At the beginning of this year I was voted into the Miss Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Competition by all of you. (Thank you!) The next few months, I worked diligently on bettering my costume, working through my routine, and preparing myself mentally for the biggest performance of my burlesque career to date. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I was petrified at letting down myself, my troupe, and my community.
So the time finally came to make the trek out to Vegas for the weekend. My husband and I left on Thursday and stayed with one of my favorite photographers, Kathleen, from MKS Images. We made it out there, got our wrist bands, had dinner, and headed out to watch some good old fashioned Burlesque Bingo produced by Audrey Deluxe. She had a stellar cast including one of my favorite burlesque inspirations, Jeez Loueez. Of course she did not disappoint. Like she so skillfully does, she worked that crowd and teased the audience. I also got to see the tantalizing Ms. Redd, who did this sultry number that left everyone with their mouths open. After multiple bingo losses, yet many burlesque wins, we retired for the night to get some much needed sleep.
Friday the burlesque and pin up contestants did a private meet and greet which turned public later on. I was very relieved to realize that everyone was just as excited, and nervous as I was. We all got to talk, laugh, and feel awkward together as the public came into the room. We later split to go get ready for the burlesque showcase, but first Charlotte Treuse, Pinky Deville and I decided to go eat in the Orleans. After much laughter, stories, and of course food selfies, we quickly became friends, and basically inseparable for the remainder of the weekend.
Finally it was time to go watch the Burlesque Showcase with one of the best line ups that I’ve seen in awhile. Not only that, but we got to watch it in a private box with burlesque legends, Tiffany Carter, Dusty Summers, and Marinka. No big deal. The show was phenomenal. Perle Noire made me question why anyone continues to try and improve when she has mastered it all. Lou Lou D’Vil was a rock star on stage. Kitten and Lou might be my favorite duo in the world. Inga Ingenue moves like a fierce goddess. And Cora Vette makes the difficult job of emceeing look like a breeze. As I watched everyone grace the stage, I became more and more excited that I would even be on it the next evening.
After the show, Charlotte, Pinky, Al, and I decided to go to Frankie’s Tiki Bar. If you have never been to Frankie’s, you should. That should also be enough to convince you to, because once you walk in there, you understand why it’s so popular. We got our drinks, with the mugs to go of course, and headed home so we could get some rest.
Saturday, I wake up entirely too early. Surprisingly most of my anxiety is gone, but I decide to go get a massage at the Orleans to really calm down. I make my appointment, get some breakfast, then head over for a hot stone massage. It is my belief that everyday should start like this, but I doubt that would really be financially possible. Maybe if I had fuck you money then that is the way my mornings would go. After spending more time in the sauna (post-massage) then I probably should have, I go back to my hotel to get ready. I set my hair, put on my face, and head down to tech. We get there and the amazing David Bishop is there running the show like a rock star. As soon as I get there, I go into tech. They start my song, and HOLY SHIT! The stage is so large that just walking across it is a task. I start to get nervous, but I run through my routine anyways and run to get a slice of pizza with Dottie Deville, Matt, and Al.
After the lovely greasy hotel pizza, I head backstage and get ready and stretch. Next thing I know, doors open, then right on time the show starts. My heart starts pounding because there is no way to turn back now. I keep repeating to myself, “Crazy, Sexy, Fun.” Finally its my turn. The music starts, I start my routine and keep smiling, hoping that I can make the audience feel special. It’s time for my skirt reveal, and it comes off weird! Oh no, just keep moving, smile and try to vamp it up. No one will know right? I throw in a couple of bumps and grinds, and one that made me go, “Hmmmm… I hope that didn’t look weird,” then onto my favorite part of the song when I do my back arch. The audience was so loud, and that feeling was so triumphant that it stills gives me chills when I think about it. Then just as quickly as it started, I’m off stage. Jeez Loueez tweets that “I KILLED IT!” I start crying because to have validation like that from a performer that I admire so much was probably the best prize that I could walk away with. But the show continues, and judging is next.
They bring everyone out onstage and I try and plaster a smile onto my face. I don’t think I was breathing the entire time, and my heart was racing. It’s very vulnerable to have an audience in front of you in a very vocal way judge you after months of preparation. But they do the sound-o-meter, tally up the votes, and next thing I know they call me up as 2nd Runner Up in the competition! I never even expected to place, I was astounded. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. Then 1st Runner Up is Madeline Sinclaire! I was so excited to see her with me. Finally Miss Viva Las Vegas was crowned Tosca! And just like that, everything was over. I walk off stage and didn’t really know how to process what just happened. I told my husband, I don’t know what to do, I don’t win things. He laughed and told me how proud he was.
After the show, since none of us had really been drinking, Charlotte, Pinky, Al, Marinka, and I decided to head over to Frankie’s to celebrate. We are met there by David Bishop, Kitten and Lou, Inga, and Jeez Loueez. There was a moment where I had to stop and ask if this was real life?!?! We had such a blast, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know everyone a little better. We head back to the home for some drunk sleep.
Sunday we traveled for what seemed like an eternity. We get home, and I crashed. The whole weekend felt like a whirlwind, but I’m incredibly grateful for every experience along the way. The people I met were inspiring, the experience was unforgettable, and my heart is eternally full. Thank you to everyone who voted to get me there. Thank you to my husband who was the best partner I could ask for. And thank you universe for all the opportunities that you open up. <3