Competing for the Crown: Cleo Viper (BHoF 2013)
21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene…
Cleo Viper has answered my 2013 pre-BHoF Q&A, and she will take to the stage in just over a week at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2013. I put something lighthearted and fun together this year, and requested some extra ‘media’ from each contender.
When I’m on stage, I feel… rrooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrr!
When I’m on stage, I want the audience to feel… in a different dimension, escaping reality in a magical world made of art, sex, glamour and sparkle, hidden in the melancholic yet attractive dark side of their imagination.
BHoF is special and important to me because… it’s a chance for me to support, promote and live burlesque as a true-at-heart marvellous art. And it’s a chance to meet and greet the most amazing and inspiring people in the world, and see them perform!
I chose the act I am competing with because… I never thought I was going to be selected, so I really wanted to ‘go big and extraordinary’ or not go at all! I was shocked when they selected my act, as it’s so different from the more classic bump’n’grind, Las Vegas kind of burlesque. I am thrilled to show my own interpretation of this amazing, yet undefinable word/world: BURLESQUE!
If I am crowned Queen… I’ll pee in my merkin!
If I could speak to myself when I was a new performer starting out, I would say/tell myself… WAIT TO BE 18! And then, keep it going, stay strong, have faith, keep dreaming, shit glitter, stay focused, do what you like… and always keep it going!
Something that few people know about me is… I have a 3mm stretched triangle piercing! Ah!
I am happiest when… I’m at the Circus!
My greatest strength is… love.
My biggest vice is… love. And Nutella.
My greatest fear is… fake nails.
If I could spend a day with any woman in history, past or present, it would have to be… Cleopatra!
I if could have a superhero power, it would be… to be invisible… when I need to be! (blink)
The best piece of advice I have ever been given is… Do It Yourself.
If I could only watch one movie, hear one song and read one book for the rest of my life, they would be… Frankenstein Junior, Blue Tears by The Black Heart Procession, Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
The key to show-stopping striptease is… self-confidence.
My hopes for the future of burlesque are… I would love burlesque to grow more as a form of art/entertainment at a professional level, as if it could actually be a career that a woman would love to consider as a lifetime achievement/way of living/full-time job. I love the idea of burlesque as a form of self-expression and self-empowerement, and as a strong feminist I honestly believe in the power of burlesque to improve women’s self-consciousness and – why not – self-esteem. But this is happening already, and it’s the approach every woman/performer should have to start with, and it’s awesome.
I think, though, that as professional performers and as a community working to support burlesque, we should now focus on trying to defend our interests and protect our art from being exploited/used, and working together to make burlesque a realistic and satisfying career choice for more and more sexy freaks all over the world!
21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.