Marlene Von Steenvag

How did you first find a passion in burlesque?

I came from the acting stage and was singing chanson of the 30’s, such as Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weihl. Since I wasn’t the best singer, rather far from it, I decided to shake up my shows by changing the costume on stage. Finally, I stopped singing as the costume change was much more appreciated and ta-da! I was doing Burlesque without even knowing that it existed.

Who is your burlesque icon?

I don’t have a Burelsque icon as such. I can only be the best if I am myself. At the same time there are artists who I really love to see perform and where I can see a strong character and their uniqueness. But all the performers who I like stand for themselves. I believe in building ideas and character from the inside to the outside, rather than the other way around.

What is the most difficult part of the industry?

Dealing with your own value is a challenge. It is very hard at the beginning when you have to stand up for yourself and don’t know how to position yourself. It can also be difficult to step away from colleagues or promoters who try to take advantage of you or who are just full of negative competition and jealousy. It is always worth stepping away from negativity.

My Tip: Be aware that you are never as dependent on others as you might think you are. 


What is your best achievement in the industry?

Business wise I have build my own brand. My company  ‘Burlesque Empire’ contains ‘Marlene von Steenvag’ as a brand, the’ Berlin Burlesque Festival’, the ‘Hamburg Burlesque Festival’ (which will take place in 2017), the ‘Berlin Burlesque Academy’ and ‘the Burlesque Agency’. I have worked in cinema movies, performed with amazing bands and am well established on national TV. But the best achievement that I have made is to find true love and friendship. Beauty and glory can fade so easily, so it is worth working on your relationship and on finding true friends and honest people in your life. Because that is what make life beautiful and that is what you are thinking ​​about when you are having a moment of silence. 


Where do you see yourself in the future? 

In their own momentum my companies are growing over my expectation. I enjoy building businesses as much as building new shows. Additionally with the ‘Bachelorette of Burlesque’ program, I find myself becoming a protege of upcoming artists and help them find their way. Burlesque is growing not only in quantity but also in its quality.  It is highly interesting to me mixing different industries and expanding Burlesque into various dimensions…. And at some point I would like to share my story, when I am ready.