The art of burlesque dates back as early as the sixteenth century and has long since been a popular cultural movement across the world. We recently caught up with burlesque artist, Missy Malone who spent five minutes with us talking through her inspirations, the future of the industry and the perfect corset to achieve a fabulous burlesque look.
Missy and her passion for burlesque...
When did you first discover the world of burlesque? When did you decide you wanted to be a part of the industry?
I never really made that decision...It was made for me! When I started performing burlesque 12 years ago, there was no such thing as Facebook or YouTube, so I ventured out and forged my own path. I never would have thought it would end up as a career. I was circus and drama trained but not dance trained, my dance skills developed along the way...The scene grew as my career did and I rode that wave.
You're inspired by the 1950s. What made you choose this particular era to base your style upon?
I was naturally drawn to it as a young teenager, I always adored the Golden Era, Hollywood Bombshells like Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Elizabeth Taylor. I had their pictures on my wall and in my school sketchbooks. When I first started wearing make up (age 14) it was all about cat eye liner and red lips, even then. As I grew up, my interest in vintage fashion developed and the 1950s remained my favourite silhouette.
How would you say your image and performance is different from other artists, do you have a unique style?
I think my style is unique, I have stuck with it through the whole time I have been a performer and I am known for my look and style of performance. The white flash in my hair was there well before burlesque.
How do you plan your burlesque performances?
I alway pick my music first and work around that. It tells me what the theme/character will be, what colour the costume will be and how I will move.
What is your greatest achievement to date through your work on the burlesque scene?
My greatest personal achievement has been to support myself fully as a self employed performer. But in terms of achievement within the scene, I think producing my own touring theatre burlesque show, The Missy Malone & Friends Burlesque Revue, for six years and performing internationally are up there.
Missy on body confidence...
Do you think that burlesque modelling and performing helps with body confidence?
I find modelling really fun and a good way to practice posing with different styling. I think that modelling can help with body confidence if you have the right photographer that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. It is important to let yourself go and not be afraid to push it and try new things. A good photographer will get the best out of you and only show you shots where you look lovely, which really does give you a boost.
What makes for the ideal corset to wear during a burlesque show?
I would say one with great shaping to enhance your natural curves. I am small busted so prefer an underbust corset to frame my figure. From a performance point of view, with underbust corsets you can leave it on and still do your tassel reveal. I would also go for a solid colour so you can customise with crystals and tie in a theme with with the rest of your costume.
Passion underbust corset - £125
Missy on making a mark in the burlesque industry…
Did you find it difficult to find like minded people with an interest in burlesque ..how did you find them?
The burlesque scene is booming and there a so many clubs, groups and performers nowadays. There is really a very big inclusive scene and social media makes it very easy to find other like minded people.
How do you see the burlesque scene evolving?
It is always changing and growing, it goes through phases and things go in and out of fashion often. It will continue to grow and hopefully a new wave of shows and performers will emerge.
Do you see yourself apart of the burlesque industry for the rest of your life? Are there any areas you'd like to move into?
In a way perhaps, but not as a performer forever! I will continue to produce my show as long as people want to see it. I am happy teaching and sharing skills as I do now and I would love to be invited back to events as ‘Burlesque Legend’ (in my 70s) by the new generation in 40 years time.