Lola Coquette is a multi-award winning burlesque performer, producer and instructor based in Portland. A passionate activist for BIPOC and Latinx rights, Lola is a founding member of The Bees’ Knees Burlesque Revue and an executive co-producer of the Oregon Burlesque Festival. During quarantine, Lola co-produced the virtual weekender Rhinestone the Vote; An ACLU Benefit Show, and co-founded global social media and database platform Burlesque Latinx.
1. How would you define yourself in three words?
Bold, daring and precise.
2. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
3. What is your biggest strength?
I’m very welcoming.
4. What is your biggest weakness?
I can be reclusive sometimes.
5. When are you most happy and inspired?
By the sea!
6. What is your favourite on-screen burlesque moment from film or TV?
Honestly, watching my friend April Showers performing burlesque in The Love Witch.
7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Know your history, really learn this art form, and record and watch your rehearsals.
8. If you could switch lives with one person for a day, who would it be?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, THE OG of Rockstars!
9. What’s the biggest myth or misconception about burlesque?
That you need to be a professional dancer. It doesn’t matter what past experience in life led you to burlesque; there is no magical formula for ‘success’. Stay dedicated to this art form and your personal journey and you will achieve what you set your mind to when it’s YOUR time. It could be tomorrow, it could be ten years from now. It’s all valid. And remember to look up from the rhinestones every once in a while; there are truly magical friendships and memories to be made in this journey.
10. If you could only perform to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Rhapsody in Blue.
Lola Coquette performs a tribute to late burlesque legend Marinka.
11. What surprisingly useful things do you have in your show case?
I have a pretty extensive but compact show kit:
KRYOLAN silicon adhesive (no costume piece will ever fall off!), Liquid IV hydration multiplier, a mini first aid kit, a mini sewing kit (complete with safety pins, gorilla glue, glue gun and tape), all sorts of hygienic wipes, travel deodorant, mints, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, back up pasties, gloves, and a back up pair of ballroom shoes!
I’ve been able to travel internationally with it tucked away in my luggage and it has come in handy more times than I can count!
12. Do you have a backstage ritual?
I do a quick grounding imagining, activating my chakra and calling in my ancestors.
13. What advice would you give to new performers starting out today?
Give yourself the grace of truly learning this art form and honouring your personal learning curves. Comparison will rob you of your joy; absolutely no one is your competition.
14. What is your proudest achievement?
Bringing Latinx performers from around the world together through the networking platform @BURLESQUELATINX. Community building within this industry is vital to our survival. We, humans and artists, yearn for a sense of belonging.
15. What is your biggest regret?
Letting doubt allow me to stand in the way of my own growth and opportunities.
16. What is the biggest challenge facing today’s burlesque scene?
Aside from COVID-19, the inability of white (non BIPOC) producers to understand how vital it is to have diversity in shows (race, size, ability).
17. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing when you started out in burlesque, what would it be?
HAVE FUN! If you’re not having fun, why are you doing this? Also, do not let anyone dictate your narrative. You control your image, worth, product and art.
18. What is a cause or issue that’s very important to you?
Representation, preservation and celebration of Latinx performers and their contributions to burlesque.
19 What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to?
I really enjoy hearing Let’s Not Meet, a true horror podcast of listeners’ real life close encounters. The last show I binge watched was Flack – AMAZING!
20. If you could share a dressing room with one performer for the rest of your career, who would it be?
My ‘wifey’, business partner, co-producer and best friend, Kit Katastrophic. We actually met backstage the first time I performed, in Portland 2014, and we’ve been attached at the hip and heart ever since!
21. What would you like your life and career to look like in 10 years time?
I see myself producing internationally acclaimed weekly shows in Portland, and being the one ‘signing’ checks for amazing artists! Personally, I see myself enjoying my other adventure – a lovely life with my partner and our adorable future family.
You can follow Lola Coquette on Instagram, and BurlesqueLatinx – a global social media and database platform uniting Latinx and Hispanic burlesque performers. #BurlesqueLatinx will also launch a monthly live show in Portland, Oregon in 2022.