Now Reading
21 Questions with Clea de Velours

21 Questions with Clea de Velours

Classically trained at the Conservatoire de Versailles for 10 years, Clea de Velours started performing burlesque at 20 years old. A regular London fixture at The Windmill, The Maine and Brasserie Zedel, Clea has peeled and posed all over the world, from her native France and the United States, Japan and Dubai, to Italy, the Seychelles, Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Here’s her 21.

1. How would you define yourself in three words?

Cheeky, confident and French.

2. Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Winona Ryder.

3. What is your biggest strength?

When I have an idea in mind I always follow through and I don’t really pay attention to people’s judgements.

4. What is your biggest weakness?

Speaking in front of an audience. I can perform in front of 2000 people, but I will feel nervous if I have to speak in front of them!

Clea de Velours by Tim Hunter
Clea de Velours by Tim Hunter

5. When are you most happy and inspired?

I am the most happy with my husband, family and friends. And when I am on stage. But I feel the most inspired when I go to the theatre or see a big show production. I’m obsessed with all the stage setup, the costume details and the precision of the performers. I saw Crazy for You the musical in London twice and it blew my mind!

6. What is your favourite on-screen burlesque moment from film or TV? 

It’s not exactly burlesque, but when I was kid I was obsessed with the redhead pinup in Tex Avery. I loved the power she has over the wolf; it’s exactly how I imagined burlesque to be. I think it’s a fascinating thing to have such power, to be able to catch the attention of people, to make them feel special, make them dream for an instant. Leave the room having impacted their spirit and radically changed the course of their evening – or life! It’s magical.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Focus on what you want and not what you don’t want.

Clea de Velours, courtesy of César Palace Paris.
Clea de Velours, courtesy of César Palace Paris.

8. If you could switch lives with one person for a day, who would it be?

Not a particular person, but I would love to switch with someone who lives in a farm in the countryside, far from social media. Which I’m gonna do at some point!

9. What’s the biggest myth or misconception about burlesque?

Some people still think that burlesque is not a real job and that it’s easy. Being a burlesque performer is a lot of personal work because you are your own boss. Creating an act takes a lot of time and investment, from the costumes to the choreography and choosing the right song and lights. Building your own career, your own persona, your own client base, dealing with the logistics and technicalities that come with a show, social media management, travelling often – and often on your own. Searching for new ideas all the time, being able to evolve and have a critical view on yourself, being able to improvise and know how to react anytime something unexpected happens on stage. And even if you have a bad day you have to stay professional and smile. It’s a lot!

10. If you could only perform to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Harlem Nocturne. I find this song very easy and relaxing to perform to.

Clea de Velours

11. What surprisingly useful things do you have in your show case?

A tracker! Haha. My costumes are too precious to take any risk. I also have scissors and thread.

12. Do you have a backstage ritual?

I don’t have any backstage ritual actually, but I do like a calm and quite environment before going on stage, which is not always the case unfortunately.

13. What advice would you give to new performers starting out today?

I would tell them to focus on eye-catching and interaction with the audience. I think it’s really important and can make the difference. To me a good burlesque performer can have an impact on people with just one look.

Clea de Velours by Jamie Noise
Clea de Velours by Jamie Noise

14. What is your proudest achievement?

My whole career! Soon I’ll have been a burlesque performer for ten years. I am proud to have achieved this by myself, and to be loved and requested all over the world.

15. What is your biggest regret?

Like Edith Piaf sang, ‘Je ne regrette rien’. I think it’s not good to have regrets and that everything happens for a reason. So even the bad things that could happen to me make me who I am today.

16. What is the biggest challenge facing today’s burlesque scene?

Social media censorship, definitely.

17. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing when you started out in burlesque, what would it be?

I would say to myself, “Don’t worry, they have no idea what your choreography is and they’ve never seen your act before, so they will have no idea if you get something wrong. Enjoy, and they will enjoy too!”

Clea de Velours by Tim Hunter
Clea de Velours by Tim Hunter

18. What is a cause or issue that’s very important to you?

Women’s rights. I think women have the right to do anything they want with their body without being judged for it. Also animal rights – there are so many dogs being abandoned on the roads every year, and all kinds of animals being tortured all over the planet.

19. What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to?

Please don’t laugh – I am reading Harry Potter at the moment. I’m based in London now so even if my English is very good, it’s still the easiest book for me to read not in my mother language. 

I’m watching the TV show Friends all the time. I just have it as a background and it’s actually what helped me to improve my English! The last song I listened to is Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush.

20. If you could share a dressing room with one performer for the rest of your career, who would it be?

My husband; he’s a performer too and makes me laugh all the time!

21. What would you like your life and career to look like in 10 years time?

Maybe producing my own show, probably a French themed show. I’d also like to teach burlesque and vintage makeup. At some point have a house in the English countryside with my husband, with some sheep and a Donkey!

Visit and follow on Instagram.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

COPYRIGHT 2023 21st Century Burlesque Magazine. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Scroll To Top