• Home
  • Archive by category 'Interviews'
  • Page 2

Archive for ‘Interviews’

Scarlet Ladies: Reclaiming Women’s Sexuality Part 1

Scarlet Ladies-logo-medium

 

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of being included on a panel on porn and female sexuality sponsored by the totally amazing Scarlet Ladies –Jannette Davies and Sarah Beilfuss. They have a plan for world conquest, as Sarah says, it includes “empowering every women on this planet. We want to have an impact on shaping sex education in this country and every country. Basically we want to change views on how people think of female sexuality.”

 

The Scarlet Ladies host women only events in London to talk about sex with the aim of normalizing the conversation Scarlet Ladies pic Unknownaround female sexuality, its problems, pains and pleasures.

 

Theirs is a plan, I can happily support. With that in mind, I invited them to a Skype interview so that they could share it all with you. The interview was so full of exciting information and so intriguing that it will be in two parts. The first one is here on my blog today, and the second half will be on The Brit Babes Blog on Monday the 23rd of May. Be sure to put that date on your calendar. You won’t want to miss it.

 

A Scarlet Lady is a woman who is or wants to be in charge of her sexuality and her needs. She understands her needs, desires and is not ashamed to get what she wants. From her work life to her personal life she is the author of her book.

 

This is the definition of a Scarlet Lady front and center on the Scarlet Ladies website. I personally think aspiring to be a Scarlet Lady is a very worthy goal.

 

“It was actually a rant at Costas about sex that got the idea of more women sitting around talking,” Jannette tells me.

 

“Everything came about really organically — two women talking about sex.” Sarah adds. “We just wanted to give other
women the opportunity to talk about sex the way we did that day.

 

Jannette nods her agreement. “The more women we met, the more they started introducing us to other people. A few Scarlet Ladies pic 3months down the line we launched Scarlet Ladies and here we are.” At this point, Sarah’s cat, Kira, hops up onto her lap and both women laugh. Sarah says a pussy is the perfect mascot for the Scarlet Ladies.

 

Sarah and Jannette met at networking events. Sarah is a personal transformation coach specializing in burn out and fatigue, and ‘getting your BOOM back.’ She uses those skills in the group coaching environment to help women overcome sexual challenges in SLT Scarlet Ladies talks.

 

Jannette runs an online website and magazine, Chareemag to which women contribute stories as well as fashion, lifestyle, sex and relationships articles. “It’s a place for women to have their voices heard,” she says. She was a beauty therapist before that. She also worked in Ann Summers. “That allowed me to be comfortable with sex and seeing it as a natural thing.”

 

The two tell me that while Jannette was more liberated, Sarah really had hang-ups around her sex life. Jannette’s goal is to create a space where women can talk without being judged. Sarah sees her goal as supporting the kind of women who aren’t that open, would like to be more so but don’t quite know how.

 

The Scarlet Ladies have clearly discovered that women want to talk about sex; they just needed the opportunity and a safe place, but I wonder if it was hard in the beginning to get them to open up?

 

The answer is a resounding No! Both women assure me that even before there was a group coming together to talk, the Scarlet Ladies59044624women just turned up, and they just talked. “It’s an amazing release,” Jannette says. “We don’t struggle to get them to open up. The panelists lead the way to that opening up.”

 

The bigger challenge, Sarah says, is getting women through the door, because there’s lots of stigma around women’s sexuality. “Initially the reaction I got was that it was a bit smutty – ‘you just want women to go and sleep around.’ That is precisely what SL is not,” she emphasizes. “It’s about pleasing yourself. It’s about what we want. We need to learn what WE want. In promo, however, it’s still a bit of women’s little dirty secret.”

 

I ask what they think frustrates women the most about ‘the politics of sex. What frustrates them the most?

 

Jannette thinks a lot of frustration comes from how women really are and what they and popular culture think they should be. “Even though now women are more sexually ‘out there’ than before,” she says, “everything about life and society pushes women to be a certain way — the expectations of what they should be and what they need to be in their sexuality and the way they look.”

 

“While appearing not to be sexual, but virtuous,” Sarah adds.Scarlet Ladies pic 2Unknown

 

Sarah goes on to say that she thinks one of the biggest problems is gender inequality – the idea that certain thing’s are ok for men but not for women and how that inequality puts women at risk. “Our attitude that ‘boys will be boys’ is not protective of women,” she says. “We have to teach boys how to act around women.”

