The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend is a day away, and here is a chance to find out more about the second five performers competing for Best Debut in the Saturday night pageant. You can read Part One here…
Laurie Hagen (London, UK)
If you looked me up in the dictionary, it would say… a little lightening bolt who likes beer and sausage dogs.
I became a burlesque performer because… after having left a dancing career due to injury, many moons ago, I missed movement, choreographing and getting that buzz from a live performance.
When I’m on stage, I feel… unleashed and admittedly a tad unhinged!
When I’m on stage, I want the audience to feel… bloody well entertained and genuinely surprised.
I applied to compete at BHoF because… to a burlesque performer, I reckon it’s the ultimate challenge!
I chose the act I’m competing with because… it’s a simple concept with a twist and sits outside my comfort zone of humorous characters.
If I am awarded ‘Best Debut’… I will eat my rhinestoned French knickers!
To me, life is about… ‘living’, as I believe we only have one go at it and zilch happens after we snuff it!
My guilty pleasure is… picking out all the bits of Oreos from a tub of Haagen Dazs Cookies and Cream, washing it all down with bubbly wine, whilst forcing my man to watch The Voice with me.
In ten years time, I hope to be… filthy and rich.
Eliza DeLite (Leicester, UK)
If you looked me up in the dictionary, it would say… Eliza DeLite – ‘Officially the Pope’s favourite burlesque performer!’ – a phrase coined by Benjamin Louche.
I became a burlesque performer because… despite aspirations to become a fashion photographer (with relevant degree in hand), I knew my heart belonged on the stage. All through my life, I studied dance and performance alongside art and photography. When it came to university I had to make a choice, and I chose to pursue my photography. Despite a respectable 2:1 in photography and film production, fate seems to have re-corrected the situation and landed me with a place in the entertainment business! What I first took up as a hobby during my university years has firmly become my life.
When I’m on stage, I feel… dazzled – I love that feeling of not quite being able to see the audience because of the bright stage lights shining in my eyes; the haze it creates gives me the buzz to perform my at best and it’s a feeling like nothing else. I’ve had a few fellow performers comment in passing that they find large stages daunting, but I love to have a large space in which to move about!
When I’m on stage, I want the audience to feel… captivated! I want to transport them into what ever world it is I’ve tried to create with the act I’m performing. If it’s my ‘Ziegfeld Girl’ act, I want them to feel like they’ve stepped into an MGM musical; if it’s my ‘Like a Prayer’ routine, I want them to feel like they’re stood gazing up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or seeing a Pierre et Gilles portrait come to life!
I applied to compete at BHoF because… right now, for me, it is the ultimate goal. Almost a year ago after winning ‘Best British Female’ at WBG in London, I was interviewed and asked if I’d consider applying to BHoF next year (meaning 2013) and I thought – why not!?
I chose the act I’m competing with because… It’s my signature routine. I poured so much of my creative inspiration into this act, well before I had any idea where it would take me. I owe a lot of my achievements and experiences in my career so far to this act. It’s got me this far, so to take it to Vegas is a dream!
If I am awarded ‘Best Debut’… I’ll keel over in disbelief!
To me, life is about… seizing opportunities when they present themselves and enjoying every second. Whilst I am always optimistic and looking to the future, taking bigger steps, moving forward etc., I will never take for granted that this moment may well be the peak of my career and that I shouldn’t for one second pass it by as just another step on the career ladder.
My guilty pleasure is… Marmite!
In ten years time, I hope to be… still fabulous, but hopefully wiser and more able to confidently deal with the complicated business side of things.
Sina King (Melbourne, Australia)
If you looked me up in the dictionary, it would say… (Pronounced: See-nah King) v. The feeling experienced in between orgasm and cigarette.
I became a burlesque performer because… I love to entertain and I don’t like being told what to do.
When I’m on stage, I feel… like I become connected with every person in the room.
When I’m on stage, I want the audience to feel… moist.
I applied to compete at BHoF because… I wanted to entertain the entertainers.
I chose the act I’m competing with because… I enjoy performing it and I wanted to embrace the challenge of editing it from seven minutes to four! Eep!
If I am awarded ‘Best Debut’… I’ll be surprised, honoured, and eternally grateful.
To me, life is about… collecting beautiful memories.
My guilty pleasure is… No guilt, just pleasure.
In ten years time, I hope to be… alive and well and happy.
Lady Borgia (California, USA)
If you looked me up in the dictionary, it would say… “Lady Borgia (pronounced ‘boar-gha’), the Dangerous Beauty of Burlesque. Whether on stage or off, her presence is akin to sitting front row at a fireworks display. Sparkling, pretty, and awing to watch; packs plenty of Ka-Boom; only to be handled by a professional.”
I became a burlesque performer because… I can’t seem to stay off a stage or away from a spotlight. My journey started with loving the adult aspect of dancing/stripping and the beautiful costumes. Along the way I discovered confidence, self acceptance, and pure the joy of, well, entertaining the hell out of my audience.
