In her own Words….The Sparkly Beginnings of Scarlet Rose
Scarlet Rose: About a month after my Scarlet Rose page first went up and was public on Facebook, one of my oldest friends, a very talented musician called Handimann (who performed at Red Velvet and whose links are at the bottom of the page) sent me a message asking to explain everything. I kept my desire to be a burlesque artist a complete secret right up until I started taking lessons. And even then only a few select people knew until it went online. I’d written what I sent him in a Word document because it was LONG and I didn’t want to lose it. I wanted to get everything that had happened and how I felt down while it was still fresh. In case anyone has wondered exactly what started my love of burlesque, why I started when I did and just how excited I was, you may find this an interesting read. Or if you just want to see how long I can ramble for. Hope you enjoy!
Conversation started Tuesday
I’ve known you for almost as long as I’ve had any memories at all but I don’t recall a great many conversations about burlesque. Or, more specifically, you intending to become a burlesque icon. Then suddenly BAM Scarlet Rose appears all over my feed, I finally find my way to the ‘About’ section (they really need to make that link bigger) and read your story and holy bejeesus you’re already signed and the world is yours
CONGRATULATIONS!? Now please tell me everything, I can’t believe this slipped through my radar x
Hehehe, thank-you! In a lecture now, will message you when I get back xxx
you got it, sister
Phew! Sorry, been back ages but made an actual meal for the first time in ages (veggie sausage and mash with gravy) and needed to recover. Yep, so I’ve basically wanted to do burlesque since I saw Immodesty Blaize on the Paul O’Grady teatime show when I was 15 and discovered it involved something to do with vintage glamour and matching underwear. Then you’ve got Dita von Teese who made pale glamorous and BOOM, it all seemed perfect for me. Took me a little longer to twig there was often stripping involved (though not always). At first it always just seemed like something I wanted to do as a silly, reckless move when GCSEs were getting too stressful. But the summer before we went to uni I was having serious doubts about Primary Ed, and all I could think was, “I WISH I was doing burlesque”, and I’d prance around the living room to my iPod when everyone was asleep. But I’d always talk myself down with things like the practicality of it and could I really get almost naked up on stage. Which I definitely didn’t have the confidence to do before I came to university. And that’s why I never really mentioned it other than expressing a love for Dita, cos it was basically a massive pipe dream and I didn’t really want negativity destroying it.
Then being at Durham for 2 years and not finding anything else I loved as much I was getting more and more itchy to know if I could do it at least. I thought even if I sucked and hated it at least I wouldn’t get to 40 with massive regrets. So I’d planned to maybe start last year and BOOM (again), a fell foul to the will of a man (I got dumped in a very cruel manner) and there went all my confidence and even my desire to do it. And that was the only time in 5 years that I had no motivation for it at all. So I just sat it out and then when I was happy again summer was nearly here and I had 4 months off and a bit of cash saved up so it was sort of ‘now or never’ time. I emailed a woman called Trixie Blue (or Kristi to give her her real name) I’d found on Google but also recognised from The Ministry of Burlesque website as having had good reviews about lessons. She did a 6 week group course for £30 or one-to-one sessions for £40, so I emailed about the group courses. They weren’t starting until September and as I said I was anxious to start, so I asked about the private lessons. Cos as far as I was concerned, £40 was not too much to start the investment, or to find out I hated it. You covered the 6 week course in one hour as well so it seemed like good value.
So I booked my first lesson, went along and absolutely bloody loved it. I felt high after finishing, and Kristi was very complimentary about my abilities which I thought was a good sign. I booked another lesson straight away, which that involved going straight to the tassel twirling. I wasn’t even a little apprehensive about doing that, and I had to get my full boobs out in front of someone I’d met once. No bother. (Also, twirling is really fucking funny). This gave me a hint I was on the right track, as the week before my first 5 minute maths starter with Year 6, I’d been in London and had wanted to crawl up in the foetal position and never leave. Afterwards Kristi said that she put on big extravaganzas to showcase her students (The Blue Belle performance course), and because I had been taught by her, I was entitled to be invited to perform. And she was basically letting me know that the invitation would probably be extended. Again, I took this as a good sign. She was also giving me advice on getting started in the industry, and said she had a small agency that I could possibly join next year. So that was encouraging.
The next week, I had to choreograph a routine in advance. This was not as hard as I was expecting considering I haveno previous dance experience, I picked a good track with lots of brass and set about trying to piece something together. When I showed it to Kristi I was soo nervous, I mean, she’s a professional! But she was so enthusiastic; she said it was one of the best first routines she’d ever seen. And not only that, it was a great routine generally. As you can imagine, I was delighted, she gave me a few pointers to tighten it up and I left feeling pretty chuffed, and happy that I at least had a rough routine I could use for this possible show in November, should I be formally invited.
After another lesson (corsets and chair work), we had one where we were going through my routine again (so we’re on week 5 of my lessons by this point). After performing it, Kristi repeated her enthusiastic praise from before. I was rather thrilled; I got more advice, went through it again and was told “that was twenty times better”. Afterwards, we’d arranged to go for coffee which I was quite pleased at because, tragic though it sounds, Kristi is awesome and I wanted to be her friend. I’m such a child. I also thought we were going to go through costume tips for the routine I had just shown her. However, we sat down and Kristi starts with, “Ok, so the reason I wanted us to have coffee today is because I don’t think we should have lessons anymore”. And for a split second I thought, “is she breaking up with me?!” Hah. Then she continued, “Because I want you to work for me, and I want you to sign to my agency”. And for a split second I swear my heart stopped beating. Then my jaw dropped, my hands started shaking and my throat choked up. She went on to explain that when I’d shown her my routine before it had actually been a kind of half audition, only she didn’t want to tell me and make me nervous. She thought I had a lot of potential and wanted to help me develop as a performer, and thought it was pointless me paying her when she would be finding me work that would be paying me. So far, that is genuinely the best day of my life. The start of everything I’d dreamed of for 5 years was being offered 5 weeks after getting into it.
So after that I have signed a 6 month, non-exclusive contract with House of Trixie Blue, which is so much more than I ever expected when I started her classes. She’s also given me great advice and I’ve had some amazing opportunities thanks to her, such as a hostess job I worked at on Saturday. My first show will be on 30th November at World Headquarters and I think I’m being classed as a professional, not a student. Which is amazing and terrifying in equal measure. That’s a pretty high standard I have to live up to given some of the people performing.
But yeah, I’m currently pretty happy that at least one area of my life is going well. And don’t feel bad about it seeping through, absolutely no-one knew until I came to uni, then it was only one person, then I foolishly thought I could tell the aforementioned ex, and a week later he broke up with me. Then even over summer I only told a few people. It’s so nice that it’s out now though and I can openly talk about wanting to be a burlesque artist. Although I like your use of the word, ‘icon’, might have to slip that in somewhere. Hope this hasn’t bored you too much; it is literally everything I can think of xxx
If you’ve made it to the end, thank-you for persevering! As promised, links to the lovely Handimann are below: