A gaze, a smile are enough to trap you in her world. The five next minutes are just about her and the story she imagines. While dancing, she begins to strip, slowly revealing a white body covered with tattoos. For Julietta La Doll the final revelation of her burlesque act remains a must, but stripping isn’t the only purpose of her performance : behind it, she hides a world of passion. Her life is all about vintage – burlesque allows her to earn money. This burlesque performer presents her art and the way she feels within her body with openness and honesty.
As a teenager, I used to collect postcards. My favourite ones portrayed the pin up girls of Vargas, Elvgren, Petty and so on. Those beautiful women aroused my curiosity. They remained elegant in their nudity and I loved their facial expression : one time mischievous, another time feline. Finally, the first burlesque dancer to fascinate me was Lili St. Cyr. This woman looked proud and strong, yet fragile and dramatic. This combination of both sides of femininity impressed me deeply but it took me two years before getting to the heart of the matter.
At the beginning, my first stage appearance was supposed to be with the lovely Lady Lou – a duet. If you don’t know Lady Lou, she is the heart of the Berlin Burlesque Scene so the pressure was huge for me. By being helpful and patient, she managed to reassure me when I first find out that due to her pregnancy she won’t be able to perform with me. My duet turned out to be a solo act and I had never been on a stage before. I went with my habitual optimism, just a little more nervous than usual. Once on stage … everything felt so good! So did I! It will sound a little cliché but my only wish was to get back on stage again. That’s how I dropped my previous career as a makeup artist to become a burlesque dancer.
Julietta La Doll is very much my persona in real and private life. The majority of the performers enjoy developing a character, an alter ego behind which they can hide. Even if I respect that, I respect even more the persons who dare to be themselves in front of an audience. Just take a little something of you, of your nature or of your experience and develop it, exaggerate it on stage as a base for your storyline. A friend of mine came to see Julietta La Doll, my character for the first time and she was afraid to watch someone different on stage. What was her surprise when she saw me!
That is also why the creation process for my performances is so linked with my personal life. I love to create – it gives you a special feeling, just like motherhood I guess. You give « birth » to an idea and then develop it slowly, learning in the meantime a lot about yourself. The final step is the representation, and also the best part of it. The cheers and applause from the audience are the rewards of this long process. My main motivation is to give the public emotions. Everyone is having a different interpretation of this act — subjectivity is the beauty of art itself – but people can always feel passion. I’m not a trained dancer or actor even if I still consider acting and choreography as a part of Burlesque. As well as the costume, the music, the atmosphere … Burlesque is not about being specialized. We are just putting the emphasis on different things in order to create a unique performance every time.
The audience in the burlesque world is really close to the performers. They give us a lot of good vibes. I consider it as an honour to present an act in front of them. I spent so much time and energy and love and passion working on it, so I need a little reward. The delight to discover how the people are reacting in other countries is part of our passion, as professional performers are traveling all around the world. For example, I had once this residency at a Burlesque show in Istanbul with the lovely Tallulah Freeway and Millicent Binks. Most of the audience there had never seen burlesque or heard of it before. They came back every time we were in town, being the best public I ever had! Because you could see, hear, feel the energy and the passion developing from itself.
Another great source of energy is my family. They have always been supportive – they knew from the beginning I was doing burlesque. I’m coming from Eastern Germany where people are very open with their body : the famous FKK – Freikörperkultur. I grew up going to nudist beaches and camps with my family for holidays. As my mum saw me for the first time on stage, she only told me : « I really like the fact that you are stripping and almost naked on stage because that means you have a good relation to your body. That’s how I always wanted you to be – but you could wear less makeup. » I tried but it is impossible for me! My makeup is part of me.
The line is fine between my professional and my private life. Every moment of my day is dedicated to burlesque. Last time I went on a flea market with friends, I kept an eye open for everything I could use on stage. Burlesque is my life, it’s one whole thing and I feel happy, lucky and fortunate to have found what makes me feel complete at such a young age. Travel broadens the mind, as the saying goes. My career leads me to new places and cultures that are a source of inspiration. Just recently, I travelled through different cities in the State : LA, San Francisco, New Orleans, … where i met new burlesque scenes with their very own spirit and characteristic. As I said before, Burlesque isn’t just about stripping : there is the art and the manner to do it.
That is why giving a definition of « burlesque » isn’t easy. People always want to define everything but they don’t realize that those characterization are meant to change and adapt. Ask ten different persons about it, you’ll get ten different answers! Mine would be that burlesque is a very versatile art form. There are many ways of expression, that’s why everybody enjoys it. Some artists focus more on the comedy aspect, others on the glamour … The possibilities are endless. Burlesque combines acting, dancing, costumes, story telling, creation and, of course, stripping. Let’s not forget the striptease as an important element, with the emphasize on the tease more than the strip! It’s very playful.
I am not offended when someone confuses me with a stripper. It just got a bad reputation recently when it became less classy and mixed with prostitution. But that is just a bad association in people’s mind. I can’t see nothing wrong in taking your clothes off and using it as an element of expression. If it was the only issue, people would be bored really fast, trust me. Especially now that everybody has access to nude photos and pornography. Personally, I enjoy being naked on stage. You can ask my friends : I mostly run around naked or in beautiful see-through lace gowns from Agent Provocateur. If someone gets confused by the stripping part, it must be due to the insecurity of a person in front of the naked truth. That also explains why the presence of an host or compere – like Armitage Shanks or Scotty Blue Bunny – is important. They get the audience to the right mood and make it funnier for everyone. During the show the public feels free to clap, cheer and scream — what is more than appreciated– and the performers are pleased to get feedback from the audience. A burlesque evening combines the delight of senses and passion. I’m proud to be part of this breathtaking world!