Miss Burlesque Queensland 2019 | Lucy Luxe
Showgirls are hungry hungry beasts. Scrolling through the hashtag #burlysnacks on Instagram is just a brief insight into the sordid late night scoff-fests of the festival circuit. There are glittering lips biting into burgers, rustling Cadbury packets and even Mr Frenchie shame-eating chicken McNuggets in his Mr Boylesque crown… but #burlysnacks ain’t got nothing on what is about to hit the Miss Burlesque Australia Grand Final stage…
A saxophone wails and a pair of legs scurry out from behind the red velvet curtains covered by… wait… what? A chip cup? It’s saucy, sordid, salty and a salacious song and dance for salivary glands. Have the paper towels at the ready because your digits will be slippery and ready for licking after Lucy Luxe’s CHIPTEASE!
Lucy Luxe is a perfect pinup with a veritable slew of titles under her garterbelt. With a back-to-back entry to the competition after placing 2nd runner up last year, I thought I knew what to expect. When Lucy strutted onto the Powerhouse Theatre stage for Miss Burlesque Queensland the audience knew to expect gleamingly polished and poised performances with a subtle raise of a cheeky eyebrow… what they were not expecting was to be stifling snort-laughs and neigh on ugly crying in stitches with groaning bellies.
Alyssa Kitt caught up with the newly crowned Miss Burlesque Queensland, Lucy Luxe, to talk about greasy late night #burlysnacks, things you never realise you’d be doing in your adult life and exactly how you spell L.O.V.E. (here’s a hint.. it begins with L. for Lucy Luxe).
Alyssa: The dust really hasn’t settled – Miss Burlesque QLD is the last State Final before the Grand Final in just a few short weeks – what do you have to do to get ready for the Grand Final!!!?
Lucy: It’s so soon! Thankfully I’m feeling fairly organised I think…Though I do need to arrange getting my giant hot chips across to WA with me…Just one of the many things on the “things I never thought I’d do or say in my adult life” list. My hubby David decided he simply couldn’t stay home and miss out on all the fun and he and I have never been to Perth so we’re pumped!
Alyssa: Isn’t that just the way with burlesque – a long list of things you didn’t realise you’d be doing as an “adult.” Did you have any doubts about yourself going in to the Queensland State Final – any difficult internal monologue that you had to overcome?
Lucy: Being totally honest here, I have a consistent internal monologue of thinking I’m not a particularly good performer and wondering why in the heck people are booking me! I’m obviously doing something right but I can’t help but see my inner introvert when watching videos and looking at images. Pushing on despite these ongoing doubts is always a challenge for me: I try to shush the voice that tells me I can’t and put it in its place!
Alyssa: I think this is a familiar internal monologue to many performers – it’s just not something that is spoken about openly – so thank you! What were some of the production challenges you faced in the lead-up to the competition?
Lucy: David and I did a lot of chatting about how the chips and chip cup for Chiptease would work and we trailed things first to ensure what we were mocking up would actually work before splashing the cash on the proper materials. I had originally planned to do a glove reveal in a sauce sachet too but that didn’t work and alas, the sauce bottle was born as an alternate option!
Alyssa: Did you have any preparation disasters that you overcame to get your acts on stage?
Lucy: It was honestly relatively smooth sailing! As I was away on tour for the best part of the three weeks before the comp, I had all the stressful moments and sleepless nights before then. I also got sick and run down then too off the back of burning the candle at both ends to meet deadlines in muggle life as well as in sparkle life which was a little unfortunate! It did however, mean I was fresh and feeling fab the week of the comp. I even slept in (‘til 6AM) the morning of the comp which is more or less unheard of for me! Advice to next year’s entrants: Set yourself a false deadline and stick to it!
Alyssa: Couldn’t have said it better myself. Now a few questions about entering the comp and your preparation. The Queensland scene has been strong for the last few years on a large account from the phenomenal burlesque education and schools that are established there. What do you love about the Brisbane burlesque community?
Lucy: Brisbane burly babes are the absolute best! I have nothing but positive things to say! Honestly, I wouldn’t have ever considered entering comps without them but their support and encouragement is kind of hard to ignore. I feel like the volume of the crowd at the state final kind of speaks for itself: The community really has your back and I’ve made some true friends since first dipping my toe in the alluring and rhinestone filled burlesque pool back in 2014.
Alyssa: You competed for the first time in MBQ last year, are you mad or what exactly made you want to enter a back-to-back year?
Lucy: I would never have thought burlesque competitions would be for me: The idea of being judged on acts was a very daunting prospect at first. It wasn’t until chatting with Lady le Feu about her MBQ experience and how it had really encouraged her to challenge herself that my perspective on it changed. I was itching to re-enter this year, as last year had felt like such a huge personal achievement for me and it had left me so inspired and wanting to move onto creating the next thing. I started working on these acts almost immediately after the competition wrapped up last year and then just hoped I’d be lucky enough to be successful in my application.
Alyssa: What was your game plan after being awarded 2nd runner up last year? How did you use the feedback to propel you to the crown this year?
Lucy: Last year my unique act wasn’t really unique at all and I knew that! I entered it because it existed and I also really had no expectation of getting through. This year, I really wanted to use the opportunity to create something from my burly brainstorm list that was a little out of the box. The concept of chiptease had been sitting on this list and the criteria of the unique section made for a great driver to actually get this thing off the ground! I also hoped I could do the comp sans moon boot in 2019 for a less stressy time than 2018: Can confirm the comp is more fun having given the boot, the boot!
Alyssa: Did you think you’d be wearing that crown at the end of the night when you started your competition preparation?
Lucy: Heck no! The competition is anyone’s game. Every contestant gives it their all and is deserving. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your social media following is or who you know. It all comes down to what you put on that stage and also how that’s received which is totally subjective and beyond your control. I really like to focus on what I’ve achieved within myself rather than put the focus on actual awards within the competition. That way I’m a winner whether I walk away with a crown or not.
Alyssa: I was taking a live video and captured your very humble and beautiful reaction but what was your first thought when Lila announced your name as the new Miss Burlesque Queensland for 2019?
Lucy: I felt so shocked because as I said, I was well aware it was anyone’s! But this did slowly transition into feeling very proud of myself! Though I didn’t really have many preparation disasters in the lead up, I, like everyone else am still just a normal old human and I face ups and downs that don’t make it onto my social media feed. I chipped away on this for me and there were hard times where I couldn’t work at all but I persisted and kept on trucking. I felt like I’d achieved my goal just getting those acts on stage so somehow walking away with the crown really had me lost for words.
Alyssa: Your Red Carpet look was the most Luxe (excuse the pun – don’t excuse the pun) pink and purple extravaganza with an epic quick change! Describe your vision for the Red Carpet Parade?
Lucy: Love me a good pun so please don’t excuse yourself! I really just wanted to be a “Vision in Violet”! In truth it was somewhat pieced together from an original inspiration dress and a colour scheme and in the end, gave me some My Fair Lady vibes which wasn’t at all intended but I wasn’t at all mad about it!
This luxe gown was inspired by the cream and deep blue William Travilla gown worn by the one and only Marilyn Monroe. I’ve always adored the shape and wanted an excuse to have something similar made. I love me a sweetheart neckline so this was an adjustment I requested when liaising with the lovely and talented Zoe Felice. As for the colour scheme, this was inspired by some lingerie I already own which I thought I could then turn into a classic act later down the track. I figured if I was going to spend the money on having something made especially, I wanted it to have a use beyond the red carpet! I love me a quick change so this was an “if you can” request: Of course Zoe could, because she’s incredible!
Alyssa: You’re a well-established pinup poser – you’ve even competed in the Viva Las Vegas pinup pageant, do you think this background helped you for the red carpet parade?
Lucy: Definitely! The poise I’ve learned and practiced in pinup and modelling over the years, greatly aids me in scenarios such as the red carpet parade. This could easily be simply seen as just a walk around the stage but often in pinup contests, this “walk around the stage” might be the only major component of the competition so you really have to use it to showcase yourself as best you can in the small amount of time allowed. I was lucky enough to be recognised in the Viva Las Vegas 2017 Pinup Pageant as Best Wardrobe Winner which was a real honour and I’m also a previous Miss Garterbelts and Gasoline and Miss Pinup Queensland. I still remember the first pinup catwalk style event I did back in 2013 and how off the charts nervous I was. It’s nice to be able to see how far you’ve come within yourself!
Alyssa: Well the look was amazing – but how did it reflect your character?
