Be sure to check out my contribution to “What is Feminist Lingerie?” in Florence Magazine. The complete article can be read here.
Be sure to check out my contribution to “What is Feminist Lingerie?” in Florence Magazine. The complete article can be read here.
There has been many changes in my personal and creative life lately. Rather significant relationships and endeavors have changed, and in doing so has left me in a place of vulnerability in the unknown. These sentiments are something all of us have experienced at one time or another. Losing a relationship, changing a job, or having to start a big new project over from scratch are just a few examples of situations that can leave a person feeling lost in the dark. When we get like that though, there are a few things that can help guide us in the right direction. Although sometimes we just want to retreat and hide under the covers (been there, did it yesterday) sometimes it’s best to take slow and simple steps in the right direction. So here are a few tools to help you deal with a creative overhaul and various introspective situations.
Reading is one of those simple pleasures that too many people often don’t make time for. Whether it’s a biography of your personal hero, a fiction story to escape in, or a book of poetry to get lost in the dance of words, reading is never a waste of time or energy. It gives you something to talk about instead of the newest gossip and helps generate ideas that you may have not come up with on your own. Above all, it helps to create a society of knowledgeable individuals ready to help create a better world.
I’m not the best when it comes to sitting still, but forcing myself to take even 10 minutes to do a guided meditation has become one of my favorite moments of the day. There are various apps, websites, and YouTube channels dedicated to helping the public meditate. Meditation helps to relax you and to evaluate your situation in a thoughtful and objective sense.
Make a List
I love making lists! This is the complete Type A personality in me, but I love creating lists to realize what’s important to me in my life. My recent lists have been: What Do I Want Out Of Life, What Creative Things Do I Want To Accomplish, Where Do I Want To Go, and What Do I Need To Let Go Of To Accomplish My Goals. Sometimes just seeing certain things in writing helps us realize what we want manifested in our lives. What does your list look like?
Leave Your Circle
Go out and meet new people. Go to events that you otherwise would have stayed away from. Sometimes opening up our circle of friends and acquaintances helps us to realize how not alone we really are. Getting stuck in the same circle over and over again can make a person stagnant if you don’t try to see what is beyond your personal world. Maybe pick up a new hobby, go to a networking group, or find an activity that you’ve been putting off for various reasons. You don’t have to completely dump your friends and family, but realizing there are others out there sometimes helps to direct you where you want to go in life.
When an animal is hurt or wounded, they retreat until they are ready to come back into the world. If a major life change has happened, and you just aren’t ready to face the world yet, that is completely understandable. Be honest with yourself and your personal limits. They exist for a reason. Try spending some extra time in nature. Take a hike, sit under a tree, go where there are very few people. Retreating can also mean taking a trip somewhere, either with a close friend or loved one, or by yourself. Sometimes we all need those moments to heal, analyze, and come back stronger.
What are some of your methods for healing? Have you tried any of those listed above? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below, and as always stay feisty loves!
Photo by Lisa Petz Photography
Yesterday was one of those days where the world seemed to be closing in with no hope. I woke up in a panic, having physical reactions to anxiety and distress. Somehow, with the help of loved ones, I managed to get out of bed and get a few chores done. By mid afternoon, I had enough. I called my mom and completely broke down. I cried for a good hour rejecting every single thing she suggested and deeming my situation hopeless.
But something happened after I cried that hard. I felt numb still, and yesterday was not the day to attempt to do anything, but I made a mental note at that moment saying that I would allow myself that day to wallow, but tomorrow, tomorrow I create. Today I woke up inspired. I woke up with solutions rather than doom and gloom. The one thing I realized through that mini day of self-doubt and sorrow was that what makes people great and successful is not their inability to avoid hardships and doubt, but their ability to push through it and still continue to create.
I started thinking about people like Madonna and Beyonce, artists who have created so much material that I haven’t even heard or seen half of what they have done. I don’t particularly care for everything they create, and by no means is everything they put out into the world a masterpiece, but what they do is persevere. They continue to create their art, their songs, their videos, and their visions and put them out into the world. Nothing stops them, and that is why they are so respected in their industry. Granted they have a team helping them, but the core concept is still there, and there is nothing stopping you from building your own team of similarly interested individuals.
So today, if you have been struggling to see the brighter side things, I challenge you to create something for no reason at all. Start that project that has been on the back burner for what seems like ages. Try something new with no intentions of perfecting it. Play, create, and put it out there into the world knowing that the act of creation is what is most important. The rest as they say, will follow. We just have to believe in ourselves, our visions, and our own unique capabilities. After all there is no one exactly like you.