 

The lack of sex education is another problem they both see. Sarah states the sex education that used to be taught in the UK was barely worth having, but now even that’s not mandatory.

“Society says men always want sex, but women want it all the time; they think about it, but don’t communicate it,” Sarah says. “I think women are a lot more sexual. In the very ancient cultures the female energy is where all sexuality sits. Tantra is a good example. The loss of that freedom was to suppress women to take away their power. If a woman is at the top of her game, her vagina will be part of her.” Then she adds sadly, “Most women end at the neck.”

 

I ask what surprised the two of them most when they started Scarlet Ladies.

 

“That we’re all so different and that it’s all normal,” Sarah says without having to think about it. “For example, while Scarlet Ladies friends-966489_1920
women may like lesbian porn; it doesn’t make them lesbian. Very often women come back to us after the meeting
saying, ‘Oh, I’m normal!’ We keep it to ourselves so much that we don’t really know what normal is.”

 

Check out The Scarlet Ladies website for more about their mission and for all upcoming events.

 

Be sure to check out the second half of my interview with The Scarlet Ladies on The Brit Babes Blog Monday the 23rd of May. You won’t want to miss it.

 

 

 

 

Alice Raine Interviews the Steamy Nicholas Jackson from her UNTWISTED Novels

All covers in an arcFirstly I’d like to start by saying a huge thanks to KD for hosting me here today. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Alice Raine, the author of the Untwisted series, and I’m thrilled to say that I’ve actually managed to grab an interview with Nicholas Jackson today, the lead character in book 1 of my series called The Darkness Within Him.

Any of you who have heard of Nicholas will know that even though he’s a world famous concert pianist he’s also notoriously reclusive when it comes to the spotlight, and pretty much does everything he can to avoid interviews. Needless to say, I was hugely surprised when I received an email from his agent last week saying that he had requested me to do an interview with him, for publication in OK magazine. I don’t work for OK magazine (if I’m truthful I don’t even read it that regularly) but apparently they were desperate for an article on him and after persistent badgering he gave in but with the condition that it was moi doing the questions.

It’s now nine o’clock on Saturday morning and I’m standing on the doorstep to his rather lovely townhouse in Primrose Hill, London. In my hand are the 2 take away coffees in a cardboard tray from the posh deli on the corner that Nicholas requested I bring with me. To be honest I still don’t know why he requested me specifically, but OK magazine are paying me a pretty penny to freelance for them for the day, and I have to say I’m rather excited about seeing Nicholas again, because after spending the time interviewing him for the books I have developed a bit of a soft spot for him.

His rather smart front door is opened by Rebecca, and I can’t help the grin that splits my lips as I see her smiling face and sparkly green eyes. In the time I spent with Nicholas researching the books it was abundantly obvious that they have a special bond, this woman is clearly good for him, and I’m genuinely thrilled to see her again.

After being led up to Nicholas’ piano room Rebecca waves me towards the plush white armchair next to the piano and I set about getting out my Dictaphone and notepad when the door behind me opens again and the man of the hour enters.

Turning to face Nicholas I try to avoid staring at just how attractive he is, but even as a happily married woman it’s almost an impossible task, because as always he looks almost good enough to eat. Today his tall, broad frame is kitted out in a rather lovely pair of dark grey trousers and a black shirt and I only stop myself from drooling by focussing on pulling out my pen and looking down at my questions as he takes a seat on the piano stool.

Now my interview can really begin.

Alice: Good morning Nicholas. It’s been what? Three months since we last met up? How are you?

Nicholas: Hello, Alice. It’s been 4 months actually. And how am I? In need of a decent coffee, that’s how. Is that one for me? [jerks chin at the 2 cups of coffee beside me]

Alice: Oh! Yes. Sorry, here you go. [I hand a cup across to him, trying not to stare at his beautifully long, pianist fingers]

Nicholas: [pulls the lid from his cup, sniffs the brew and then looks at me with a raised eyebrow] You bought the Panama Esmeralda?

Alice: Yes. You said to bring you a good cup of coffee, so I choose the best on the menu. [it cost almost as much as my monthly mortgage payment for these 2 cups, but seeing as I’m handing the bill to OK magazine as expenses, I don’t care.]

