One of the huge advantages of living so close to London is that I get the chance to rub shoulders with some of London’s most fascinating, most amazing people, and one of those people is the totally delicious Delores Deluxe.
Delores is an established performer, producer and promoter on the London burlesque and cabaret scene. She is a founder and leader of London’s longest running troupe, The Kitten Club Burlesque Cabaret which have been performing around London for 7 years.
Delores also manages all the entertainments for Volupte, one of London’s premiere venues.
Having a 10 year background in classical acting and musical theatre, she was delighted to stumble into the emerging burlesque scene in London and to put her skills to an exciting new use. Delores has an all-star troupe of Kittens, all very successful in their own rights within the industry. She has led the troupe to many successes and glamorous accolades including two West End Shows, residencies at Volupte and Madame JoJo’s, Performances at Cafe de Paris, Claridges and Bush Hall and also regular musings on the airwaves of BBC London.
She takes her role of making the world a more glamorous and stylish place very seriously, campaigning for several global, worthy causes such as The Anti-Training Shoe Society, Unsightly Fleece and Hoody Awareness, Grey Underwear Anonymous and the recently formed Lipstick Association, ‘Keeping it Red’.
Delores is here today to tell us a little bit about something that effects us all, Body Confidence
KD: Welcome back to A Hopeful Romantic, Delores. It’s always a pleasure to have you here. Could you tell us what inspired you to begin a course on Body Confidence.
Delores: I have been working in burlesque for the last 8 years and started teaching burlesque around 3 years ago. After our shows, I was always amazed at the reaction from the women in the audience who would regularly come up and tell us, not just how much they’d enjoyed the show but also how inspiring they’d found it to see a variety of real women of different shapes and sizes onstage. They would often ask us for advice on anything from lingerie, corsetry, confidence, fashion and even their sex lives!?
When I started teaching burlesque more regularly with The House of Burlesque Academy, I found that a few ladies in the class would have real issues with their bodies and their confidence and would often ask to talk to me after the class to discuss these issues. I decided then there was probably a market for a class more tailored towards focussing on positive body image, perhaps with a burlesque twist!
KD: Men don’t seem to have the same issues with their bodies that women do, why do you think that is? Or do you think they’re just better at hiding it?
Delores: I think men, particularly younger men, have issues too, maybe they are just less open about discussing them?
KD: What do you see as the main cause for women’s over-all lack of body confidence?
Delores: 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 burlesque class won’t be able to address – I am not a psychologist! On a more general level, I do think the media, with airbrushed and enhanced images on every magazine, has set a very unrealistic ‘body ideal’ for most women
While I can understand that fashion magazines do, and have done this for years, my real hatred is for 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?
Delores: There are definite negatives and positives to the internet – the digital age of Photoshop (or similar) means that so many images we see online are not real and while this does make the pressure and negativity widespread, it can also offer support and positivity.
I’ve had horrible things said about images of me online in the past but these days I choose not to read them!
Delores: Self-acceptance! I try to focus on the fact that we are all individual and unique and to bring in the burlesque theory that there is no ideal, it’s about being the perfect version of yourself.
KD: What do you think is most detrimental to our body confidence?
Delores: Our own judgement – we shouldn’t compare or try to be something or someone we’re not. I also think it’s absolutely vital to be aware of body shape and type and dress accordingly – looking like a million dollars in something that really suits your figure will do great things for your confidence.
KD: It seems to me that pop culture and air brush mag covers and cosmetic surgery readily available for a price take their toll on any woman’s body confidence. How can we combat that influence when we’re surrounded by it every day?
Delores: We have to be realistic and recognise it for what it is. Look around you? You can see that most women don’t look like the models on the covers of magazines and that attractiveness really is a lot more than a flawless face and perfect body.
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?
Delores: Burlesque is a very feminine art form – the costuming alone encourages positive body image by focussing on accentuating curves and celebrating being womanly. It also makes us look slightly differently at what is sexy, perhaps seeing things as they were in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s when women’s bodies weren’t under the pressure they are now and a feminine figure was something to be aspired to.
It’s also important to remember that most professional burlesque performers will have had a background in acting, singing or dance so they are trained performers with talent, skill and personality which does breed a confidence that is very attractive and seductive.
Personally having spent my previous career in acting and musical theatre, burlesque was a breath of fresh air for me, finally being celebrated for being unique and individual rather than feeling like the odd one out a lot of the time!
KD: How much does our attitude toward our bodies influence the other areas of our lives?
Delores: Very much so! I think feeling bad about any part of ourselves will be likely to have a negative impact elsewhere.
KD: What regimen would you put women on, if you could, to improve our body confidence.
Delores: I think to focus on making the most of what we have – a Gok Wan approach if you like! Celebrate, dress up, draw attention to your best attributes and get to feeling happy in your own skin.
KD: Tell us a bit about the Body Confidence classes. When are they available? Where? Who can participate? How can we sign up?
Delores: Studies show that women are up to ten times more likely to have a negative body image than men. This is unsurprising when you consider how much emphasis is placed on the ‘thin is beautiful’ message in today’s media. Celebrity magazines constantly bombard us with unflattering images of women, badly photographed, emblazoned with vicious tag lines of how they have gained or lost weight and therefore failing to live up to this ridiculous and un-natural body ideal that society deems acceptable.
We ladies of burlesque are here to help! We do not endorse any of this awfulness. Our industry is made up of women of all body types, shapes and sizes, all of them equally fabulous, sexy and successful with no sense of competition or ideal.
This workshop will look at the way we see ourselves and challenge how we feel about our bodies. We will be encouraging positive body image by creating a burlesque character that is the perfect version of ourselves – focusing on the things we do like, learning to accept the things we don’t and how we can make the most of what we have, regardless of size or shape to begin to accept ourselves as truly unique, beautiful and sexy….. with a little burlesque twist!
The classes are starting at Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium – the first one is on the 27th September at 6.30pm
£25 (includes bubbly and cupcakes!)
57 Hoxton Square London. N1 6HD
020 7613 5458 or book online:
Delores can be contacted via her PA, Miss Jillian George–Lewis
You can find Delores Here: