Wild Card Feature | Ferri Maya
With a strut and a sneer, and a smack of her abdomen, the bass slides and her fingers splay. The look in her eyes is ravenous – ready to devour. With an explosive pounce and the grittiest of lowdown grinds, the whip of her ponytail and the rip of her bustle, The Black Widow spider bares her teeth and licks her pillowed lips for a sexually cannibalistic post-coital treat.
With tensile strength she unzips the silken stretch of her leotard and reveals her spider’s web – there is no escape for the audience they’ve already been sucked into her sticky fibres, wrapt in a webbed coffin and have to submit to the stage dominance of this unstoppable femme fatale – the Black Widow – Ferri Maya!
She’s sexy, dark, fierce, and evokes the truly free spirit Rock’n’Roll.The Goddess of Burlyrock is no stranger to navigating her 6 inch heels around an amp and cables but her stage prowess certainly transcends dingy band venues. Ferri is equally at home on the big stage – having graced some of the world’s biggest burly festivals.
Miss Alyssa Kitt caught up with Miss Burlesque Melbourne, Ferri Maya’s sizzling performances at Miss Burlesque Victoria State Finals have earned her a Wild Card spot to the Grand Final of Miss Burlesque Australia.
Alyssa: How did it feel when you were announced as the new Miss Burlesque Melbourne and that sash was wrapped around your body?
I loved it 😉 xxxxx
Alyssa: This is your second time competing for the Miss Burlesque VIC State title. What made you want to enter the competition for 2019?
Ferri: I entered my first MBV in 2011. I had just started Burlesque and I wanted to get involved in the community as soon as I could. I learnt a lot from that competition, all positive lessons. I entered this year because I felt as a performer and being, I had learnt so much since my first experience. I really wanted to push myself to become a better me, as a whole and performer. I also wanted to share that with our community and others.
Alyssa: Did you think be wearing that sash at the end of the night when you started your competition preparation?
To be honest, at the start I was thrilled to be a part of it all. As the months and weeks got closer I realised that I was competing for something and if I didn’t have the drive or want to place, then why was I doing it? So, I guess I aimed high as the competition got closer. I didn’t know what the end results were going to be, but I owed it to myself to performer for it.
Alyssa: You’re such a strong and fierce performer – but did you have any nerves or doubts through your competition preparation for the VIC State Finals?
Ferri: Hahahahaha! Most people think I’m mad when I answer this question. Firstly, I am a very anxious person. I have imposter syndrome. I have a lot of game plans in place to help me get through doubts and stresses. One of my strongest traits is I believe you never stop learning. So I have regular mentor sessions with Ginger Valentine. Regardless of competitions or festivals, we still meet once a fortnight via Skype to train my technique and to develop new movement. I always say, you would keep up your training if you were a swimmer, bodybuilder or gymnast…so why wouldn’t you keep it up if you were a Burlesque performer. Secondly, this is where you may think I’m mad. I listen to sports motivation every day and sports meditation every night. Nothing is more useful than having a powerful mind.
Alyssa: I don’t think that’s mad at all!!!! I think fostering a powerful mind is an incredibly powerful part of pushing through any creative field! And once you’ve worked with a mentor you never EVER go back! They are such incredibly valuable people to help carve your craft and make you the best performer possible!
Alyssa: You were described as a pocket rocket of fierceness in the Red Carpet. You’re all about the burly rock and roll – did you bring this to the parade?
Ferri: Of course I did! I wouldn’t be the Goddess of Rock’n’Roll Burlesque if I didn’t 🙂 My amazing outfit was made for me by the sensational Alice Edgeley. My outfit had as much rock n roll I could add and then made it fit for a Burly red carpet parade.
We kept the outfit true to the style of Ferri Maya. It was a sheer tiger print flared jumpsuit. With organza ruffles on around the bottom of the flare. We added more tiger strips with a sequin fabric, which covered the necessary areas. We then added scattered Swarovski crystals in the orange and yellow tones to give it that extra sparkle.
Alyssa: Your Traditional routine was an erotic classic blues piece. Describe your traditional for me.
