The infamous Miss Catherine D’ Lish graces our “Best of Pin Curl Magazine- Sping/Summer 2012″ Issue and we couldn’t be more thrilled! To get the entire interview with the amazing Catherine D’ Lish, as well as *more exclusive* images from the photoshoot, visit our shop!
Miss Exotic World 1992 and 1994 Catherine D’Lish talks Cabaret New Burlesque, costuming PTSD, rabid ambition, scrapbooking, being a pleasure junkie and using props.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka
You began performing as a stripper at the age of 18 or 19, but you were once a music student, which is evident in your impeccable timing. I’ve read that the first time you stripped was “the first time [you] performed on stage without an instrument to hide behind.” The band geek in me is curious to know, what instrument(s) did you play and for how long? Do you still play at all?
Thank you for the compliment and yes, I was a music student for a long time. I started with piano from a pretty young age, then picked up the viola in 6th grade, but then quickly added the cello and soon after just stuck with the bass through the rest of my school years. I played the bass in the youth symphony and civic orchestra, and at the school for the arts that I attended (our school color was the rainbow, no joke.) I especially enjoyed playing in the pit for the school musicals and some local theater- I was a pretty bad girl, so being in the pit gave me plenty of opportunities to joke around, and I’ve always enjoyed the company of musicians. I still play the piano at home to relax.
You mentioned in an interview I read that you worked with teachers who helped you strengthen your body and learn how to correct “bad habits that were causing chronic injuries.” What sorts of injuries did you end up with and which bad habits led to them?
When I first started dancing, I was just some girl thrust out onto the stage, and I quickly got into the fun of it, and began rehearsing at home. After some time had passed and I’d been doing my own thing, moving the way I saw fit, all that squiggling and wiggling began to take its toll on my knees. Turns out, some of that stuff we do that looks so great can become problematic if you haven’t developed the strength to carry yourself correctly- there are also lots of other contributing factors, but having a good strong centered body is very important to prevent injuries. I started studying various physical therapy techniques, and different things that were very helpful to me- Alexander Technique, Pilates, Yoga, etc… I’ve learned a lot along the way, and am still fascinated by this sort of thing- bodywork is one of my favorite interests. And I’m a pleasure junkie, so I’m really into the great feeling you get from it.
You became known for your prop performances as a feature dancer and have joked that you were “sort of the Gallagher of Stripping.” As a bona fide expert on prop burlesque performance, what are your suggestions to performers who are trying learn to incorporate more large props? I’ve always been especially curious about the logistics side of using large props – the storage, the transport, etc. Do you have any stories in which logistics went awry and props didn’t arrive, or arrived in a different condition from when they were shipped/transported, what have you?
I do love working with props- I always have. Mostly, I just like having something fun to crawl around on. I was “sort of the Gallagher of Stripping” because I also liked to make a mess, lots of bubble bath, showers, paint, cream, etc. One thing I would like to stress to other performers is the importance of respecting everybody else that is using that stage too. I really frown upon those that carelessly litter the stage with glitter, and am appalled at anyone that leaves the stage wet with anything. This also carries over into prop set-up and breakdown. Your prop should be engineered to come on and off the stage without making any enemies of the show staff. Please take the time to lay down tarps if you must cover yourself in something gooey, or strew glitter about- and spend a little extra dough to have your giant whatchamacallit break down in a manageable process.
There was one time that I was doing a show for Doug’s cabaret in San Francisco and my props and costumes didn’t get shipped in time- I was coming straight there from Europe, and just used what I had in my suitcase and made up a couple of acts on the spot. Actually, it was a pretty good time… (and Doug, bless him, saved on the shipping expenses! Could have been worse.)
You’re self-taught in prop-making and costuming, correct? You built your first champagne glass prop in around 1990, and unless I’m mistaken, it’s the same glass that you use now. Do you have any stories about the development phase of some of your props? It’s obvious what ended up working for you, but I’d like to know more about the tactics/materials that you tried at first that didn’t work out to your liking. Tell us about your failed burlesque experiments, if you will.