Photo by Michael W. Photography
The other day I bought this beautiful brooch from Bad Madge in San Diego. I have been eyeing this magnificent piece of jewelry for quite some time now, and I can’t wait to create something stage worthy based off of this brooch. With the simple touch of turquoise, I wanted to find other glamorous images that displayed the color in all its glory.
Attending the 53rd Annual Planned Parenthood Dinner was an honor. The event was a great fundraising success, raising well over $1 million—with more than $240,000 raised from a generous match challenge. Being surrounded by hundreds of people who believed in the good of this organization which brings the community readily accessible facilities that offer care for basic human needs was a heart-warming feeling. But sitting there, listening to the insightful and hard-working guest speakers made it all too obvious the dangers this organization and it’s patients withstand. Living in a world with so much to offer, it’s a cumbersome realization that there are people living among us refusing reason and clinging to hate. One day I hope that the struggles of these men and women are rewarded and the fight for reproductive equality a success.
Photos featuring: Lola Demure, Valentina Unity, Remele Sparks, Gia La Dolce, Millie Marie, J, and Bawdy Show producers Matt and Lily
Dress I’m wearing is from South Park’s Bad Madge in San Diego.
There are many things I am known for in my performances: Energy, Playfulness, and Sensuality are a few. However, I am not known for stillness in either my performance life or personal life. Maybe the reason I can shimmy my heart out is because I am constantly running a million miles a minute offstage. Knowing the power of having stillness onstage and still commanding an audience, I made a conscious decision to find more of this in my life. What I was not expecting to discover through this process though was that in finding stillness in my life (calming of the mind, not being controlled by the fear of missing out, and focusing on projects and endeavors that were closer to home rather than traveling the world) I opened myself up to a whole new world of insecurities and self-doubt.
When you go, go, go, you hardly take the time to acknowledge where you are at that particular moment. On stage this may look like not connecting with your audience, not making eye contact, moving without intention, or not giving your audience a chance to react. In life this can look like spending a day working without realizing what you have accomplished, not taking moments to observe the world around you, or even not giving your self time away from all noise. No music, no T.V., no communication, just sitting and thinking with no goal in mind. Up until about a year ago, I never realized how much the latter plays into your stage presence. After all, if you are not completely connected with yourself, how will you become a three-dimensional performer?
When I started carving out time for myself to focus on bringing stillness into my life, I discovered a bevy of insecurities that I had been running from for much longer than I would like to admit. I didn’t know how to confront them, so I was left feeling lost and completely broken. I would scroll social media watching as many of my favorite fellow performers seemed to have it all together, booking all the gigs I would hope to be one day included in, being amazingly fierce and confident onstage, and commanding an audience while making it look completely natural and easy. I began to feel hopeless. But recently I made a connection that has taken months to figure out. What made them completely enticing was not their lack of imperfections or even just their confidence, rather it was the vulnerability they portrayed to the audience as they completely loved themselves, flaws and all.
I am far from perfect, and as a textbook Type A personality, that sentence always stings. Growing up I felt the need to always strive for perfection, which as we all know is completely impossible. I am a very sensitive person and will often think about mistakes or conversations that could have been different years later. I easily get embarrassed when I make mistakes in front of others. I’m shy when first meeting people, then later when others discover my intensity I’m left feeling ashamed as if I believe I am too much for them to handle. I’ve been told that my passion is often overbearing, and that sometimes I come off as fake because if I truly love someone I will bend over backwards to help them or try to be as supportive as possible. The phrase I should “tone it down” has been told to me more than I can count. And after years of others repeatedly pointing out my “quirks”, I have definitely created a defense mechanism of making fun of myself even though beneath the teasing I am internally crawling into a cave. I also tend to throw myself into big projects that don’t allow me time to think about my own insecurities, tidily sweeping it under the rug to think about another day.
In doing so, I cut myself short. I give the audience only a part of myself that I “think” they will accept. That is not three-dimensional. That does not portray the beauty of human complexity, and that beauty and vulnerability is exactly what creates a commanding performer. In order to be a dynamic individual, I have to present my complete self to my audience, baring my vulnerability underneath those bright lights. Although I have a long journey ahead of me, I am just beginning to understand the necessity of completely embracing who we are, not just physically, but emotionally as well.