Nicholas: [sips his coffee and moans appreciatively, a noise so inherently sexual that it then causes me to moan appreciatively.] Delicious coffee, Alice. Thank you.

[I clear my throat, trying to focus and appear professional before starting my questions]

Alice: Can I start by asking why you requested me for today, I mean I don’t even work for the magazine?

Nicholas: [shrugs] I like to keep my life as private as possible, but they magazine just kept on calling and my agent wanted me to accept. I didn’t want the hassle of explaining my fucked up childhood and dominant sexual tastes to someone new, so I decided if I was going to do an interview with anyone it should be you, at least you know a bit about my history. [he runs a hand through his hair as if embarrassed] Besides, you wrote it all out in a fair account in the books and didn’t judge me, I appreciated that a lot.

Alice: [I nod, a little lost for words] Ok. Well, thanks for thinking of me, and of course I didn’t judge you. We might not be best friends, but I know you’re a good man Nicholas. [A shy smile slips to his lips and I remember fondly just why I had liked him so much when I’d been interviewing him for the books] So, how are things with you?

Nicholas: Good. Really good. [nods briskly, apparently relieved about the topic change] Busy schedule of concerts at the moment, lots of charity events lined up for the next few months.

Alice: Which charity are you raising money for?

Nicholas: Various charities. I’d rather keep their names out of the papers though, the donations will be kept quiet; I just want to raise the money, I don’t want a big fuss. [Knowing a little of his history I suspect it’s a charity for abused children, but I don’t push it further] I’ve nearly raised the target I set now, and I still have 6 more concerts to play, so there should be a fairly hefty donation going across to them all soon.

Alice: That’s fabulous Nicholas. [I feel a sudden urge to hug him, but thankfully resist] You look a little tired today, did you have a concert last night?

Nicholas: No. [he smirks] I was up rather late with Rebecca. [His tone makes his meaning clear – he was up having wild sex with Rebecca – and I blush furiously, looking down at my pad to ease my discomfort]

Nicholas: Am I boring you, Alice?

Alice: [swallowing slightly nervously, I look back up at him] I beg your pardon?

Nicholas: Since you’ve been in here you’ve done nothing but stare at that note pad and doodle on it. [jerks his chin towards my pad] Don’t you know how rude that is? Even someone with the barest of etiquette knows that you should look someone in the eye when you’re speaking to them.

Alice: [I lick my lips nervously, feeling thoroughly chastised and instantly remembering his preference for eye contact] My apologies Nicholas, no disrespect was meant. Some of these questions are from the magazine that’s all. But I tell you what, I’ll just record the rest, no more notes.’[Nicholas nods his approval, sips his coffee and stares at me again. Crikey, I’d forgotten just how intimidating he could be.]

Alice: So…[I keep my eyes firmly on his this time] I’ve seen you in the papers a few times with Rebecca after your charity shows. Things are obviously still going well between the two of you?

Nicholas: They are. Miraculously. [gives a dry laugh] She’s moved in here full time now.

Alice: I’m so pleased for you Nicholas, you two are perfect together.

Nicholas: [fidgets slightly uncomfortably in his chair] Thanks. I think so too.

Alice: So now you’re officially off the eligible Batchelor list and settled in a relationships has your… umm… dominant streak faded at all?

Nicholas: [completely unbothered by my question] It’s still part of me, [shrugs] I suspect it always will be. Rebecca and I have adapted to fit into each other’s lives, but that doesn’t mean that I have intrinsically changed. It just means that instead of wanting a woman in my life for an hour or two for sex, I now only want Rebecca in my life. [shifting in his seat Nicholas leans forwards and rests his elbows on his knees so he can really stare me in the eye] Between you and me, the other things I discussed with you when you were researching your books; the paddles, hand cuffs and toys, are still part of our sex life, just not as central any more.

Alice: Right … and Rebecca’s happy with that too?

Nicholas: I believe she is more than happy with our set up. [looks rather smug] My brother always believed you were curious about our lifestyles Alice, would you like me to tell you her favourite toys? Or perhaps I could get Becky to bring some in for you to look at?

Alice: No! No! [my voice is panicky high pitched squeak] That’s quite all right. [I’m fairly sure he’s winding me up, but my cheeks literally couldn’t be any redder if I tried] Has Rebecca softened you up at all?

