She’s been described as sexy and dangerous and I want to be just like her!
Strawberry Siren is one of Australia’s foremost burlesque performers and she’s living the life I would have chosen if I hadn’t been born to a church going Irish Catholic family. (Meh! I write erotic fiction – next best thing to wearing flashy sequins and prancing around a stage in feathers and a g-string. I do it in my messy study instead! Audience? 2 dogs, 1 cat.)
Following a huge overseas tour hitting the U.K, U.S.A, France, Germany, Ireland & Canada, Miss Strawberry has returned to her native shores to be awarded the title of Miss Burlesque Australia 2013. She’s about to embark on a huge national tour for the Australia Burlesque Festival, starting in the beautiful city of Melbourne, and I asked her to stop by between costume changes for a quick chat.
You’ve just returned from a Big OS Burlesque Tour. Tell us about some of the tour highlights?
Strawberry: I got to perform in the Folly Theatre in Kansas City which was opened in 1900 and has seen two of my Burlesque Idols, Tempest Storm& Gypsy Rose Lee, grace it's stages over the years. I also got to perform alongside another one of my idols, Catherine D'Lish at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival.
The Australian Burlesque Festival kicks off in June 2013. Can you tell newcomers a bit about the festival, how it came to be, and what it involves?
Strawberry: The Australian Burlesque Festival is in it's 4th year of operation and kicks off in Melbourne this week! It has grown from a weekend event in Melbourne to a 3 week tour of the country. It showcases some of Australia's up & coming as well as internationally renowned performers, plus guests from overseas.
[JOY! Tour commences 6th June with 4 glam nights in Melbourne, then travels to Ballarat, Tassie, Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Newcastle, Canberra and Sydney. Perth will have to wait for it's very own International Burlesque Festival in early July.]
For more info on tour dates and bookings: http://australianburlesquefest.com/2013-national-tour-schedule/
You have nearly 20 years experience under the bright lights. What attracted you to the burlesque style of dance?
Strawberry: I grew up in the circus so have always loved the stage but after a couple of serious injuries I had to take a break from my circus training. I have always loved to dance and started jazz ballet when I was 4. In my early twenties I was interested in the alternative pin-up scene and stumbled across Burlesque from there.
[I can juggle my pen and a rubber, I wonder if that counts?]
What style of music/burlesque do you prefer (modern, old-style)?
I started out doing neo Burlesque so I used lots of modern music but lately I love performing to old style jazz and strip tease classics from the 50's.
[My fave too - those pin up girls had womanly bodies - loads of glorious female flesh!]
After competing every year for the past four years, you recently won the title of Miss Burlesque Australia 2013. Congratulations! Does that mean you’ll be kissing a lot of babies in the next 12 months with a fancy crown on your head?
Strawberry: Not sure about the kissing babies?…. As a creature of the night, I rarely come into contact with children!…. But there will be a lot of crown wearing ;-)
[Kissing babies! What was I thinking???]
When you’re not touring you’re teaching burlesque classes at the very gorgeous Burlesque Bar in Fitzroy, Melbourne. What do women get out of learning burlesque?
Strawberry: Burlesque classes help you get in touch with your sexuality and get you comfortable in your own skin. I also like to keep my classes quite fitness based, so you always walk away feeling fresh and confident!
[Sweaty sequins - love it!]
One of the things I love most about burlesque are the costumes. What comes first for you, the costume, or the idea for the dance theme?
Strawberry: The inspiration for my routines always changes. Sometimes I'll find the music first, others a piece of costume will grab my attention and I'll base the act around that. But I always design the majority of the costume myself. Sewing is definitely not one of my special skills, so I leave that to the professionals! I have 3 favourite costumers that I use, Zoe Felice, Showgirl Couture and Flo Foxworthy.
When will we see you back in The Burlesque Bar here in Melbourne again?
My only performance there before I head back overseas will be on Friday 5th of July.
[Organising a baby sitter as we speak!]
Finally, what do you love most about burlesque?
The freedom to express yourself in whatever way you choose.
[You Go Girl! High kicking all the way to my kitchen to make a cuppa]
Want to know more about Strawberry Siren? Click on the link or better yet, go catch an Australian Burlesque Festival Show.
"The Strawberry Siren Stands out with her good looks and peculiar but hypnotic brand of Burlesque tease.” Australian Stage.
Miss Strawberry Siren has been dazzling Burlesque audiences worldwide for the last 6 years. No stranger to the stage, Miss Strawberry has been performing since the tender age of 12 (yes.... that’s 18 years under lights!) Miss Strawberry draws on her extensive background in Circus, Theatre and Dance to provide a fresh and fancy take on Burlesque that she likes to call Cirlesque!
The Strawberry Siren is a 2 x Miss Burlesque Victoria & Entertainer of the Year, title holder! And is now the reigning Miss Burlesque Australia!
Miss Strawberry has performed for many high quality events and companies worldwide, including..... the Fringe Festival (Wellington, Melbourne, Adelaide, Edinburgh), The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Red Bennies, Bring Back the Showgirl, Parasouls, Tim Burton Australian Exhibition Opening, Red Door Burlesque, Dr Sketchy's and is a resident Diva at Burlesque Bar in Melbourne. She has also taken part in the Australian, Kansas City, London & Vancouver International Burlesque Festivals!
"The Strawberry Siren is the Tarantino of Burlesque.... Sexy and dangerous!" Kate Priddle, CircaNICA.