Monday, 11 February 2013

Meet the pocket sized Burlesque performer Rose Desire

Next in the series of interviews, 'meet my friends' is Rose Desire, my vintage loving, cocktail guzzling partner in crime!  Apologies for the lateness of this post, hectic weekend, full of gin and burlesque!

Photo by Flashes and Lashes

You are a burlesque performer, tell us more about the character Rose Desire and where the name comes from?
I chose Rose as its French for pink and I have a lot of pink in my sleeve tattoo, something that makes me stand out and I also wanted a name that can be used and recognised as an actual name. In the burlesque ‘industry’ we’re referred to as our stage names, our real names are often a mystery which I find adds to the character and the whole idea of being that alter ego on stage – the audience always want more, but can only have what you give them. A seductive circle perhaps?! Desire was originally thought up as Desire-Belle for a play on the word desirable, but I felt and found that this didn’t work as intended and so it was kept short and sweet to Rose Desire.

Photo by Flashes and Lashes

When did you get into burlesque and why?
I’ve always admired the pin up and burlesque world for as long as I can remember but didn’t have the self confidence. And then a lot of things changed and in 2008 I delved into some classes and started researching it in more depth and creating costumes. I started performing on my own in 2010. I never get tired on burlesque; it’s always reinventing itself and developing with more varied and unique performances. I can endlessly watch burlesque and gaze at the costumes and get lost in the story of the act. You can’t help but get lost in the magic of it.

Where do you get inspiration for your acts?
This can happen in so many different ways. You can get inspiration from music, movies, fashion and everyday things. My Surprise act came to me when I joked about being able to fit in a large box at work (I’m quite petite) and the idea of a jack in the box/present like act came to me.

Photo by Flashes and Lashes

Sometimes, you can hear a piece of music and hear the story of a new act evolving from it and see it happening in your mind. Whenever a new idea comes to me I quickly put pen to paper and jot it down. I have quite a few scribbles in my filofax. I love it when I get excited about a new act idea.

Photo by Flashes and Lashes

Do you have a burlesque icons?
So many! As much as the burlesque stars of now amaze and inspire me, I tend to find a lot of the classic burlesque enthralling. I can spend just as many, if not more hours gazing at their costumes in the books of black and white photographs I have as I do the modern, colour images. I love performers such as Blaze starr, Lili St Cyr, …the list can go on.

Photo by Flashes and Lashes
Any secrets or back stage gossip?
There’s always advice and passing of information floating around, keeping each other in the loop and networking of course. I’ve made some great friends in burlesque and I love being on the bill with them again as its like a friendly catch up. I’ve been able to go on some burly road trips, a car full of us off to perform somewhere together. Even as well as just sitting in our pj’s after the night before chatting the weekend away or going out and sipping cocktails. It's a lot of fun and never gets boring. 

Photo by Martyn Boston
Any secrets…? 

Hmm they would be secrets if I told them now would they!? But in all seriousness the only secrets that we tend to keep are new act/costume ideas and any bookings we can’t announce yet. But of course that is all for the benefit of the stage and you get to see it all in the end.

Photo by Grace Elkin
Making costumes is a big part of being a performer, on average how long does one costume take to make?  How many hours do you spend a night embellishing?
Soo many hours! I guess if you include everything from the initial idea sketches and then taking them to the stage, I don’t think any performer could say, but it’s a lot. To ensure no detail is left out and sourcing the right items to sewing and then choreographing can take at least a few months. And its not even over once its on stage because until you perform it to a live audience for the first time you don’t ever really know if its going to work how you want to and so there’salways tweaking after shows to ensure a garment comes off exactly how you want it to and perhaps move a few things. In my experience, nothing happens on stage how it happens when rehearsing.

Photo by Ralph Barker
You are a full time vintage glamour dame, you dress 50s vintage in your ‘real’ life too.  What is your favourite out fit to wear?

Argh, this is hard! My favourite vintage pieces I have to say is probably my yellow circle skirt and my yellow summer dress, its too hard to chose, I have some nice pieces. 
I also have a LOT of BBKC favourites of course, as they’re exactly what I dream of wearing. My glitter leopard wiggle dress my beau ordered for me when he was overseas for 7 months and knew I had my eye on the fabric and my tiki dress, I love tiki, are my top favourites though.

What’s the weirdest venue you have had to perform in?

This one is easy; I didn’t happen too long ago and was one of our burly road trips. I’d been booked along with Foxie La Roque, LuLu Belle Ferrari to perform for a World War German re-enactment group. This entailed us getting changed in a world war tin hut, which had a furnace in which we stocked with wood to keep warm and turned out to be the warmest and most spacious changing room I’ve ever had! We then had to trapes in our somewhat minimal costumes (especially my fan dance) guided by a torch in muddy gravel into another small tin hut which encased about 20 WW2 German soldiers (just to clarify these weren’t Nazi soldiers or continued anything of the sort otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take part) anyone who knows me personally, will know this is very, very strange for me and opposite to my working life – let alone for the other girls. We then had a small and intimate space to perform in and it felt a bit like a stag party, being an audience consisting of only men. But to be fair to them, they were lively and loud which is exactly what a performer wants. It was a very strange, funny and unique experience. But thanks to our super star stage maid Soozie Floozie everything went so well and it was actually a lot of fun and the guys, once they’d calmed down, we really lovely. We all said it was hands down the weirdest ever place to perform at but it was so much fun and we all had a giggle :)

Photo by Flashes and Lashes 
Check out Rose Desire on Facebook, twitter, blog and instagram.  For bookings check our her website

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