GT: Angela, you are a well known successful Burlesque Artist/Performer in Canada. How did your interest in this started?
A: I have always been a performing artist from birth. Growing up in the middle of the woods in Cape Breton Island, Canada, I had no idea what burlesque was. I was involved in theatre, and when i was coming of age i felt really comfortable with my body and sexually aware of myself. I loved the rush on the stage i got out of theatre but i wanted more. I wanted to be a movie star. Or more...there was just something bigger, like a key ingredient. It was just out of grasp. Then i turned 18 and i ran away to England, with dreams of acting in my head. It was the night life in London that i saw burlesque... It blew my mind. It was like everything about myself and everything i wanted to express on stage all rolled into one. I still didn’t know what it was called till i came back to Canada. I was looking up Betty Page and learned the name of the performance was burlesque. I had to do it, it spoke to me.
GT: How hard or easy has it been to get to this point? How long has it taken?
A: I feel like for me it has probably been a slower climb because i was all on my own when i started doing burlesque. I couldn’t find anyone else in Winnipeg doing it, so i just started putting together acts and costumes on my own. I got advice from online forums. Having a background in theatre helped. I felt my way through the dark, but i figured it out. It always felt very natural to me. I started selling my act around town and it seemed to quickly pick up pace for me. Then i discovered there was a man performing burlesque under the name Carlos Las Vegas, in the underground gay scene. He no longer performs, but he was wonderful. I have been credited for introducing burlesque to the mainstream audience in Winnipeg. It has been seven years now and I am still the only full time dancer. Keep in mind Winnipeg is a very small city! I still feel like i take longer to do things because i don’t have the support of a professional burlesque community, like in Toronto of Vancouver or other major burlesque capitols. I feel like i only just started travelling, so now i have to make up for lost time!
GT: Who makes your costumes? Who makes bookings for you? Are you part of a group or partnership? And how is your relationship with other artists in this industry?
A: The wonderful thing about Winnipeg is that is has such a strong arts community and they have fully accepted me as their own. My burlesque has crossed over into films, fashion, photography and even paintings. I have been booked by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for special events a couple times, which is an honour. As far as bookings and management, i do everything. I run my business La Muse Burlesque from home. I acquire my own sponsors and partnerships. Costume construction varies. I will create my own headdresses or accessories, sometimes i buy online, or just piece items together and then embellish or alter them. But my preferred method is hiring a local designer to create my vision. My latest costume is an amazing work of art by Alex Espinosa.
GT: Can you share some of the highlights of this career so far? We see very glamorous photo-shoot and public performances at events..
A: Headlining Girlesque in Toronto in 2013 held many first experiences for me and was like a dream come true. But the biggest highlight from that show was sharing the stage with Tempest Storm and meeting her. I performed a very classic act that i felt she would appreciate, she was watching in the audience. I even blew her a kiss at the end of my act. It was all for her. When i came offstage the producer, my friend Mysterion, was crying and hugged me. He was sitting next to Tempest Storm and he told me she said “I love her”. I completely broke down. That was also the validation i needed to go full time.
I have so many highlights! I’m very humble and easily moved, i guess because i don’t get to have a super active burlesque community around me in Winnipeg, so whenever i am naked backstage with like minded performers, it feels like a highlight!
GT: What do your family think about you being a Burlesque dancer? Have they been to see any of your performances?
A: My mom has always been very supportive and proud of me. My sister disapproves and i don’t think she will ever change her mind. My mom and even several of my relatives have seen me perform. The best was being tackled by three of my elderly Aunts after a show, they were squeeling, they loved it.
GT: Are you running workshops or training for new people who like to get into the Burlesque art? Any important advise for people starting out? Pitfalls to avoid?
A: I work very hard to make burlesque accessible in Winnipeg. I have been teaching workshops for many years now and i have started offering private coaching as well. I felt really pressured for awhile to be burlesque mama bear, so i was putting girls in my shows and doing free workshops with them to try to get their acts to a higher quality level, but i was getting too burnt out and realized i shouldn’t have to do that. My advice, if you want to do burlesque; you have to be willing to do the work. It is alot of work. And then constantly polish your performance! There is no easy street to being a burlesque star. If there are workshops in your area, take workshops! It’s the fastest way to learn and get guidance. I get girls asking me how to be a burlesque dancer, I say “i teach workshops!” and then i never hear from them. I can’t take people like that seriously at all. Its like any job. The more you educate yourself and practice the better you will be. Also, it’s okay to be a diva onstage but leave it on stage. Don’t look down at people. That’s not how you gain fans or naked friends.
GT: You were in England a while ago. What were you doing in England? Tell us about your time in UK..
A: I was 18, wide eyed and fresh off the boat from Cape Breton Island! I came here to be a nanny. It was basically the first opportunity to explore the world and i took it. England blew me wide open and for that i am forever grateful. I was really interested in the sheer amount of subcultures here, Witch Craft being one of them.
GT: Have you dated anyone famous.. in Canada or in UK? Have you had any memorable marriage proposals?
A: No marriage proposals actually! I dated Herman Lee of DragonForce and one of the best guitarist in the world. We met at the Malborow (spelling?) Eerie Pub during their leather and lace night. We were together till my visa ran out... I was 18, i needed to see more of the world. We are still friends. I’m very proud of him. As far as other celebrities... I better not mention anymore names.
GT: What do you get up to in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
A: Burlesque has taken over my life. It is my passion though, so i enjoy the fact it is a hobby as well. I always loved craft time, and being a burlesque dancer means it is always craft time!
GT: Tell us a bit about your personal beliefs.. Are you religious? Spiritual? What keeps you going when you are having a hard time..?
A: I grew up in the middle of the woods and had a natural affinity with nature. I was already practicing witch craft spiritually before i discovered what Wicca was. Since i have left the woods and England i rarely practice to be honest, but i carry the morals and beliefs with me. Being a conscious being and appreciating the simple moments and pleasures of life makes me smile every day.
GT: Do you have any pets? Are you an animal lover? Do you have any causes that are close to your heart?
A: My heart bursts for animals. They bring me the most joy. My cat’s name is Phoenix. I have been involved in charities for animals, and i intend to do more.
GT: Can you reveal one titillating thing about your self..
A: I think my best feature is my legs. I’ve got some lovely gams.
GT: How do you see your career growing in the future? Where next? And will you ever come to UK and perform?
A: I intend to travel more. Do more festivals. Become more of an international name rather than just Canada. I could and would come back to UK to perform anytime! (wink, wink)
GT: Is there anything that you wish interviewers would ask..but they never do?
A: My website is www.misslamuse.ca
If anyone wishes to purchase a pin-up they can contact me. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Follow me on Instagram: misslamuse
GT: The big question.. what are you going to be doing on Valentine’s Evening?
A: I have plans to go out with a bunch of fancy ladies for cocktails. My Valentine is far away, so i sent him some baking.
GT: Thank you very much for giving this interview for Gaian Times. Wishing you happiness, excitement and success for the future. And we hope to see you soon ...in London!’