Yes, self taught. Still self-teaching. I am still using the same glass- it’s a good pal to me. I’ve often wondered just how many hours I’ve logged in that thing. Luckily, I haven’t had too many failures with the props; I try to work out the kinks in my head before construction begins. My giant penis started as a stuffed thing- when I had the inflatable version made with an internal blower, which was a great improvement. But the first one was on a whim for a small contest, so I’m not sure if that counts- although I’m glad it led to the real “Chubby”. Most of the design for props is based on how it can be broken down for shipping. The spider web and the bird cage both un-assemble into very sensible pieces for travel. Dita and I had a giant acrylic bathtub made years ago for us to perform in together, but it was such a big beast (with a leak!), so that might be a fail… for comedic material though, I consider it a great success…
You’re an established costumer, especially known for your work with ornate crystal and feather detailing. You also work hand in hand with Fabulous Feathers, right? Please share some of your favorite costume projects you’ve done (either for yourself or another.) What were some of your most painstaking/difficult costume pieces that you’ve made?
Most painstaking pieces? My costuming PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] prevents me from getting too much into that- forgive me. I have enjoyed a great relationship with Fabulous Feathers, Jason (Mr. FF) sources excellent feather products, and is a terrific feather-buddy to me. One of my favorite dye-jobs ever is the blue bird costume, he gave me the perfect blue I was asking for; it photographs so well!
You’ve earned more than 30 performance accolades, including Miss Exotic World 1992 and 1994, and you performed at the first Tease O Rama in 2001. What are your thoughts on the evolution of the national burlesque festival circuit since then? What are the biggest changes and/or trends that you’ve noticed developing over the years?
There have been so many more performers attracted to burlesque over the years, and with them come oodles more, they are breeding like wild rabbits! It’s been fun to see the growth in enthusiasm, but the biggest change I’ve seen as time passes is a rabid ambition for fame and success in some girls, and I don’t think it always brings out the best in them. On the other hand, the growing numbers surely has to produce some very special performers, so fingers crossed for that…
Speaking of festivals, you also act as burlesque competition judge from time to time. Personally, what do you consider to be the most important traits in a winner?
I like to see well-honed skills, honest confidence, and actual talent, but most importantly a personality that is appealing. I prefer performers that are genuine on and off stage, that are just clearly fun people and hot (in whatever way they are hot). I just want to be entertained, and it really doesn’t take too much, I don’t need pyrotechnics, just a nice mixture of some of the above qualities.
What’s next for Catherine D’Lish?
Known as the Mexican Spitfire of Burlesque, Miss Viva Las Vegas 2010 Ruby Champagne talks Tease O Rama 2012, sparkling wine, Star Wars, crystals, Texas and disco.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka
You just returned from this year’s Tease O Rama. Please tell us all about your experience. What was the highlight of the weekend for you?
I had the most amazing weekend in San Francisco for Tease-O-Rama!! It was my first time attending and participating in the showcase weekend, and it was a beyond-wonderful experience! The highlight of the weekend was being the opening act for Saturday night’s show! It’s kind of a big deal to be the opening act in these type of shows that feature so many fantastic performers. It sets the bar and the stage for the audience to present what they are in for. So that was a delicious honor!!
Sort This Out Cellars is developing a wine named after you. How exciting! I’d like to hear more about that.
YES! Oh my goodness this is such an exciting project! It started out as a casual conversation which turned into a handshake deal and here we are, in the process of harvesting grapes for Sort This Out Cellar’s first Sparkling Wine which will feature me on the label! Sort This Out Cellars is keeping true to the process of making sparkling wine, so it’s taking a while. It will be well-worth it once it’s released.
Please tell us more about the beginnings of Ruby. Do you have formal dance/theater training or related experience or are you self taught? How and when did you get started doing burlesque?
I was born dancing! Well, as far as I remember, haha! Seriously, I remember jamming to the Saturday Night Fever record (yes, I’m that old and yes, I’m still a disco biscuit! LOL!) Then like most little girls, I was in ballet, tap and jazz classes. Once I reached my teenage years, we moved from where I used to take classes so that fizzled. Years later, I discovered Salsa dancing! Wepa! I LOVE Latin Dance! Fast forward to now, I feel the fundamentals I learned in ballet, tap, jazz, and in Latin dance classes have helped hone my skills I incorporate in my Burlesque performances.
