“So you wanna know about the Naked Girls, huh?
Naked Girls Reading is a group of beautiful ladies who love to read… naked.
That’s really it. There’s not a whole lot more to it. Should there be?
I mean, sure, we also like to do it in front all of you voyeurs via photos, videos and very special live events, but you don’t have to look for something larger here – something pretentious or even seedy. Once you experience it, you’ll stop asking so many questions and just let the concept take you.
There’s something beautiful, something altogether more intimate, about a woman reading pretty much anything in her, well, altogether. It’s just that simple. So why are we still talking about it? Because people can’t seem to accept its simplicity.
Naked Girls. Reading.
or Girls Reading. Naked.
However you need to explain it to yourself is fine. And while you do, we’ll be over here… reading.
Naked Girls Reading – in their own words. I could write a rambling introductory paragraph about this phenomenon, but that pretty much captures it.
March 2010 is the official One Year Anniversary of Naked Girls Reading – the brainchild of Michelle L’amour and Franky Vivid, who seem to be constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to celebrate and utilise the female form in all its naked glory!
And who better to pioneer this new concept than the world’s Most Naked Woman? I had a post-anniversary chat with Michelle about the NGR journey so far…
What precisely inspired this idea? (I assume it involved you. Naked. Reading?)
Yes, you’re right! I was on the couch reading naked and Franky found me. He found the image to be inspiring and found that it was beautiful and had always been attracted to this idea.
I started joking around about a pay website, called nakedgirlsreading.com, and later that day, we bought it. That was about 2-3 years ago. We didn’t do anything with it for all that time. Then I opened my burlesque dance school, Studio L’amour, and thought it would be really fun to try it as a live event.
A year ago this month, we had our first event and it was a huge success. Who knew!
Have you had a distinctly mixed response to this venture? I imagine there will inevitably be those who don’t see the point, or think it is a cheap novelty, or nudity for the sake of it…
Overall, the response has been really positive. It is a magical experience for reasons that we haven’t quite nailed down, but it’s beautiful women reading beautiful literature. It really does go hand in hand. Of course, there are those people that don’t see the point and are just angry people in general. We do our best to change their minds.
Did you have any idea or expectation that this concept would take off across America, especially in such a short time?
No, I had no idea. We were starting to get approached by other cities about doing the event, so we thought it was a great idea. Now I get to travel to read naked to strangers. Pretty great!
Is there any ambition to make NGR a worldwide franchise (in a similar way to Dr Sketchy’s, for instance)? I know I would love to see a chapter in London!
Well, of course! I would love this to take over the world. Hello London!
Can you recall the first ever NGR evening? Were you at all nervous or unsure about the turnout or response? Was there initial awkwardness from the audience, or the readers themselves?
AHHH! We were so nervous, not about being naked but about reading out loud! When you read to yourself, it’s easy and you don’t question pronunciation because everything is perfect in your head. Then, suddenly, when confronted with reading it naked out loud, you start to question some things. I can tell you now that the only thing I fear doing in front of people is singing!
I suppose it might be easy to assume that the burlesque performers among the readers would find it easier/more comfortable to do. But has the removal of pasties and merkin/g-string inhibited any of them – does it change things?
Yes, it changes things. Some burlesque dancers don’t want to do it because of the removal of pasties or g-strings. Or they want to wear robes or feathers. But, ya know, it’s NAKED girls reading. I don’t ask for much but I do ask that my readers be naked. That’s totally reasonable right?
Do you choose all of the Naked Girls, or do you hold Naked Reading auditions? (For diction and literacy of course!)
We don’t hold auditions but we do have to approve the girls being used. We use the Chicago Starlets who are used to working with us and love being naked and reading literature. We did hold a reality spoof called, ‘So You Wanna Be a Naked Girl’ and had about eight amateurs come and read naked and the audience texted in their votes. What an abuse of technology! It was really successful and I think we have to do it again.
Have you intentionally stuck to people who were initially very comfortable with nudity, or have you encouraged less eager, less confident women and friends to join you?
We’ve encouraged the doubtful but we will never make anyone get naked. That’s just creepy! But if someone is excited about it, but nervous, we will definitely help them overcome that fear. That’s what it’s all about.
Have there been any really strong or memorable responses and reactions to the experience, from individual audience members or readers themselves?
Yes. As I said earlier, this is a really magical event. It’s just beautiful on so many levels. I get emails all the time about how this has changed people’s lives and how they will start reading naked now at home. That just makes me smile on the inside.
What has been your favourite evening or theme so far?
Oh, it’s so hard to pick! Let’s see… Top 3: Naked Girls Go to the Movies (we served popcorn and read in directors chairs), Naked Girls Rock (we played Guitar Hero Naked), and Naked Girls Radio (Orson Welles would be proud!)
Are you eager to recruit more high profile readers, from the world of burlesque or otherwise?
I would love to get some authors in there to read. I think it would be a great way to boost sales!
What is your ultimate goal for NGR? Do you have a long-term plan in mind, or is it more of an enjoyable project that you are happy to see how it goes?
There are some long term plans. We are holding our first writers contest. We’ll be announcing the application in April and announcing the winner in November.
What’s the next big project/franchise for us to look forward to from the L’amour team? (What’s this I hear about pillow fighting?)
Yes, Pillow Fight Club. We’ll see about that. We did it a couple of years ago and have been getting requests ever since. So, here it is again on April 1st. Also coming up this year – burlesque and horses. That’s all I’m saying!
Find out more…
Images and quoted text ©Naked Girls Reading
Burlesque Hall of Fame / Miss Exotic World Judge, 2011 Holli Mae Johnson is the founder and editor of 21st Century Burlesque Magazine, a pioneering publication created twelve years ago to unite, document and celebrate the global burlesque community. Holli is actively involved in the burlesque community on a day to day basis and is privately consulted by performers and producers at every level for promotion, critique, recommendations and encouragement. As a documenter and critic, she has seen countless burlesque and variety performances from across the world and provides an intimate perspective and insight into the lives and careers of burlesque’s greatest pioneers, performers and personalities.