The Mess Mistress may be new to burlesque, but she is not new to the stage. As a bass guitarist, she has played in hard rock bands since she was a teenager. But even then, she had dreams of pursuing burlesque (despite being wildly age-inappropriate at the time). It was during quarantine, cooped up in her home in Tuscany, Italy, that Mistress decided to submit a video entry into the London Burlesque Festival. To her shock and delight, she got in! Since then, she has been invited to participate in the World Burlesque Games 2021, a virtual, global burlesque event in which participants compete for prizes, titles & accolades. I had the chance to chat with The Mess Mistress about her act, background, and experiences as a newcomer to burlesque in the times of pandemic…
BT: Shall I call you Mistress?
MM: Yes, you can.
BT: I don’t want to call you “The Mess”. That sound derogatory.
MM: No, Mistress is fine.
BT: It really sets the tone. I’ll be very submissive.
MM: Please don’t. (laughs)
BT: Now, you have entered the World Burlesque Games for 2021.
BT: How would you describe the act you’re presenting to the WBG?
MM: Lots of feathers and glitter. And purple, because I’m dancing to the Jimi Hendrix song, “Purple Haze”. I will be doing a fan dance. Very classic. Nothing very strange. But there is a strange part in that I’m also playing bass.
BT: So you will have a split screen. And on one side of the screen, you are playing bass guitar, and on the other side, you are performing your fan dance.
MM: Yes, I am.
BT: And this is your format lately, correct?
MM: Yes, I am mostly a bass player. I’m very new to burlesque. I started to perform one year ago, during the pandemic. I was alone, playing in my room, and something just clicked. I thought it would be fun (and weird) to put together bass playing and burlesque. So I did some research and found that nobody had ever done something like this before.
BT: So, you put this and other performances out on YouTube?
BT: And then from there you entered the London Burlesque Festival?
MM: Yes, I submitted because I saw that it was accessible for non-professional dancers. I didn’t expect that they would take me in. It was a total surprise, and I was really, really happy. I thought, Yeah, maybe this thing is working.
BT: Well, what you’re doing is wholly original and absolutely adorable.
MM: Yay! Thank you.
BT: One thing I love about your story is that you have never performed burlesque on an actual, physical stage.
MM: Yeah, never.
BT: However, you have performed on stage in other ways.
MM: Yes, I’ve been on stages all my life. I started to perform with my band when I was around 15. But it’s very different from burlesque. I remember when I was 16, I was really interested in burlesque. But of course, no company would take me…because I was 16.
BT: They didn’t want to go to jail.
MM: (laughs) But it is something I have always wanted to do.
BT: What was the name of your band when you were 15?
MM: Tequila for Breakfast.
BT: And what kind of music was that?
MM: Hard rock. A little punk-ish.
BT: And even then, you had a little bit of the burlesque in you.
MM: Yes, I used to show up on stage wearing nothing but a red corset, fishnet tights & high heels. Now I was 15, so everyone would just look at me with a weird look like, “What’s she doing? She’s a child.”
BT: You have a dance background as well.
MM: Yes, I used to be a ballerina before becoming a rock star. (laughs) But I couldn’t actually have a career in classical ballet because I have classic pin-up measurements.
BT: Nothing wrong with that.
MM: I was okay with that. I’m good with who I am. I’m good with my body. I realized I didn’t have to do ballet. And actually, burlesque is fantastic because it gave me the chance to explore my body, to be comfortable, and actually have fun.
BT: So as a result of your appearance in the London Burlesque Festival, you were invited to participate in the World Burlesque Games.
MM: I got an email saying if I wanted to join then I could. And I was like, Yeah sure!
BT: So that’s an international, virtual event based in London, where they take in all these video submissions. But it’s not just burlesque. It’s also cabaret, acrobatics, drag…
MM: Yes. This is the first time they’re doing it online. It used to be in a theater, but they decided to try this different kind of a format. Which is actually very good for the kind of project I’m doing. Playing an instrument and dancing at the same time.
BT: Something that makes WBG different is that ticket holders get to participate in judging the contestants.
MM: Yes, people have a chance to vote. They purchase a ticket, watch all the performers, and then vote for your favorite acts.
BT: Which category are you in?
MM: Newbies. (laughs) Because I’m not a professional dancer.
BT: Are you planning to perform on an actual stage at some point?
MM: Yes, absolutely.
BT: Well, you already have a resumé. Plus you are already a natural stage performer. Are you currently in a band?
MM: I am starting a new band as we speak.
BT: What’s going on in Italy? Are they opening up theaters?
MM: Yeah, they’re doing concerts now. But it really depends on the capacity of the venue. Of course, rock music is the last thing they’re going to think about.
BT: Maybe you could incorporate burlesque in your performances with your rock band. Just sayin’.
MM: They should pay me double.
To see The Mess Mistress compete in the World Burlesque Games 2021, visit www.bestofburlesque.net (and vote for her!)
To learn more about The Mess Mistress visit www.burlesquegalaxy.com and click on the Performer Directory. Or go directly to the Mistress Profile.
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