As we count down to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, let’s find out more about the eleven talented temptresses competing for Reigning Queen! I have asked each of them about their lives, personalities, preparations and plans, so that those who don’t already know them well can learn a little about them and their work, and those of us who know them better can enjoy their thoughtful and entertaining responses.
Smouldering Texan temptress, Coco Lectric reveals her plans for the 2012 pageant…
If I looked you up in a twinkling, rhinestone covered burlesque dictionary, what would the entry for ‘Coco Lectric’ say?
Coco Lectric: n. A spicy and sparkly burlesque dancer prone to physical challenges, improvisational dance and lending her body to the music and the audience entirely.
Paint us a little picture of your everyday life and work in Texas…
I’m not often in Texas, to be honest, but when I am I spend my son’s waking hours with him doing a (hopefully) fun version of typical mom stuff. When he sleeps and when he’s at school I train and prepare for upcoming shows. I spend a lot of time covered in rhinestones and E6000 and searching for music, doing my burlesque homework and teaching and planning burlesque classes.
What would you say is your greatest strength?
I’d say my greatest strength is trust. I trust the music. I trust the audience. I trust my ability to make something wonderful, or at least interesting, happen on stage.
What has been the highlight or defining moment of your career to date, and also in your life overall?
Every time I get a standing ovation is a brilliant moment in my life and career. The first time it happened I realised that I had the ability to create something entertaining and awe inspiring. It’s not often that you get that kind of feedback, but when it happened I knew that I had to keep going.
Can you tell me a bit about your chosen act? Why have you chosen it, is it an old trusted act, or a new routine? Have you made any special changes or ‘upgrades’ to it for BHoF?
The act I’m doing is my signature Austin Tribute piece that has been an Austin favorite for loyal Jigglewatt friends and fans. I chose it because it’s always a fun piece and I really get to rock out. I get to do a little bit of acting, improv, and some of my favourite crazy dance moves that you may have seen in other numbers. With the song, Detroit being the #1 song of 2010-2011 in Austin by #1 band in Austin, The Bright Light Social Hour, I really get to represent my town and that makes me happy. I’ve really worked hard to put Austin on the burlesque map and it’s my chance to revel in our scene a little. I haven’t changed a whole lot about my performance, just made it a little bigger and more sparkly for that big beautiful stage.
“I’ve seen burlesque change so many lives for the better and our community is so special, supportive and creative, as a whole. It is my hope that we’ll find a way to sustain it and build on it for future generations.”
You competed last year for the first time – what was that first experience like? What has that experience taught you – do you plan to do anything differently this year, or adopt a different approach or attitude?
Last year was an amazing experience but a difficult time for me personally, so I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I really wanted to. What I did discover was how important my burlesque family is to me and how important it is that we support each other. I was truly lucky that I had help from Black Mariah and Blaze with my costume, and Java, Mig, Harley and StrOker Ace with my health and sanity.
Is competing something you enjoy, or that pushes or encourages you to excel?
To be honest, I really do enjoy competing. I’m very serious about my performances in funny ways and I’m always competing with myself. ‘Did I really bring it this time?’ ‘Did I enjoy myself?’ ‘Did I take the time to connect with my audience?’ Being a part of the competition makes me really feel like someone trusts me in the ring, and that’s a good place to be.
How would you spend your year as Queen – do you have any specific plans or goals if you win?
I would do my best to be in as many places in the world as I can. I would also work on what it means to be a full time burlesque performer financially, not just for myself, but also attempting to set a standard for other professionals. I would teach more classes and upgrade the numbers I already have, and create new ones in an attempt to keep everyone entertained (including myself). I ultimately will be working to further legitimise the art form and lifestyle that we, as a burlesque community, thrive on.
What are your dreams and hopes for burlesque in the future, and yourself as a part of it?
I just want to keep doing it. I don’t feel that performing burlesque is a choice for me, but maintaining my vision and energy for it will require more time, money and self care. I’m not the only burlesque performer in this place and in my wildest, sparkliest dreams I’d like to revolutionise the way we’re appreciated for it. I’ve seen burlesque change so many lives for the better, and our community is so special, supportive and creative as a whole. It is my hope that we’ll find a way to sustain it and build on it for future generations.
The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend
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.