Photo by Francine Duffy Photography
One of my goals this year has been to do a few costume upgrades on all of my signature acts. I’ve been searching for inspiration in mostly the avant garde genre with special detail to Alexander McQueen and Bob Mackie. I’ve especially been attention to draping, lines, and fabric patterns and found that simplicity and drama make for a phenomenal work of art. With the LA Fashion district so close, it’s both a blessing, and a financial curse when it comes to creating the costumes of my dreams. 😉 I can’t wait to share with everyone my new costumes, but for the moment, take a look as some of my favorite inspiring pieces. The details are exquisite.
This past January I had the pleasure of working with designer Franzesca Mayer for a photo shoot and runway show. Right away I fell in love with her designs which incorporated recycled bicycle tubing and sexy lingerie. Wearing her garments I felt empowered and ready to take on the world. Walking in the show at House of Blues San Diego I felt like I was part of a sexy Mad Max girl gang. I wanted to catch up with Franzesca and see what she was up to after her recent move up north.
How did you get into fashion design?
My mother taught me to sew when I was eight years old. When my body started changing, the store bought patterns weren’t fitting me properly so I started teaching myself how to alter the patterns and start draping my own garments. I graduated high school and simultaneously I lost a dear friend of mine. I turned to sewing and designing to as a means of working through my grief. I realized that sewing and designing lit a fire in me and that I wanted to keep honing my skills. At Knox College, I was lucky enough to find my mentor, Margo Shively, who taught me the ways of theatrical costume design and construction. Since graduating, I have worked at various regional theatre companies on the west coast and freelanced in the fashion world.
How did you begin using recycled inner tubing?
I met the incredible womenswear draper Kitty Muntzel during my fellowship at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2013. She had been exploring unconventional recycled materials for several years and was making inner tube costumes for a belly dancing troupe when I met her. I was so excited by what she was doing, she decided to teach me how to make my own. When she saw how much I loved creating these pieces, she gave me her stock of bicycle tubes and her blessing and I’ve been continuing my material exploration ever since. You can find Kitty’s designs at her website, http://www.backpedalcorsetry.com/
What is your biggest inspiration when it comes to your designs?
I draw a lot of my inspiration from the material itself. It tells me how it can be shaped and molded and I piece it all together. I am also very inspired by fashion history; I like to rethink historical silhouettes and line qualities in this unconventional material. I also draw inspiration from the beauty and shape of all women’s bodies and therefore I appreciate pin up and burlesque artistry as inspirational material as well. But in the end, inspiration can come from anywhere so I keep myself creatively open at all times.
What kind of modifications did you have to make because of using such a unique material?
I have mentioned that the material is already shaped so I have to be very flexible when designing. I can cut the material in different sizes but it is going to move the way it wants to move so I need to compliment that, rather than try to make it something that it doesn’t want to be.
What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to being a freelance designer?
When I’m working by myself it can be hard to keep the motivation. I make costumes for a very niche demographic so I have to explore every nook and cranny of the fashion world and interwebs to find my people.
What is your vision for your brand?
I am hoping to expand my market a bit in the realm of menswear and accessories. Overall, I want to find a balance between wearable art and everyday clothing using earth-friendly materials.
What is your definition of success?
Seeing someone shine in my garments. I want my pieces to make the wearer feel confident and sexy. There is a glow you can see when someone really feels comfortable in something you’ve made and that’s a feeling of success that can’t be duplicated.
What is your next goal for your designs?
I am about to get my first magazine spread in a new magazine called Moi Magazine, based out of New Orleans. I am hoping to continue that trend, sending out photos for publication and sending outfits out for photoshoots. A dream would be to see one of my garments on stage.
Where can my readers find more information about you?
I try to update my social media as much as possible.
Thank you Franzesca for taking the time to interview with me, and I hope everyone checks out her amazing work. Check out her site, and keep up with me as I might be wearing one of her costumes in a brand new act very soon. 😉 Stay feisty loves!
Photos by Alina Mendoza Photography
Some of you may already know this, but beyond being a performer, a producer, and a traveling showgirl, I am also a mother to a very feisty little girl who will be three this April. From the moment that I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, literally the next day, I was onstage and determined to not let this pregnancy trample my dreams of being a traveling burlesque performer. I worked diligently throughout my pregnancy, altering costumes and acts, to better support my growing belly and growing ambition. I performed up until a month before she was born. When she was only two months old, I traveled with her across the country for my first burlesque competition in Charleston, South Carolina.