Lucy: I hoped to communicate both the Luxe but also cheeky sides of Lucy all at once: Think sexy, but approachable. Expensive, but not afraid to have a little fun. Bright, bold colours, a big bow, a lot of sparkle and feather fluff: A mix of glamorous meets cute AF which is the perfect combo for my character. I don’t take myself too seriously in day to day life and this is something I like to carry into the character of Lucy. I never really feel at home in the few acts I’ve tried to channel my inner Jacqueline Furey and be full sexy face throughout: I literally can’t stop the cheeky grin, so I may as well use it!
“Like an extravagantly rich couple threw up Valentine’s Day across a Las Vegas stage, made sweet love to Liberace and rolled in thousands of fuschia Swarovski. Lucy Luxe’s traditional lovefest spells a giant L.O.VE. – L is for the way you look at Lucy… O is for the over-the-top decadent detail on this luxurious costume – V is very very extraordinary and E is for extravaganza, elation and EVERYTHING – this act is everything! Every reveal glimmers another moment of heart-pounding falling in love that has the audience sighing sweet l’amour.” Excerpt from Alyssa Kitt’s MBQ heated highlights.
Alyssa: Your traditional was love heart showgirl perfection – like a decadently iced Valentine’s Day cake. But describe your traditional for me in your own words.
Lucy: This act aims to bring together the perfect mix of vivacity and adorable pinup perfection. I really just wanted to create something that would have the audience unable to wipe the grins from their faces and feeling positively loved up!
Alyssa: How did you research for this routine?
Lucy: Love struck was very much inspired by both the classic and elegant, yet high theatre energy of mid-century musical maidens Ann Miller, Vera Ellen and Cyd Charisse. I’ve always been drawn to these performers and like to try and channel this kind of look and feel in my own performances. The concept of the act was also loosely inspired by the myth of Cupid: God of love, attraction and affection and the role of his golden arrows. With no arrows at hand, how can one find their way into the heart of another? A sweet, yet seductive removal of clothing may well do the trick?!
Alyssa: The costume was so intricate with just so many minute details in every single reveal – tell me about this magnificent work of art – you worked with renowned burlesque costume designer Zoe Felice?
Lucy: Working with Zoe is something I’ve wanted to do for years after ogling the many masterpieces she’s created for mentors of mine within the Australian burlesque community. I decided to bite the bullet, try and stop buying so many other clothes and invest my dollars in the showgirl costume of my actual dreams!
The theme of love was inspired by my song choices, one of which David found for me ages ago. The colour scheme was inspired by a vintage dress I saw in Las Vegas that was ombre pink to red. I did up a digital mood board I sent to Zoe noting off points of inspiration and different elements I hoped to include and her creative mastermind took over from there. When it arrived I was like a kid on Christmas morning: My showgirl dreams had actually come true!
Alyssa: “Chiptease”. Comedy. I wasn’t expecting it of you. Your unique had me stifling snort-laughs and ugly crying in stitches. Ok… was there a particular late-night edition of #burlysnacks that inspired your greasy unique routine?
Lucy: Funnily enough, it was an article about a food van named “Chiptease” that first sparked the idea in my mind. I put that excellent play on words on my burlesque brainstorm list and it sat there for quite some time before I decided to start developing it. But it was such a relatable concept, how could I NOT develop it?! Chips have a tendency to tempt and tease even the most strong-willed taste buds, but what could be more tempting than a chip strip!?
Alyssa: You had a mega mix of music that packed the comedy punch – tell me what came first – the costume, the chorey, the concept or the bangas?
Lucy: It was definitely the concept that came first! Then thinking about how the costume could work seamlessly and then the bangas. Needless to say, I’ve found some really random songs about chips! Also, never thought I’d titty tassel to the Wiggles but I’m totally fine with it.
Alyssa: I was very hungry at the end of your unique! Your prop was so fun – a chip cup and giant fries – how did you craft this magnificent feast?
Lucy: Chiptease also drew inspiration from the “food pin-ups” illustrations of American Artist Kelly Gilleran which was where the whole chip cup on legs originated from. I was also adamant I wanted them to be chips and not fries…Think the cup of chips you used to get at your local show growing up.
