Kelley Maren, born and raised in Hawaii, is back in town. She'll be appearing at "The Dungeon" tonight.

A fetish for success

Kelley Maren returns to her
stomping grounds and will help
host an event at The Dungeon

Talking story over a kalua pig plate at Leeward Drive Inn, Kelley "DragonLily" Maren seems like any other former Hawaii resident who's come home for a visit.

'The Dungeon'

With special guest DragonLily

When: 10 p.m. Friday

Where: Galaxy Nightclub, 1739 Kalakaua Ave.

Cover: $20

The 25-year-old raves about Downtown nightspot thirtyninehotel, complains about the humidity and wonders how she'll get into town from her grandmother's house in Waipahu so she can party some more.

Oh, and let's not forget about her appearance Friday at "The Dungeon." In addition to being in town to attend a friend's wedding, Maren will help host the freaky festivities at Galaxy Nightclub as an internationally known fetish model.

"I just thought it would be fun," she said. "I've told a lot of people to come hang out with me."

IT'S REFRESHING to hear Maren describe her work and others' reaction to her profession.

"It doesn't affect me because I want honesty to be contagious," she said. "I'm comfortable enough to talk about it with you. So if you don't like it, then you've got a problem with it -- not me."

Now living in Las Vegas, she's been self-employed since 2000, when an attempt to get into stripping led her to the Internet instead. Holding down two retail jobs wasn't enough, so she asked a family friend for help.

A crackdown on strip-club liquor licenses at the time kept her from being hired as a dancer, so the friend introduced her to a Web site where people pay to see her.

"To me, it was just words coming from the screen," she said.

WHILE MOST of her extended family support her choice of employment, Maren says it can be difficult to deal with others who remember her growing up on the Leeward side or as a student at Pearl City High School.

"It's almost like some people want to tell you why you shouldn't do things," she said. "And normally, I let them do it so they can get it all out."

The majority of her friends don't approve of her work, although she says they have become more sympathetic over time.

"Sometimes it hurts, because you just think your friends would be cool with everything," said Maren. "But they're still my friends."

The opportunity to be her own boss, however, is one of the main reasons she continues to model online. She's able to set her own hours and choose who she wants to work with. There's no pressure to make a certain amount of money, or to engage in activity that makes her uncomfortable.

WITH NO guarantee that her Chinese-Japanese-Filipino-Chamorro-Spanish looks will continue to attract patrons, Maren has a few exit strategies.

"I want to open up animal sanctuaries," she said. "I'm so hard core about animal rights. And I've always been into art."

But don't expect her to move back from Sin City anytime soon. Even though it would be technically possible to work from a Hawaii-based studio, the cost to do so would be prohibitive, she said.

"I do think about it, but ... economically, it's harder," said Maren.

"And my family here, they look tired all the time. It's like they're always trying to catch up."

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