Texas Pin-Up Model of the Year, Amber Deville recently sat down with us wearing a hat she made herself, to talk oatmeal, Bettie Davis, and horror films.
Cover photo: Through the Looking Glass.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
I had peaches and cream oatmeal with water- yummy.
How did you fall in love with the pin-up era?
The musical Gypsy with Natalie Wood is how I feel in love with the pin-up era. My grandmother, the late Betty Jean, showed me the movie when I was thirteen and I just fell in love with it. I love how it showed the old vaudeville circuit and the burlesque dancers including Gypsy Rose Lee. I soon learned about more pin-up gals such as Maila Nurmi, Bettie Page, Tempest Storm, Marylin Monroe and so on . I just love the style, what can I say?
How did you get your start in modeling?
My mother put me in modeling school at the age of fifteen; it was the Kim Dawson agency. There they taught us how do walk the runway, pose in front of the camera, and how to do your make up just right for certain styles of photography. That’s where I started out, and here I am now.
You recently earned the title of Pin-Up Model of the Year at Hot Rods and Heels. Tell us about that experience.
Oh my god, I had so much fun at the event and I really did not expect to win. The other ladies are great models as well. It was such a great surprise, and I am so happy that people like what I have done so far. I expect to be putting more and more out there and working my little butt off. But yes, I am grateful that I won and I would like to thank Hot Rods and Heels for putting together a wonderful event. I can’t wait till next year!!
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
Well, I would say the biggest is winning Pin-Up Model of the Year. This year has been so great, and I only hope it gets better.
What advice would you have for a gal who wants to get started in the pin-up modeling world?
If it is what you want to do, but you have people saying you’re not good enough- don’t listen to them. Work towards your goal; in the end it will all pay off. Don’t pay attention to the negative critics- you will get those, so you have to learn to let it go and just do what you love to do.
What are three characteristics of a professional model? (What skills should ladies bring to a shoot?)
Always show up to a shoot on time and don’t cancel at the last minute unless it’s an emergency.
Always come prepared and be ready to model your butt off.
Don’t be mean to your photographer- they work hard to get you great pictures.
Who are your favorite vixens?
That would be Miss Bette Davis! I love her movies- she was not afraid to say what was on her mind and did not ever care what the critics thought. She was always willing to take on a challenge. Bette Davis was and always will be an amazing actress and woman of her time.
Is “drama” an issue in the pin-up community? How do you handle it?
If there is an issue I don’t get involved in it. I think its best just to avoid drama and just have fun!
What does the future hold for Amber Deville?
I am hoping to get more into acting- I am filming right now. The movie is called Trace. It is a horror film by Remy St Paul…I am hoping to get more roles in other movies. I am also going to be modeling a lot more so be on the look-out for new sets to be posted. I love keeping busy and hope to accomplish a lot this year.
Denton’s Vixens of Vaudeville did fundraisers for months to afford to send the troupe to Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas. If you’ve been living under a rock- this is where the Miss Exotic World Pageant is held annually, which is *the* title to hold in burlesque. We asked the Vixens toshare their experience.
By: Divertida Devotchka (Vixens of Vaudeville Revue)
I’m pretty sure Stacey Q’s “Two of Hearts” was blaring through the 20th floor suite at the Orleans Casino and Hotel when someone ripped back the curtains to reveal blinding beams of daylight (which, mind you, seem much harsher when you’re whiskey-drunk at 7 AM at the ‘pants off dance off’ after-after-party). Everyone cheered triumphantly as if challenging the sun to interfere with our celebration, and it was at that moment that it really hit me. “Holy crap,” I thought. “I’m in Vegas at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. My life rules.” Of course, this epiphany was rudely interrupted by hotel security informing us there were noise complaints from two floors below us. Sigh.
The party may have been cut short, but the entire weekend was brimming with similar this-is-why-I’m-glad-to-be-alive experiences. The grueling months of planning and fundraising paid off for our troupe, the Vixens of Vaudeville Revue, and to be honest, the whole journey couldn’t have been more rewarding.
