Michelle L’amour: «be nice, be true» (and naked)
An interview with Miss Exotic World 2005, “The Most Naked Woman”, “The Ass That Goes POW!”.
Ladies and gents, the one and only Michelle L’amour!
Michelle, what’s nudity for you?
Nudity to me is about vulnerability and strength. When I perform, I reveal my body, of course, but I also am revealing my heart and soul to the audience. I strive to bring sincerity to the stage and my life.
What (or who) are your sources of inspiration for your work?
I can be inspired by anything, really. Music is a big one for me. I’m a fan of blues, classical music, rock and hip hop. I’m very inspired by stand up comedians, as well as magicians. I like the vulnerability of stand up comics and the use of misdirection by magicians. I think both are valuable tools for a stripteaser.
We know that you and Franky Vivid are the founders of the “Naked Girls Reading” project. How was it born?
We came up with the idea at home when I was on the couch reading naked. Franky discovered me and was inspired by the image. A little while later, we bought the website but didn’t know what to do with it. When I opened my burlesque school, Studio L’amour, we thought it would be fun to try it as a live literary salon. That was 8 years ago! Now, we have chapters in over 20 cities all over the world. I love Naked Girls Reading and I love that there are other people doing it, and attending the shows, that resonate with the idea and the beauty of it.
On April 2016 you’ve started a weekly podcast: “Revealing with Michelle L’Amour”. Please, tell us something about this project.
I was approached by 2 well known radio personalities in Chicago who were starting a podcast network full of experts in their field. They asked me if I would do a podcast on burlesque, but I thought the idea was too limiting. Instead, I wanted to do a podcast on truth and feature guests that are living their truth and not afraid of sexuality in art. It is a great project for me. It’s really helping me to become a better speaker and also allowing me to put my thoughts together in one place.
So we can say that for you sensuality and seduction could be communicated by a body on the stage, but also by written or spoken words. Is it correct?
Yes. I think you need to have all elements for sensuality and seduction to have an effect. I think it’s the layers of a person that make them interesting. This is why burlesque works because not only does it present the body, but it presents the performer’s intelligence, creativity, innovation and humor.
Among your productions there are also “Tease & Tone” and “Booty Lab”, two videos of fitness exercises mainly in function of burlesque performing. How important is a healthy body for a burlesque dancer?
I think health is very important. We are doing a physical art form and it is important for us to have strength, flexibility, agility and endurance. If you are not connected to your body, you cannot be connected to your art.
Many of the Italian girls training to face burlesque stages are afraid of making mistakes. But we know that everyone of us has done something wrong on the stage. Please, tell us a funny memory about your first days as a burlesque performer.
So many things have gone wrong. I hate when they go wrong! If I slip a little on the stage, I get really upset. I get especially upset at the performer before me if they have spilled something on the stage and then really upset at the producer who didn’t know about it!
But, anyway, I do a balloon act where my clothes float away. The first time I did this act, all the balloons were tangled and the bra and underwear just sank to the floor. It was awful! I have since figured out the physics behind that act and things work out ok!
I have dreams about screwing up all the time. I call them burlesque nightmares. Usually in the dream, the MC is calling my name and I’m not ready, I have pasty tape stuck to my fingers, I’m not wearing make up, I have the wrong costume and they play the wrong music. I once dreamt that my panther cage fell on top of me during a performance and had to hold it up as it slowly came down on me. I think that one means I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Have you any advice and tip for young burlesque performers?
Be nice. Be patient. Be true. Don’t try to be someone else. Do your research. Don’t steal other people’s ideas and acts, ESPECIALLY if you live in the same city! The world is small and news travels fast. And do not compare yourself to others. It will just be a huge waste of your time and it will distract you from your art.
You’re an established show producer with several years of experience. Do you have any advice for the Italian burlesque performers who are approaching the production field?
Communicate! Producing is all about communication. There are so many details to handle as a producer. If you can’t communicate effectively, this is not the job for you.
In your opinion, are the recent political changes in USA affecting in a way or another the mood and energy of burlesque artists?
We are all upset and heart broken. I am so saddened by what is happening in the US. I feel shame and embarrassment about being an American. I just want to tell everyone in Europe, ‘I’m sorry. It wasn’t me!’ All I can do right now is just focus on entertaining people and making people happy. This is the artist’s job and it’s time to get to work!
Listen to “Revealing with Michelle L’Amour” podcast!