Nicholas: Things are still nice and hard where Rebecca is concerned, thank you very much. [I blush again, his face is completely blank, but I see a hint of a smile curl his top lip. He’s definitely toying with me, the bugger.]

Alice: The magazine wanted me to ask … [I pause, nervous of his response] … well, they were wondering if there were any imminent wedding bells in the air?

Nicholas: [sits back, crosses his long legs and gives me a narrow eyed look] Want to be first in with a bid for wedding pictures do they?

Alice: Umm … probably. I don’t really know, they just put it on the list of things to ask.

Nicholas: Tell them it’s none of their own business.

Alice: [I scribble on my pad, desperate to avoid the intense stare he’s giving me] Right. Will do.

[Just then we are interrupted by a knock on the door before Rebecca pops her blond head inside.]

Rebecca: Sorry to interrupt, but Darley is on the phone, he’s being impatient as ever, something to do with the arrangements for the concert on Thursday.

Nicholas: [his face noticeably softens when he sees Rebecca, and I can’t help but smile fondly at just how much he clearly loves her.] OK, thanks babe, tell him I’ll be two minutes. [turns back to me] Alice, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to take that call, as I’m sure you remember, my agent will wait for no man, not even me.

Alice: No problem, I think the magazine just wanted a short piece anyway, and you agreed they could come in tomorrow and take some photographs of your piano room I believe?

Nicholas: I did, I’ll give them five minutes, no more. [nodding reluctantly] I hate bloody journalists.

Alice: It was lovely to see you again Nicholas. If I think of any questions I missed I’ll email you.

Nicholas: Perfect. Thanks for keeping it short, Alice. It was good to see you again too. I really better get my phone before Darley blows a gasket. Show yourself out.

Nicholas leaves the room and I sit in slight shock at the encounter. Even after all the time I’m spent with him in my research he’s still an enigma to me. Mind you, it was good to see him again, even if he still is remarkably intimidating!

 

Thank you for reading!

Books 1 -3 of the Untwisted series are now available!

Untwisted series blurb:

If you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You, you will love the new ‘Untwisted’ series, which follows the highly addictive relationship between devilishly dark Nicholas Jackson and book shop owner Rebecca Langley.

A dizzying, all-consuming affair with famous pianist Nicholas Jackson draws in the timid Rebecca and engulfs her with his passion and dominance, then spits her out heartbroken and bruised.

Now, Rebecca is left trying to move on from the relationship she shared with Nicholas, but just as she starts to clear her head, he reappears in her life determined to win her back.

But seeing as Nicholas has already shown once that the darkness within him is lurking just below the surface, can Rebecca really take that risk again with her heart and body?

 

As well as the Untwisted series, I also have a festive short story available in ‘Love Under the Mistletoe’, a seasonal anthology from Accent Press including stories from KD Grace, Demelza Hart, Elizabeth Coldwell and me!

Buy Links to Twisted Series:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Alice%20Raine&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

Thanks again to KD for hosting me today, and I’d like to wish everyone Happy Holiday!

Alice xx

Alice Raine author picAlice Tells Us about Alice:

Where to start? I’m really a lot more boring and normal than my steamy books might suggest. It may disappoint some to know that I’ve never had an illicit affair with a domineering pianist, nor have I ever met or dated a man who frequented sex clubs in London… I have however, always had an overactive imagination, which may in part explain where my stories come from! My books may be fiction, but the setting of London was a deliberate choice, I was born and raised in London and as such it holds a special place in my heart which I hope comes across in my writing. Some of my best times have been spent with friends wandering the markets of Camden or sipping beers in Covent Garden.

I moved to Manchester to study, where I ended up living for over ten years. Originally I qualified as an archaeologist, but I soon realised that jobs in that sector were minimal and decided to put my enthusiasm to use by becoming a teacher. Now I split my time between teaching, and engaging my wildly over active imagination by writing. Currently I’m living abroad spending my days exploring, teaching and writing. Where ever I find myself I live with my ever suffering, but hugely supportive husband, our dog and a crazy half-wild cat who keeps the whole household on its toes.

Music is a huge influence in my writing, I listen to everything from Snow Patrol and Linkin Park to Evanescence and REM, in fact, those of you with a good memory for lyrics might even spot one or two lines popping up in my writing as you read. I enjoys writing a wide range of genres including comical real life stories and youth paranormal fantasy, but my first published novels are the adult themed trilogy series ‘Untwisted.’