When I’m on stage, I feel… empowered and magnificent, and I feel as though I own that damn stage for the next 4-7 minutes, so I’m leaving it all out there.
When I’m on stage, I want the audience to feel… moved to some emotion, whether it be amusement, awe, exhilaration, whatever it may be. I want my audience feel like they get to take a piece of that performance home with them.
I applied to compete at BHoF because… I wanted to take another step to ‘putting myself out there’. As a new mom, It was not about if I got chosen to perform or compete, it was about putting my work, my passion, and my new post-baby body in front of some people to be judged, and being okay with whatever the outcome.
I chose the act I’m competing with because… it was a number that happened on the spur of the moment and was filled with raw emotion and a passion I felt needed to be showcased amongst all the more traditional performances. I felt that it would just stand out, without being ‘in your face’.
If I am awarded ‘Best Debut’… I will be totally shocked! I just want to share a number I love and am very proud of with the community that continues to inspire me to greatness as a performer and as a person.
To me, life is about… dreaming a big dream and going after it, enjoying amazing adventures, inspiring confidence and self love in others, and remembering to be grateful for the incredible, creative people I am surrounded by.
My guilty pleasure is… Gordon Ramsay. Dear God Gordon, could you just make your next restaurant a cabaret and let me perform there? Forget ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, bring on ‘Hell’s Cabaret’.
In ten years time, I hope to be… still performing and producing, and encouraging my son to explore his creative, theatrical side. Ideally, I would love to team up with a restauranteur and collaborate on a Burlesque/cabaret dinner theatre.
Di Lovely (California, USA)
I became a burlesque performer because… my current career as a flight attendant does not allow me to commit to the various performing groups I used to be involved with in San Diego. I relocated to Chicago about three years ago for the job, and I became very disconnected with my life-long craft and passion for dance. Once I got a better hold of my work schedule, I was able to make time to check out the dance scene in the Windy City and was immediately intrigued and inspired by the rich burlesque community there. Namely, Michelle L’amour and Hot Toddy, whom I took classes with at Studio L’amour.
I fell in love with this specific art form and hustled to launch a solo career as I moved back home to San Diego last Fall. I’ve trained in lots of genres of dance as a kid, and now that I’m grown and sexy (well, maybe not in height), I really discovered and completely fell into MY niche. And I’ve never been happier.
When I’m on stage, I feel… a rush of adrenaline that often makes me anxious at first, then very excited to be doing what I love. (If that feeling ever ceases, then something’s just not right, not making it worthwhile.) There’s nothing like that unpredictable turn-out for a dance piece you’ve poured your heart into, whether you’ve choreographed it just hours before, or have performed it for years. It’s a different show every single time with the help of audiences. But the best part is leaving the stage with relief and pride, screaming ‘FUCK YEAH!’
When I’m on stage, I want the audience to feel… Pure JOY. Most of my performances are very light-hearted, so I try my best to reach out and engage the audience to feel exactly what I’m feeling. And, well, I would also like to impress them enough to say, ‘WHO was that?!’
I applied to compete at BHoF because… as a newbie to the scene, I simply wanted to try it without any expectations. I just knew it would be an honour to be recognised by the BHoF organisation. To be honest, I kind of applied blindly, not understanding the fine print; I would have chosen to wait another year or so, to evolve as an artist and prepare an even stronger performance. Ultimately, it became this validation for me to see that what I’m pursuing as a burlesque dancer is indeed the right track for me. Perhaps applying to compete this year was meant to be.
I chose the act I’m competing with because… quite frankly, it was the only live act I had recorded in time for the BHoF deadline! However, this has become my staple, timeless piece that gives a sweet introduction of myself to the burlesque world. But it also gives a little tease of what I can potentially bring to the stage in the future.
If I am awarded ‘Best Debut’… It already feels like I’m having the BEST DEBUT. Within months of my first burlesque performance, I received emails of being selected to perform at high caliber events and festivals, including the Miss Viva Las Vegas pageant! And I look forward to continuing to travel this year to meet other performers, learn from them, and simply share my unique presentation of this passion we all have in common.
To me, life is about… making TIME for whom and what’s important to oneself. Even if you’re not sure, take the RISK anyway. With that, it becomes the wild journey of discovering yourself as the constantly evolving, beautiful being that you are.
My guilty pleasure is… Netflix and rhinestoning on Friday nights… until 4am Saturday. Any other day, my guilty pleasure is online shopping for new costumes and vintage finds.
In ten years time, I hope to be… still dancing, if my body permits. I mean that regarding my flexibility and dance technique! Trust me, I’m about twice the age you think I am. By then, I only dream to have been booked for international burlesque productions and performed on tours alongside lovely queens in our remarkable community.
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.