Instagram: missgingersoumise

As a newcomer to the glittering world of professional burlesque, I’m finally living out my glamorous showgirl fantasy, and creating show-stopping costumes is as exciting to me as working on a new act itself. I recently won the April heat of the world-famous Burlesque Idol at the Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square, and went all out for the occasion, transforming lingerie by What Katie Did UK using thousands of Crystal Parade crystals (mostly Zodiac, with some Swarovski). Heat-fixing 95% of them, (I also used some of the fabulous Zodiac sew on stones), my costume for this Dolly Parton inspired act literally took months to complete. I absolutely adored the process though and found hot-fixing in the evenings after work and once my children went to bed an incredibly therapeutic experience. I’ve never been much of a crafter and worried I’d make a complete mess of things, but hot-fixing using the Kandi Kane Applicator is completely idiot proof and very neat. In the months leading up to Burlesque Idol, my evenings consisted of working with my hot-fix applicator wand whilst listening to true crime documentaries and a new addiction to Zodiac crystals was born. I even used Zodiac AB crystals to add sparkle to my feather fans, and type-writer prop (the act is based on Dolly’s hit 9-5, where my burlesque character dreams of quitting her office job to become a burlesque dancer).Every time I have performed my act, I have had so many lovely comments about how sparkly my costume is. I recently performed at Wicked Wonderland Cabaret where a fellow burlesquer in the audience sought me out after the show to ask me “what have you sprayed onto your costume in order to make it sparkle so much!” It’s comments like that that always remind me that quality stoning is always a real investment to a burlesque performer. Of course, we are always looking at ways to produce costumes as cheaply as we can, but if you want your costume to really catch the light and dazzle, there’s no 'magical spray'; it’s always going to come down to the rhinestones you’ve invested in. And industry performers do recognise the difference. I recently performed at Inifinitease, where international burlesque artiste Miss Sugar Rush featured as a judge, and told me during the prize-giving “I appreciate every single rhinestone you’ve used on your costume. Every single one.” The buzz I got from that comment has stayed with me. I love that she recognised the effort I had put in, and that by looking at my clothing, she understood how much time and labour I had invested into transforming the lingerie I wore.

I’m currently working on a new act inspired by the musical Little Shop of Horrors and am loving working with Zodiac rhinestones in shades of greens and some reds. Next on my Crystal Parade shopping list are purple rhinestones for my corset, using the colour palette from the famous man-eating plant the film is synonymous with, Audrey Two. My prop Audrey Two is currently in production, and I am hoping she will be ready for the Burlesque Idol finals in November.For a long time, I’ve had the idea in my head that instead of having a thirst for blood, it would be funny to have an Audrey Two that wants to eat clothing, and for a burlesque act to revolve around stripping in order to keep the plant fed! I’m so excited about bringing this act to the stage, and know that, once my Audrey Two arrives from the prop makers, I will be looking to Crystal Parade, my go to crystal supplier, for ways to bling her up and make her sparkle just as much as my costume!

Following my win of April’s Burlesque Idol, I was lucky enough to have a 1:1 feedback session with House of Burlesque legend Tempest Rose who gave me lots of pro-tips; one being, that rhinestoning the inner parts of your costume can be a fantastic way to add interest and excitement into the striptease. So, as well as hot fixing crystals to my lingerie, I’m also doing the inside of my blouse and the inner lining of my skirt, so that when I’m opening and closing these panels during the “tease” the audience will see a bit of sparkle and add interest before the big reveals!

I’m really looking forward to developing this act and making sure everything is dazzling ready for the Burlesque Idol finals in November.

Performance costume

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