Find Alice Here:

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alice-Raine/1433662383579684

– Twitter: @AliceRaine1

– Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/alice3083/

 

 

 

Sex and Relationship Therapist, Sarah Berry Talks Shop, Kink & ‘What’s Normal’

It’s my pleasure to welcome Sarah Berry, good friend, sex and relationship therapist and all around fabulous person, to A Hopeful Romantic to talk about her work with us.

Sarah BerryKD: Sarah, when you and I first met, you were the editor of Forum Magazine, and you were also a very talented writer in your own right. During the time I’ve know you, you founded the Fannying Around Women’s Group and always had an understanding of what was lacking in the area of women’s sexual health and the information and sources of information that are available. Becoming a sex and relationship therapist was the logical next step for you. What was the biggest change for you?

SB: Thanks KD. I think learning to be myself was a challenge. As a journalist at events I had to be larger than life as I was competing with a lot of other journalists to get the column inches. That said, when I was interviewing people on a one to one basis, I was much happier and relaxed.

When I started training some years ago, I thought therapists had to be this blank canvas with no discernable personality. I stopped wearing colourful clothes and tried to be very serious. But I realised that being human was very important to the process and that the way I was in my journalist interviews was more the person I should be as a therapist, things fell into place.

Now I am a professional version of myself, which means I am not trying to be something I am not, so I can concentrate fully on the client. Rather than being stuffy, disconnected and serious, I am warm, empathetic and down to earth. The relationship I build with the client is a huge part of the process in person centred therapy, as is being genuine, congruent and transparent.

KD: Sarah, you recently said to me, and I quote, ‘I actually think while some (people who lead alternative lifestyles) are having the life of Riley others are confused while others assume all therapists wouldn’t understand alt lifestyles (and I hate the word alt like I hate the word vanilla).’ Could you comment on this statement and tell us how that has affected the direction your career as a sex and relationship therapist will take.

SB: The media is quick to sensationalise kinksters, assume they are all survivors of abuse or fear they are all wannabe criminals. So the kinksters defend themselves by pointing out how the BDSM scene is very well policed and their mantra of being safe, sane and consensual. So there is a “them and us” type situation.

The reality is some people have a great time, some are working out what they want, some are new to the scene, some are veterans, some are still learning, some spend their time spouting dogma about the “right way” to do things… You don’t need to label yourself as a kinkster to enjoy a spot of spanking, and you don’t have to relish pain in order to be kinky. Some kinksters have been abused and successfully use kink to work through their pain while others can harm themselves by reliving the trauma. It is complicated; things can go wrong and things can go right. I will be blogging about being kinky on my new website http://www.LondonKinkTherapist.co.uk.

Because of this difficult backdrop I try to listen to my clients and not make assumptions about what they do or how they think. Just because someone is into BDSM (which stands for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission and sadomasochism) it does not mean this is the cause of their problem. Sometimes people do use kink to harm themselves but it doesn’t mean they must eschew all kinky practices in order to have a healthy sex life. Each person, couple or group I see is different and we work out what they want and need together then we work out how to help them get there.

KD: Sarah, I know a little more about the journey that led you down the path to therapist than most people do, and it’s an amazing journey. Would you share some of it with our readers please.

SB: I think you’re meaning that I have overcome my own psychosexual issues. My struggle with vaginismus inspired me to start Fannying Around. But even though I have overcome it, I think sex is a journey for everyone – whether you choose to have it, can’t have it, are alone, have a permanent partner or enjoy a variety of partners at a time. I am always learning and open to new thoughts and ideas. If I wasn’t I think I would be a rather jaded therapist.

KD: Are there future plans for Fannying Around?

SB: I do really want to bring Fannying Around back. It was a wonderful forum and I learned a lot from the members. I will be sure to let you know.

KD: What was most difficult about your transition from editor/journo to sex and relationship therapist?

SB: I think it has actually gone pretty smoothly. I always cared about what I wrote and I had the luxury of writing for the people that I was covering – rather than being sensational. Now I am even more mindful of being inclusive of sexualities, genders and preferences which can be a bit tricky when giving quotes to heteronormative places that want you to fit into their neat way of thinking.

