QUICK FIRE WARM UP
1. Glitter Lips?
2. Dance shoes or stilettos?
Dance in stilettos
3. Enter with music or start on-stage?
Enter to music, kapow!
4. Bumps, Grinds, Shakes or Shimmies?
All of the above, I have a lot of curvature to put to work
5. Dermablend or Sally Hansen?
2 part moisturiser, one part Armani foundation on a soft mitt
6. To wig or not to wig?
Alpine air, no wig. Sauna, wig.
7. Three words that describe you:
Va va voom!
8. Favorite Body Part?
9. Last thing you do before the curtain opens?
The final corset tighten
10. Dressing room must-have?
Scented travel candle – some of those old theatre dressing rooms are too funky
AND NOW THAT YOU’RE WARMED UP….
1. What was your introduction to burlesque?
The movie Gypsy, Mazeppah bumping with her trumpet. I sure wasn’t a cute or pretty gal so characters with personality and chutzpah got me excited.
2. When did you know you had what it took?
When I got my show into the West End back in 2005 (UK’s version of being on Broadway) and we extended the run to 5 months and over 150 shows. That was a lot of work and closed doors to kick open to get there, so it was huge for me as a personal goal, and also for burlesque in the UK too. But when Dixie Evans invited me to compete at Burlesque Hall of Fame, it felt like acceptance from the legends who paved the way for us, and also acceptance from my peers who I admired so much. Winning the pageant was a juicy cherry on the already sparkling cake.
3. Who is your inspiration?
Fellini, Ava Gardner, Grace Jones, Lili St Cyr, Jackie Collins, Sophia Loren.
4. Assuming it doesn’t say Immodesty Blaize on your birth certificate, where did your stage name come from?
It was an ironic play on Modesty Blaise, the comic strip of a female spy and hit-woman created in the 1960s by Peter O’Donnell. I resembled her for a brief moment in time.
5. What percentage of Immodesty Blaize would we see if we ran into you at the grocery store?
For the grocery run I’m the Barefoot Contessa in full wild curly hair and corseted petticoats, with a straw basket full of fresh caught fish and fruity sweet treats from the cute boys at the local French Riviera market. Immodesty au naturel.
6. What is your signature move?
I’ve got a favourite slinky catty repertoire on my chaise, but my bumps ‘n’ grinds get the audience whipped up the most
7. What is your favorite costume piece of all time?
Probably the Folies Bergere replica headdress which I commissioned from Las Vegas Showgirl Museum. Grant Philippo built it in collaboration with the original welder who made the Folies pieces. A little slice of showgal history.
8. What is your most embarrassing on-stage mishap?
My feather and diamante bra landing on a hot light and catching fire, and the theatre having to close for the rest of the night for the black smoke and fumes to clear. The smell of burning feathers and rhinestones is like no other.
9. What was the best performance of your career so far?
Out of 20 years of shows it’s hard to choose, but one of my ‘pinch me’ highlights was being a support act for James Brown, godfather of soul. Ditto having to top the show after Gloria Gaynor singing her iconic ‘I will survive’, an impossibly hard act to follow! Being flown to Monaco to perform for HSH Prince Albert was cute, because my first number was straight after his national anthem played, which is always the royal custom to show His Highness is actually present at the show, and everyone stands to honour him. It’s the most unique show-opening I’ve ever had! (I guess I turned out a great performance too as it caught the eye of the man I ended up marrying!) But out of any show, live TV has been the most nerve wracking. Being a guest star on a huge show like Dancing With The Stars, I knew I was beaming out to millions of people, who were all seeing every eyelash, wrinkle and bead of sweat in HD, and any tiny slip I might make. I was FULL of butterflies. It’s a different kind of pressure from live theatre, and makes you grow your b*lls each time.
10. Who is your dream collaborator?
Liberace, if the heavens could please arrange a second-coming!
11. What is your favorite venue?
The Royal Opera House London is incredible, and it was amazing to be given Maria Callas’ former dressing room, with her bronze sculpture looking over me—what a good talisman. For camp-ness, the Tower Ballroom Blackpool is off the scale, it’s like performing inside a Faberge egg. Historic theatres in Europe are such a marvel.
12. How much do you ACTUALLY work out?
Rarely in the gym—I prefer au naturel; mountain hikes, paddleboard, sea swimming, open air kettlebells, and of course between satin sheets!
13. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to other performers?
I keep myself to myself so any peeves are water off a duck’s back, best place for them
14. Have you ever dated a fan?
That would be so weird!
15. What is the strangest gift you ever got from a fan?
A small statue of Mother Mary.
16. Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I have a 5 minute breathing exercise. I’m also an introvert; weird, but I need as much solitude as possible before showtime.
17. If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
Exemption for all from digital platform tata censorship and shadow bans. Also being subjected to ridiculous time-and-energy-wasting nudity double standards.
18. If you could give one piece of advice to a newbie, what would it be?
Performance power and presence holds an audience captive. The beauty is in who you’re BEING and what you’re DOING up there, so prioritise your energy, performance and act. Don’t feel pressured into bankrupting yourself on a costume right out of the gate, rhinestones won’t cover up a wooden performance. Find and flex your fierce fabulosity first.
19. What would you be doing if it wasn’t burlesque?
All the other things I already do alongside – my writing, public speaking, and my Mind-Body Eating coaching practice and retreats. It’s so fulfilling to serve my sisters and see their transformations and profound shifts.
20. What would you like to be remembered for?
Memories schmemories, they get dressed up, dressed down, and rewritten to suit purpose. But impact has longevity. So long as I’m making a positive impact in the moment, those are the effects that are felt and continue to ripple out in the big picture. All the world’s a stage, stay in the moment!