You’re performing in Dallas this month in Viva Dallas Burlesque’s Cinco de Mayo show. Will it be your first visit to Texas? What are you looking forward to the most?
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be invited to perform in Viva Dallas Burlesque…and for the Cinco de Mayo show, fantastico! This isn’t my first visit to Texas, but it will be my first visit to Dallas. My dad is from El Paso, we used to go many, many times when I was little. My uncle and cousins now live in San Antonio, which I love visiting. When people visit my house, they think I’m from TX because of all the magnets and knick-knacks I have that are from Texas, haha! I’m really looking forward to performing for the Dallas audience, which is a new crowd for me and meeting new people!
Do you have any other plans to travel or do festivals this year?
I’m still debating whether to enter other festivals this year. It’s such a downer when you get rejected, lol! But, hopefully I will still be part of the first annual Philadelphia Burlesque Festival set to take place in August! Next year I do hope to enter a couple festivals that were recommended and Tease-O-Rama if it returns for sure!
You were named Miss Viva Las Vegas 2010. Did you notice many changes after receiving that title? If so, what were they?
The only major change I noticed was that Emcees will include my title when they’re introducing me, which I greatly appreciate! I feel I was pretty busy booking gigs before I won, so I didn’t feel like I got busier. But perhaps having a title has helped me obtain some gigs I may not have been considered for because they didn’t recognize me and my talent before.
What are some of your fondest memories since you began performing burlesque?
Staying up late working on costumes! Now that I have a pretty decent collection of costumes, I don’t spend sleepless nights gluing rhinestones. I even had a couple girlfriends who were my gluing assistants, lol! Also, it’s funny when I pull out an old costume piece where I thought 20 crystals was enough. Of course I now update the costume with 200 more crystals!
I gathered from your Facebook page that you’re a Star Wars fan, right? What are three other things about you that may surprise our readers?
Oh my gosh, YES! I remember seeing Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi in the theater with my dad. I’m definitely a fan.
Other things that may surprise your readers…well, I’m shy! I have grown out of my shell by leaps and bounds, but I tend to be quiet when I’m around people I don’t know. Once that ice is broken though, let’s have cocktails! I have a pen fetish! I love collecting all sorts of pens. Lastly, it tends to surprise people when I tell them my career is in construction. I think they automatically envision me in a hard hat and tool belt, lol! But I burst that bubble when I say I work in the estimating aspect, not actually building it.
What’s next for Ruby Champagne?
Hopefully more amazing shows to be part of and projects to be involved in! I continue to work on my skills and I am looking forward to developing a new act I can feature in festivals. And I dream and hope to someday have the opportunity to perform in Europe! That would be the deliciously supreme! The sky is the limit!
Known as “The Embodiment of Burlesque” and “Queen of the Quake,” Kitten de Ville, Miss Exotic World 2002, talks Texas Burlesque Festival, Burlesque Assassins, the Velvet Hammer, champagne and wrestling.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka
You just returned from performing at the Southern Fried Burlesque Festival in Atlanta, as well as judging their pageant, and this month you’ll be in Austin for the Texas Burlesque Festival. Tell us about your role in the Texas Burlesque Fest and your expectations for the event.
I am a big fan of Coco Lectric, the co-producer of the Texas Burlesque Festival, and was very excited when she asked me to be one of the featured dancers at this year’s event. The line-up is amazing with Ray Gunn, Miss Indigo Blue & Shannon Doah, just to name a few. I have been very impressed with the girls from the Jigglewatts and am happy to have the opportunity to come to Texas and perform with them. I will also be performing at Viva Las Vegas April 6th & 7th in Audrey DeLuxe’s Burlesque Bingo, a game show in which the burlesque performer dances on top of a huge numbered bingo board and where our costumes drop is what number they call; every member of the audience has a bingo card and plays along. Each performer is a round of bingo. It is crazy and fun and makes you rethink the way you strip and drop clothing. I also find myself adding new pieces to my costume so there will be more numbers to call out. I love performing at this show!
