This month @primpmycostume speaks with London’s 5-star performer, producer and multi-skilled showgirl artist, Miss Tempest Rose.
With a string of prestigious credits to her name, Tempest Rose also possesses a stunning, critically acclaimed "snap, crackle and jazz" singing voice and more on-stage pizzazz than a barrel of dynamite. She runs House of Burlesque Ltd - the UK's top burlesque production house and is the creative force behind the ground-breaking, multi-media, genre-defining show House of Burlesque 2.0. They also run an Academy of Burlesque classes and courses, for all levels of experience. She has performed at the V&A Museum, The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard and London Fashion Week for Dame Zandra Rhodes. She also runs the annual Burlesque Idol competition, giving a platform for new talent in the industry (and sponsored by Primp My Costume!). We’re unsure if she ever manages to sleep…
Miss Tempest Rose is a firm believer in burlesque's ability to inspire, uplift, entertain and dazzle audiences worldwide and she has been making a jaw-dropping career out of doing just that.
Charlotte Pacelli (CP): Tempest Rose, you are the epitome of rolling with the punches – even a pandemic can’t halt the hustle of the House of Burlesque! You’ve been leading an inspiring charge on creative avenues, to keep making a living as an online performer during 2020. Patreon has been a popular outlet to keep burlesque alive at the moment. What advice could you give other performers who are currently organising the tiers to their Patreon accounts?
Tempest Rose (TR): Thanks! Creating is the thing that keeps me happy and sane. In times of stress, I can often really double down on my creative outlets as a way of getting by. I'd say figure out what people "follow" you for and make your tiers reflect that. It can be easy to fall in to the trap of making content that appeals to you without considering your audience, but unless you have time to source a new audience for that it's not going to work. Tune into your base, then give them what they want in a way that’s also fun for you.
CP: Speaking of behind the scenes, your ‘Ginsult’ podcast with Lolo Brow gives a solidly realistic peek into backstage burly chat. What has been the strangest backstage costume dilemma you’ve experienced, for either yourself or others?
TR: Ah when costumes attack! I'm not sure I've had any strange moments, other than that awful feeling of knowing you've packed something and yet it’s not there when you open your case. I've seen people bust zips on ballgowns and have to be sewn in, only to have to rip themselves out of the dress on stage (props to Ruby Corkscrew and the Speakeasy cast!). I once had to make a skirt from only what was to hand backstage in fifteen minutes, to match a corset and fit into an ensemble number with four other artists with matching outfits - that was fun (Kitten Club)! On the opening night of our “Straight Up! The Next Round” show, my co-producer left all our LED light suits in another part of the country. Re-designing that number with only a few hours to spare was fun! Burlesque is definitely a job for thinking on your feet and getting hands on.
CP: That brings me out in a mild panic-sweat, imagining myself as the person that left the costumes! So, as someone that has seen a lot of burlesque by this point (no shade!) can you share with us a moment in which someone’s costume took their act to an entirely new level?
TR: I think it’s important to remember that costumes are an important part of our story on stage, not just something pretty we happen to have in our wardrobe that we’ve decided to wear. I have a feeling this is what some people occasionally believe. Costumes that have really elevated someone’s acts are: most of Vicky Butterfly's acts (especially her LED light act), Lada Redstar's 1st runner-up act at the Burlesque Hall of Fame, Bonnie Knocker’s Period Drama act, Bettsie Bon Bon’s Purple Rain act, Misty Lotus' Peacock act, Kalani Kokonut’s Geisha act and Dinah Might’s Pink Panther act.
CP: Get YouTubing, people! I’m going to add Ana Fur Laxis’ Burlesque Hall of Fame act to that list. If you’re a fan of quick-change, you’re in for a treat. It’s a fantastic guide to how many points of interest help to build an act perfectly in five minutes. One of my favourite things about your costumes is that you never know what you’re going to get after the peeling of a layer. Sometimes the costume underneath switches the look up entirely and other times exciting things fall out (oo-er!). You’re like a burlesque pass-the-parcel. What’s important to you when planning a costume with many reveals and layers?
TR: Ahaha, thanks! I think that whatever you are using in your act – be it choreography, comedy or costuming, it has to keep surprising the audience and moving the act forward. Creatively, that’s what's important to me. Practically, a good costume designer who really understands fastenings and durability is vital. They must not only be an artist in their own right who can understand your vision, but a technician when it comes to structure and how things connect and move. If you want to go all out on your costume, use someone with a lot of experience with burlesque costumes in particular.
CP: You’re so right. I’ve found my performance experience so crucial to practically understanding exactly where costumes need to be strong and which fastenings will actually work successfully for different peels. Final question, Burlesque Idol UK. Talk to me. Are there plans to bring it back in 2021? Will people still be able to apply or are you rolling this year’s applicants over? If there are performers out there currently planning their competition pieces, have you got any tips on pitfalls to avoid with their costumes?
TR: The plan is to roll over this year’s contestants to next year, as that's fair. But if we have places left over we will definitely open applications, as I love seeing new artists. Honestly, none of us can come out the same after the year that was 2020 and I'm sure people's work will reflect that. My tip would be not to play it safe with your costumes. So often people want to be "correct", so we see the same outfits playing out over and over again. But costuming is a place to express your individuality. You can have the same bases as other people, sure, but show me something different with it - let your unique persona shine though.
To find out more about Tempest Rose, here’s where to start:
If you’d like to support House of Burlesque, you can buy merchandise at “HOBTempestRose” on redbubble.com or donate directly at paypal.me/hobtempestrose
Tempest Rose - tempestrose.com/ @hobtempestrose on IG & Twitter/ Tempest Rose on Facebook
House of Burlesque (classes & shows) - houseofburlesque.co.uk/ Tempest Rose and House of Burlesque Ltd on Facebook
Burlesque Idol - @burlesqueidoluk on IG & Facebook
Ginsult Podcast – Spotify Podcasts/ @ginsultpodcast on IG
Patreon – House of Burlesque UK/ Ginsult Podcast
Photos by @vsanchorstudio/ @nattipoletti.photos/ @marcabe_studio