The highlight of our trip was meeting the burlesque legends, listening to them reminisce, receiving their indispensable advice, and of course, seeing them shake what their mommas gave them. Although she did not perform this year, just being in the same room as Tempest Storm was something we never thought we’d be fortunate enough to experience, and Dixie Evans is such a gem. Every time she addressed the crowd it brought a huge smile to my face. We were also thrilled when Satan’s Angel won the Legend award for 2009. We had the pleasure of meeting her and she was incredibly down to earth. Seeing the legends perform and attending their Q & A session was overwhelmingly inspirational. The four of us Vixens agreed that we’d give anything to be like these extraordinarily graceful, talented women when we’re older. Vixen Crystal Pistols put it best when she said, “Guys, we should be like the Golden Girls, but we’ll do burlesque!”
Aside from the legends showcase, we also had the privilege of modeling in a pinup safari hosted by Don Spiro, Dale Rio, and Java of Java’s Bachelor Pad. We had a blast cruising through Vegas on a double-decker bus, enjoying a hearty whiskey breakfast with our new photographer friends.
And of course, the Miss Exotic World Pageant was absolutely breathtaking. Everyone was so talented that it must have been very difficult for the judges to choose the winners, but we agreed that the new Reigning Queen of Burlesque Kalani KoKonuts put on a stunning performance. We also adored Perle Noire, who we can’t wait to see again at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival in September. Some of our other favorites included performances by the Oona Tramps, Arabella Trapeze, and Foxy Tann and the Wham-Bam Thank You Ma’ams. All told, we saw over 12 hours of burlesque performances during the weekend and every act was unique. “I thought it was wonderful to see the variety of performances from classic to avant garde,” said Vixen Honey Cocoa Bordeauxx. “It just goes to show that burlesque is not just one thing, and that it has so many different elements – dance, theatre, comedy, striptease, and anything else you can think of to throw in the mix.” And don’t even get me started about the caliber of emcees who hosted the events. They were all unbelievably entertaining, but our favorites were Miss Astrid and El Vez, who had totally different personas but they had an amazing dynamic on stage together. As much as we love the ladies, we agreed that the boylesque performers really gave the gals a run for their money.
Another reason we attended the event was for networking, and even that experience exceeded our expectations. People were very welcoming and passionate about the preservation of burlesque as an art form, and they really advocate awareness of the history of burlesque, which are two main reasons the Vixens do what we do. “Everyone was so excited – excited about building a new vaudeville circuit, excited about what we’re doing, and excited about what we could make together. They really cherish the idea of preserving the old while adding the new,” said Vixen Femme Vivre LaRouge. It was refreshing to be surrounded by so many glamorous kindred spirits. We were all fascinated by how they’ve managed to construct their own fabulous little world in Vegas, a place already described by many as a playground for adults.
To say the least, the Vixens are already anxiously awaiting next year’s BHOF weekend. And if you’re a fan of all things glittery and fabulous, you should be anxious too.
Hot Rods and Heels Darling of the Year, and the mastermind behind Bewitching Burlesque- Glam Amour talks voyeurism, chaos, and total world domination!
How did you fall in love with the pin-up & burlesque movement?
Girlfriends bought me a workshop with Jo Boobs when she was here in Dallas a while ago…I fell in love. It was a chance to really set lose my inner exhibitionist, but in a way that seem very safe. I always thought being a stripper would be fun, but I thought A: I’m too Fat and B: I LOATHE the thought of being groped. With burlesque, most of the audience doesn’t care what shape you are, it’s more what you can do with your curves and there’s no touching! It was as if someone said “oh, you CAN have your cake and eat it too”.
If someone has no idea what burlesque is, how would you define it?
It’s a voyeurs holiday, because instead of stripping for the audience, you are stripping for yourself and you bring them along for a ride. There is classic burlesque that seduces with glamour and glitz taking you back to a time when the journey was almost more fun than the destination. Modern burlesque that wants you to question assumptions about beauty or sexuality or your world. My favorite numbers are ones that have something to say, a story to tell. Then, not only is there eye candy, but brain candy as well. yummmmm…..
You debuted as both a producer and a performer in October of 2008, describe that first Bewitching experience.
