LOS ANGELES—January Seraph, an internationally known dominatrix, fetish model and performer, has passed away.
The circumstances of her passing had not been confirmed at post time, but Seraph, also known as Mistress January, was in her early 30s when she died Saturday in San Francisco.
Seraph started her adult industry career in 2007, compiling more than 50 credits as a performer including several for Kink.com. A popular pro domme who built a high profile in the tight-knit fetish community, her body of work also included titles for Digital Sin, Severe Society Films, Sweetheart Video, Lakeview Entertainment, Jewell Marceau and Venus Girl Productions as well as several appearances on Latex Fashion TV.
“We knew her really well when we were first starting out,” Dee Severe, co-owner of Severe Society Films, told AVN Sunday. “We shot with her a lot and then she moved to San Francisco and we just kind of kept in touch and when she was in town we’d have a lunch or something.
“Around 2007-08 when we were starting Severe Society, she was in a lot of our stuff. She was so nice—one of the first people in the business who really was producing fetish porn that we’d met. She was so sweet, so gorgeous. We did all kinds of really fun stuff with her in a lot of our earlier DVDs.”
Severe recalled a particularly memorable collaboration when she hired Seraph for her “Tickle Torture” series on Clips4Sale.
“I remember both us tickling the hell out of Jewell Marceau, who was the worst tickle victim. It was a hilarious tickle clip,” Severe continued. “She was one of the first people we really had a camaraderie with and we thought OK, we’re really in this fetish production community, we’re a part of it now.”
She added, “When I think of her I just think of all the really happy times we had. I’m just really heartbroken. She mentored a lot of people. She was a wonderful person and a role model for so may other dommes.”
Seraph, who was also a passionate BDSM educator and prolific fem-dom video producer, owned the production company Seraph OmniMedia and ran JanuarySeraph.net.
“January was one of my closest friends,” adult performer Violet Monroe told AVN. “I met her 10 years ago when I first moved to Los Angeles and she was so kind and sweet and such an amazing, genuine person. We were there for each other through a lot of rough times, and it’s extremely surreal to me that she is gone. I love her so much and I am completely heartbroken. I hope she is at peace, and I will always miss her. It’s rare you meet someone as special as January. She was an amazing person and friend. We lost someone truly amazing and the world won’t be as beautiful without her.”
Ela Darling, the president of the Adult Performers Advocacy Committee (APAC), was also one of Seraph’s close friends.
“I met her really early in my porn career about seven years ago when I was still brand new,” Darling told AVN. “I met her through Twitter when I put together a list of people that I wanted to work with and she reached out to me. I was kind of star struck. She very quickly became very dear to me and we’ve been close over past seven years. She looked out for me and I’ve helped her out whenever I could. She always really shined and sparkled.”
Darling said Seraph was a giant in the fetish community.
“Everybody knows who January is,” Darling said. “I was less involved in the fetish side of things, but while we met through the industry, my friendship with January felt more like a civilian friendship saturated in sex work. We didn’t talk about the industry too much unless it was helping each other out. It was mostly life stuff. She was definitely renowned. The fetish community was inseparable from her identity.”
Darling pointed to part of Seraph’s bio on her official site in which January said she “loves intensely” and she also “hates intensely.”
“That was something very unique to her personality,” Darling said. “She was a very complex person.”
She said Seraph, who had been suffering from depression for much of the past 18 months, would not have wanted her death to be sugarcoated.
“When someone kills themselves we want to talk about it in whimsical, delicate terms but she wouldn’t have wanted that,” Darling continued. “She died as intensely as she lived. She died on her own terms just the way she lived. This wasn’t sudden. This wasn’t unexpected. She wouldn’t want us talking about this in soft, gentle terms. She was hardcore and this was part of her intensity that made her shine so brightly.”
Darling said that she has Seraph to thank for her strong bond with her sister after Seraph recommended she take a trip with her to help mend their previously strained relationship.
“Now my sister is my best friend,” Darling added.
She also said Seraph was beyond generous with her possessions and her money—Seraph once outfitted her in one of her latex ensembles for a fetish party at AVN in Vegas when Darling didn’t have anything to wear. Seraph did the same for a mutual friend before another event.
“She didn’t cling to items over connections and experiences,” Darling added.
Veteran photographer/director Jay Allan shared fond memories of working with Seraph.
Severe Society’s Jimmy Broadway (@FetishDirector) tweeted, “I just found out that I lost an old, dear friend today,
@January_Seraph. Mental illness took her life, she just stopped it. Rest in peace.”
Performer Satine Phoenix said on Twitter, “RIP @January_Seraph. I wish I was there to stop you this time. … I’ll always love you. Thank you for the beautiful and crazy memories.”
Maitresse Parisienne (@_LadyBellatrix_): “RIP to my dear friend January. May your beautiful soul rest in peace. @January_Seraph you were the sister I never had and you will be missed.”
Producer/director Max Candy, who had recently collaborated with Seraph, tweeted, “Miss you January Seraph I will always be grateful to you for the ‘Wisdom and Beauty’ you so graciously shared with me in making ‘tOuch BDSM.’”
The LatexFashionTV Twitter account posted: “Heartbroken to hear of @January_Seraph’s passing. Thank you for the memories. I hope you’re at peace.”
On her Instagram account, performer Rubber Doll remarked, “So sad to hear the news about @januaryseraph. She was always great to work with and a pleasure to be around. The fetish community has lost someone so special and talented. She will be missed.”