KD: What do you think keeps people from seeking out the help that’s readily available for them, the helpSarahBerry therapists like you provide?

SB: I think people assume you need to be experiencing real tragedy or be really “fucked up” in order to see a therapist. But everyone has stuff, and at different times this can affect our relationships, work and social lives more than others. To be in therapy doesn’t mean you are a victim. In fact I have a great respect for anyone who walks into my office.

Therapy can help you unpick a problem, work out solutions, help you improve communicating – especially if your arguments always follow the same pattern and neither one of you feels heard – or deal with unresolved issues or grief from the past.

Some people fear seeing a therapist will open a can of worms, maybe if they have experienced grief or do not want to disrupt a currently amicable relationship with a family member. But it is possible to deal with any disruption from past events by looking at what is happening in the here and now. If you do not want to relive the past you do not have to. You are in control at all times.

KD: Could you talk a little bit about ‘what’s normal’ from the standpoint of a therapist? I know this is something that is always a hot topic, and more than likely one of the main reasons people seek you out.

SB: I’m always hearing statements like: “I just want to be normal,” “I want a normal relationship,” “Our sex life isn’t normal. But the idea that there is a normal is massive misconception. Everyone is different. We all have different ideas of what good sex is or what we want from a relationship – if we want one at all. And what this idea of normal does is alienate anyone who feels they are normal; it creates freaks out of anyone who feels they don’t want a lot of sex, or who maybe has a fetish or who doesn’t want to be married. A “problem” is only a problem if it impedes your own sense of what you want, disrupts your work, social life or relationships and/or if you are causing harm to others. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to completely change yourself to fit in with the norm. It could be that you can find a new way to express yourself. Life would be boring if we were all the same, fancied the same people or had the same desires.

KD: What does the future hold for Sarah Berry, sex and relationship therapist?

SB: Well I will continue with my private practise and carry on learning about the world of sex and relationships. I would also like to do more group therapy and more writing.

KD: How can people get in touch with you?

SB: You can contact me through my website sarahberrytherapy.co.uk, via email at sarah@sarahberrytherapy.co.uk or call me on 07581 231313.

 

 

 

The Delish Delores Deluxe Talks Body Confidence

KD: Welcome, Delores! It’s such a treat to have you back on A Hopeful Romantic, and discussing    such an exciting topic. Could you tell us what inspired you to begin a course on Body Confidence.

Delores Deluxe body confidencemini DDDD: I have been working on the cabaret and burlesque scene for nearly 10 years and have been teaching burlesque for about 5 years. I found during the regular burlesque classes that a lot of women felt unhappy or uncomfortable with their bodies and would often want to chat about this as part of the class. I felt that they were almost looking for permission to be open about their insecurities. I decided then I would create a new class with a focus on this and encouraging positive body image.

I’ve been sitting on this class for quite a while and haven’t really had time to follow it up but a change in my career situation recently has meant I’m now able to put all my energy into it, which is really exciting and challenging.

KD: What do you see as the main cause for women’s over-all lack of body confidence?

DD: I think there are many causes – I’m sure that many people have long-term deep-seated issues with their bodies that a couple of hours in a workshop won’t be able to address – I am not a psychologist! On a more general level, I do think the media has set a very unrealistic ‘body ideal’ for most women with their airbrushed and enhanced images on every magazine.

While I can understand that fashion magazines do, and have done this for years, my real issue is with the newer celebrity magazines where we see women berated on the front cover for having lost or gained weight, wearing unflattering clothes or nipping out without make-up. This sets a really dangerous example and puts enormous pressure on all women, particularly younger girls who feel they have to look a certain way to be accepted.

KD: Do you think women’s attitudes toward their bodies are getting better or worse with all of the interconnectedness of the internet and social media?

DD: I think the internet can have a positive influence in that it encourages discussion and can offer a wonderful support network, however,  it does give EVERYONE a voice and opinion and some of these can be deeply damaging and negative. I think the benefits outweigh the cons though – just keep away from the nasties!

KD: Could you tell us a bit about your own journey to body confidence, Delores.