The costume required a bit of braining but it was a really fun time working on it with David. I wanted the cup to collapse down so it wasn’t an eyesore on stage once it came off so it wound up being a very simple hoop and fabric contraption which David did the pattern for (because I’m awful with things like that) and I sewed. David also designed my logo as well as painting all the foam chippies which I then glittered and rhinestoned. I really felt like this act has been our baby for the last 12 months and I was so excited to finally strap on my disco shoes and hit the stage.
Alyssa: Now that the competition is over – did you have a favourite section?
Lucy: It’s hard to say to be honest! I could really feel the audience there with me in my traditional which was very warming and special. But I could also hear everyone enjoying themselves a lot during the chip fun: Both sections were equally amazing they just felt very different as a performer.
Alyssa: How did you represent the different facets of Lucy?
Lucy: I wanted to give the audience the pinup perfection they’ve come to know from me, but to also show my less serious side. My good friend said she loved Chiptease because it showcases more of my funny side which I don’t normally show as a performer. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this too!
Alyssa: You’re busy preparing for the Grand Final… what’s on your to-do list?
Lucy: I plan to simply keep practicing to keep up my muscle memory. Thankfully, I’m not sick of the songs just yet! I’m lucky enough to have had the chance to perform both numbers again since the QLD final and watch some videos to see whether there’s anything needing more polish ahead of the grand final.
Alyssa: Did you enjoy your MBA Journey in the State Finals?
Lucy: So, so much! I really challenged myself this year and irrespective of walking away with the crown, I already felt like what I’d created was a win.
Alyssa: What did you love about the competition – would you recommend other performers apply?
Lucy: We all know some things will never happen without a deadline, right?! I like having some guidelines to create towards and an end goal of reaching the deadline and doing the thing. The Unique criteria in particular really pushed me this year. It was talking with previous competitors and hearing how the competition encouraged this personal challenge that made me want to apply. The best thing you can do is enter it thinking you’re in competition with yourself and focus on that alone. Don’t get sucked into what others are doing around you: Focus your energies on you and being the best you can be.
Alyssa: Who were important people in your support team?
Lucy: Big shout outs to my husband David Gatt who really helped me nut out the details and who did all the house chores while I sat gluing sparkly things to other sparkly things! To my dear friend Verity Velour who could tell you every iteration, trialled and failed parts of these acts and who genuinely cares with her whole heart and to Lila Luxx who always identifies the missed opportunities within acts and who helped me to refine and shine these bad boys.
Alyssa: Outside of just winning Miss Burlesque Queensland, what have some of your other career highlights been?
Lucy: Totally random, but performing at the Brunswick Picture Theatre is one of my favourite memories in my time as a performer: Something about the overall vibe and energy and just a truly amazing venue and crowd that made it a moment I know I’ll remember forever.
Being a part of the Australian Burlesque Festival is always a real privilege and I also adore my Bombshell Burlesque family and the three consecutive years we’ve been a part of Brisbane’s Wonderland Festival together.
Alyssa: How long have you been performing for?
Lucy: I began burlesque in late 2014 after winning a term at Bombshell Burlesque off the back of my Miss Garterbelts and Gasoline prize package. The rest is history! I would never have envisioned I’d wind up a burlesque performer and was shocked when the term “reveal” was first mentioned… Perhaps my fascination with Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge at age 11 should have been a giveaway as to what was to come?!
Alyssa: You’re a pretty phenomenal shimmy shaker – did you grow up dancing?
Lucy: I grew up dancing in an adorable little dance studio in Northern New South Wales and it was such a beautiful community. I was quite late to start with my first jazz class at 11 but I’d been dancing around the house for years prior to this! In the years after, I went on to add tap and hip hop into the mix and in my early 20s, I also worked as a Les Mills Body Attack Group Fitness Instructor. I love moving my body and physical activity gives me all of the endorphins.
Alyssa: Oh my gosh – I’m going to need to do one of your Body Attack classes! What’s your overall style of burlesque – where’s your comfy place on stage?
Lucy: I love me some showgirl sparkle! Perhaps it’s my background in jazz and pinup that sees me favour poised, posed and polished routines. I’d like to get better at improvising and feeling comfortable with less choreography as this is my safe place!
Give me three words that sum up who Lucy Luxe is as a performer.
Exuberant, animated and cheeky!
Love it – that’s L.O.V.E. and the audiences in Perth will get to witness Lucy Luxe in action at the Astor Theatre at the Grand Final!