Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pageant Queen at Miss Burlesque Tasmania 2013

About a year ago I asked a college friend if he had ever thought he would see me on stage, performing burlesque. The response was a firm "no." I was not known for wearing dresses or skirts, I didn't start wearing more than mascara until I was 22 and even then I had to get someone else to help me apply the extra pancake.
So, winning Miss Burlesque 2013 wasn't really on the cards. I think my face says it all...

I entered the competition after chatting to Grace Cherry who competed in 2012 and judged me the first time I competed in 2010. Her motivations appealed to me, the idea of polishing three acts, gaining video footage and challenging myself on the night.

Sarah Muir from Tasmania's Pole and Burlesque Academy in Moonah sponsored me, this sponsorship included free studio time, massages and even some fabric to costume the skirt wavers in my Sirenes act.
Sarah has always supported Tasmanian burlesque, she revived burlesque in Tasmania in 2007 with a group that included Miss Kitty's Meow's Grace Cherry and Tiger Lilly, The Diamond's of Burlesque Bebe Sparkle as well as myself.

The night itself started for the performers and crew at 1:30pm when we were allowed to clutter the changerooms with all manner of fantastic costumes and props. I shared a smaller dressing room with Grace Cherry, Oopsy Daisy and Velvet Sway. Above the door written in texta was 'the room of cock,' we liked it. The room was loud with laughter and chatter as well as my oft uttered "I'm so tired... I'm so hungry..." Velvet came to my rescue with some dried apricots!

Costumes ready to go

Grace Cherry, Velvet Sway and Oopsy Daisy backstage before the gown parade

Tech run went over time which led to some of us having a less than perfect run through but it was great to jump onto the Theatre Royal stage again, it really is a gorgeous space to perform in, there's something wonderful about standing in wings of heavy black velvet before you perform.

The theatre Royal from the stage!

Tiger Lilly was my hair and make up go to gal, we did a quick test prior to the competition and determined on a style that could evolve during the night. We did really well until my unique which required a lot of glue and glitter around my eyes,  after which it was hard to recover a flawless finish for the presentations at the end of the night!

Tiger Lilly

The actual competition started at 7pm, Missy de Meanour performed a classic act before making her way to the judging table. Then, the gown parade, picture ten nervous girls waiting side of stage for about 15 minutes. I attacked my walk, my gown was a little bit creased so whenever I stopped I would pick up the hem to show my foot or twist the skirt to make it less obvious.
The night was on, three hours of running from stage to room to the back up dancers room and back to the stage.
Classic was next, I already had my pasties on, so it was easy enough to change, yell a quick "chookas!!" to the other girls and then stride out onto the stage, a little nervous at first as I start with a slow walk, but then as the energy picked up I felt myself sinking into character, becoming bolder, remembering that really, it's just another show.
I finished with a fabulously deep back bend tassel twirl at the edge of the stage and flashed a brilliant grin to the audience.

Classic act

Neo was next, I enlisted my friend Jo to dress as a drag king and waltz me around the stage as we did a take off of Strictly ballroom. Tiger Lily swept my fringe up into a glitter strewn confection and painted my lips a frosty pink. For this act we were going back to the 80's!

With Jo aka Raoul de Silva before my neo act

We all had to run backstage and change for unique. Even though only five would get through you had to remain optimistic and be ready to go onstage. Bebe came backstage and drew the names in order of performance.

The five remaining finalists were: Velvet Sway, Lucy Sky Diamond, Miss BonnieVille Lulu L'Pearl and Grace Cherry.
A flurry of activity and then suddenly I was racing on to the darkened stage with my shrouded boys, Zeb and Dean. My tech run had been cut short so I was a little hesitant in my movement and looked down more than I normally would but my new head piece and Thai fingernails were something extra that I could play with and I relished the time I had on stage.

Photo by CezB photography

Photo by CezB Phtography

Finally I had to peel the glue off my face and do a 5 second dodgy make up retouch before returning to the stage for the presentation.

From L- R Grace Cherry, Oopsy Daisy, Lucy Sky Diamond, Velvet Sway and Miss Jaye backstage before presentation

I remember looking at the faces of the judges, I know I made eye contact with John X, Scarlett Jezebel and Missy de Meanour and to their credit they gave me no hint of what was to come!
I had hopes that I would make the top three but as someone who used to compete in gymnastics I was used to assuming that I had not carried off a routine to perfection and would therefore be lucky to place.
Miss Bonnie Ville standing behind me won the Miss Burlesque Tasmania Ambassador Award, Grace Cherry was then announced as the second runner up followed by Miss Bonnie Ville as first runner up.

Grace Cherry is announced as the Second Runner Up
 Bebe then announced my name and the next couple of minutes are lost to the screams of the audience and my fellow performers, I know someone was hugging me from behind and then I had to walk out to be crowned. Missy helped me when my crown would not stay on, saying she'd had the same problem last year!

Going into protection mode as Oopsy Daisy attacks me with hugs!

Missy adjusting my crown

I was crowned, sashed and handed a brown paper bag which contained a prize from one of the sponsors. My only regret was being unable to thank the audience, the judges and the other performers instead I stood there and smiled uncertainly, gestured towards the other girls and smiled some more!
Finally the curtain dropped and again I was engulfed by arms and cheers!!

With Jo backstage, Jo aka Raoul de Silva is my partner in my neo act!

After a quick pack up and drink with some of the crew I headed to Ivory Bar in Hobart for a celebratory drink, my crown was borrowed and then scarily, my foot was kissed.
With Great power comes great responsibility and apparently foot kissing. I see many manicures in my future.

I'll be updating the blog in the months leading up to the Miss Burlesque Grand Finals held in Melbourne on May 24 with photos, more of my vintage costumes and backstage gossip!

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