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The Would-Be Queens: 20 Questions With Iva Handfull (BHoF 2014)

The Would-Be Queens: 20 Questions With Iva Handfull (BHoF 2014)

The Would-Be Queens: 20 Questions With Iva Handfull (BHoF 2014)

It’s that time of year again when the ten wonderful women selected to compete for Miss Exotic World, Reigning Queen of Burlesque face my pre-pageant interview. This year, the contenders were sent twenty questions, composed of a question contributed by each of them and some additional questions from previous Miss Exotic World title-holders. Next up is the unforgettable Iva Handfull!

21st Century Burlesque Magazine Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2014 Coverage is sponsored by Fancy Feather.

Fancy Feather

Your signature style in three words: Fierce, Fashionable, Relentless.

Previous BHoF Weekend appearances (and awards, if any): 2011 (Best Debut competition), 2012 (Movers, Shakers, Innovators), 2013 (Movers, Shakers, Innovators).

The act you will be performing: ‘Filthy Gorgeous’.

What did you want to be as a kid?

A rock star.

What is your earliest memory of rebellion?

In elementary school I wouldn’t match my clothes, so my family would let me walk around the mall by myself so they wouldn’t have to be seen with me.

Iva Handfull as Prince. ©Wijadi Jodi
Iva Handfull as Prince. ©Wijadi Jodi

If you could pick celebrity parents (alive or dead, any era) who would they be?

I’ve never thought of any celebrities as my parents; you stumped me on this one.

What is one thing most people do not know about you?

In Marine Corps Junior ROTC, I claimed I would become the first female commandant of the Marine Corps.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Shopping for ties (I have over 2000 ties).

Is there a rock/music star that influences you? If so, who is it and how do they influence you?

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. He’s always created his own music and lyrics, stayed true to himself, and creates music that gets into my soul.

Iva Handfull in a J. Von Stratton design. ©Fiona Pepe Photography
Iva Handfull in a J. Von Stratton design. ©Fiona Pepe Photography

What is integral to your creative process in burlesque?

Be myself on stage, have fun, and create acts I’ll love to perform decades from now.

What do you want people to remember most about your performances when you are dead and gone?

That I’ve always given the audience my full self.

How long does it take for you to get into hair and makeup for a show? (Don’t lie, we all know you’re a diva… we all are, darling.)

One hour (my hair is super easy).

Iva Handfull catering at BurlyCon 2013.  ©Ruby Whiines Photography
Iva Handfull catering at BurlyCon 2013. ©Ruby Whiines Photography

Do you have any traditional pre-show ritual that you do to calm your nerves or bring luck?


“I like to get up to a fair amount of hijinks on the road; what is your favourite tour story?”

I tend to try to avoid events that can get crazy, so I really don’t have a story.

For whom you would like to perform if you could pick anyone, and why?

Trent Reznor! So I can show him how his career has influenced who I am.

Iva Handfull at the Show Me Burlesque Festival 2012.  ©Richard A. Nichols
Iva Handfull at the Show Me Burlesque Festival 2012. ©Richard A. Nichols

Old school or new school?

New school in a historic building.

What is your competitive strategy?

Have the time of my life on stage, be the best I can be in the moment, and present my art alongside other people I respect.

You’ve imagined yourself performing at the pageant and doing a GREAT show. And then suddenly, they are placing that tiara upon your head. What was it about you, your show and your performance that put you in first place, and how have you been preparing to make that fantasy a reality?

People are proud to have me represent the burlesque community and help spread the word about the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum; my performance was the perfect blend of where burlesque has been, where it is now, and where it can go in the future; and I was able to share my stage performance with the entire room, almost like virtual reality burlesque.

Iva Handfull competing for Best Debut at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2011.  ©Diane Naegel
Iva Handfull competing for Best Debut at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2011. ©Diane Naegel

If you are selected as this year’s Miss Exotic World, what will you try to accomplish to make your mark on the title and how do you plan to distinguish yourself?

No matter where I perform, the audience will walk away understanding what the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum is, why it’s important to our history and future, and how they can help and/or become part of our community. Also, I would love to represent diversity in burlesque performance, honouring and respecting our history, but moving forward to show this new burlesque.

As Queen, how would you consider using your title to spread the word about The Burlesque Hall of Fame and Museum?

Wherever I travel/perform, it will be part of my contract that the show should include a BHOF Museum fundraiser in the evening, whether it be a raffle, door prize, giveaway, or pass-the-basket, to name a few ideas. I will bother Dustin Wax for museum promo info for me to have available at shows (or find someone to donate museum promo materials). I’ve already started doing this with all new performance contracts, regardless of the upcoming competition; honestly I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it before. Secondly, I’d like to create a different kind of burlesque legend challenge, where we challenge show producers to book burlesque legends. I know so many producers are already on top of this, but I’m sure there’s room for more legends in our shows. Last, I’d love to involve our audiences more, ask them to visit the BHoF Museum when they travel to Las Vegas and find a way to thank them for stopping by.

Find out all you need to know about the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend here…

Visit Iva Handfull’s website…

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