“Why do you do burlesque?” and often the insinuated question “Is it because you’re insecure?” I’m asked a lot and I’m in a reflective mood today so thought I’d tell…

Photography: Carole White

Unpopular answer: Yes… partially. When I first got into burlesque I was very low in confidence and didn’t feel very sexy at all. I thought burlesque was perhaps a bit dirty and possibly even degrading for women (I was wrong). I’d guess that most women have been slut shamed at some point in their life, I certainly have been, you know, just for owning a generous posterior (sorry about that…) so I was unsure how I really felt about burlesque, but was curious and wanted to know if I had the nerve…

What I actually found was that I was met with beaming smiles and women came over after the show to gush about how they were in awe of my confidence and if only they had the guts to be so brazen… so yes it was a big confidence boost- I didn’t think I was suddenly some goddess; I just realised I wasn’t the ogre I had once thought and that all of a sudden I was in control of my own sexuality and that expressing it did not make me a ‘slut’.

It was a revelation for sure. But, why do I do burlesque NOW?

Photography: Carole White

So many reasons… 

Because I love vintage, I love retro lingerie and sparkly outfits, the dancing and the music;
I love the people and the social aspect of doing the shows, meeting other amazing performers and dancing with the girls;
I love that it makes other women feel good to see an average girl like me (if dolled up in lashes and lipstick) working the stage;
Because it sends out the right message to men- yes it is ok to look when invited to do so, just be respectful (not to mention that men also perform Boylesque and variety acts at the shows too);
I love pushing boundaries and being creative;
I love being self-employed and having control over my own life and working hours;
Because I’ve put in an unimaginable amount of hours 
perfecting my performance;
Because I’m naturally a bit cheeky…

I could go on.

The world of burlesque is big and continues to grow, there’s so much more to it than feminism, we love to entertain! Whilst we're at it, it does feel good to challenge and try to eradicate the taboos surrounding female sexuality, but hell no, your professional burlesque performer is not insecure ladies and gents!

Photography: Sue Wagstaff