As she got older, I continued to travel and perform whenever I was given the opportunity. She came with me to Charlotte when she was young and still breast-feeding. Later I went to Seattle, Texas, Toronto, New York, London, and so many other places on my own. Sometimes I would opt for a quick trip, landing the day of the show and leaving directly after the conclusion of the event, which could be either a night or a weekend. Sometimes my husband would care for her like when I took off for nine days to go to New Orleans and Albuquerque. But one thing was for sure, the older she became, the more difficult it was to leave her.
Every trip I cry. Not just a few tears streaming down my face, I mean ugly cry. I text my girlfriend, Sassy Stiletto, to remind myself why I do what I do, and if I am making the right decision as a parent. Each time I read her response through my tears telling me that if I don’t take care of myself, of my own dreams and aspirations, then I will have nothing to give my daughter. And although that makes me feel better, as I tuck her into bed, or kiss her goodbye at the airport repeating the one phrase that I have told her since she was an infant in my arms, “Mommy always comes back to you,” it doesn’t make it any easier. But still, I get on that plane, and I give the audience every ounce of me that I possibly have to give.
Once I get to my destination it’s usually easier. I see my friends who I don’t always see and performances that inspire me to continue bettering my craft, but every now and then you just have to have a moment to yourself. I remember when I was competing in London, about an hour before I was supposed to hit the stage with my stage make-up in tact and nervous energy flowing rampantly, I heard this family from the other table call to their little girl, about three years older than my daughter, “Brody”. Now Brody is not a very common name for little girls, and I had yet to meet another one until this moment, but I looked to the family and clarified whether or not their daughter’s name was Brody. Of course when they responded yes, I sat there, attempting to continue a polite conversation while fighting back tears. Finally, as my voice started to crack and I could no longer hid the tears running down my face as I was forcing myself to smile, I excused myself directly to the bathroom where I broke down in a crying hysteria all the while trying to save most of my stage make-up.
At the moment, I have cut back my travel significantly. This decision wasn’t made directly because of my daughter, other goals and aspirations definitely weighed in, but at this very, very, very, VERY difficult stage (yes moms to older children, I know it only gets worse – I mean new “challenges” later on present themselves) I thought it would be best to spend more time with her until we get past this phase. But if you do find yourself traveling with little ones, I have a few tips to help you survive.
Being a mama and a traveling showgirl is a difficult challenge. But I promise you, you can do it. <3
Every time I walk into The Girl Can’t Help It I feel as if I was transported through time. With bold red walls, racks and racks of pristine and unique vintage, and accessories that will make you gasp, this store easily sets itself apart from its neighbors. One of my favorite vintage purchases happened there. I decided to start the search for my wedding dress at Sparkle and Jasja’s store, and in less than 30 minutes, walked out with a gorgeous mesh sequin dress that was perfect for a Hawaii beach wedding. Ever since then, I have been hooked.
As I was casually browsing their online store, I decided to put together some of my favorite pieces that you can currently purchase there.
The first thing I noticed about this dress were the sleeves! Sheer chiffon and in red too? Pinch me, it’s too perfect!
I adore this flirty number! The sleeves, the length, and the fabric pattern just makes me want to dance all night. And who is that lady modeling for you there? 😉
Oh if only I had the chest to fill out this dress like this lovely model does! You can start planning ahead for your New Year’s dress, because I’m pretty sure THAT is how you are supposed to start the year off.
With Viva right around the corner, I’m pretty sure this swimsuit will be snagged up in no time! Imagine sitting poolside in this stunner!
I am a sucker for asymmetrical cuts. And ladies, who doesn’t need another elegant black dress? They are classic, slimming, and always fashionable!
Although these are my current favorites from their online store, I know Sparkle has some hidden gems in the store. So if you find yourself in San Diego, be sure to stop in and tell them Eva Mae sent you! <3 Till next time!
Brought to you by Sparkle (aka Gail Higgins) & Jasja Boelhouwer.Our customers have included celebrities,designers, collectors, and you-the vintage aficionados! And our items have featured in magazines,movies, ad campaigns & catwalks over the years.
After over 25 years of selling in our well-known shop in London, we will now be previewing our American selection of vintage goodies- now available worldwide 24 hours a day, for your viewing and shopping pleasure.For all the people who are sorry we left London, and all the people who couldn’t physically make it to our shop,we intend to provide you with the same quality and service online that we’ve always been known for in person.
We have worn,bought & sold vintage for years & want you to be as excited about owning something unique as we are.
When in San Diego,please visit us at THE GIRL CAN’T HELP IT, 3806 Grim Ave,San Diego 92115. And you can follow us here.