SEXY AT ANY AGE!
A conversation with Lillian Du Jour, an Award-Winning International Burlesque Performer who is on a mission to use burlesque to empower women to be sexy at any age.
How and when did you discover burlesque?
My whole life I have always had a creative outlet, as an elite figure skater myself, and then a coach, as a competitive dressage equestrian.
I was 60 when my Father passed away at 95 from Alzheimer’s; prompting me to take a deep look at my own mental health. I found myself for the first time not doing anything that I was passionate about. My body was showing the wear and tear of my skating career and I was not using my brain/creative side of me and I knew I needed to find something to make a difference with my later years.
I loved the musical “Gypsy” and remembered that I would sing and dance to every song as a little girl. I wondered if maybe I could go full circle and do burlesque in my old age? I looked up Burlesque and watched a few performers and said, ‘I can do this!
How did the burlesque community respond to a more mature newbie?
The other performers and fans were so supportive. I didn’t have any connection to the community, so I had to forge my own way. I did lots of research and dove in headfirst!
I’m proud to have come as far as I have in such a short time, and especially proud at my age. In fact, I always have the emcee announce my age at the end of my performance!
What has burlesque done for you professionally and emotionally?
It has given me a focus and creative outlet to use my knowledge from all the years of skating and being a choreographer. And it was a fun challenge to see if I could get back under the lights and bring a new attitude to what a mature woman/performer looks like.
I always make sure to stay around after my performances to talk to the audience. I found so many people wanted to speak further about their own experiences with aging or feeling less-than and how my performance inspired them.
That must be so rewarding, how else does performing make you feel?
Makes me feel empowered, doing something unexpected and doing it well.
It also made me feel that this was something that could and should be shared. If my performance could make someone open up about their feelings about aging, and make them feel better, and to break themselves out of the bondage of shame that society places on aging. This is something positive I should spread to the world.
This was really what planted the seed of my mission to use burlesque to empower women to be sexy at any age and reinvent myself in the process!
Did you talk to anyone about your plans before you started?
Oh, yes. I started talking to women around 40 and older and listened to their stories about how they viewed themselves. I also interviewed people from late 20s to 60s to see what they thought sexy was.
When I started to share how people defined “sexy” with the women, they still could not believe that they were beautiful or could be sexy at any age…they thought it was in the past for them.
This feedback convinced me even further to take this seriously.
How do you envision bringing your message to women around the world?
My gratitude cannot be put into words…only actions. I must continue to make a bigger impact on the women’s movement. I have met amazing people over my short career, but it’s not about me winning and just being on a stage. The stage is important to my mission of empowering women to be Sexy at Any Age.
I currently run burlesque workshops specifically designed for participants of all ages to find their mojo, see themselves as sexy, and have some fun!
My greatest joy in burlesque comes from mentoring new performers and some seasoned performers to be and see themselves as the beautiful people they are, and to help them reach for and achieve their goals both on and off stage. I love encouraging them to be the best that they can be.
But beyond that I have a million ideas! I would love to do a cross-generational show featuring performers in every decade of their lives, host Q&A discussions post shows focusing on attitudes towards aging…or a reality show about burlesque performers who “should be” retiring but still have big dreams.
That’s my motto, big dreams never get old!
So if anyone has ideas about how to help me make this dream come true and help the women and men of the world be “Sexy at Any Age”, please feel free to reach out to me and let’s collaborate and create a whole new movement!
To keep up with Lillian, visit her website www.LillianDuJour.com