Burlesque performer Perle Noire: Q&A
Perle Noire is a renowned burlesque performer and a woman of colour with a career as dazzling as her costumes. Anjelica spends a little online time with her to discuss all things burlesque!
Is it difficult being a burlesque performer?
I have had a wonderful career so far, working with everyone from Immodesty Blaize, Dita Von Teese, and Dirty Martini among other burlesque stars.
How were you chosen to perform with Dita Von Teese in LA?
Dita saw my YouTube performance from the Queen of Burlesque Pageant. She booked me for the Tales of Cocktail show in New Orleans. After that show, she said she wanted to book me for another show. I am thrilled that she kept her word.
Burlesque performers are notoriously competitive. However, there are golden friendships like Dita Von Teese and Catherine Dlish; who is your Burlesque Best Friend?
My burlesque best friends are Dulce DeLeche and Gin Minsky. We have a special bond and I am grateful to burlesque for bringing them into my life.
Would you like to perform at The Crazy Horse in Paris, France?
Yes, I would. That would be an amazing gig! I always say my imagination is larger than my budget. If I were to perform at The Crazy Horse all of my creations would come true…
What haven’t you achieved that is still on your list?
I am still working on heading my own nightly show in Paris or Las Vegas. I am looking for a producer to produce the Perle Noire Exotique Show. I have wanted my own Parisian style show since I was five. It would be a dream to have a show at Theatre des Champs-Élysées or at the Folies Bergère.
Have you visited Paris?
Yes. Immodesty Blaize and I have visited Josephine Baker’s castle. It was a fan’s dream come true.
Is it a blessing or a curse being compared to Josephine Baker?
It has been a wonderful blessing. Most artists have an idol that has inspired them. Not only have I been inspired by Josephine Baker but I had the chance to pay tribute to her all over the world, visit her home, and fans and the press actually compare me to her.
Have seen The Josephine Baker Story, a television adaptation of her life?
I just watched it for the one thousandth time during the holidays. I love the Josephine Baker story! The director and actors did an amazing job. I remember when it first came out on HBO. I was glued to the T.V. I always dreamt of going to her castle and when I watch the movie, I’m reminded of just how blessed my life and career truly is.
Have you visited Mrs. Baker’s hometown in St.Louis, Missouri?
I had the pleasure of performing my tribute act at the St. Louis Museum. I performed with St. Louis’ very own burlesque queen, Lola Van Ella.
What is one question you would like to ask La Baker?
I would ask for her costumes!
Any burlesque make-up tips for dark skin tones?
Yes. Unless you’re confident in your expertise, please visit a make-up specialist such as MAC and let them do your make-up. Unfortunately, many make-up companies have a limited foundation collection for women of colour; so many women are walking around with the wrong shade. Make sure you’re wearing the right shade for your skin tone and have fun! Some women are afraid of glamour, but I say embrace it!
What is one thing people would be shocked to learn about you?
The people closest to me know that I’m extremely shy. I know that may be hard to believe but it’s true. That’s one of the main reasons why I haven’t dated anyone. Men never approach me and I’m way too shy to come up to them.
Why do you think there’s been a revival of interest burlesque?
Burlesque hasn’t gone away. One of my favourite shows is I Love Lucy, which in my opinion was a burlesque show. The show always had comedy, music, and beautiful girls. Burlesque may have finally hit the mainstream again but true theatre lovers have been performing in Burlesque shows and attending them.