM, part ’50s housewife alter ego poses for portraits in all her latex clad glory, teaching etiquette for the dinner party of your wildest dreams. Her latest series shows Meatface taking on three different, but equally powerful personas—The Domestic Dame, The Demure Debutante and The Disaffected Domme—as she juxtaposes stereotypical notions of femininity with her darkest fetishes. The images are colorful and disturbing—the surrealist lovechild of a John Waters, Betty Page and Helen Gurley Brown threesome gone terribly wrong. But that doesn’t mean Toronto’s photos aren’t deceiving. Underneath the doilies and dominatrix-wear, the London-based photographer captures the anxiety and contradiction of what it means to be a girl. Through Miss Meatface, Toronto tackles gender roles and sexual taboos, proving there’s only one right answer: anything you want.

BULLETT caught up with the artist to talk feminism, fetishes and ’70s fondue. Read our interview with the artist, and view On Etiquette & Entertaining: Miss Meatface Plays Perfect Hostess, exclusively below.



Tell me about the series.

It was inspired by this old fondue set from the ‘70s that I found in a thirft store. It was still in its box, and the cover is so overly saturated, it just made the meat and all the food look so horribly disgusting—I just had to buy it. Then I got to thinking, it would be great if I could do a ‘70s fondue party feel, where I can show different personas with Meatface through the shoot. She has a persona where she’s much more demure, more submissive, and kind of blends in with the wall paper. So I did the disaffected dom who is sitting there with a crazy orange brown and yellow kind of ‘70s wallpaper behind her, wearing super crazy patterns and stuff. And the third one is the domestic dame. She’s sitting at the table knitting, or she’s serving food and just being very proper and old school grandma. That’s just how my brain works.

Where do the Miss Meatface personas come from?

They’ve just kind of evolved over the past three years. I started out with one main persona that I was playing with, and from there, because of the different things that have happened in my life, these different personas of Miss Meatface have evolved. There’s the dominant one—she’s the super sexy, I don’t give a fuck what anybody thinks, and I will step on your face. Then, there’s the domestic one, who is like somebody’s grandmother—she’s totally into doilies, and decorating with the most kitschy stuff ever—and then there’s the very submissive, passive persona. She just likes to blend into the background, doesn’t want to make a big deal of herself. But mainly, she just wants to sit there and look pretty.

Why did you decide to start photographing these identities, as opposed to just being yourself? Are Miss Meatface and Kat Toronto the same person?

Originally, when I first started shooting Miss Meatface portraits, I wanted to completely disconnect her from myself personally—that’s why I made up this character. Through her, I was able to express all of these things if I had gotten in front of a camera as me, Kat, people would’ve reacted in a certain negative way. Especially because, at the time, I’d been a librarian for 10 years. So, I made a very distinctive separation between the art I was making and who I actually was. As time went by, I realized I’m much more comfortable with putting myself out there—not only as Miss Meatface, but also as Kat Toronto. Now, I can say, ‘Yes, I am Miss Meatface,’ and that’s totally fine with me.



Is that why you always have your face covered? Or is that an aesthetic choice?

It was actually quite a bit both, because it did start out to be much more of a very heavily fetishized thing. But it was also to separate myself from the person I was shooting. Now, it of course, still has the fetishized side of it, but it’s also become something where I feel like I can put on this mask and completely erase my identity. It also allows people to look at it and project their own identities onto this person they’re seeing.

What does the fetishistic BDSM aspect represent?

When I first started out doing Miss Meatface, I was much more focused on the fetishized aspect of it. At that time, I was just coming out of a relationship I’d been in for 12 years, where I had to suppress a lot of my own personal thoughts, opinions, and sexual needs—certain fetish and BDSM desires. So for 12 years, I felt like there was this part of me I really wanted to explore, and when I severed that relationship, I was finally able to.

You juxtapose that with a lot of stereotypically girly imagery. Why?

I love the aesthetic—I love playing with the really hard, really striking image of me in a BDSM outfit, sitting in this room with this prim and proper sofa and wallpaper, playing with dollies. It’s all about the push and pull—going from one extreme to the other, and having fun with that visually. But also, it’s a comfort thing. I have all these great wonderful memories of being at my grandmother’s house, the smell of old leather gloves, her perfume—it reminds me of being a little kid, and being so safe and comfortable. So, it’s a combination of the fetishization of these objects of my childhood coming back through my photographs and my own personal fetishes.

But you’re also playing a lot with traditional notions of femininity.

A lot of that, for me, is putting those notions out into the open. Fetish, for example—we don’t really talk about that in public, right? It’s one of those things that’s hush-hush. The combination of putting the two together—the super domestic scene of the woman at home, but she’s wearing these massive platform heels and a latex corset and a hood—I just want people to see it and think, ‘What the hell is this?’ I want people to question these ideas of womanhood and realize there’s more to all of us than just one thing. It’s also me working out my own questions regarding what the hell I’m supposed to be doing in life as a woman, and as a married woman. Am I supposed to have a whole bunch of kids and baking cake? By taking these photos, I’m exploring well what it means to be a woman.



Do you consider your work feminist?

Some of my Meatface personas feel like they’re in the spirit of women in the ‘60s and ‘70s who were just trying to challenge everything. But I’m not super outspoken or a huge political activist—I’m pretty shy and introverted, and I’m a total hermit. At the same time, there’s a lot of important issues that I feel very passionate about, and I like to play with certain feminist ideals in my work. But also, the the complete opposite. Like, let’s do a super stereotypical ‘50s housewife, totally submissive and passive, but let’s turn her into a feminist, and see what the hell happens.

You make all of your costumes and sets, in addition to photographing everything. How did you get into photography?

I got a BFA in textile design and I’ve always been really interested in fashion and costume. I even had a millinery business for three years. But I’ve always just returned to photography. Regardless of any other things that I may be working on or interested in at the time, I constantly have to take photographs—it’s just this need for me, and I feel like I have to do it or else I’m going to go crazy.

How would you compare this series to your other work?

With this series, it’s been a lot easier for me to express myself, and to actually allow myself to do the things I’ve been wanting to do for like, 10 years. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m comfortable enough with myself to put everything out there, and not be afraid of what people are going to say or think.

What do you want people to take away from it?

I want them to feel more comfortable with themselves—or maybe not. But if I can at least get people to start asking questions about sexuality, and women, that’s enough.

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