This month @primpmycostume speaks with Burlesque Idol winner, performer and producer @Onyxfatale
After taking home the crown at London’s Burlesque Idol in 2018, Onyx Fatale hasn’t stopped for breath since. A regular on a huge breadth of variety and Burlesque line-ups, she can be found bumping and grinding across the UK. Alongside her powerhouse performances, she has also produced her own night “Lounge Onyx” at the legendary Phoenix Arts Club. A show that was curated in order to bring visibility to black performers, as well as creating a safe and nurturing space for them to share their talents, in the way that they want to, in order for them to be not only seen, but celebrated.
She performs often with House of Burlesque, is a member of The Cocoa Butter Club family and oh yes, she is also a stand-up comic and host alongside. You better strap in to keep up, this is Onyx Fatale…
Charlotte Pacelli (CP): You’ve spent the last few years inspiring so many others, I’d like to start by asking you who consistently inspires you and what’s your favourite piece of their work? (Can be anyone from any artistic discipline!)
Onyx Fatale (OF): This is going to sound weird but I get inspired from watching female artists when they are performing live. Artists such as Cardi B, Lizzo and Beyoncé. One of my favourite pieces is the opening outfit that Beyoncé wore for her latest tour. She came out with a MASSIVE hat and looked stunning. I also love female wrestlers like Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks. When they have massive pay-per-views they get unique, amazing wrestling gear made for their entrances.
CP: So, this is one of my favourite things about these interviews, finding out I share passions with fellow performers. We NEED to talk about wrestling costumes! I am low-level obsessed. Anyone reading this that wants to follow a super sparkly wresting costumier, look up Terry Anderson (@terrysews2) on Instagram. She makes all the WWE costumes. I found out from her this month that wrestling costumes use plumbers’ glue to stop crystals falling off during fights. Love it. Ok, we need to go for a drink to talk more about this, let’s move on. I loved watching your “dancing in the lounge” videos during lockdown in 2020/21. Watching someone totally having fun and feeling themselves to the Pussycat Dolls always makes me smile. I wonder how you adapted your stage costumes for online performances during the pandemic?
OF: To be honest, I did not do many online shows as I found them restrictive and I did not have a lot of space to perform in. I didn’t do anything with my costumes during the pandemic to adapt for online but I became wearier that I was performing to a small camera, so had to make sure my act was seen in full and that I slowed down at certain times so that people can see the details in the costumes.
CP: Thank goodness that stages and audience energy are back in our lives. New performers often have to perform in smaller venues and adapt their acts and costumes to work within these spaces. Do you have any tips for creating impressive costumes and acts for smaller venues?
OF: Rhinestone, Rhinestone and Rhinestone! I find that a gorgeous costume in a small space will attract people’s attention more and they will hang on your every movement. It’s a great feeling to be in control. I also would advise to try and make props as big, or special, as possible. With my disco act, I just started off with a basic umbrella and tried to sparkle it, but because of the plastic it was difficult and the stones kept falling off. I then researched and I found an umbrella that lights up. When I start my act now, people are amazed by the umbrella because it is something unique.
CP: To this day, that umbrella remains the one thing that defeated my glue. The power of the pop-up umbrella is strong, people! Talking props then, if you could have a new giant prop, what would you choose and why?
OF: If I could choose one I would possibly choose a glitter throne which I would perform on and work, just like burlesque performers do with a martini glass.
CP: Ooh I LOVE that idea! I can absolutely imagine that act. Let’s finish off with some costume advice for newer performers. What should they consider when embellishing a new costume item with bling?
OF: I would advise thinking about the theme of the act, colour contrasting and how any rhinestones reflect in the light. When you are on stage, the lights have a massive impact on your costumes. You don’t have to have a complex costume but it has to look unique. I often buy my lingerie from high street shops but I change the straps, enhance any features with rhinestones and appliqués and even add significant details so that people do not realise it is store bought – it looks bespoke.
To find out more about Onyx Fatale, here’s where to start:
IG - @onyx_fatale
If you’ve been inspired by Onyx and would like to add some more crystals to your costumes, visit the CrystalParade.co.uk to purchase from a wide range of high-quality glass crystals from the Swarovski, Preciosa and Zodiac brands, both flatback and hotfix.
NOTE - Photos by @swisschocolatepictures/ @vsanchorstudio