I’ve known and admired Kim Pham, the founder of Asian food brand Omsom, from afar for many years now. When I saw her self-describe as a dominatrix on social media, I immediately grew intrigued about this part of her identity. Below is our conversation on her journey so far. —Alisha
Q: Kim, tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re seeing in the self-care landscape.
It is impossible to ignore that “self-care” has become a thriving $13 billion industry. And for all the ways that we are given solutions to better skin, better hair, and better bodies, we don’t nearly give that same attention to sexuality, play, and intimate connection—integral parts of the human experience. Coming off of decades of wellness being steeped in restrictions and “purity,” it feels like our desire for authentic sexual connection is roaring. As both a trained dominatrix and founder of proud and loud Asian food brand Omsom, I have found my calling in allowing folks to view indulgence and play as part of their wellness.
My journey into play and sexuality has felt the most bolstered by the exploding popularity of TikTok. The hyper-ephemeral, hyper-addictive platform of short-form videos has created an algorithm that allows you to quickly find your community; often, the “For You” page knows you better than perhaps you know yourself.
Coming off of decades of wellness being steeped in restrictions and “purity,” it feels like our desire for authentic sexual connection is roaring.
Q: What, in your opinion, is so special about accessing this new world of information on TikTok?
As a brand leader, I’m obsessed with the platform. It doesn’t matter how much money you spill into the video—production value isn’t what TikTok users care about. It’s about an authentic voice, a real POV, humor, and relatability that brands can’t pay for.
As a consumer and creator, I’m grateful that the platform (despite being deeply flawed and imperfect) truly enables access: the words, concepts, and vernacular around gender, sexuality, and play that took me decades to learn in the dark are now being openly discussed in a safe and non-judgmental way. Ideas like the gender spectrum, safe and consensual views of BDSM, and non-monogamy feel infinitely more accessible on TikTok versus the college classrooms, dungeons, and community spaces I had to seek out to learn about these concepts.
Perhaps even more importantly, TikTok has enabled folks to find community! In ways that these communities used to be hidden, obscured, and buried in web 1.0 sites and forums, they are now being openly discussed in various “tok” communities.
Q: Are there any communities you personally participate in?
I’m quite active on “kinktok.” As a lifestyle domme, I started creating sex-positive content on TikTok to demystify BDSM, a world that has long felt like a black box to me. In just a few short months, I’ve built a small community of 20k+ followers keen to learn and engage more about ethical kink.
Q: You mention the demystification of BDSM—in your mind, what is a common misconception about it?
There are so many (thanks, porn and 50 Shades of Grey!). One that always irritates me is that BDSM is always physically painful. This is 1) not necessary, and 2) frankly over-sensationalized. BDSM contains multitudes—so yes, it can be the whack-y, poke-y, prod-y things. But to me, BDSM ultimately involves consensual, informed power exchange, which can be everything from mental dynamics, control to humiliation, and worship. Pain is not a prerequisite!
Q: I'm curious about identity. As an Asian femme, what are you noticing in this space? How have you had to negotiate your own identity (or not)?
As a society, we’re told that there should be separations between our “vanilla life” and our “bedroom life”—when I actually believe that it’s all incredibly intersectional. How I show up during play is intricately tied to my identity as a queer Asian woman. My work in kink and BDSM feels part of this larger work that I do—as an individual and through Omsom—around unlearning narratives that have been given to me by heteronormative, patriarchal society and choosing agency every step of the way. Being the founder of a proud and loud food brand celebrating Asian Americana feels natural when I also spend time personally to recognize the multitudes in my own pleasure. Sex positivity is not about automatically being “DTF,” but instead about a conscious choice to de-stigmatize sexuality and view intentional play as healthy, joyous, and connecting.
Sex positivity is not about automatically being “DTF,” but instead about a conscious choice to de-stigmatize sexuality and view intentional play as healthy, joyous, and connecting.
I’m grateful that TikTok is normalizing this for a new generation of humans. Sex and play are an integral form of self-care—a way to not only connect and co-create pleasure with others, but also reflect inwards with honesty about what brings you joy. It is openness and acceptance of many understandings around sexuality, gender, kink, relationship structures, and commitment. It is an intentional conversation with yourself and your partners about things that are often hidden in the dark and away from others—and there is immense healing and beauty in that process.
Kim Pham is a self-proclaimed internet weirdo and co-founder of Omsom, a proud and loud Asian food brand. She is also a domme and BDSM educator who advocates for ethical kink as a form of human connection and play. You can find her on Instagram and TikTok.
Photo by Deanie Chen