Sunday, 25 November 2012

The curse of performers....

There is a curse that hangs over the head of many a performer, if they be burlesque, comedy, singer etc it is something that seems to affect alot who take to the stage.

What I’m talking about, hinting at, tip toeing around, is the curse of depression in its many forms.
I’m not writing this for sympathy, for people to look at me differently or to use in the fuel of gossip but to open people’s eyes to the fact that despite how a performer may sparkle onstage, how the comedian was so funny, the singers lyrics so meaningful there can be an element of darkness where you least expect it.
Comical genius Spike Milligan was well known to be battling with mental health throughout his life, Stephen Fry is very open about his Bi-polar, but us here in the burlesque scene have kept hush about it, although I've come across a few performers who battle the same.

Myself, I remember the creeping feeling that seemed to pull me down into a place I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, a place that made me self destructive and surrounded me with no hope from the age of twelve. It’s a thing I have battled, medicated, ignored, and unwillingly returned to for most of my life.
But we’ve all seen the promise that burlesque can boost your confidence, body image etc, but not for me. For me it has given me more self awareness, it’s helped me to thicken my skin (but as they say, I’m no rhino), it’s helped me to wise up in some easy and some not so easy life lessons.
Although performing has led me to travel the world, meeting people and making dear friends I would have otherwise ever met, it is not a cure, or a solution.

In fact has it done the opposite?  Every performer knows the feeling of rejection, felt the sting of bad reviews, been attacked by anon internet users with unthought through opinions and the belief that it needs to be shared with everyone.
The many lovely compliments i have received vastly outweigh the bad, so why are these the only ones I can recall?
It is a common belief that as performers are out there in the open they are fair game for those who decide to dislike them, that they aren't real people with real feelings and problems of their own, how very dare they plaster positive reviews about themselves on the like of twitter like a virtual fridge? But these are the comments we are proud of, a reaching out to say “good job” “we are appreciating your hard work” even if its “great tits” we appreciate it.

We've all felt the burlesque blues at one point or another, usually the day after a show when the excitement of getting ready, the camaraderie of the backstage, the adrenaline onstage is all over and done with, when you return to an empty home and unpack your belongings, the feeling of emptiness suddenly takes over, the satisfaction of the night before gone and forgotten but you push it aside, remembering there’s other shows to come and those feelings will return.
But still the darkness may loom, uncured by the temporary thrill of lights and glamour, it can strike when least expected, but know this, you are never alone.

Monday, 20 August 2012

New Postcode, New Life?

It seems not everyone has heard, I still get confused messages asking if it's true or not. It has confused my friends back home, and perplexed those now local to me.
Yes, I have moved to the capital, the big smoke, South, "that there London", "London Town", all known as my new home, London.
I'm edging ever closer to 30, and in my seven years as a performer (my, how they've flown) I was forever up and down the country for various events and heard many stories of people moving to London to "make it" and wondered if I should do the same.
I led a comfortable life in Liverpool, family close by, the odd friend, my own show, and some mild fame of sorts but I longed for more excitement, more opportunity, to have little to no money, and to have something of a not so fresh start.
It has been nearly three months since I moved into "The Bearcave", and a month since I started a "proper" job to tide me over alongside shows, and I've been lucky enough to find a job that find my performing exciting and work around my shows, I've been very fortunate there.
I've even done a couple of shows and photoshoots, including a great fun shoot for Collectif Clothing (whose new collection is amazing by the way!) and hunger magazine for Rankin which was an experience in itself (ever got a coach with 20 drunk models..?!), Gogo dancing in Shoreditch House, had more show offers coming in once people realised I'm now just up the road, and met a lot of lovely new faces.
It'll take time, and I'm still settling in but so far I have no regrets for moving here.
Wanna see me in London? Show dates below, all UK and Europe dates will be on my website
Collectif Clothing 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How to.....My Stage Curls!

One of the things I get asked about the most is just how I get my stage curls, it's a long process, taking at least 20-30 minutes to set but with how straight my hair really is it's my tried and tested foolproof way of getting those curls just right!
Here I will finally reveal the step by step process of how my hair really gets that bounce!
Photo's taken by the lovely InaGlo!

