The following is like a Christmas letter, only with boobs.
On May 24 of last year, I embarked on my first paid burlesque performance as the ribbon dancer in Temple of Boobs: An Indiana Jones Burlesque at Gorilla Tango Burlesque. I’d also recently been cast as an apprentice in The Kiss Kiss Cabaret.
A little over a year later, I have:
Developed four solo acts (and am working on a fifth).
Learned eight group numbers (working on nine and ten right now).
Originated one role (Ma Boobs in You Have Died of Sexy: An Oregon Trail Burlesque).
Picked up two new tracks (Willie in Temple of Boobs and Commissioner Gordon/Egghead in Holy Bouncing Boobies! A Batman Burlesque).
Participated in six photo shoots.
Picked up approximately 43,165 underthings.
Now, that is FAR less than most of my contemporaries have achieved. In terms of burlesque, I’m still a baby. Honestly, I might always be a baby in this game. There are always going to be women thinner, prettier, sparklier and more fabulous than I. I’ll never, ever be the most awesome burly-girl in the room.
That said, I am largely okay with that.
Here are some things I’ve learned in the past year:
- When it comes to body image, I am my own worst enemy. There are those who think I’m fab no matter what my size, and the rest can lump it.
- I actually bring some shit to the table, mainly my work ethic. I will usually be one of the first to arrive, and am on the sidelines when I’m not on stage, practicing. I credit the companies I’m with for keeping me on top of my game at all times. I’ve pushed myself more in the last 12 months than I ever have, and I am forever grateful to my peers and producers for that.
- Maybe I’m not the most beautiful or the sexiest (make that definitely). That said, I’m never afraid to make an ass out of myself or try something new.
- I can actually take a decent photograph. Who knew?
- I have a lot to learn, in burlesque and in life, but I’ve been lucky enough to find willing and helpful mentors along the way.
- Validation from others is AWESOME, but it’s most important that I feel good about my performance. Or, alternatively, that I learn something from it. Even if that lesson comes AFTER I cry for two days.
- Picking up panties is really fun, especially when you ham it up. If you’re lucky, people will start cheering when you come onstage.
- Taking part in such a creative endeavor has inspired my other creative endeavors.
Which brings me to a recent revelation I had: burlesque is one of many things I do. I also work full-time and as a writer. I’d started questioning whether I was devoting too much time to burlesque (while also feeling INCREDIBLY WORRIED that I wasn’t devoting enough time to burlesque). After a much-needed vacation, I vowed to devote more energy to writing.
And then I got cast in another nerdlesque show. I really could not turn down Return of the Jedi. Especially since it means understudying Han Solo and Princess Leia. Two words: Metal. Bikini.
As I enter my second year as a professional burlesque performer, I’ll also be writing — doing freelance work, trying to get my fiction out there into the world, and chronicling the ups, downs, and reveals of this always-fascinating, always-glittery culture. It’s all about the balance, baby.
Oh, and remember how I said that validation isn’t everything? I have to admit, reviews like this one are pretty cool:
Repeatedly promised to get a glimpse of the cigarette girl’s skills, Emma Glitterbomb finally settled the anticipation when she started the second half of the show. Although very stunning in her uniform from before, Emma upped the ante coming out scantily dressed in a black brazier and see-through underwear, complimented with lacey stockings. Engaging in perhaps a classic chair dance, her sensual movements were singularly provocative. Emma Glitterbomb is a show-stealer! – Chicagoburlesque.org, “The Kiss Kiss Cabaret Keep’em Coming Back…”
Show-stealer? Okay, then.
I’ll be performing with both KKC and GTB this summer, and would love to see you there! For details and discounts, leave a comment, message me or email email@example.com.