DD: I trained and worked as an actor for many years before I moved into cabaret. I suspect anyone who has trained in a professional performing arts establishment and worked in that industry will at some point have felt pressure about their body and image, especially in dance and musical theatre. I powered through but being told  outright you’re too tall, too big or not pretty enough for something does have an effect regardless of the training you go through to deal with personal rejection. Moving into burlesque made a huge difference to my self-confidence and I finally felt that I was being judged on my performance abilities and skills rather than ‘looking Delores Deluxe Body confidenceTop hat DDright for a part’. Also the style element was something that I got right into immediately! I loved the clothes and the lingerie and it really helped me find my individual style, sourcing items for which,  is now one of my greatest passions and pleasures!

KD: What do you think is most detrimental to our body confidence?

DD: I think there many factors and everyone might feel differently. Some people have had negative influences in their early years, which are very hard to shake and reprogramme. Other people judge themselves too harshly and are constantly comparing themselves to others, which I think is really pointless. We are all unique and individual and need to try to focus on the positive rather than what we feel we are lacking.

KD: Why do you suppose body confidence issues are much more common among women than men? Why are men more comfortable in their bodies, no matter what they look like?

DD: I don’t think that’s true….. I think they are maybe just less vocal about it!

KD: Pop culture, airbrush mag covers and cosmetic surgery readily available for a price can take their toll on any woman’s body confidence. How can we combat that influence when we’re surrounded by it every day?

DD: We need to look at reality – what do you actually find attractive? There are so many beautiful women who don’t conform to standard or media ideals who look amazing. Being body shape aware and understanding how to dress for your body shape can make you feel like a million dollars!

I think surgery is a different issue – if someone is really unhappy and wants to change themselves with plastic surgery then they should feel free to do so for themselves but not because they feel they are expected to look a certain way.

KD: In the burlesque performances I’ve seen, I notice that there are women of all body sizes and shapes, and the confidence and sensuality all of these women exude on stage is amazing. Why, and how, does burlesque helps build body confidence?

DD: Burlesque is a feminine art form and, in its resurgence, is predominantly run by women which gives us control over what we create and what we want to see. Creating a routine and a character is a very personal thing and a great deal of ourselves and personalities go into it, which Delores Deluxe body confidenceKittens.8makes each performer unique. I believe that once we stop comparing ourselves to others then we can really begin to feel happier, more comfortable and positive in our own skins.

The classic burlesque style is also very flattering to all body shapes – the corsets which come in all styles, sizes and shapes mould perfectly to the individual body and enhance curves (if you have them) or create them (if you don’t) Hours of work and hundreds of pounds go into costuming so they have to make you feel amazing and ready to va va voom!

KD: How much does our attitude toward our bodies influence the other areas of our lives?

DD: I think any negativity can have a massive impact on our happiness and self-esteem, which then can influence the way we see ourselves and how we set our ambitions and our expectations. If we don’t treat ourselves with respect then it’s very easy to let this affect our careers, relationship and personal goals.

KD: If you could give one piece of advice to help women be more comfortable in their own skin, what would it be?

DD: Come to my class!!! Ha ha! Just give yourselves a break, girls! Focus on the things you do like and remember there is so much more to attractiveness than having your ideal body or perfect face. I also advocate surrounding yourself with a crack team of amazing friends – good for keeping body and soul together in times of trouble!

KD: Tell us a bit about the Body Confidence classes. When are they available? Where? Who can participate? How can we sign up?

DD: The class is a 90 minute workshop – it’s very nurturing, gentle and quite good fun! We’ll be focussing on looking at our bodies in a positive light and challenging the issues that hold us back from feeling like the goddesses we are!

The classes are every Saturday in Angel at:

The Joker of Penton Street

58 Penton Street

N1 9PZ

Class times are 11am 1pm and 3pm

£25pp

http://www.thekittenclub.com/dates-prices/classes/

About Delores Deluxe

Delores Deluxe body confidenceMini DD2

Delores Deluxe started out her cabaret career under a railway arch in Bermondsey in 2005 in the original line up of The Kitten Club. She is an established performer, programmer and promoter on the London burlesque and cabaret scene as well as founder and leader of London’s longest running troupe, The Kitten Club Cabaret which have been performing around London for 9 years. Having a 10 year background in classical acting and musical theatre, she was delighted to stumble into the emerging burlesque scene in London in 2005 and to put her skills to an exciting new use. Delores is also now enjoying working as a soloist on the cabaret and variety circuit with her comedy magic tricks and can generally be found wearing something polka dot!

www.thekittenclub.com
Twitter: @deloresdeluxe
Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/thekittenclub

 

 

New Years Resolutions: Sneaking Quietly Through the Back Door

182Well what do you know? Here it is the 4th of January already! 2014 is well and truly under way. The gym is overflowing with New Years Resolutioners; all around the world new diets have been begun as soon as the New Year hangover wears off; people stop drinking, stop smoking, begin learning Spanish or French, people promise to take better care of themselves, spend more time with good friends, waste less time in front of the telly, and the list goes on. On January 4th the universal urge to be ‘better’ in the New Year is nearly palpable in the soggy English air.

