I've always had a weak spot for artforms that are different from the mainstream. Burlesque is one of them.
Since I was fourteen I wanted to be a burlesque performer, a showgirl, like Dita.
(Cliché, I know!)
I loved corsets and as a gothic teenager I wore them almost everyday. I wore them to Vampireparties, meetings and even to school. Hell, I would even slept in them if possible! (I don't have a fetish, I promise) When I was around fifteen I had my first professional photoshoot (in a corset, duh!) and things went fast after that. I did even more photoshoots, about three a week, joined a modeling agency, got payed assignements, did even more photoshoots and lost a lot of friends because of this. I was still interested in taking some burlesque classes/workshops (I was around 17 by now) but because of my modeling a lot of people had critique. How could I be a model? I must be paying the photographers instead of the other way around. Who would ever want to shoot with such an ugly and fat girl like me? Friends dropped me, cyberbullied me, even made 'hate-pages' on Facebook where they photoshopped my modeling pictures to the point where I looked like a man or had a nose like Pinocchio. A lot of the people who participated in these acts of cyberviolence were complete strangers, people I've never met but had connections to 'my friends'.
Burlesque was out of the question!
Why? Because I believed those people. Because apparently if I wasn't good enough to be on a picture why would anyone be interested in seeing me shake my booty to a retro tune and undress?
(Now I know I'ts a whole lot more than just that!)
Burlesque performers look like Dita, not like Ripley.
I stopped modeling, not because of the negative people but because I wanted to focus myself on my higher education and because there are a lot of aspects in the 'modeling-world' which are against my principles. After a while I forgot about modeling and burlesque.
Untill the early summer of 2016 when I saw an announcement on Facebook from a girl I knew very vaguely.
NE TOUCHE PAS WILL BE PERFORMING AT THEIR FIRST HALLOWEEN BURLESQUE SHOW
I don't know why, I don't know how and I regretted it five minutes afterwards but I immediatly gave myself up for auditions (Now when I come to think of it I didn't even had an audition, I was immediatly hired)
WHY? NO! I CAN'T DO THIS! I'M A NOOB, A NEWBIE. I'M FAT. HELP!
I really wanted this and I really didn't want this. It was my first chanche to finally take a peek in the world of burlesque, to be on stage and steal with my eyes. I had no clue what to do, what to expect.
Hours of research and rehearsals later I stood there: On stage dressed like a black cat in front of 250 people who thought I was hilarious (mainly because I told some rude catcallers to f*** off without using any words) together with about 10 other girls who were just as nervous as I was.
A year has passed since I first signed up to be NTP's new stagekitten. We had two sold out shows in the past year and our third one will take place on october 28th. I've been a stagekitten, showhost, hoopdancer and now I can finally call myself a burlesque performer. I've performed at some private events together with my troupe-sisters and I will be doing a solo at our Naughty in New Orleans show in october. In a year time Ne Touche Pas has grown so much, the ladies, our name, everything had a boost and we are still learning every day. Besides being a burlesque performer I'm also one of the creative directors of NTP, I love doing the troupe's social media, photoshoots and events. The real credit ofcourse goes to Raven Romance (click her name to visit her Facebook page) who built NTP from scratch and gave me the chanche to be a part of this amazing, crazy family. If she didn't believed in me, there would be no Ripley Brown and I would be missing out on a lot of fun.
I have eleven troupe-sisters, magnificent women from various ages in all shapes and sizes with their own special talent. A year ago these women were strangers, now they are family. Sometimes we have our disagreements but we are (in the first place) women who always support one another, who are always there for eachother.
Burlesque learned me to be postive, confident and creative. I've learned that it's okay that I don't have a size six (and that it's okay that some of my troupe sisters do have a size six, haha) I don't know how it is in other burlesque troupes but Ne Touche Pas represents positivity, friendship and fun. (And glitter, lot's of glitter)
My message to all the ladies who want to do photoshoots, professional or not or who want to become a burlesque performer:
JUST GO FOR IT! If you want it, you can do it. Flawes and sizes don't matter when you're on stage, the public will love you anyway. Please don't let anyone tell you that you can't because *insert invalid reason here*
Envy is something very nasty and It's better to keep those people and their self-caused unhappiness in their 'little green envy bubble' and keep on doing what you love most. It is your happiness that is important. In the end they will buy tickets to see your show anyway ;)
I hope to see you guys at our Naughty in New Orleans show on october 28th
PS: If you aspire to join the world of burlesque, prepare to find glitter everywhere. And I really mean EVERYWHERE. (Even weeks after a show)
PS²: Your boyfriend will probably hate it! (the glitter I mean)