Nerve wracking. Emotionally chaotic…. what if I don’t break even? What if they say “what the heck does that fat chick think she’s doing taking off her clothes” and what if they all run for the one bathroom to vomit. What if some how I piss off all the performers I’ve hired and I’ve just ruined my chances of performing ever again? I had to do it, though. I had to prove to myself that I could do it. Even if all the nightmares I was having came true. I had to gift myself with the chance to know- to have done it. Just once….ok, twice…. ok, three times…. ok- again…. and again…
You were the first to have a variety burlesque showcase in Dallas, where anyone was welcome to audition. What are the ideals that Bewitching Burlesque is founded upon?
Anyone who has the balls to get a performance together, a good costume and wants to take the stage- should be given the opportunity. It’s really hard as a soloist or a new troupe to break in to burlesque- I know, I tried it… lost my temper and decided to build my own event, with Pixie O’Kneels excellent help, for those of us who need a jumping off place or just place to show off a fabulous new hobby. It’s one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done, I HAVE to share it. Wouldn’t you?
Bewitching Burlesque was instrumental in the recent rapid growth of Dallas’ burlesque scene. How do you feel about burleque’s giant surge in popularity lately?
BRING IT ON! I’m excited and scared. Rapid growth can lead to stress fractures with in the community, so it’s really important that the community keeps communication open about everything from events to workshops to new performers looking for mentors. Our community can be SO supportive and warm, I don’t want to see that lost. I feel like the Lorax allot of the time, the doom sayer, but really I’m excited about all the opportunities that having a growing community brings. No matter what- it’s gonna be quite the ride!
Where do you feel the Dallas Burlesque scene is headed? Where would you like it to be?
I really like that the community works hard at making sure that show/event dates don’t conflict, that respect for the performers as artists is being widely promoted. If we can keep this up, our community is going to grow until it will be unheard of for a person to NOT have been to at least one burlesque show. ( I’m excited for the day when I’m at dinner and the next table over is debating the difference from the classic show they saw last night and the modern one the saw the week before!)
As a producer you were recently awarded the title of “Hot Rods and Heels Darling” which recognizes someone annually who has worked their behind off to promote the community. Tell us about that experience.
Winning the award was really awesome for me. It’s quite selfishly warm and wonderful to be recognized on a community level, but I tell you what, this next year is gonna be a tough call! I’m really excited about (had nothing to do with) the Dallas Burlesque website and the grass root initiative to get local performers giving local workshops. There is also the budding project “Burlesque for the Cause”- which I think is a very noble concept. I think my efforts last year are going to be far outstripped by the amazing work that groups like these are doing.
What are the skills neccessary to be a great producer? What goes into planning a show?
HA! There are a thousand and one different takes of what it is to be a great producer and since I’m not one, I don’t know what they are! The way Pixie and I run and event is by working at being good parents and NOT doing anything that we hated that was done to us as performers (another dance genre, not Burlesque). So we work at keeping the dancers appreciated, informed and protected. We work at making sure that we have an audience for our events and that our audience knows how to appropriate appreciate the performers.
What goes in to planning a show? antacids, long sleepless nights and lots of prayers. pray that the boss doesn’t catch you doing your second job at your first job. pray that all your performers don’t catch the flu all at the same time and you have a show of… you. pray that the family of the performer on the stage, doesn’t catch the catty comment you just overheard from the group in front. pray no one falls and takes your house….Faith, I guess is the short answer, faith and antacids.
As an entertainer, what do you hope audiences take away from your performances?
ENTERTAINMENT. An evening where they forgot bills, house repairs and work woes. Maybe even lit a spark for ideas for the next night when the kids are at grandma’s……
What does the future hold for Glam Amour and Bewitching Burlesque?
For myself- GlamAmour: I want to be a good, solid performer.. Not great, I have no delusions of grandeur, however good, for me, would be great. So I’m off to take classes and push my self in to auditioning for events (even when my inner coward is screaming “NO YOU FOOL”) and just making my self more desirable as a performer. I also am dreaming on some ideas to get more community orientated events. Some balls have been started by La Divina and the Velvet Kittens, I hope to get those picked up and run with.
For Bewitching Burlesque: TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION. or hey, a Mid Summer Masquerade in August and a cool collaborative with Through the Looking Glass in December- Gifts and Garters. 2010- who knows. Pixie does. She’s the brains of the outfit.
