Trend after trend comes and goes, but one thing that seems to remain timelessly classic is burlesque’s retro glamour. No matter the event, if you want to turn heads without adorning yourself in recent trends, retro glam is it. And who else does it with more va-va-VOOM and straight-up sex appeal than burlesque artists?
While retro glam may be the classic dress code, many curvy burlesque performers are making the art new and exciting. Be it nerdlesque in which the performers celebrate their love of different fandoms like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and other countless fun, nerdy choices. Others are using the stage to make a political statement and queering the craft by centering queer identities.
Burlesque is one of the few remaining artforms through which the public embraces curves, rather than fights against them. While fatphobia and racism still exist within the burlesque community, brilliant art is being created from a variety of oppressed groups, in a way that's easy to consume, even for the less-enlightened.
Burlesque is more than just gorgeous outfits and fun music. Burlesque allows the artists to toy with sensuality, sexuality, humor, raw emotion, politics, and pop culture all in one. Need another reason to love it? Here are sixteen. Check out these incredible curve and plus-size burlesque artists that you need to know.
1. Magnoliah Black (@magnoliahblack)
Jill-of-all-trades Magnoliah Black is the queer performance star that the world doesn’t know they desperately need. The Southern born, Bay Area-based artist sings and dances, as well as being a devastatingly brilliant writer, potent healer, and much needed Black and fat activist.
2. Harlow Holiday (@harlowholiday)
Harlow Holiday, an Indigenous performance artist based in Syracuse, brings her own gorgeous brand of glamour to the stage.
3. Noella DeVille (@noella_deville)
Ohio-based burlesque performer Noella Deville knows how to entertain! From glamour to nerd, Noella delves into pop culture references and creates a gorgeously exciting and entertaining show for all.
4. ButtahLove (@keenabuttah) and Sepia Jewel (@sepiajewel)
San Diego’s premiere plus-size Burlesque queen ButtahLove hosts a must-see revue. In this photo, the luminescent burlesque stars Keena ButtahLove and Sepia Jewel (co-hosts of the podcast Showgirl Sunday Dinner) shine together. Do not miss their incredible podcast!
5. Rosie Bourgeoisie (@rosie.bourgeoisie)
Genderfuck burlesque artist Rosie Bourgeoisie sweeps Quebecois stages in Montreal in a flurry of style and queer sensuality. For a combination of modern queer meets glorious retro kitsch, it’s hard to beat Mx. Bourgeoisie.
6. Ms. Briq House (@ms.briqhouse)
Ms. Briq House creates desperately needed POC-centered and unapologetically Black entertainment in the Pacific Northwest. Check out the all-POC burlesque revue, The Sunday Night Shuga Shaq.
7. Mila Macabre (@milamacabre)
Saskatoon artist Mila Macabre brings gorgeously bold colors and sparkles to life on stage. Off-stage, the Romani dancer brings glamour into the lives of her clients as a permanent makeup artist.
8. Moonbow Brite (@moonbrite)
SoCal performer Moonbow Brite is a beam of color in a dark night. Seriously — she’s awesome. Her dayglo energy radiates from stage and beyond as Moonbow dances for her audiences.
9. Rosie Reigns (@rosiereigns)
The self-proclaimed “Lioness of the South Bay,” Rosie Reigns creates playfully sexy vignettes flavored with retro glamour and her great sense of humor… like this homage to Hilda!
10. Saffron St. James (@neologisms)
Ottawa’s “Hoursglass and A Half.” A writer, photographer, and musician, Canadian-based St. James produces the CabaretLIVE! Show.
11. Mone’t Ha-Sidi (@nizzneyland)
Mone’t Ha-Sidi owns the room with her energetic (and amazing) Mr. T performance. Based in Sacramento, this hairstylist by day/stripper by night can be found also supporting local artists with Black Artists Matter and Jezebelle’s Army.
12. Kitty Devereaux (@kitty_devereaux)
Philly-based Kitty Devereaux is changing burlesque one queer performer at a time. As the mama bear and co-producer of Sister Bear Burlesque, Devereaux is helping queer the idea of burlesque one stage at a time.
13. Catty Wompass (@misscattywompass)
Iowa City’s Catty Wompass is a poet and academic in the world-renowned Iowa Writer’s Workshop by day and queer burlesque artist with a love of retro kitsch and camp by night. Don’t miss her Mrs. Potatohead routine or her heartachingly beautiful poetry.
14. Dottie Lux (@dottielux)
San Francisco’s Dottie Lux has taken many forms, but the most important is that of a lesbian burlesque faerie godmother hostessing many events throughout the Bay area. As part of a collective of 18 queer activists, Lux has helped save San Francisco’s iconic gay bar STUD, making it a safe place for queer folks of all identities.
15. Mx. Pucks A’Plenty (@pucksaplenty)
Seattle-based queer burlesque performer Mx. Pucks A’Plenty toys with gender as they light up the room from on stage.
16. Miss Meow (@yaelkitten)
Montreal’s Miss Meow is the cat’s pajamas. This Canadian cutie commands the stage with a beautiful retro look that is not to be missed.