I remember speaking to you briefly after a show in Dallas a few years ago, and when my friend and I asked if you could share some burlesque advice, you gave us two tidbits that I still remember. First, you said no matter what you do, no matter what your gimmick is – just get out there and sell it. Make the audience feel it and believe it. Second, you said that in your personal opinion burlesque performers should strive not to lip sync with their music (unless it is necessary to the act, etc.) as it blurs the lines between burlesque and drag. Care to expand on those topics for our readers?
I believe that performers should be enjoying themselves and their performance on stage. If they are not having fun then why bother pursuing a career that involves an audience. The advice I give my students and those who are just getting onto stage and may be a little nervous is to remember that no one knows your routine, and as long as you do not let the audience know that something went wrong, by facial expression or body language, chances are they will not catch on. To me a live show is about interacting with the audience, the exchange of energy, and the enjoyment of entertaining. It is about the freedom of expression of that moment and that place in time. It is very special because no matter how many times I may do the same routine the feel and energy is always changing because of the environment that I am in and I love that aspect of burlesque.
About lip-syncing , I feel it takes away from the tease, if a performer has a nice voice then by all means use it along with the strip, but if not, then they should let their body do the talking and use their lips and facial expressions for flirting.
You created your first burlesque act in 1994, which obviously predates YouTube and the multitude of resources that exists for modern performers. You’ve stated that at the time even vintage burlesque videos weren’t easily attainable, and instead you based your dances on how you imagined the movements of the performers in vintage burlesque photos (especially those of Lilly Christine) and you mixed that with the stage attitude of Iggy Pop and Lux Interior to create your own performance style. Being a part of the burlesque revival since its infancy is not something many people can claim, and with such an extensive background, I’m curious to know some of the common challenges that you encountered in the beginning.
The biggest challenge then, and it may still be today, is informing the public on what Burlesque is and that it is an art form. I remember trying to explain how it was not lap dancing; yes we were taking our clothing off, but in a more flirtatious way, something a bit more innocent adding the art of the tease. And now, I feel today with the movie Burlesque and so many Cabaret style dance groups that I have swung the other way by saying it is not about Jazz hands and dance moves, it’s about being sexy and dangerous.
Speaking of your early days, let’s talk Velvet Hammer. For our readers who might not know their burlesque history, could you tell about the early days of Velvet Hammer, how it evolved and share which of your contemporaries also got started with that group?
Michelle Carr and Elvia Lahman started the Velvet Hammer. Our first show was Valentine’s Day 1995. From the very first show I believe The Velvet Hammer set the bar on what a Burlesque show should be and sadly 17 years later there are still not many shows that come close to what we were doing back then. The Velvet Hammer was not about girl, after girl, after girl. There were comics and skits; we had our own band & candy girls. The venue, lights, and sound system were top notch. There was a long runway from the stage where we could get out to the audience who were seated at tables and comfortable booths. It was all red velvet, chandeliers, perfection. Our shows were an event. People dressed up to the nines. We one upped our costumes with each new show. We were a wonderful group of girls who were enjoying life and our new found art form of Burlesque. Backstage was a happy mix of champagne and light hearted conversations. We were a DIY / Punk rock mix of attitude and style that were not afraid to push boundaries. The Velvet Hammer was more a group of headliners rather than a troupe. Each of us doing our own thing, creating our own performances. Ann Magnson. Miss Astrid, Ming Dynatease, Selena Luna, The Poubelle Twins & Princess Farhana are some of the original girls who are still performing today. Dirty Martini, The World Famous BoB, Catherine D’lish, Kitten Natividad and Mamie Van Doren were some of our guest performers. Augusta (AKA Penny Starr Jr.) was not yet a burlesque performer but instead a film documentarian who along with Don Spiro followed the Velvet Hammer for a few years and produced Velvet Hammer the Movie. There is also a beautiful oversized book packed with photos and quotes put out by Michelle Carr called The Velvet Hammer Burlesque. And if you are in France you may be able to find the documentary The Strip Velours by Jean-Marc Barbleux.
