One of the precious few Italians to make the Burlesque TOP 50, Ginevra Joyce creates ‘glamorous and explosive’ acts, winning ‘Most Classic’ at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2023.
Crowned Miss Burlesque Italia in 2018, Ginevra went on to take titles at the Swiss Burlesque Festival and Caput Mundi Burlesque Award, among others. With a growing international fanbase keen to know more, she agreed to tackle the 21.
1. How would you define yourself in three words?
Cheeky, explosive and confident.
2. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
3. What is your biggest strength?
I always follow my instinct.
4. What is your biggest weakness?
Public speaking! I can dance or strip in front of thousands of people, but give me a microphone and I’ll get so nervous that I might even forget my name!
5. When are you most happy and inspired?
I feel happy when I have a night off and go to my rehearsal room. Just me, my music, my soul. When I’m tired I order a pizza, eat a slice or two, and dance a little more. Sometimes it’s suddenly late at night and I feel like I’ve had the best date ever! I have my greatest inspiration at night.
6. What is your favourite on-screen burlesque moment from film or TV?
Sophia Loren’s iconic striptease in Ieri, oggi, domani.
7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
‘If you don’t like where you are, change! You’re not a tree!’ It’s a pretty simple idea, but it had a strong impression on me. Sometimes we feel stuck in certain situations, but nothing can truly stop us.
8. If you could switch lives with one person for a day, who would it be?
No doubt about it – I want to be Beyonce on the day of a concert!
9. What’s the biggest myth or misconception about burlesque?
That you must have a ‘perfect body’ to be a performer. I constantly hear amazing women say ‘I’d like to start doing burlesque but I’m too fat, I’m too thin, I’m too small’. I wish they could see burlesque as the marvellous thing it is: an artform that should entertain, amaze, and stir emotions in the audience. It is not a beauty contest.
10. If you could only perform to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Mooche, Duke Ellington.
Ginevra Joyce performing.
11. What surprisingly useful things do you have in your show case?
Needle, thread, shoe glue, resin, a whole pharmacy and a couple of energy bars.
12. Do you have a backstage ritual?
I don’t have a ritual as such. Behind the scenes I love laughing, drinking prosecco and making silly videos with other performers!
13. What advice would you give to new performers starting out today?
Don’t rush. Don’t try to be someone else. Understand what makes you unique and make the most of it. The audience will only love you if you are authentic. Authenticity is your superpower.
14. What is your proudest achievement?
Winning an award at the Burlesque Hall of Fame and being in the Burlesque TOP 50 for two years! When I started my burlesque journey, I never imagined that one day I would catch a plane to show my art on the other side of the world and be so loved at an international level. These are amazing goals, but I’ve enjoyed every little step and that’s why I feel myself blessed.
15. What is your biggest regret?
I wish I’d had a happier adolescence. I suffered a lot, and although it made me the strong woman I am today, I regret that I didn’t get to enjoy those years.
16. What is the biggest challenge facing today’s burlesque scene?
A current challenge is certainly censorship on social media. It’s 2024 and social media is a business tool, a way to earn money offstage. I have a very active Instagram profile, but I struggle every day with reports and censorship which makes monetization difficult. As artists we should have the opportunity to monetize our talent and our image, but due to censorship and prejudice this is not possible today. I hope that we can take steps forward, to obtain an artistic dignity equal to other artforms and the same earning possibilities in a world that changes rapidly and wants to leave us behind.
17. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing when you started out in burlesque, what would it be?
‘You are enough! I know you won’t believe me now, but one day this art will change your life. You’ll become a strong and confident woman, you’ll find a family in this community, travel the world… and be happy. Stop overthinking and enjoy the ride!’
18. What is a cause or issue that’s very important to you?
The importance of positive body image. I try to teach my students and all the young women I meet to love and respect their bodies. Before each dance step I stress that there is no model to aspire to, that beauty is not objective, and above all that it does not depend on the judgment of others, but only on the love we feel for ourselves, which is the only love that, once found, will never leave us for the rest of our lives.
19. What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to?
Reading The Handmaid’s Tale, watching only romantic Christmas movies (I know, it’s January, but as long as Netflix keeps offering them to me I can’t resist), and music wise it really depends on my mood in the morning!
20. If you could share a dressing room with one performer for the rest of your career, who would it be?
I would definitely choose my best friend Madame de Freitas who is an incredible woman and incredible artist. She is my favourite person in the world.
21. What would you like your life and career to look like in 10 years time?
I imagine myself as a producer of an iconic show in my country that will become the key destination for international performers in Italy. I will dedicate myself to the artistic direction and my burlesque teaching, and buy a house just outside the city. There will be a large walk-in closet, a fireplace, a piano, a rehearsal room and a garden with beautiful flowers. I will have a large family, or maybe just many cats… I still don’t have clear ideas on this last point!