Hot Rods and Heels Texas Hair and Makeup Artist of the Year Rocio Vielma sat down with us to discuss Vi-Ve, NYC fashion week, artistry, and common makeup mistakes.
Did you always know you wanted a career in the arts?
Absolutely! My first passion was architecture (which I still love), then I was introduced to contemporary dance and fell in love. I have always been exposed to the arts.
What’s your training background? Did you attend school, apprentice someone, both?
I attended cosmetology school in Dallas back in ’03, learned hair (all about the “pin curls”) among many other things I am able to use now.
For Makeup I must say, besides the little they covered in school, I am pretty much self taught .
How did you make the transition to a full time hair & make-up artist? Describe how you got your start.
Always wanted to become a makeup artist! Always!!
Almost four years ago I told myself to go for it whatever it would take to get where I hope one day I can be , so far it has worked and I am so fortunate to have come across wonderful people that had helped me tremendously along this ride.
When did you found Vi-Ve Makeup and what’s the story behind the name?
Vi-Ve makeup was founded on August of 2005 almost 4 years ago.
As many people may know , I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. We do use our full names including father’s and mother’s first last names , which in my case my last names are Vielma Vera, therefore, I took the first syllables from each last name and became Vi-Ve, I thought it would make my parents happy…and it worked!
What’s the best thing about owning your own business? What’s the hardest thing?
The hardest is the scheduling, being a mother of three wonderful cubs and trying my hardest to juggle all their activities and my work!
The easiest is not only being your own boss, to me is to be able to really do what you love to do , being aware of the challenges and still have the motivation to keep going since this is what I wanted to do when I grew up after all
You go out of your way not to pigeon-hole yourself as only doing one particular style of hair & make-up (ie. just pin-up). Why is diversity so important?
What a blessing for those who are willing to step out of the box and take risks to be able to grow professionally why not?! It is phenomenal!
If I only did pinup I wouldn’t be represented by an agency that’s just the plain truth, I wouldn’t be able to get all the work I do, doing Hair and Makeup has most definitely helped to increase my work .
As I stated before, “do not limit yourself , this beautiful profession is a never ending learning process, embrace it.”
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere and everything! The internet is such a fantastic fountain of information nowadays for example, you can go and watch NY fashion week as its happening! I read a lot read, read, read, and more reading. Trust me, we need to study everything that can help us make our job easier.
What is your dream assignment?
Assignments! Haha !
The day I get to do Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Monicca Belucci, Audrey Tautou, Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder’s hair or makeup , that will be the day I will be in heaven!!!
What’s one common make-up mistake that women make?
I’ll give you a few:
-Fall for just one brand name.
-Being convinced that a makeup artist can make you look like the “A-lister” that looks nothing like you.
-Getting stuck in the best decade of your life.
How important are brand names? Is it important to get a certain brand of makeup?
Today we are exposed to so many different brands, and some of them have an amazing networking power over the general public, however doesn’t necessary means it is the best. Let me just take a minute to give advice about the true meaning of a freelancer, it means they work on their own , not for a brand name , when you come across with someone mentioning “I am a freelancer for X brand name”, no, there’s no such a thing! That person works for a company therefore they will do their best to sell you that brand , if you come across a true freelancer , they wont try to sell you anything! They will offer a general brand outlook and advice.
What is your advice for gals (and guys) who want to pursue a career as a hair & make-up artist for print work?
When I joined the cosmetology school I recall the teacher asking everyone of us what we wanted to do after graduation. After all, people change opinions and goals all the time and is valid, when it was my turn I said “I want to do makeup” everyone of course laughed and the teacher said what are you doing here? I said, “I want to be able to offer as much diversity on my work as I can if I can offer hair and makeup I will be able to get more work.”
From my entire class (36 people), I am one of three people who are still fulfilling our goal!
You will find so many challenges; be ready for them and take them as another class; in this never ending learning experience is a beautiful career!
What does the future hold for Vi-Ve Makeup and Rocio?
Hey I am just a makeup artist not a psychic! Hopefully we keep growing professionally and as a person so I can take anything and still act chilled about it …
Honey Cocoa Bordeauxx recently sat down with us to talk self confidence, inhibitions, bombshells, voodoo, and being a woman of color in the Texas burlesque community.
