MisRed Delicious – Internationally acclaimed, multiple title and award winning burlesque entertainer, producer and teacher
One of my favourite mentors – A year on from our last interview, we find out what had changed for MisRed and she has evolved, what drives her and her inspirations.
BS: How has MisRed evolved and developed in the character since our last interview? The last interview was about August last year.
MR: I guess the evolution was kind of occurring when we last interviewed anyway. Previously there was still a level of discovery and restraint with what I was doing and where I wanted to go. And now, I’ve got a much firmer idea of the style of burlesque that I want to do at the moment, which is definitely more the classic side of things. The more sultry side of things. I still enjoy the funny stuff and my Nigel Napkin character provides that with Its slapstick style. I like the slapstick stuff but more of my burlesque rather than character side of things is definitely leaning toward that classic sultriness.
BS: I haven’t seen your Nigel Napkin.
MR: It’s like a cross dressing version of the tramp Charlie Chaplin.
MR: It’s quite fun! I don’t say much I just get real into hand and facial expressions….It’s mainly a walk around character and really good for stage kittening, tough does have an act or two up his sleeve.
BS: I’m going to keep that in mind; Now, I’ve noticed that you’ve been doing a lot more blogs lately. All of a sudden they’ve just started to reappear. Which is great because I’m really enjoying reading them. Particularly for somebody who’s still relatively new and not quite sure of herself. What are your blog inspirations?
MR: A lot of my blog inspirations they come from things that I might teach. It might come from conversations I’ve had with people and I’ve said I’d really like to know something about such and such a subject. I asked on Facebook about what people would like to hear from me as well. So getting other people’s input so that way I’m providing the subject matter for the topics that they want to hear. And a lot of the time my inspiration also comes from what I see happening in the burlesque world. And what I see other people are doing. And I guess I want to broach that subject without making it personal or anything, but saying, “Hey, this is an idea. These are the things that can help you if that’s the route that you’re going. So it means that I’m never short of material; but even so, I might look at it on Wednesday and go, “Oh, I don’t feel like writing today [laughter].
BS: And when you say the burlesque world, you mean the international market rather than the national market? Or both?
MR: Both. Just like things on my news feed and things I hear about, so I guess I’m trying to keep people aware and educate who may not have that knowledge already. For example, I think I did one on understanding the value of titles of burlesque. The inspiration for it was the fact that I have multiple titles and we’d just had about three or four competitions in a row in New Zealand. People were creating unnecessary competition between the their titles left, right and centre. And it was just a reminder to people that there’s value in a title but there’s also different perspectives of what that value might be. And you still need to ground yourself, even if you have a title. Because to some people, it doesn’t mean anything, and to other people, it means a lot. So by saying that out in the land of blogging and social media it was like, well here’s a subject that I can approach and I can speak to based off my experience both as a title winner, as a producer, as a performer, and as a teacher, and an audience member, how all that fits together and what it means to me on each of those levels, so people can get an understanding of how much value is put into a title, or not as the case may be.
BS: Yes, if it’s the same article that I recall, it also approaches the subject of don’t’ bring yourself down if you don’t get the title.
MR: Yeah definitely.
BS: Because it may not be what was wanted on the day.
MR: Yeah, absolutely. Understand that it’s very subjective to the judges as to what they are looking for.
BS: You just touched on classes and bringing with classes and working with classes. Now, I know that you do two classes, flirters and divas. Can you tell us a little bit about them?
MR: Flirters is eight weeks. It formally used to be six weeks but since I’ve brought it to Auckland, it’s now eight weeks to give more time for students to develop. It covers an introduction to burlesque. It can be for your average women, but it can also be for somebody who is interested in getting on stage. It covers everything from the history of burlesque to basic of walking, basic of movements, different styles of burlesque. It covers some basic stage techniques, as well as a full routine. So you are learning some of the background of burlesque as much as just the dance of burlesque. It helps students with creative a foundation of knowledge on the art form. One of my students from my last intake said it was really good, even though she has no interest in performing because of the history side of things. For her it meant that when people said, “Oh, so you’re going to be a stripper?” She could actually educate them on stripping as the evolution of burlesque and help them to understand it’s not something to be seen negatively. Previously she couldn’t get them that understanding and found it kind of embarrassing and now she can. So that’s something I’m quite happy with, to get that feedback from my flirters. My divas is more of an advanced class. It’s definitely for people who want to get into performing. Because I don’t have a lot of beginners up here, divas was designed to be meeting the Auckland market where students have been doing other courses and then want to take the next step and really push it. So divas is actually an amalgamation of what I used to do to across two courses. Now it’s the 10-week course, so it gets into everything. It builds on the foundations and stage presence maybe other classes have already set. But it gets very much into business of burlesque as well, so it’s not just stagecraft, but how to build yourself as a business. We look at social media and marketing. We look at how to put bio’s together, how to put introductions together, how to approach producers. I think, as you know, with this course we get off subject as well according to the students needs. I think the last course, we covered how to make cover photos, how to build websites, setting up email, those kinds of things as well as the course curriculum. So there’s a lot of subjects that can be covered, and having them in my home studio now has been great because now we’re not bound strictly to an hour and a half, and the Divas class is always small to allow better one-on-one time. And all at the same time, the students are actually putting together a routine based off the stagecraft that they’re learning in the class. And hopefully, by the end of the 10 weeks, they’ve started to use some of the business side of things to identify and build on what they need to know to actually make it as a successful performer in burlesque.
BS: Yeah. And the notes and things that you give for both courses, they’re quite detailed, I understand, which is extremely helpful.
MR: Yeah, they certainly are. Definitely, Divas is more detailed because I do cover a lot of information in Divas, so my notes have got a little bit more detail to them. Flirters, it’s all the basics, basic choreography, basic movements, just reminding them where to position their bodies, and reminding them about what they need to do and understand about burlesque, about the different styles, and the history, and things like that. Diva notes are to be used as a constant reference.
BS: And what are your future plans for up-and-coming courses?
MR: So I have been asked about an in between course, which I’m thinking I may do. But I have been quite happy as well working with Hootchy Kootchy at the moment and sending people on to them if they want to take that next step and perform without getting into the business side of things, which is what Diva is more about. But I’m looking at doing a Flirters boot camp and a Divas boot camp, which will be two to three weekends, a couple of hours each weekend. So it means that people who might live in Hamilton or something like that can come up and do it and they can still have that time to develop the act, but obviously, it’s a bit more full on. I’m also going to be looking at my workshop stuff, and offering a few more of my standard workshops, and also building on that. I’ve been asked and am now building at a classic tease burlesque workshop, which I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns into a full six-week course at some point because there’s a lot of teach in classic tease that is a lot more specific than just what you can cover in a general workshop- and also doing things like building on my fan dancing, and breaking out some of modules that I do in my Divas classes – offering them as workshops as well. So it means that people can just piece it together as they want to, not necessarily have to commit to a full 10-week course.
Stay tuned for a continuation of this interview in a few days.