You’re appearing in Jonathan Joffe’s upcoming film “Burlesque Assassins” which is supposed to be released this winter. If I understand correctly, it’s an action comedy set in the 1950s in which burlesque gals help fight communism? Your co-stars include Armitage Shanks, Roxi D-Lite, Renea Le’Roux and Amber Ray, just to name a few. I’d love to hear a little more about your role in the film and your experiences during the filming process. The cast alone sounds like it would make for one hell of a party!
The Movie was filmed in Canada with the actors staying in one huge house with its own play room and hot tub. I have a small role in the film and was only in Canada about a week for the last of its filming, and all I have got to say is boy what a week! It was fabulous- nonstop, early call times and late bed times. You never knew who you would find where in the morning and what items of clothing would be out back by the hot tub; did I mention it was snowing? But besides all our escapades the cast and crew were all very professional. What I have seen in the previews from the movie has been amazing. I am so thrilled to have been a part of this film and only hope that there is a Burlesque Assassins 2. I would love to know what becomes of my character.
I saw a recent Facebook post in which you complained about how you’ve caught would-be bike thieves in the act twice and wrestled the bike away from them in six-inch heels. The story itself is amusing, but I was curious because you said, “I may look sweet but this kitten has claws and a wrestling background.” Please do share about this wrestling background of yours! I’m intrigued!
There is a fantastic show in Los Angeles called Lucha Va Voom which mixes Burlesque & Mexican Wrestling. Produced by Rita D’Albert and Liz Fairbairn, it started back in 2002 and mixed the girls of The Velvet Hammer in between Mexican wrestling acts, with Michelle Carr and Hope Urban actually wresting in that first show. I was intrigued from the start and knew that I too wanted to wrestle. So from 2003-2006, I trained with professional Luchadores and wrestled at each Lucha Va Voom show. Mixing burlesque into my act, I always ended up in a burlesque style bra, g string and my gold flake wrestling boots. Slymenstra Hymen (of Gwar) was my first partner. I have also wrestled the Poubelle Twins but Ming Dynatease remained my longest lasting partner. In 2007 Ming Dynatease, our opponents Los Chivos and I were asked to perform our wrestling act at a huge festival that would precede my three month burlesque stay with The Cabaret New Burlesque in France. We trained for 6 months perfecting all sorts of death defying tricks, flying from the post, flips out of the ring etc. But in the end, it was one misstep from my opponent that left me with my leg broken in two places, a week’s stay in a hospital and instead of performing, I was under strict doctor’s orders not to dance for three months and so there I stayed in France, not allowed to perform at the Cabaret New Burlesque or my other scheduled shows in the UK or I would have broken my contract.
In addition to being an award-winning international performer, you’re also a producer and owner/instructor of Kitten de Ville’s School of Burlesque in Southern California. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working on one of your many projects? (Or do you find that you’re always working on something?)
I love to keep busy and with the business of Burlesque there is very little down time. I am always looking for new projects and ventures, scheduling future tours, creating new acts or teaching. But in between this time I do make time for myself. I love to work or lounge in my garden, ride my bike around town and visit with friends.
Like many showgirls, you’re a notorious champagne-lover. Do you have a favorite brand of bubbly?
Most often I drink Moet or Veuve Clicquot.
What’s next for Kitten de Ville?
I am in talks with a producer who wants to do a television show, I am setting up my next European tour for the fall of 2012, I may do a little writing and Ming Dynatease and I are planning on producing another Rock & Roll Strip Show.
California’s Red Snapper talks performing for Tarantino, going all the way, continuing education, and doodlebugs.
Interview: Vivienne Vermuth
Q: In your three years as a performer, you’ve had some amazing experiences (including
performing for Quentin Tarantino!) Can you share some with us?