1. For someone who knows nothing about burlesque, how would you describe it?
Burlesque is an art form that takes classical dance, vaudeville, and striptease and mixes it with satire and comedy.
2. What three things should a great performer/performance have?
A great performer has to have that natural stage presence and be able to connect with their audience. I love watching performers who you can tell are totally uninhibited when they perform. You gotta dance from your heart, the audience can feel it. I also think that a performance has to be innovative and original. It’s a performer’s ability to take the basic elements of burlesque and make them into something new and all their own that makes for a great routine. And last but not least you have to have wonderful costumes and props to match.
3. How did you get started in burlesque? Describe your first perfomance.
My start in burlesque was really by coincidence. I was working at Joann’s Fabrics at the time and Amy Marquez, one of the original founders of the Vixens of Vaudeville, came in looking for tassels and invited me to a show. After seeing the show I totally fell in love with burlesque and about four months later I was invited to perform as a guest performer with the Vixens. My first performance was a chair dance to “Minnie the Moocher”. It was such an exciting, nervous, and exhilarating experience. The moment I walked on stage though, I felt at home and I just knew that I had found my calling.
4. You are introduced as “The Creole Bombshell”. How does this on stage persona suit you?
I have always taken a lot of pride in my Creole heritage and I wanted to have that be a part of my stage persona. I also get a lot of my inspiration from the classic bombshells like Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield and Bridgette Bardot. A bombshell is curvy, buxom and voluptuous, she’s just oozes sensuality and she is also confident, sophisticated, and powerful. I wanted the mixture of exotic uninhibited sensuality and classic sophisticated beauty.
5. I recently heard another performer describe your perfomance as “Completely empowering… She reaches in and finds that inner sexy, soulful, goddess like quality of a woman and unleashes that voodoo on stage.” How do you feel burlesque empowers women?
I feel that burlesque makes women feel good about themselves. Burlesque takes all the socially constructed views of feminine beauty and throws them out the window. EVERY woman is beautiful and posses a natural inner sensuality that should never be restrained. Burlesque performers have the ability to connect with women in the audience and dance for them in a way that they themselves may not be able to. When women watch me perform I want them to imagine themselves on the stage and be able to, if only for a moment, get lost in the dance and feel a sense of freedom. I want them to go home feeling rejuvenated and totally in love with being a woman.
6. There are only a handful of black burlesque performers in the scene and even fewer in Texas. Why do you think this is? Do you feel an extra obligation to represent women of color?
I think the black community, especially in the south, hasn’t fully caught on to the burlesque movement yet. There have always been black burlesque dancers and vaudeville performers, but a lot of that history is harder to dig up. I think the more women of color that start performing and unearthing all the history and reaching out to other women, the more we’ll start to see women of color in the scene. I feel an obligation to preserve the history of blacks in burlesque and make sure that we continue to be active players in the art form that we played a great part in creating. I also have the opportunity that a lot of black performers didn’t have because of the color lines and I feel that those who came before paved the way for me to be able to do what I do and the history of women of color in burlesque is something that needs to be kept alive.
7. What has your family’s reaction been to your performances?
My mom and my aunt are the only two who have seen me perform, and I think at first they were a little concerned, but they have been really supportive of me and everything that I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I was brought up to believe that whatever you set your mind to you can achieve and every goal or dream you have you should go for and never let anyone stop you. I think they just see this as another endeavor of mine and If it makes me happy then their happy.
8. You have both a strong solo presence in the community as well as being a founding member of the “Vixens of Vaudeville”. Do you find it hard to maintain both?
I am actually not one of the founding members of the Vixens of Vaudeville. The Vixens were founded in 2006 and I have been a member for a little over a year. It is really easy to maintain both. Besides being troupe mates the Vixens are also some of my best friends and they support me in whatever I do. I love being a part of a collaborative effort and there is nothing like having your troupe to support you and fuel your creative energy.
9. Speaking of the troupe, how do you describe the style of your shows? If readers aren’t familiar with the Vaudeville style, how is it different from adjectives like “modern” or “classic” burlesque?
