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Part Two: For Ms. Redd the Viva Las Vegas 16 Burlesque Competition is Personal
Ms. Redd Pinup Model by Holly West
Back in March, I wrote part one of this story about Ms. Redd entering the Viva Las Vegas 16 Burlesque Competition. It's her second time, and the first time she was one of the runners up. Read Part One of the story HERE. I wanted to get behind what the preparation was for entering the competition, bring it to light, and also to see what her experience was going on the big beautiful Orleans Hotel Showroom stage. Ms. Redd has had an impressive career as a published print pinup model, and this is the continuation of her first few years as a burlesque performer. With a body like that, it's gotta be hard to go wrong. And she looks good in any light, I've seen her in stage and daylight. She's a stunner. We met for coffee to follow up during April, and finally guys, here is the story as it came to be during Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender 16.
FT: So thanks for meeting me to do the follow up for our interest story about your entering the Viva Las Vegas 16 Burlesque Competition. First I apologize, but the vouchers were given out so early that I wasn't able to get into the show, aka it was sold out. I attempted to reach Tom to get in, but unsuccessfully. Did you have other press and friends that also couldn't get in?
MR: Yes, two other press and several friends. A few of my friends showed up right at noon, but they were too late.
FT: How was it at the competition and has was backstage?
MR: It was great I shared a room with the Baron who performed after we all did, and Missy Lisa. Let's see who else? Redbone (Foxy Tann), and Jeez Loueez. It was a lot of fun and everyone was nice. We were all laughin' and jokin'. We were all helping each other get ready. I would assume that other competitions have been very catty, I've never experienced that. But then again, the only competitions I've ever done have been for Viva. I'm not really the competition type.
FT: Where were you in the line-up?
MR: I was second. It was good because I really just wanted to get out on stage and perform. It was my second Viva. It was good. I was excited. I knew my act was completely different. It's very theatrical and dramatic, and a little dark. It's not classic at all. I know the Viva crowd likes. I did it for selfish reasons. The name of the routine is "Wolfy". I just wanted to put "Wolfy" up on that big stage with the wonderful lighting & sound at the Orleans and bring something a little different. I performed to "Small Town Witch" by the Sneaker Pimps.
FT: So you enjoyed being on that stage again?
MR: Yeah. You completely forget how big it is, and in the middle of the routine you're like "oh, shit" I still have to keep going. You realize half-way through it that you are running through your routine. You go out there and you don't, it doesn't seem that big and then you realize I haven't even gone over and seen these people yet. You try to involve the whole crowd. Sometimes you're just running from side to side. It's a great stage. They have great lighting people, great audio people, you're spoiled. Very much so. You don't realize how big that stage really is. You almost have to run through your routine to get from side to side. You try & involve the whole crowd and pray that it doesn't look like you are running from side to side the whole time. It's a wonderful stage to be on, with a great lighting & audio people and stage crew...you are just spoiled there.
FT: So tell me about the judging system this year, was it based upon crowd noise?
MR: This year they changed it. It was half audience participation. They brought the applause-o-meter like before. They also had a few judges judging. It turns out that the applause-o-meter and the judging read the exact same. I came in third, 2nd runner up.
FT: Congratulations on placing among the eight contestants. What was the highlight for your of performing in the competition?
MR: It's just always so interesting to be on that stage and to be with that crowd. I think the interesting thing for me was to bring something different, that wasn't the typical thing that you would see at Viva, it not being classic. Don't get me wrong, I love classic burlesque and even have a couple of classic routines.
FT: Is Little Red Riding Hood a part of the "Wolfy" routine?
MR: I loved Tex Avery, growing up, and loved the cartoons, so part of it, yes, is a little bit of Little Red Riding Hood But, the essence of it is the hunted becomes the huntress, and so how does that work? It's more like a possessed witch huntress, not Little Red Riding Hood. I picked a wolf, and I thought well, I didn't at first want a red cape, but I'm Ms. Redd, so I just went with it. It's not a Little Red Riding Hood
act. It's more about the hunted becomes the huntress, and how does that look?
FT: So that covers Saturday night. Then Friday you were a part of the Secrets in Lace fashion show presentation. How and when did you get involved with them as a model?
MR: Three Vivas ago, 13, they contacted me and asked me if I'd like to come and model during the fashion show. It was going to be Angie Pontani, Kitten DeVille, Catherine D'Lish, there were a lot of great burlesque performers involved. Then there was Kay O'Hara the famous pinup model, and Gina Loren, who is the catalogue model for Secrets in Lace. It was all of them and then me. I thought "what the hell am I doing here with all of these women?". It was a great experience. Angie put the whole thing together and we just had a great time.
Then, that year Secrets in Lace also sponsors the New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Dan Whitsett the owner, asked me if I'd like to do, not exactly a fashion show, but we wore the lingerie and walked around, and told everyone what we were wearing.
FT: That means you had tech rehearsals all day Friday and Saturday this year, because the fashions show was Friday and the Burlesque Competition was Saturday night.
FT: What can we look forward to from you now?
MR: It was a learning experience for me. You learn what does and doesn't work. I look to what I can improve on. I talked to Kalani Kokonuts and she said her best routine is one she's been doing ten plus years. No matter how much you practice, once you step out there it's a totally different experience. You're feeding off the crowd and how they react to you.
FT: So how is performing burlesque different than being a published pinup model for the last seven years? Are you presenting the same person?
MR: Usually you're interacting with the crowd and you're going off of that. When you're posing with a camera, you're interacting with the photographer, but you're also interacting with, maybe you're selling a product, and how should that look? So, sometimes as a pinup model you're not always representing you. You're representing a product and wanting to help sell that. Obviously there are some pinup photos where I'm representing myself. Ones where you're getting paid to sell something. But with burlesque, you get to see the heart and soul. You're paying to see my heart on stage. Everyone can do the same stocking, glove or same reveal. But you're looking at the body and soul, and heart of someone. You can have the perfect face, perfect body, but you have to have heart and soul. I'm not a professionally trained dancer, so what you're seeing is my heart and soul out there. My background is I was a gymnast for years.
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