I’ve performed in some amazing and strange places, including a dive boat and a former bowling alley. I performed in San Diego twice as part of Penny Starr, Jr.’s Supernova A Go-Go during Comic-Con weekend. That audience loved seeing their favorite sci-fi characters strip. I also produced my own burlesque show for about a year, writing burlesque sketches with modern sensibilities.
The Quentin Tarantino experience has been the most amazing so far in my career. I’ve been performing in the Quentin Tarantino-themed burlesque show that is the brainchild of Monday Night Tease! producer and dear friend, Lili vonSchtupp. Tarantino knew of our show and invited us to perform for him and his friends at a private event last fall. Mr. Snapper and I do a burlesque version of Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist Contest from Pulp Fiction. Tarantino called our performance “spot on.” It was phenomenal to have the opportunity to perform for someone who had such an impact on my aesthetic tastes with his films. It’s not every day that one gets to do that.
Q: You are known as Red Snapper, the “Go All the Way Girl.” What’s the story behind your name and tagline? What would you say you are best known for?
I was named by my father and my husband, which is funny since many people talk about female empowerment in burlesque. My dad has always called me Red as I’m the only redhead out of six children. When the time came to pick a name, my husband suggested Red Snapper because it sounds fun, peppy and a little naughty.
The tagline came from my fearlessness in life and performance. When I decide to go for something, I’m all in. As a child I’d leap and ask questions later. As a performer I take risks and they tend to pay off. And I’m naked a lot. The “Go All the Way Girl” just seemed to fit.
I’d say I’m best known for my education. I’ve studied with many incredible burlesque instructors from all over the United States. I spent eight months studying burlesque before making my professional debut, and it’s been a whirlwind since.
Q: So, anyone who knows you/has met you knows your extreme love for John Mayer and your pup Doodlebug! What are some of your other loves?
I love my husband dearly. We’ve been together since we were teens, and he’s extremely supportive and enthusiastic about what I do. He’s an active participant in the Los Angeles burlesque community as a host, comedian and striptease artist. He’s pretty swell.
I also love food. I grew up in Arkansas and I really miss Waffle House and Cracker Barrel. I spend a nice chunk of time studying menus and imagining how delicious each dish must be. My husband knows the best way to get me to go somewhere new is to show me the menu first.
I love listening to my parents’ old LPs on Sunday mornings. I remember listening to these albums as a child. The sound quality is different, other parts of the music pop on a record than on a compact disc. Music was a huge factor in my house growing up that all six kids can play at least one instrument.
Q: On your website, you have written that continuing education is extremely important to you as a dancer. I know you have set some amazing goals for yourself this year, what are they, and how do you plan to achieve them? How do you feel achieving these goals will help you grow as an artist?
My educational goal is to take at least 100 dance classes this year. I have to take about two classes a week to achieve this goal. I take classes with my pole teacher covering floor and pole work. I also take classes at the Moose Lodge as my schedule permits. I may enroll in a few series classes for weeks so I can keep up the momentum. I plan to slip in Pilates and yoga classes as well since they complement dance training. I didn’t start intense training as a dancer until 2006, so I have a lot of catching up to do when my colleagues have been studying for decades. My 100 dance class challenge will improve my dance technique and inspire future acts.
My touring goal is to dance in six states and four festivals this year. Texas was my January trip. I’m performing and teaching at the Southwest Burlesque Showcase in February. I’m dancing in Las Vegas with Mr. Snapper in March. I’ll be in Boston for the Great Burlesque Expo in April. I’m hoping to hit my birth state of Arkansas this year and a couple other places. I love meeting new people and finding out about their burlesque scenes.
I spent a nice chunk of December working on my five-year plan so I can better focus on my career. I’m in it for the long haul.
Q: At time of press, you have performed over 213 times all over the country! Longevity is rare in this business, any words of wisdom to burlyq gals and guys wanting to continue and nurture a career in this path? Anything to avoid?
Study as much as you can to contribute to your career: dance classes, costume construction, theatre. I took a class on law and media last fall so I’d know my First Amendment rights as a dancer. Find mentors and learn from them. Be generous when newer performers seek guidance.
