Happy Thursday! It’s time for the #ThursdayTease, a titillation alliteration that this week talks to the lovely Miss Poison Ivory, who is “part goddess, part femme fatale, part hedonist.” Sounds like our kind of lady!
Name: Miss Poison Ivory
- IG: https://www.instagram.com/misspoisonivory/
- FB: https://www.facebook.com/ADeadlyDevice/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/PoisonIvoryNY
- Website: http://www.misspoisonivory.com
What first drew you to burlesque?
I first learned about the burlesque revival from a documentary I watched on Netflix called A Wink and a Smile. At the time, I had recently moved from California to New York after a break up from a toxic relationship and was looking for something to give me my confidence back. I was intrigued by the stories of different women, from different walks of life, coming to burlesque for different reasons. I hoped that learning to feel comfortable in my skin would repair some of the damage to my self-esteem. Even with all these reasons, it took a gentle nudge from a friend, in the form of birthday gift, to actually begin taking classes.
What has been your biggest challenge as a performer?
While there are a lot of outside challenges that I have to deal with for simply being a burlesque dancer, and a black burlesque dancer at that, I would say my biggest challenges have come from my internal saboteur. I have many fears when it comes to my burlesque career. Many of them stem from the idea that I am not good enough to share the stage with my fellow artists. But I know that everyone struggles with self-doubt and therefore I have to remind myself on a constant basis that my contributions to this art form are meaningful and worthwhile.
Who or what experiences have inspired your work?
I come from a dance and theater background, having studied various styles of both in my younger years. I use many of the skills I learned in dance and theater classes as well as incorporate lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. I love to bring my personal truth to my performances and I do that by remaining vulnerable to the experience, to the audience and to the desires that I am projecting onto that audience. I am also hugely inspired by the trailblazing women of color who have come before me. I am inspired by the legends who worked to make it possible for a woman like me to work in this industry full-time. And most of all, I am inspired by the legends in the making, like Perle Noire, who are currently making history and paving the way for performers to come.
How do you define badass?
I think badass is a choice. It’s not about being perfect, or brave, or even strong because all people are flawed. But the ones who can admit their weaknesses and constantly strive to be better is what makes one a badass to me.
Where do you see the future of burlesque?
This question scares me to answer as I hope and pray that the burlesque art form continues to grow and hopefully strive. But the truth of the matter is, no one knows if and when a shift will come and people will begin to lose interest in the burlesque revival. The only thing I can do, and what I can encourage others to do, is to bring our very best to the stage each and every time we have the privilege of stepping on it. So many people are seeing burlesque for the very first time and the future of this art form is in the hands of those people being left with a good impression.
Best advice since you started performing?
The best advice is one that I got early on and one that I give to others regularly. It’s to never ask the audience for applause, but to earn it. It goes hand in hand with my previous comment about making sure the audience is left with a good impression. Demanding that a paying audience cheer for you when you have not given them a reason to is pretty unfair. I believe it’s the performer’s job to move the audience, not the audience’s job to validate the performer.
Dream performance and/or venue?
Lately I have been fantasizing about performing at the newly renovated Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Just imagining filling a 3,000-seat theater to capacity with burlesque lovers is something I hope to see in the future one day. If I could be in that magical line-up, what an absolute honor that would be.
What’s next for Miss Poison Ivory?
I’m so excited for 2016. Next week, I will be flying to Chicago to be a featured performer in Jeezy’s Juke Joint, an all Black Burlesque Revue. In April, I will be performing alongside world-renowned burlesque artists at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. And in May I will be traveling across the sea to Vienna to participate in their third annual Boylesque Festival, which is such an honor, being a woman and all.
Aside from that, you can find me traveling all around the U.S. as the resident burlesque performer with The Sweet Spot: A pop-erotica variety show, as well as at home here in New York with Wasabassco and other amazing local shows.
You can find a full listing of my upcoming appearances on my website.
Well, that wraps up another #ThursdayTease. We hope you enjoyed it!
And be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, April 16, when Les Femmes Fatales’ own Luscious Lane launches her Cakeball Masquerade. Tickets will be on sale soon, so check back often for details.