Lady May has been a regular feature in my annual Wonder Women lists for a couple of years now and I consider it an absolute privilege to call her one of my besties. Having bonded over a mutual love of burlesque many many years ago, Lady May is a rising tide that lifts all boats – which is apt considering her previous burlesque name (for those who may remember it) had a nautical theme to it!
Lady May has always been a cheerleader for the Tigz Rice brand and I’m so pleased that she’s here on the blog with us today so you get to find out more about her too…
Name: Lady May
Occupation: Burlesque Performer, Tease Tutor, Published Pin-Up and International Gin-Supper.
How would your best friend describe you? Gin-soaked, loyal, never knowingly under-dressed – and can never second-guess what I might do next to surprise her.
Name three things that you always carry with you? Red lipstick(s), smart phone to capture life, head phones for listening to inspiration.
What inspired you to book a photoshoot? Grasping at it being the time to level-up as a performer – beautiful location, new costume shots, great team, beautiful captures, and the chance to have images to share that reflected this new chapter in my career. I booked with Tigz to feel at my best, and with Miss Honey Bare to look it. My Dream Team.
Who would play you in a movie of your life? Roxi D’Lite.
You also teach burlesque, can you tell us more about that? I first got the opportunity to teach training to teach hen parties to The Cheek of It! school and loved being part of a glittery memory in someone’s celebrations. After teaching my first term of Showtime beginners students, I was hooked on the sisterhood, and have taught ten terms under Lady Cheek’s guidance. Since then I’ve taught 2 week-long summer schools for NODA and taught group workshops (such as ‘Poise, Pose and Pace’) and 1:1’s and Act Audits for performers – I’m heading to Sheffield soon, taking my bump’n’grind bootcamp to AmDram students tackling Gypsy. What stays with me is the students’ experiences, and the friendships formed – with me, but also their peers and watching how they bloom. I came to burlesque seeking body confidence and fun, and I adore seeing students grow, having fun too – but so many come to classes for other reasons – exploring sexuality, sensuality, identity, confidence or just wanting gin, glitter and good times! the buzz for me is getting to become a big sister shaping their journey and seeing them achieve these goals, no matter what they may be, and whether they take to the stage again or keep their tassels in a drawer, knowing their lives won’t be the same again.
Whats the most interesting thing about you that the internet doesn’t know about you yet? I can play the violin to grade 8, and a teenage Lady May learnt to play East 17 hits on it. This will never come to a stage near you.
Tell us about one of the outfits you wore for your shoot – why do you love it? It has to be my Beau Rocks fan costume. I love it because when I look at it I see both the process and the detail – from the original painting that inspired the mood and the colouration long before the music came – to Beau guiding me through choosing the colours for all of the custom dip-dyed boas in the bustle pads. It has my initials embroidered into the modesty panel, where the audience will never see – but that’s the care of a craftsman
What song gets you on the dancefloor? House of Pain – ‘Jump Around’
What are you most proud of in your career so far? I was chosen by Cosmopolitan magazine as part of a series on women with extraordinary stories about their bodies. I was chosen for finding burlesque after significant weight loss and finding I still had body confidence issues to address – the pride comes from being contacted by a wonderful woman reading the article on the other side of the world, who sought me out and told me she was dressing up and going to a show, and enrolling in classes after years of thinking she couldn’t, or shouldn’t.
What is your top body confidence tip? Start small – you don’t have to whack on tassels and a smile and hit that spotlight on day 1!
Give yourself 2 easy steps 1) ‘Turn up to tomorrow as you’ – style your hair, wear that bold lippie, go full pin-up to work or rock those heels to Sainsbury’s, essentially present yourself however you ruddy well want to for life – how you dreamed of wiggling, walking, and wow-ing. Don’t water yourself down for others…..and then 2) Give yourself the compliment you’d give another. We are so good at admiring detail on others – a pretty earring, a flattering angle in an image – give yourself the same love by return and verbalise it. Next day add another…..I dare you!
What will your autobiography be called? The Glamazon, taking life to new heights.
If you could be a model for any brand, which brand would it be and why? Scantilly – it’s decadent lingerie for the fuller bust, that’s nearly as naughty as me. I used to be a Lingerie Buyer, and when you’ve spent a life analysing the sales of ‘Doreen’, a brand this decadent is a welcome relief. My boudoir agrees.
What exciting project are you working on right now? ‘The Teaser’s Toolkit’ on April 14th – an intimate event of information in a decadent deco venue. Talks, tips-from-the-top and afternoon tea for the budding burlesque performer and cabaret creatives with an all-star line-up of 7 industry experts. More info and tickets can be found here.