Burlesque! The fine art of dance and female empowerment combined with a healthy dose of sex appeal. We spoke to The Irresistible O about what burlesque artist means in the 21st century, as well as to learn a little more about her big creation: History of Performers of Color in Burly...
Describe your style in five words.
Eclectic, of the moment, colorful, fun, creative, and uh... individualistic *wink*
How long have you been performing as a burlesque artist?
Oh golly, it’s at least five years now. I should probably know this but I’m too busy performing, Lol.
What made you get into burlesque?
I was given a t shirt with a picture of Dita von Teese on it. I loved that she wore vintage fashion and makeup but I wanted to know what she did, why she, in particular, was on a t-shirt sold by such a large company like MAC. I started to research Dita and saw that she did burlesque. After watching a short bit of video of her performing burlesque I thought, “I can do that and do it my way!” Plus, I’d already begun to do some research for a project in archives that I was working on, to get my degree. The two moments kind of happened at the same time. I found out my paternal grandmother did belly dance and my mother did burlesque. I was fascinated by the glamour, their personal accounts, and the rest is herstory.
How do you incorporate your style into your burlesque performances?
Oh, there's “O” running through and through in every single act, show, and shoot, writing, everything that I do! I may depict moments in history but I put my spin on it to reflect my personality. I also strive to modernize each element so that it’s fresh and has reference to today’s time(s) in it. For instance, I may wear a pompadour or victory rolls but I make sure to keep my hair natural, highlighting the struggle(s) of my ancestors and the celebration of the beauty of women of color, myself included. Along with that I’ll have a bit of hair styled with my personal flourish. Thus, the look is historically accurate for that time period and today, whilst showcasing my individuality, my take on things.
Where and/or who do you get your style inspiration from?
I get my style inspiration from my mother, she’s the most glamorous woman to ever walk the face of this earth, my grandmother, my aunts, women in history, like Dorothy Dandridge, Hazel Scott, Dorothea Towles Church, Nancy Wilson, Sade, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger.
Tell us something about you that people might not realise.
I am constantly studying and researching. Even if I’m not working on something I’m, well, working.
Do you have a favourite place to buy our clothes from?
I have favourites, but not one specific place. I enjoy finding new brands and trying new looks. If anything, I’d say that’s my favorite. Adventures abound in the realm of O!
Do you have a favourite vintage/burlesque event in your calendar?
I can’t say that I have a favourite of either. I make it a point to go to events even when I am not performing, in order to support the endeavor and the artists giving the events. It’s good to be in the audience experiencing everything from a different point of view as well. It gives you a different take on things.
Who should we be following the antics of? Who is making a mark in your world?
The time is ripe for this world to be aware of artists of color and sellers of color. People of color really haven’t had the recognition that we should in the vintage community or in the artistic world as a whole, not even in the academic world, either, really. It’s a shame too because we have been working steadily since always. Ha! That’s why I make it a point to teach and write on the subject. Lack of visibility and acknowledgment is why I started doing panels, articles, and lectures, like my History of Performers of Color course.
Here are some great BIPOC in burlesque:
Here are some BIPOC pinups to check out:
Pinups of colour Instagram (there are tons of talented BIPOC here)
Asian Pinup Girls Instagram (lots of fab BIPOC to support on this page)
Do you have a party trick?
I suppose my party trick is that I don’t drink. People are usually shocked by that, but I get high off life. Being alive is all I need.