It happens every year, that urge to reflect on what has been and plan how the New Year will be better. 266Hope and excitement at new beginnings is so much a part of our human nature that the end of a year and the beginning of another one can’t help but be the time when we anticipate, plan change, and dare to dream of what wonderful things we can bring about in the next year. In fact there’s a heady sense of power in the New Year. I think it’s the time when we’re most confident that we can make changes, that we really do have power over our own lives. It’s the time when we’re most proactive toward those changes, those visions of the people we want to be.

Before I actually began to sell my writing, back when I dreamed of that first publication, back when there seemed to be a lot more time for navel gazing than is now, I was a consummate journaler. I filled pages and pages, notebooks and notebooks full of my reflections, ruminations and navel gazes. And nothing took more time and energy than the end of the year entry, in which I reflected on how I did on the year’s resolutions and planned my resolutions for the next. This was a process that often began in early December with me reading back through journals, taking notes, tracing down some of what I’d been reading during that year and reflecting on it. Yeah, I know. I needed to get a life!

By the time New Years Day rolled around, I had an extensive list of resolutions, each with a detailed 191outline of action as to how I was going to achieve it. I found that some of those resolutions simply fell by the wayside almost before the year began — those things that if I’m honest with myself, I know I’m never gonna do, no matter how much I wish I would. Others I achieved in varying degrees-ish. But sadly, for the most part, a month or maybe two into the year, that hard core maniacal urge to be a better me no matter what cooled to tepid indifference as every-day life took the shine off the New Year.

It was only when there stopped being time for such ginormous navel-gazes and micro-planning that I discovered I actually had achieved a lot of those goals that were my resolutions simply by just getting on 183with it. As I began to think more about how different my approach to all things new in the New Year had become the busier I became, I realised that I had, through no planning on my part, perfected the sneak-in-through-the-back-door method of dealing with the New Year. The big, bright New Year changes I used to spend days plotting and planning no longer got written down, no longer got planned out. Instead, they sort of implemented themselves in a totally unorganised way somewhere between the middle of January and the middle of February. They were easy on me, sort of whispering and smiling unobtrusively from the corners of my life. They came upon me, not in a sneak attack so much as a passing brush with someone who would somehow become my best friend.

I’m my own harsh task master. I’m driven, I’m tunnel-visioned, I’m a pit bull when I grab on to what I want to achieve with my writing. No one is harder on me than I am – no one is even close. And yet from somewhere there’s a gentler voice that sneaks in through the back door of the New Year and through the back doors of my life and reminds me to be kinder to me, to be easier on me, to find ways to rest and recreate and feed my creative self. I’ll never stop being driven. The time I’ve been given, the time we’ve all been given, is finite. And that gentler part of ourselves must somehow be a constant reminder of comfort and gentleness, of self-betterment that comes, not from brow-beating and berating ourselves, not from forced regimentation, but from easing into it, making ourselves comfortable with it. We, all of us, live inP1010083 a time when life is snatched away from us one sound-bite, one reality TV show, one advert at a time. Often our time, our precious time is bargained away from us by harsher forces, by ideals and scripts that aren’t our own, and the less time we have to dwell on the still small voice, the deeper the loss.

So my resolution, my only resolution every year is to listen more carefully to that gentler, quieter part of me, to forgive myself for not being able to be the super-human I think I should be, to settle into the arms of and be comfortable with the quieter me, the wiser me who knows how far I’ve really come, who knows that the shaping of a human being goes way deeper than what’s achieved in the outer world, and every heart that beats needs to find its own refuge in the value of just being who we are, of living in the present and coming quietly and gently and hopefully into the New Year.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

Site created and maintained by Writer Marketing Services | Sitemap
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial