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November 03, 2017

iWantEmpire’s Bratty Nikki Speaks Out

  This article originally ran in the November 2017 issue. Click here to see the digital edition. This past September, iWantClips dropped a delightful bomb, revealing femdom model Bratty Nikki as one of its founders and equity partners—except that rumors regarding the open secret had already been flying around the industry for some time. “Other people were telling my story for me, but it wasn't guaranteed that they were telling it the proper way,” Nikki explained. “I was kind of sick of that.” According to Nikki, she and the team behind iWantClips kept her involvement behind the scenes because they wanted the site to be judged on its own merit—and not on people’s prejudgments about performers. “A lot of people have preconceived notions about what performers are and what they aren't—and they don't always hold us in the highest regard when it comes to business,” she explained. “I didn’t want anyone to allow those judgments to affect them using the site.” Nikki ultimately made the decision to “come out of [her] bikini closet” in an effort to dispel rumors, challenge stereotypes, and move iWantClips forward. “It just felt like it was time,” she explained. “I felt like I was ready because iWantClips has achieved so much success on its own, and people believe in it now. People know it's stable and I thought maybe coming out now can only help the site—which it has.” “I’ve had such a positive response and have had so many women that I’m constantly impressed by tell me that they are proud of me—and that's the coolest feeling ever. It really is.” Hailing from Michigan and growing up in suburban Detroit, Nikki always knew she never wanted a traditional job. “I went to college for a little bit, but it wasn't for me,” she explained. “I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with my life. ... I worked as a go-go dancer and a shot girl, just gigs as a promotional model.” Everything changed in 2010 though when a girlfriend who’d been working on cam got into financial domination. “She told me about it, and said ‘Hey, I think you'd be perfect for this, this could be something that really sets you up for a lot of success,’” Nikki shared. After learning some basic ropes, Nikki had a website made, started taking calls and camming, and then filming clips. “It really just took off for me,” she recalled. “I built a fan base very quickly and just felt really natural as a financial dominatrix.” According to Nikki, financial domination (findom) is largely about confidence. She explained, “You have to believe that you are worth it, you know, guys giving you money for pretty much nothing. If you don't believe it, they won't believe it.” Financial domination is also about power, specifically turning the tables on clients who command a lot of power in their daily lives. “A lot of my clients and fans have high-powered jobs,” she explained. “They are making decisions for people all day and telling people what to do. So when it comes to financial domination and they have no control even over their wallet, it's a release for them.” But while Nikki was busy breaking hearts and bending wills, she was also experiencing serious frustrations with the various platforms and services she needed to deliver her work. “It was late 2010, and my husband [Jay Phillips] and I were talking about how much money I was bringing in but how the services that I needed from [various support sites]—the support that I needed—wasn't always there,” she recalled. “A lot of times I felt like a number, like I wasn't important to them even though I was bringing in all this money. At times, I was downright disrespected and treated very poorly, and I felt like certain situations weren't dealt with in a fair manner—I just didn't like that.” “I really think that’s what pushed us to start a new site with a new mindset and really do something that puts the performers first.” iWantClips launched in the spring of 2014, with Nikki and Jay at the helm. Today, Nikki advises on new products, develops marketing campaigns, and mentors model consultants—all while continuing to perform herself. Her business leadership coupled with her experience in front of the camera contributes to models’ positive experiences with the site. “A lot of models have said to me ‘I can tell a model is involved, you always put the models first,’” she shared. “They just really appreciate that and it gives them confidence knowing that somebody on the inside has their back and knows how business decisions or new ideas for development would be perceived by [models].” “I think I have become a really good go-between, and we've received praise for that long before I even came out as part owner.” Evidence of this success can be seen in the recent launch of iWantClips’ parent company, iWantEmpire. iWantEmpire is basically a one-stop-shop that puts different ways of monetization and connecting under one seamless roof. “A model can really build her own empire with our brand,” Nikki explained. “And I guess my mission, my biggest responsibility, is to help all of these performers—my peers—realize their own best lives and have the most success that they possibly can.” This also has benefits for consumers. In addition to services like iWantWallet, which enables users to pay for anything available via iWantEmpire, or streaming options that help stave off potential catastrophes that come with downloading content, the space facilitates a unique level of consumer immersion in models’ online lives. “I think that for the consumer buying and participating in all these services helps them feel more immersed in a performer's life,” Nikki explained. “They feel like they are part of it. They feel like they know her or him, and I think that's really cool because, you know, for some customers, it’s not just about buying a clip.” “I think that the more we can encompass that—the more services we can create to make the consumer feel like they are a part of the model’s life—then they are having a fuller experience,” she continued. “I don't think that's anything any other site offers and that's really appealing to both the customer and the performer—or, I should say, the artist.” “A lot of things that I’m interested in outside of work actually feed well into financial domination,” Nikki shared. “It's probably why I was such a natural at it.” But many of Nikki’s interests actually sound very “natural” in a more conventional sense. “I love fashion and am always paying attention to fashion week and new trends. I’m a foodie. I love good food and hanging out with my husband. I also love to read and go hiking, spending time in nature and decompressing—I’m always so connected, always on social media and Skype, or in front of a screen somehow.” And when I asked Nikki if she got bitten by a radioactive spider what her superpower would be, she shared something very tender. “This is probably an odd answer for a dominatrix, but I would love to be the ability to heal people—to be able to take away their pain and their heartaches and really help free them from those things that prevent them from living positively,” she said. Creating positive change by creating opportunity and not being assholes—seems like her superpower is already in action. Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals is a sociologist and author. Find her on Twitter at @drchauntelle. 

 
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