What you'll need:-

  1. Tres Semme Freeze Hold Hairspray - or equivalent. This is the only spray I tend to use as my hair tends to drop otherwise.
  2. Tres Semme Iron Style and Hold Spray - Great for holding the curls while styling. My hair never used to stay until I discovered this styling spray. 
  3. Clips, use either silver styling grips for when at home to hold in place without leaving a mark, but if you plan to sleep on your curls or go out with them in before styling then secure with Kirby Grips.
  4. Goodys Styling brush, perfect for brushing them out without causing frizz, or pulling them too much. plus they add shine, and this one even makes your hair smell of strawberries!
  5. Metal tailed tail comb, for sectioning your hair. You can use a regular tail comb, I just prefer these myself!
  6. Curling tongs, these are part of a set from Babyliss, but any regular sized heated tongs should work just as well!
  7. and very importantly, a headscarf. If you're going to sleep on your curls, or venture outside with them you need a good headscarf! There's nothing I hate more than unhidden Rollers or pin curls!!
You will also need a good mirror, you'll need to see what you're doing of course..!  Now you have those ready, heat up your curlers and we can begin!


Step one, start with clean and dry hair, people assume it's better to style vintage styles with dirty hair, but that's not necessarily true! I prefer to curl mine straight after washing and drying when the hair is more willing to take a new style.

Step two, take your tail comb and diagonally separate your first section, this will help add more volume with your curls, as you'll be able to curl right down to the root

Step Three, hold your section and spray with the styling spray. Comb through with your tail comb to ensure the spray is distributed evenly throughout the section.

Step Four, now it's time to curl! Take your curlers and the section, Placing it halfway up the hair shaft, as it will cause less damage to curl this way than to curl from the ends upward.                                                                                                                                                             

Step Five, Wrap the hair right around in the direction would usually fall, IE - if your parting is on the right, you would curl the larger section anti clockwise, and the smaller section clockwise, if you part on left, Vice versa.

Step Six, after letting the curl heat up carefully pinch the curl together and slide the tong out, while keeping the curl intact. If you let the curl drop to cool it will drop so let it cool while still in the curl.

Step Seven, carefully place your curlers down while still holding your curl in place, take either a Kirby grip or metal styling clip, and clip into place. if you need more than one to hold it in place you can use as many as you need to hold it secure! This will hold the curl in a similar vein to pincurling, so the curl continues to form while cooling.


Step Eight, and so on, carrying on in a similar vein all down that side till you reach the back, pinching and pinning the whole way. The hair can get pretty hot with the curlers so try not to drop them, also be careful of your nail polish and false nails, they may melt if not careful!


Step Nine, keep curling and pinning till you meet the middle at the back of your head, here's how it will look so far to this point.

Step Ten, now it's time to curl the other side, remembering to curl the same way as the hair falls, this is important so you'll get 40's waves rather than 70's Farrah Fawcett! Now there's no right or wrong of how many sections you'll need to curl the full head, it depends on the thickness of the hair, and what style of waves you want. If you're after Veronica Lake style waves curl larger sections of hair, but if you'd like tighter 30's ringlets curl smaller sections of hair.

Step Eleven, your curls are done..! Leave them pinned in to cool, either for an hour or so or overnight, just secure them with a bandanna to hold them in place so the clips don't slip and your hair unravels, and the curls get ruined! There's many ways of tying a bandanna, chiffon scarf (like I'm wearing here), silk scarf, or even a beret if placed right to hide your curls, while looking suitably cute and vintage style!

Now your curls are cooled down and you're ready to get them out, here's how I style mine for shows and shoots, but you may find your own personal way of setting them once brushed out that works for you, if that's to add victory rolls, or style around a fringe etc!
So as these are new steps I'll start again from step one..!

Step One, Unpin all the curls and let them drop naturally, don't yank or pull at them even tho they do look rather Shirley Temple! If they are still a little warm then either re-pin or let them cool more before you start to brush them.
Step Two, Brush out the curls with the Goody (or similar) brush, brushing the front bit back, to define the curls more, brush the curls around the brush at the bottom of your hair to make them curl inwards and give your hair that nice finish.

Step Three, With the tail comb brush the hair from the forehead upwards while spraying with the hairspray, hold this in place for about 30 seconds to stiffen so you get a nice bit of body at the front. neaten with the comb if needed. I also prefer to brush the smaller section of hair back behind the ear and clip into place, either with a kirby grip, fancy hairclip, or hairflower.

Step Four, Spray as much hairspray as your hair requires, to avoid build up pat your hair lightly to take off any excess onto your hands without ruining the curls. Wash your hands and let your hair dry. Now you should be ready to go!

Step Five, take all compliments graciously!

And that's all there is to it! Give it a go, and email me your photos! I will choose and blog the best three, and they will all win a signed Millie Dollar Postcard! The voted winner (voted for by my readers) will win a special goodie bag from me!