Miss Cardinal Cyn of Austin is the featured performer for Hot Rods and Heels 2010. Here she takes the time to chat with us about Mexican wrestling, pimps, Miss Exotic World, and Femurs. This is an abbreviated version of the full article available in our Best of Spring 2010 Issue, which will celebrate its issue release at Hot Rods and Heels on May 15th, and will be available in our online shop after that!
Interview & Photographs: Shoshana, of Through the Looking Glass Studio
Q: Your burlesque bio is extensive. How did you get your start, tell us about that first performance.
My introduction into the burlyq world started behind the scenes where I helped friends with their hair and makeup for shows and photos.
My first appearance as Cardinal Cyn was on the cover and centerfold of Barracuda Magazine!
From there I was in the “Night of the Tiki” featuring Don Ho! I was the mermaid that sheds her tail, so she can join in the tiki fun. Kitty Diggins gave me my first shot on stage as one of her follies in “the Kit Kat Follies Burlesque Revue” fundraiser for Dixie Evans Exotic World Museum at the Palace Theater. The Palace is an art deco theater that holds 2200 seats! My most memorable solo-ish performance (I had 2 backup dancers) was at the Mayan Theater (built 1927 holds 1491 seats)which is truly amazing it’s the real deal with balcony seating and art deco mayan carvings on the walls. The show was Lucha Vavoom (Mexican masked wrestling, comedy & burlesque) which I previously performed in as a ring girl. I read that in 1948 the Mayan was a burlesque theater and Marilyn Monroe made an appearance!
Q: You competed for best Debut at Miss Exotic World 2006, can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
It was the first year they did it in Vegas! I just remember all the great acts and getting to see and meet the legends! I had my first run in with Satan’s Angel in the bathroom giving my friend Mia Vixen a impromptu lesson on tassels! I recommend to all the girls new and old to attend Miss Exotic World or Tease O Rama and really experience the true supportive and awe inspiring performers from all over the world. It’s a really great feeling to be enveloped with all the camaraderie with other women that have the love you do for burlyq!
Q: At one point you were represented/managed by a talent agency, maybe you still are. What is your view on professional representation, as opposed to performers representing themselves?
I’ve always represented myself. I’m listed with a friend’s promotion agency out of NY! Living in TX now I don’t book as much in the corporate world. It would be great having someone to deal with all the money aspect. It’s hard when there are people out there trying to take advantage of performers, we don’t need pimps, people!
Q: Now a painful subject. In 2008, when it seemed like you were unstoppable, you slipped on an audience member’s spilled drink and broke your femur during a show at Emo’s in Austin with Kitten Deville. It took a troupe in the show insisting that you go to the hospital, and when you arrive you learned you were going to need metal screws to put you back together. You were out of commission for three months, and unable to perform for a lot longer. How long did it take you to emotionally recover, and how long did it take your career to recover? What has the rebuilding process been like?
Ladies I don’t recommend doing this at home or anywhere! Although I do believe it helped win me the title of the “Most Beloved Burlesque Performer” in the Austin Chronicle! I broke my femur at the hip and have 3 metal screws to put me back together. I was on a walker for 3 months and then moved on to crutches. I was scheduled to perform at a benefit for Miss Exotic World in Corpus Christi. I didn’t want to let them down and I really wanted to perform! I bought a beautiful art deco red velvet chair to perform on. I was nervous because I’m a hip shaker and never just did a striptease! It was an amazing experience! My adrenaline kicked in and I couldn’t even walk on my crutches, I had to be carried off stage! I did that performance two more times in Houston at the Continental Club and Numbers! Burlesque definitely helped to get back on my feet. I don’t have insurance so I couldn’t afford physical therapy. I did it all myself dancing in the pool! My motivation was to perform at the Tease O Rama in SF, where I used my cane right up till I got on the stage! That was 8 months after my accident. Two years later I’m still working on getting my leg back to full use without discomfort, and no I can’t tell if it’s going to rain. The experience really made me appreciate my life, legs also made me realize how vulnerable I am. How nothing can hold me back and that I’m not patient what so ever!
Q: In addition to quite an impressive burlesque career, you have an equally stunning career as owner of La Petite Rouge in Austin where you are a hair and makeup artist. What have been your most rewarding experiences in your “day job”?
I love vintage glamour and I love making people feel beautiful inside and out! That truly is the most rewarding! I have had the pleasure of working with many great people including celebs and the girl next door.
Q: What are the most common mistakes you see gals make in the realm of pin-up and burlesque make-up and hair artistry? What are your beauty pet peeves?
Well I’m eyebrow obsessed and it’s truly one of my specialties! So ladies get them right! Just find what makes you stand out and have fun! Do your homework before a shoot. Look at other pinups and find the pose and the look you want before the big day! For burlesque know your body what are your best attributes? Make them a focal point and disguise the ones that aren’t!
Not a beauty pet peeve, but a performance…I don’t really care for shock value in burlesque, to me that is more of a performance art. I like the glamour of burlesque, I’m not into the raunchy props keeps those at home please!…Unless of course the show is all about that then by all means go for it.
And a final word from your burlyq sponsor :] Be supportive of your fellow burlyq girls they’ve got your back! If you’re not having fun don’t do it. xx Miss Cardinal Cyn