Ferri: Picture being in 1960s America and going to burlesque clubs like the Spearmint Lounge or Whisky a gogo and watching performances from the likes of Blaze Starr, Elaine Jones or Jenny Lee Hicks. I’ll let you picture that for a moment… Well, I guess that best describe my traditional. The routine also emulates burlesque’s modern bad ass babes, Ginger Valentine, Bella de Jac, and Minixie Mimieux… I am so proud of my beautiful “Blues in the Night” act. It has taught me so much. It has helped me believe in myself and I am eternally grateful for this act.
Alyssa: What drew you to this era and how did you research for this routine?
Ferri: I wanted to capture the essence of what is now the Rock’n’Roll venues of America. I wanted to pay homage to these bars for bringing back live burlesque in the 1960’s. I based my traditional act around loads of research, not just with Burlesque, but what was going on in the world in the 1960’s, what movies and music were around, who were the world leaders, what people and movements changed society and allowed growth. I love this era and I feel we should look back at this time in history and start focusing on the “we” not “I”.
Alyssa: I think putting act creation into a broad scale historiographic perspective is a very clever way to go about creating Traditional routines – indeed, burlesque didn’t exist in a bubble. It was very highly influenced by the world around the theatres and clubs that it was danced in. We can’t forget about the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the birth of legalised pornography or even the Vietnam War as powerful influences on the kinds of acts that were being created. Well done!
Alyssa: You performed a Black Widow Femme Fatale act for your unique. Describe the act to me.
Ferri: This act has been a part of me for almost two years. It is forever developing and I love it. Black Widow is sexy, strong and fierce. As a Goddess I relate to the Black Widow for its diversity and uniqueness and how you should never underestimate your strengths. My only hope is that the audience feels as powerful as I do when I perform it.
Alyssa: You performed at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival last year – was this the number that you performed?
Ferri: I performed “of Sins” at NOLA last year. The band is the same but the songs are different. I performed Black Widow at the Australian Burlesque Festival in 2018. Since then this act has changed and still is changing. I will however be performing Black Widow in the New York Burlesque Festival and Perth International Burlesque Festival.
Alyssa: Ohhhhhhh New York is very exciting! It’s a wonderful festival to be a part of and everyone is so bloody thrilled to see PIBF make a comeback! This is a pretty great act… Your movements are so contortive, animalistic and at times frightening. I was in awe even watching the video on YouTube. To you, what makes this act different in the world of burlesque?
Ferri: This one is a hard one…. I feel quite humbled to be answering this question. I use different dance techniques in this act then I would in any other act. My main goal with this act is to become the spider… which again took some research. I then tried to embody what I had learnt at transform it into a Burlesque performance.
Alyssa: How did you represent the different facets of Ferri across the different section of the competition?
Ferri: I stayed very true to myself. In terms of hair, make-up, costume, movement and attitude. I am everything you see on that stage.
Alyssa: How are you going to prepare for the Grand Final?
Ferri: Surrounding myself with love, self-care, training hard and mentoring!
Alyssa: That is an excellent preparation plan! We often forget about the self-care aspect of preparation but it’s really necessary to maintain so you don’t burn out. I mean, MBA is the Aussie burly equivalent of a long haul flight! That being said – what did you love about the competition – would you recommend other performers apply?
Ferri: Honestly, it is a great experience. I loved everything about it, even the challenges. I met some amazing people and had a great support network of producers throughout the process. It is definitely a competition I would recommend.
Alyssa: Outside of just being awarded a Wild Card spot and sweeping the MB Melbourne sash, what have some of your other career highlights been?
Ferri: I have completed my Diploma of Education, focusing on inclusion in dance and safe dance practice.I played a main character in the theatre production Women of Troy. I played Hockey for Victoria.
Alyssa: Oh my goodness – you played hockey for Victoria! So Multitalented!!! I wasn’t expecting that – but you are so incredibly athletic so I shouldn’t be surprised.
Ferri: Oh thank you. I played for one more year after that. I had fractured my ribs and was falling apart… my doc advised me to give up either dancing or hockey. As I was competing in jazz at the time. So I gave up hockey. I still go for a little solo play sometimes.
Alyssa: Ahmazing! Well I’m glad you chose to keep dancing. The burlesque world is lucky for that!
Audiences can catch Ferri Maya at the Miss Burlesque Australia Grand Final in August at the Astor Theatre in Perth.