Although in Brazil there is a wide diversity of biotypes, most women are brunette, average height with dark hair and brown eyes. That’s why we are so impressed by Nordic women who usually have blue eyes, blond hair and are tall and thin. Such biotype has always caught people’s attention here in Brazil and during many years, in the 80’s and 90’s, children’s icon was a 100% Nordic-looking Brazilian girl. That’s why most Brazilian women find it so hard to relate to the beauty standards of the international and national media. Actually, mainstream media is not able to realize that most of their readers have big butts, not very big boobs, short, thick legs and dark hair.
When I started to study burlesque, the first videos that I came in contact with (apart from, of course, the one with Dita von Teese, the diva) were of Nordic girls, all of them aesthetically perfect like brand new Barbies. One after the other, the videos were full of blond girls with long legs. They were simply flawless, you couldn’t help yourself not to go crazy over the girls, after all, who has never wanted to see a real Barbie taking off her underwear?
After this, I started to wonder how burlesque was doing in Central and South America, and I found out that it was practically non-existent. Around here, striptease is still seen as something that only prostitutes do. There are some girls out there doing unprofessional burlesque or as a hobby, and even here in Brazil I was only one of the three professional dancers. Burlesque is not part of the Brazilian culture and that’s why it is hard to find this kind of art around here. Even some similar artists like the “vedetes” of the Teatro de Revista vanished after the end of the casinos and the political changes causes by the dictatorship. However, Brazil loves the female body and people are used to see semi-nudity, so there would certainly be room for burlesque in here. But what intrigued me four years ago when I started to think about burlesque was:
Can I do it even if I have a “normal” biotype?
Of course that I was not thinking about burlesque as a hobby. I was a ballerina willing to drop out of dance to dedicate myself 100% to this art, so I wanted to be sure that this would work out for me! I’m a short, a typical Brazilian kind of girl. I have my hair dyed ever since I was a teen (and I even had a identity crisis during my months as a redheaded girl), I’m not a beauty reference: I’m not beautiful, nor thin, nor fat. Will people want to see someone like me taking my clothes off?
Even being self-assured about my techniques, I had butterflies on my stomach on my first show. My biggest fear was of hearing someone shouting “Put your clothes on!” But for my surprise, the show was incredible and here I am, doing burlesque as a living for one year and a half. I’m being treated as an artist and I feel like I have to share the feedback that I have been having about my body with other girls so as to try to make them feel more comfortable with their bodies.
I think women that can’t fit in the international beauty standards have to bear in mind that is not their bodies that make them sexy. I’m sure that in the north of Europe where, apparently all women are gorgeous, there are girls who feel sidetracked. And for them I say: attitude is everything. Know how to use your mind and your body, highlight your qualities and forget about your flaws.
Burlesque shows women that they don’t have to look like one of those girls on the cover of ELLEN magazine to feel desired. Try burlesque and you will know that I’m right!