How did you get involved in Burlesque?
I was raised with a lot of retro influences and was always surrounded by performers of various styles. I was into old jazz and rockabilly when I was a child, and I always found movie stars from he 20′s – 50′s more attractive and interesting than people from ‘my time.’ When I was 13, I was getting friends to go go dance with me (60′s style) and emulate routines from musicals. By by the time I was 16 I was performing ‘comedic’ dance routines with weird moves to vintage music. Without being aware, it was very ‘burlesque’ as I was doing humorous theatrical performances with hints of sexuality. At the time, there was no umbrella term for burlesque as such – and all I knew of burlesque was feathered fans and images of so-called ‘classic’ stripper-style performers. My father played in several different cabaret-style bands, so I always had access to costumes and creative, talented free-thinking performers. From 1993 – 2004, I performed in Australia with various groups and dance partners, and partook in numerous Fringe and comedy festivals. Upon arriving in Vancouver in late 2004, I made some pasties and performed in shows with Sweet Soul and Fluffgirl Burlesque. Simply showing the melons while doing the same sort of dancing turned me a ‘burlesque performer!’
Whats your favorite act to perform?
I always enjoy ‘Barbarella’ because my costume is easy to deal with and the routine makes people laugh. I also like riding off on my pink horse at the finale of my Marie Antoinette number. People naturally expect to see me eat cake – but that’s what everyone does in their Antoinette numbers, so I get into bubbles and horses instead. I prefer some dance choreography to be involved, and I like people to get inspiration from me if they can! I am not a ‘sensual’ performer per se, and I get the most fulfillment if people like my sequined shoes or crazy expressions. That demonstrates my artistic abilities and creative ideas. Though I want to appear ‘attractive’ to some extent, I don’t necessarily want anyone to find me ‘hot!’ I want to be unique. I try to avoid the cliches.
Whats your favorite act you’ve seen?
I cannot pinpoint one – as there are so many I have seen in my lifetime, and so many diverse performers. However, I was very moved at the 2009 BHOF during the ‘Legends’ show. Seeing women over 60, 70 and even 80 perform in burlesque was a very beautiful thing. There is so much judgment in the world – ageism, sexism, body-ism. Seeing these women get cheered by hundreds of people who ‘get it’ was a beautiful thing. I even shed some tears. Where else in society could they do that without being ridiculed and told to ‘put some clothes on and act your age.’ To me, THAT’s what burlesque is about – doing it ‘your way.’ Not about thousands of Swarovski crystals, vintage hairdos or ‘hot’ bodies, etc – but about individual creative expression. I love to see something I’ve never seen (or thought of!) before. Whether it’s hit or miss, creativity trumps formula for me every time. Not that I have anything against Swarovski and all that, but I prefer to see something new and innovative.
Highlights thus far?
So many highlights, so little time.
* Being backstage with INXS at the Olympics after party, getting ready to be their support act doing an ‘Australiana’ version of the Barbarella routine while wearing my astronaut suit. We shared a bathroom and they had to wait for me to get ready. Absurd. Nice people. We share acquaintances from the ‘olde country’ (Australia) so it just felt like seeing old friends.
* Dancing back-up for Blowfly (original dirty rapper) and then seeing myself in the documentary made about him. I also got Precious Metal in on that gig! Melbourne girls unite.
* The Vancouver International Burlesque Festivals. It makes me very full of heart to see how many people are attracted to performing and watching. We have had excellent international guests, as well as a very talented and diverse pool of local performers.
If you could be any condiment, which condiment would you be?
Herbes de Provence – complex in flavor, lending a certain freshness to dishes and has numerous varieties…