Don’t be a diva. Treat fellow performers and producers with kindness and respect. Don’t act like a crazy person backstage. Don’t work drunk and don’t bring drugs to the venue. You’re still being paid to work and you want to be booked again.
Love your audience. They’re the ones ultimately employing you. Above all else, entertain the hell out of them. Every performance opportunity is a unique intercourse between performer and audience. It’s a blessing to do this for a living.
Q: What can your fans expect to see from Red Snapper in the future?
I’m returning as the official poster girl for Burlesqueland, the Los Angeles festival based around a certain Southern California theme park. I’m also bringing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to the burlesque stage.
Mr. Snapper and I are cooking up some new takes on classic numbers. I’m teaching independently in Los Angeles, and I’m taking my Brolesque class (just for dudes) to Albuquerque and Boston this year.
Pin-Up Model and writer Lizzy D Vine of Sacramento, California talks Nor Cal Vixens, motherhood, and patriotism.
Interview by Divertida Devotchka
Are you a burlesque performer or strictly a pin up model and writer?
Currently, I am a model and a writer. I have ALWAYS had a deep appreciation for burlesque. My hope is to reach those who have misconceptions of the art today. My dream has been to extend myself into that arena. I recently took that leap alongside the lovely ladies of the Kountry Kittens. It was my debut and I will be part of many more troupe performances and individual performances as well.
I am also involved with the Nor Cal Vixens, which is a supportive, tightly knit group of gals. I suppose you could call us a sisterhood of creative and artistic individuals. I am also the co-producer and editor of a local public access show called Nor Cal Vixens Presents. The show was concocted by the lovely Michelle Barbaria and I’m glad to be part of it. We’ve done two segments- one on burlesque and one on fashion; they should be available for streaming soon.
You have 3 children. What ages? Boys or girls?
I sure do. They are an extreme joy! My husband and I just had our newest addition to the family, Emma Rae, on May 15th! We also have two amazing boys, Owen who turns 3 in December and Noah who just turned 6.
What do your children know about your involvement in the burlesque/pin up world?
Right now they don’t have a full grasp of what mommy does. What they notice is mommy getting dolled up or spending time on the computer. When I’m getting ready, my boys ask where I’m going and the infamous question at age 6 is “but why?” I simply answer, “Mommy and her friends are filming their TV show” or “Mommy will be at a catwalk rehearsal.” Sometimes they understand; other times they have their own translations. In their eyes Mommy and her friends are movie stars because they are on TV and Mommy walks with lots of cats.
I get things done while they are setting up for bed and while they sleep. I’m usually working on one of my many projects I own or am collaborating with someone on. I have The Burlesque Times, Operation: Patriotic Pin Up, and the Modern Pin Up Magazine that will release at the first of the year.
How do you feel about the possibility that your daughter may eventually be involved in burlesque/pin up?
(Chuckle) I think Dad might have a different opinion about our lil’ peanut, but I accept that there is a 50/50 chance that she may want to do the same as me. I will teach her to love herself, to respect herself, to hold true to herself and the rest we will leave to time. I can honestly say I will support her.
How long ago did you start Operation: Patriotic Pin Up? What exactly do you do?
Operation: Patriotic Pin Up is a charity-based community willing to provide moral support, packaged goodies and our appreciation to all of our deployed troops. We will be hosting fundraising events teaming up with several independent charities, websites, support groups and the local Veteran’s Hall.
The organization didn’t have a name until this year, but I’d like to think that the services that I did as a child were the very start of Operation: Patriotic Pin Up or at least they’re the deep-rooted reason as to how it came about in my adulthood. In elementary school I was adamant about collecting goodies for care packages and thank you letters so that when Mom and I sent care packages to my stepdad who was deployed, his platoon would receive goodies too. Mom showed me to exercise patriotism and my dad taught me to be grateful that I am an American.
Your bio states you are from a “strong military and patriotic background.” Can you tell me more about that?
My stepfather was in the USMC for many years and at a very early age I was taught to appreciate the good ole boys (and girls) that fight every day to keep my tail safe. I love our service men and women and this is the very least I can do. It’s because of them that my kids and I can sleep safely and do things freely.