I got my start in burlesque in 2004. I was intrigued. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of women expressing themselves by exposing their bodies in various entertaining ways and I wanted to be involved. I volunteered to be a backstage dresser for a local troupe and so it began. My tag line was “I can get you in to and out of corset in under a minute”. And I did!
Burlesque was relatively new to Calgary then. Just a couple troupes were producing shows and wowing audiences with their scandalous stage antics. Not everyone knew what it was. Striptease? What the hell is that supposed to be?! They thought it was a fad, that it wouldn’t last and people were nervous about booking “strippers” in place of bands on a Saturday night. Fast forward Eleven years, and burlesque is bigger than ever in Calgary with no foreseeable end in sight.
I never wanted to be a burlesque dancer. I am a klutz. I cannot begin to wrap my head around all that graceful movement while removing clothing, looking sexy and doing intricate choreography. I was craving a creative outlet big time though. How could I not be when I was constantly surrounded by these amazing performance artists? So, 7 years ago when the opportunity arose (Read: we were short a show host for the evening), I graduated from backstage dresser to emcee. I still remember my first show and nearly painting the side stage Technicolor with my nervous stomach. But no one booed and a couple people even laughed - I was hooked! Miss Gigi was born and the rest is history.
I’m indescribably grateful for my time spent in the past with Kabuki Guns Burlesque and The Rhinestone Affair Burlesque troupes. They taught me everything from tying corsets to producing shows and the confidence they inspired in me and support they have shown over the years is invaluable. Now I am one of Calgary’s rogue solo performers. Sounds mysterious and dangerous doesn’t it? It’s really an excuse to be a bit lazy. At 41, I am enjoying being busy when I choose to be which still seems to be all the time. Ha!
As my alter ego Miss Gigi I‘m fortunate to have co-emceed the Friday night cabaret at last year’s 1st Annual CIBF, as well as at various Taboo Naughty but Nice Sex Shows, 2011’s Hurly Burly Gurly Show, The Buxom Burlesque Revue with the World Famous Bob!, Burlesque Burn Calgary’s student showcases, Calgary’s Burlesque Brunch’s, The Nerdgasm Collective’s “Where Wet Dreams Come True”, Gender Bender (organized by Students’ Association of Mount Royal University, Pride Centre Volunteers) and many more shows throughout the years all over British Columbia and Alberta.
Never in my wildest dreams while growing up in a small community on the East Coast of Canada, did I think I would be a future burlesque emcee living in Calgary, AB. Life truly is grand!