As the year draws to a close, I want to look back and reflect on an eventful past 12 months.
It has been a wonderful opportunity to connect and collaborate with different people from all over the world. This past year has been a year of expansion and reinvention; my new direction in dessert-inspired burlesque creations, culminating in the performances “Berrylicious” and “Chocolate Raspberry“.
This new direction has led to travel, shows, shoots and workshops in a plethora of exciting places, working with a diverse range of talent from different cultural creative areas than I had previously experienced.
Most of all, this was a year of challenging myself; pushing myself in new creative directions, and being open to “saying yes” and embracing the next steps that came with positive affirmation.
In no particular order of preference, here are my top ten highlights from this year!
1. Collaborating with Nina Marie Shoes and performing at the Brighton Chocolate Festival
My dream of meeting and collaborating with Nina Jordan finally came true! Not only that, but I am fortunate to have collaborated with her on several wonderful projects. What a fabulous merging of delicious ideas! Combining the best of Chocolate and Burlesque at this year’s Brighton Chocolate Festival, presented and introduced by Discover Cacao.
2. Collaborating with Fetish Noir Couture
I had the luxury of really getting to know the work and process of the talented Lia Parravicini; an all-round artist with a big heart for Burlesque! I love her unique and intricate designs, and precise attention to detail. She was very open to work in a close-knit conceptual collaboration for the dessert-themed ideas which led to the costumes used in my “Berrylicious” and “Chocolate Raspberry” routines. I also got to model her showgirl skinwear sets which just added to our fantastic collaboration.
3. Burlesquing and Teaching Abroad
2018 was a year of travel! Great productive trips to Europe and reconnecting with fellow performers I had crossed paths with many years ago. It was eye-opening to see them flourish in their businesses and creative endeavours, leading to magnificent progress. In Stockholm, I was able to work with The Fabulous Mrs Murphy, not only on shows, but also teaching Burlesque to her students….then came Warsaw performing at Madame Q and teaching a character workshop.
4. Creating a home at The Courtesan
Near the beginning of the year, I was invited to perform at The Courtesan in Brixton, London. Since then, I have been able to return and perform there regularly, and now I feel a part of the venue’s creative family. On a side note, who doesn’t like the delicious combination of Dim Sum and Cocktails?
5. Connecting with an amazing cast of Asian Burlesque performers in NYC at the 6th Annual Asian Burlesque Festival (produced by Calamity Chang and Jen Gapay)
More travel opportunities! Going to the Big Apple, NYC and working with the wonderful Calamity Chang and Jen Gapay, and their wonderful creative team. I got to meet a fantastic multicultural cast of performers spanning the globe; in particular, meeting and performing alongside Midnite Martini, voted Miss Exotic World 2014. The event was a celebration of Asian culture in Burlesque and Cabaret. A rich, powerful, and diverse well of talent.
6. Collaborating with Musicians – Dr Schwamp and 52 Skidoo
Live music and Burlesque is a match made in heaven, and one of the most authentic ways to enjoy these art forms together on stage. Dr. Schwamp brings rich, multisensory events across the capital. It was a great experience to be a part of a delicious show where cheesecake and cocktails were served, adding to the experience. With 52 Skidoo, I was able to once more work with this 1920s live band from Manchester. In my performing past, our paths had crossed many times before, so it was very rewarding to work with these talented musicians again.
7. Creating my Pop-up Pasties concept and stand
One of my long-term goals that came to fruition in 2018 was bringing a multisensory dimension to shows. This resulted in the addition of a cake stand with delicious treats and delectable pasties alongside my performance in venues. I first brought this to life when travelling to Eindhoven at the beginning of the year to perform at Blue Moon Cabaret. Since then, it has now become an established travelling trick of mine to bring a sweet feast when selling merchandise.
8. Working with a handful of ace photographers
Over the last year I managed to meet a whole host of photographers specialising in many different artistic areas, such as Vintage, Pin-Up, Fashion, and Beauty Photography. This resulted in exciting new projects and publications. This range of talent was able to capture my new creations and really visualise them to make me proud of these new creations!
Why not check out their talented work below?
9. Co-producing an immersive Burlesque experience in Valletta, Malta at this year’s Notte Bianca with 99 Strait Street and Undine LaVerve
Notte Bianca is a spectacular night, an annual all-night or night-time arts festival in Malta. This was particularly special because in 2018, Valletta was named European Capital of Culture! It was indeed a vibrant and immersive festival. For this year, we recreated the debauchery and naughtiness of Strait Street back in the 1930s where sailors used to hang out. As a part of the festivities, I was able to entertain the guests of a new private members’ establishment, 99 Strait Street, which opens out to the entire city on their balconies! I was lucky to share the performance experience with Maltese burlesque performer Undine LaVerve and my team of UK beauties, Tabitha Taboo and Natalya Umanska.
10. Becoming one of the top 100 Founding Members of Fiena
To top this year off, I became one of the top 100 Founding Members of Fiena – a private members club for female entrepreneurs and women in business. This enables me to become a part of a great network of diverse and talented women – leaders in their own right in many different fields. I am SO PROUD to represent a part of this organisation and to help build this female-first foundation moving forward. It’s all about Magic, Adventure and Soul!