We all started somewhere. Just remember that. I wouldn’t be the performer I am today without living through some of these mistakes. But it is important to me to share these with you so that you don’t get caught making the same mistakes.
Choosing a Common Name
Name selection is one of the first things that you do when you learn the art of the strip tease. The best teachers will warn you against using common names such as Galore, Scarlet, Sugar, Von Whatever, Fanny etc. unless you have a really good reason for it! When I named my alter ego, Gazella Galore, I thought the fact that I have the long showgirl legs and high kicks would be a good enough reason to add the surname, even though my teacher had in fact warned me against using a common name. Once I began performing more often and booking with more performers, it became apparent that Galore had to go. It still follows me around even though it has been absent from my persona for over a year. I wish I had spent more time crafting my stage name, because it is ultimately who she became.
Performing in Shows Where I Didn’t Belong
Have you ever been in situations that just didn’t feel right in your gut? I have been in two “shows” that the feeling in my gut was pretty strong. Luckily, I am a pro and was able to get out of those situations (relatively) unscathed. Just trust your gut. If you get a booking request to perform in a special event or private party, make sure you ask all the right questions. If I had asked some of the questions featured in that post, I would have been saved from two unnecessary gigs that yielded me nothing but bad memories.
Not Taking Enough Classes
When I started, I took classes as often as I could afford, but didn’t really put much stock in learning more about the art of the tease—until I splurged and went to BurlyCon. The entire experience was a game changer. Going to BurlyCon exposed me (pun intended,) to a whole new look at the art form as well as the connections I made. From then on, I decided to take as many classes as I could afford while traveling. Hey, it’s a tax deduction! As a life-long student, the value of learning more from various perspectives raises your booking value as a performer. I’ll say that again: The more you learn and consume, the higher your value as a performer goes up to a producer or show.
Buying Expensive Business Cards
Along with my experience on the stage, I am also a graphic designer. Which means I am HUGE paper nerd. All the paper things—beautifully designed stationery, business cards, packaging, anything made with paper and it makes my heart go pitter patter. So being the super nerd that I am, I splurged on extra thick moo cards with the intent to create cute little trading cards. Sigh. What a waste. I bought them in the summer of 2014, and still have over 100 left. They aren’t going anywhere since they still use my old title: “Burlesque Artist.” While I consider this a mistake in my experience, let me explain why you should still buy cards. Get some cheap ones to hand out to everyone, just make sure all the information you need to be reached to be booked is on there: email address (helpful to create a separate one for your stage persona,) phone (if you aren’t concerned about creepers,) and a social media profile. Don’t use all of them. It will just muck up the design of the card.
Getting a Website Set Up
Again, my design background got the better of me. Even though websites are tax deductible, I could have saved this one for later—money and time wise. It takes a bit of time to set up and to maintain. More than I wanted to back in the day. Just make a FaceBook fan page. Don’t use your personal profile. It will get suspended if you attempt to use your stage name. Annoying from a producer’s perspective that has no other way of communicating with a group than a private group that profile was part of. Trust me. It happened to me twice with the same production (2 weeks apart).
Creating Too Many Acts at First
I know that you want to grow your repertoire as swiftly as possible in order to get booked more. Don’t. I made this mistake and cost myself thousands of dollars and woman hours creating costumes and acts that I no longer use. Really get that one act (or two) tightened up, even if you are bored with it. Maybe try to repurpose the same costume with a different song and see how it works. That way you can tighten up the act and be even more confident and empowered onstage.
Hot Gluing Sequins
This statement will probably get me in a of trouble, but I will maintain my perspective and opinion since it has worked for me in the long run. I hate hot glue. It has no place near fabric or sequins. Let me tell you why. It degrades over time, meaning you have to spend time fixing things that you already finished, and it destroys fabric and sequins and renders them useless if removed. One of the very first acts I created (and most requested to this day,) Seaside Rendezvous, was a quick and dirty throw away act. I didn’t expect for it to be received so well. The unfortunate thing about the act is that I hot glued all the sequins onto my bra because I was in a hurry, even though my gut told me not to. When I wanted to revamp the costume six months later and tried to take the sequins off to reuse…destroyed. This is not an easy color to find. I still haven’t found a match to this day. I ended up having to use rhinestones, which are way more expensive than sequins. Save money, just sew the sequins on!
If you want to see my top 3 mistakes in addition to these 7, click below!
Want to see Gazella's Top 3 mistakes?
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In the end, I have learned a lot from these “mistakes,” and I am willing to admit them publicly to help others that will be put to the test in their own experiences. If you have had these or other experiences, please share in the comments below.