The Would-Be Queens: 20 Questions with Ginger Valentine (BHoF 2014)
It’s that time of year again when the ten wonderful women selected to compete for Miss Exotic World, Reigning Queen of Burlesque face my pre-pageant interview. This year, the contenders were sent twenty questions, composed of a question contributed by each of them and some additional questions from previous Miss Exotic World title-holders. Next up is Texan temptress Ginger Valentine…
21st Century Burlesque Magazine Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2014 Coverage is sponsored by Fancy Feather.
Your signature style in three words: Sexy, athletic and genuine.
Previous BHoF Weekend appearances (and awards, if any): I’ve attended every Weekend since 2010. Appearances: Best Debut 2011 and Innovators 2012. I will also be competing in Best Group this year with Ruby Revue!
The act you will be performing: My latest act: it’s hot pink and a whole lot of fun!
What did you want to be as a kid?
Stripper, teacher, vet and a meteorologist. I thought life was like Barbie and you could just have as many careers as you wanted. Seeing Flashdance at twelve gave me the stripper fantasy, or was it my Barbie?
What is your earliest memory of rebellion?
Preschool at Holy Family of Nazareth in Irving, TX. I swiped a playing piece from the game ‘Sorry!’ because I liked the way it looked. I felt horribly guilty and returned it the next day.
If you could pick celebrity parents (alive or dead, any era) who would they be?
Do characters count? Because I’d choose Cliff and Claire Huxtable. I’ve always wanted to be in that family even if they are a little strict.
What is one thing most people do not know about you?
I love to geek out about weather. I live in a part of the States called ‘Tornado Alley’. I get really into severe weather season. I’m fascinated by atmospheric science, especially severe weather. I’d love to be a severe weather expert or storm chaser.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Oh, let’s not feel guilty about pleasure! But if I must confess some things I enjoy that should induce guilt, I suppose I’d say Dr Pepper, Blue Bell ice cream and sunbathing.
Is there a rock/music star that influences you? If so, who is it and how do they influence you?
I love punk rock, and the ladies who who paved the way for female rockers – especially while still celebrating their sexuality – really influence me. Joan Jett, Beki Bondage from Vice Squad, Ari Up from The Slits, and Debbie Harry all influence me for being strong, powerful and unapologetic about being sexy. Also, I can’t get enough Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar right now; those guys are always motivating me to be strong and courageous. I find I’m personally more satisfied with my shows when I’ve meditated on some music that really gets my blood going.
What is integral to your creative process in burlesque?
Time. I’m a slow bloomer and I don’t like to rush when I create my acts. I spend a lot of time developing them. Most of the acts I tour with are showgirl-type acts that focus on glamour and movement instead of a particular theme. However, what the audience sees is the just tip of the iceberg because every act has a mood, story and character. I meditate on nearly every costume piece, music edit and move before I’m ready to present a show to a live audience (I practice with zombies first).
What do you want people to remember most about your performances when you are dead and gone?
That I made them feel loved, happy and horny.
How long does it take for you to get into hair and makeup for a show? (Don’t lie, we all know you’re a diva… we all are, darling.)
I can do my hair and make up pretty quick – about an hour for the whole shebang, but if you’re talking about about general pre-show prep, such as getting things trimmed, waxed and painted, that can take days!
Do you have any traditional pre-show ritual that you do to calm your nerves or bring luck?
I like to soak in lavender and Epson salts, meditate and work out if possible.
‘I like to get up to a fair amount of hijinks on the road; what is your favourite tour story?’
Oh man, I have so many with my Ruby Revue sisters that we’ve created a whole culture of inside jokes around it. I have too many stories to pick just one; however, last summer, Missy Lisa, Angi B Lovely and I had quite an adventure driving to Florida for a Bustout Burlesque gig. My fuel pump blew out in Lafayette, LA after dark and we had one hell of a time finding a mechanic, a place to sleep for the night and a rental car to make it to our gig in time the next day. It was so crazy but we did it, had two fantastic shows and capped off the whole thing with a phenomenal trip to the beach. It could have been awful, but those girls make it fun no matter what the circumstances – I love them for that!
For whom you would like to perform if you could pick anyone, and why?
This is super sappy and personal, but I’d love for my Grandma Trini to see me dance. She was the first person who ever called me sexy and even though she was a pretty traditionally conservative woman, she loved to look and feel sexy. I know she would get a big thrill out of my success in burlesque. I know she’s looking down on me and getting a kick out of my shows. It was actually my grandma who inspired the colour for my latest costume – she’d call my duster shocking pink.
Old school or new school?
What is your competitive strategy?
The only competition I consider is myself, so right now I’m focused very hard on dancing better than I ever have. Polishing my A game makes me feel like a champ!
You’ve imagined yourself performing at the pageant and doing a GREAT show. And then suddenly, they are placing that tiara upon your head. What was it about you, your show and your performance that put you in first place, and how have you been preparing to make that fantasy a reality?
I hope that the feelings I gave the audience would be what set me apart if I were to win. To prepare for that, I work really hard on getting better every day and practice spreading love wherever I go. They don’t call me Valentine for nothing, you know?
If you are selected as this year’s Miss Exotic World, what will you try to accomplish to make your mark on the title and how do you plan to distinguish yourself?
I would really like to focus on service toward the community and museum, and in particular I’d really, really like to work on a project that would explore burlesque history in Texas, particularly Dallas. I’d love to help create a touring (or static) multimedia exhibit that shares all the fabulous stories from women like Candy Barr, Tammi True and Jada who danced in places like The Colony Club and The Carousel Club, and then maybe that could take off and other cities would be inspired to share their burlesque history and culture with our industry.
As Queen, how would you consider using your title to spread the word about The Burlesque Hall of Fame and Museum?
I would like to do some type of video project. Perhaps a series of interviews, or small documentaries that highlight the history and mission of the Burlesque Hall of Fame. There are so many performers world wide that want to learn and absorb all they can about the Burlesque Hall of Fame, but are unable to visit. I’d like to close that gap to get more people invested. So if they can’t visit, they can watch videos on the Internet and we can raise more awareness by having a strong online presence with fun and informative videos featuring different icons in burlesque and burlesque history. I love editing home movies for my friends and families and I’ve always wanted to combine that passion with burlesque. Serving as the Reigning Queen of Burlesque would be a great reason to get something like that rolling.
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