Well our show features both modern and classic burlesque, but I think what makes us different is that we really try to bring the classic feel of the 1940’s burlesque theatres to our show. We are a variety show and we try to make sure that we keep the comedians, slap stick, singing and vaudeville skits that were all an intricate part of burlesque theatres as part of our show.
10. Who are your idols in the burlesque world?
Oh wow, there’s so many! I just got back from exotic world weekend in Las Vegas and was able to meet many of my idols such as Dixie Evans, Satan’s Angel, Dusty Summers, Toni Elling, Dirty Martini and Perle Noire. I also love Josephine Baker, Lottie the Body, Tempest Storm and Zorita.
11. Where do you find inspiration for your numbers?
Everywhere! Sometimes I’ll just hear a song and an idea for a routine will pop into my head or it will just be a reflection of different things that are going on in my life or society in general.
12. What does the future hold for Honey Cocoa Bordeaux?
That I’m not exactly sure of, but I can tell you one thing, I don’t plan to stop performing for a very long time. I am the happiest now that I have ever been and I want to just keep perfecting my craft. Burlesque is something that will be in my heart forever and all I can hope is that I’ll die an old woman still doing what I love.
(Beginner knit project)
small amount of worsted or sport weight yarn (about a yard will do)
size 8 knitting needles
embroidery needle or yarn needle
1 (or more) glass or plastic bead(s)
hot glue gun/hot glue
barrette or hair clip of some kind
First, let me say that I’m not exactly sure where this pattern came from. I have made so many of these over time, that I just “know” how to do it! I think it came from one of the “Stitch N’ Bitch” books. If you know where it came from, please let me know so that I can give proper credit and thanks to the originator!
Cast on 50 stitches
Row 1: K.
Row 2: K2, *K1, slip stitch to left needle, lift next 5 stitches over and off the end of the needle, K slipped stitch again, K2; repeat from * to end.
Row 3: K.
Row 4: *P2tog; repeat from *to end.
Row 5: *K2tog; repeat from * to end.
Cut yarn (leave a small tail) and thread tail through remaining stitches.
Whip stitch the “edges” to form a flower.
Use the embroidery thread to create the design on the flower.
Add the bead(s) for a little bit of shimmer.
Hot glue the finished flower to the barrette or hair clip.
It’s that easy! The pattern takes about 15 minutes to complete and these look really cute in clusters. You could do this with a smaller needle and lighter weight yarn and get much smaller flowers to create a headband or a group to add to the top of a snood.
For questions about this project, please contact me at email@example.com
I need a burlesque name. I have researched and found these ridiculous formulas or generators for creating your burlesque name but I end up with names like Freckles McDermand Blvd, or Lil’ Comfort Bandersnatch (I did not make that up) . How can I find something original and, well, not like the names I just listed? Daisy, Michigan
I think coming up with a burlesque performer name just might be the hardest part about beginning your burlesque career. It’s important, because it’s your verbal calling card, as well as a way to thwart stalkers from finding your address and stealing your underwear. How do you manage to come up with the perfect name that is catchy and describes your personality and style for the rest of your career? No pressure, huh? My first suggestion would be to get a yahoo account and join the “Burlesque Stage Names” group. This group has a database of burlesque performer names registered by the performers themselves. This list compiles the troupe names, the performer names, and the years the names have been in use. This list is by no means a complete list of the names used by performers to date, as the database relies on the performer to register his/her name. It is also one of the places you should check your burlesque name against once you have decided on your stage name. You may peruse the name registry to get an idea of other names used and the trends. I would come up with name that describes you as a performer and lends a nod to the type of burlesque that you intend to perform. Classic performers often use sexy words, other languages, cultural references, or add a predicate to their last name like De or Von. Many dancers choose names that reflect their “biography” they invent for their stage personas which could be loosely based on your own past and genealogy! Some performers even hold onto a part of their real name and substitute a stage name for half of their own.
Your performer name is not something to be taken lightly. Your performance is your business, so your name is your brand. Definitely research names, think about your personality and style, check out some sexy foreign or English words, and make a list of possible names. It will come to you. You will know it when you see it.
Lastly, once you have settled on a name, check it against the Burlesque Names database, as well as use search engines to check for other dancers using the same name. Adding the word “burlesque” into the search after your new name will help narrow down the search to only burlesque dancers.