Miss Ann speaks out on the educational opportunity provided by her media outing
The anticipation and uncertainty were the hardest parts. “I think I’ve lost 10 pounds since all this began,” Maitresse Miss Ann — her preferred name, though her birth name is Melyssa Ann Donaghy — sighed the afternoon of Thursday, May 15.
Melyssa Ann Donaghy (Maitresse Miss Ann), professional domina, at her Meridian-Kessler home
“The High Stress Diet. Works every time,” replied Robynn Alexander, founder of the local fetish educational organization InKink. It was a moment of grim humor during a long day, right after a WRTV-6 report outed Donaghy as a professional domina working out of her home in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood. She spent the next several days shuttling between different locations, concerned about potential repercussions to her home, while waiting to see if the situation would settle down or explode out of control. In the meantime, Donaghy surrounded herself with supporters (“I can’t say enough good things about InKink and Mistress Moth,” she said) and prepared to wait out a storm that never quite arrived. When the situation began, Donaghy recalled seeing a church sign: “The darkest hour is often the shadow of the wing of God.” The words reassuringly fit with her own personal belief system. “The god that speaks to me in my heart is a universal god. I believe that god cares about all people, even people with deep, unexpressed needs within their own psyches,” Donaghy said. “God told me a year ago, I felt very strongly a year ago that someone was needed in this area to help guide and direct some of those lost submissives who did not have an understanding of how to direct the submissive parts of their persons in a safe way, under an intelligent and caring femme-domme guide.” In a series of interviews conducted the week following the WRTV-6 report, Donaghy discussed her lifestyle, profession and aftermath of her outing with NUVO. “Jack Rinehart sold his neighborhood out. He sold me out. This is how my family found out about what I do, seeing it on a sensationalistic news report,” Donaghy said. She said she suspected the situation began with an anonymous tip from an out-of-state individual she said was contacting Indianapolis media and law enforcement after Donaghy refused to start a business relationship with her. “I told her it’s not about money for me, it’s about my own actualization and helping subs to actualize. You’re not really offering anything positive to this world,” Donaghy said. “It was a few days after that that she basically announced to the world that she was going to destroy me.” Whatever the source, Jack Rinehart and WRTV-6 showed up on Donaghy’s doorstep May 6, asking about her profession. She refused an on-camera interview or to allow cameras inside her house, though she did allow them to record her end of an initial phone interview with a client. As a result, the only images of Donaghy in the story were images from her own Web site, The Reformatory, including a photo of herself and one of her submissives dressed in fetish gear on the Monon Trail, which she said was a one-time occasion to shoot photos for her Web site. “The point was to show a completely covered-up, totally dressed person do a perfectly ordinary thing, like take a walk,” Donaghy said. “He was more covered up than anyone else that day, including me.” In interviews and her Manifesto and Mission Statement on her Web site, she described her work as based in the psychological power exchange of dominance and submission (D/S). “I see my primary function is as an educator, and the primary subject I educate on is the subject of trust. Trust is the foundation upon which the crown of D/S rests,” Donaghy said. “It’s always the lying. Dishonesty is responsible for disintegrating every relationship that disintegrates … Sadly, our society has become full of fearful, deceitful, dishonest people. I believe our society has evolved this way because of our fear. I teach my subs to trust me. I deepen that trust every time I ask them to take my hand and trust me to walk them through their fear. And trust me, Miss Ann shows them that their fear is just smoke. Your fear starts to dissolve as your trust deepens. That is the real beauty and joy of the D/S experience.” Donaghy said she carefully complies with all laws for her business, including zoning ordinances and taxation, where she registers as a self-employed entertainer. “It’s artistic expression. I provide a safe, consensual outlet in which to express a part of their psyches they have no other way to explore,” Donaghy said. “I adamantly believe that it’s healthy to explore this part of the psyche, because it doesn’t go away. It’s unhealthy to leave it unexplored. If it’s not explored, it can manifest itself in negative ways.” In the days since this began, Donaghy said she has not received a single negative comment or message from her neighborhood; neither the neighborhood association nor law enforcement have approached her in any way about it. “Numerous people in the neighborhood have called and expressed their support and their concern and their understanding,” Donaghy said. As the days passed and the fallout she feared would take place failed to materialize, Donaghy said she began to realize her very public position provided an educational opportunity. “I don’t hide this from my personal friends at all. In fact, I’ve worked very hard to help them understand this part of society that feels they have to live in fear. These people are in your government,” Donaghy said. “They are lawyers, accountants and doctors. They are decorated officers in our armed forces. I’ve had an Air Force colonel as a client. An Army captain, a Ranger. These are the faces of the people who do this. Highly educated, balanced, producing members of society have this deep need that they are afraid to tell anyone except me. All these people are really afraid. Many of them fear the judgement of society’s taboos. They fear they will lose their job, educational opportunities, custodial rights, the lives they have worked so hard to build. And yet they feel compelled to express their submission in the presence of a dominant woman they respect.” The profession is a lucrative one. She supports herself as a full-time domina (her preferred term; she dislikes the words “dominatrix” and “mistress”), first conducting phone interviews with potential clients before meeting them in person and charging handsome fees. Her approach, she said, mostly involves psychology and role-playing, and does not include whips or physical punishment — one of the reasons she was bothered by the addition of numerous whip-crack sound effects to the television report. “As a dominant woman, I get a high level of emotional and intellectual stimulation from the pure power exchange,” Donaghy said. “I don’t enjoy inflicting pain. It’s not a challenge to me. Conversely, I love the challenge of control. Using my mind and a structured setting. I do enjoy peering inside the psyche of my submissive and dissecting what’s inside. Learning his thoughts and weaknesses and seeing what I can do to help him become a better servant to women and deepen his understanding of the experience of women everywhere.” The television story referred to the D/S lifestyle as “a part of the psyche kept hidden in the shadows.” Donaghy began to realize that the outing provided a potential opportunity to change that image. “I will never lose my faith in humanity. Ever,” she said, fighting back tears. “If I do, then there is nothing left to live for. If I can, through my work, teach that honesty and education enrich the human spirit, then I feel like I’m doing the work of god. And that’s why I’m not ashamed … The person who told all those lies and slander about me and got all this going, perhaps she did all of us a favor. Because she brought this into the light for all to understand.” Right around this point she received a call from a client concerned about the potential fallout. Already she was considering the positive implications. “Good stuff is going to come of this in the end. You watch!” she assured him. Online resources: Miss Ann’s site, Manifesto and Mission Statement: www.TheReformatory.com InKink’s educational site: www.inkink.org