One of the absolute best parts of my job is getting to meet and photograph some of the coolest women on the planet. Last summer, I was back for a second year doing photography sessions at Oxford Conference Of Corsetry, where I had the absolute pleasure of working with burlesque star Miss Tosh. Entrepreneur, epic prop designer (Miss Tosh has an actual, full-size, free-standing spinning carousel unicorn covered in glittering jewels that she made with her own two hands!) and all-round superhuman, it was a pleasure to hear her speak about her career over dinner, before getting stuck into photoshoots together with the corset designers on day two.
The photography sessions at the conference are lightning fast, with only 20 minutes per session, but it was long enough for us both to realise that we had clicked on a creative level. Realising we both had some spare time in London over the Bank Holiday, it was the perfect opportunity for Miss Tosh and I to hang out and create some images together in her London apartment…
Name: Miss Tosh
Occupation: Burlesque star, entrepreneur, designer
How would your best friend describe you? Kind hearted, ambitious, loyal
Name three things that you always carry with you? Red lipstick, vintage compact, a love note.
What did you love most about our photoshoot? I love how intimate and casual the shoot was. I felt like you really captured a more personal side of me. I loved how impromptu and spontaneous it felt.
Who would play you in a movie of your life? Dream actresses would be Charlize Theron or Marlene Dietrich.
Whats the most interesting thing about you that the internet doesn’t know about you yet? I used to dance in a hip hop dance crew and I can death drop.
You are a woman of many talents and make your own stage props too. Can you tell us more about that? I like to build and make things with my own hands. I might be a little over ambitious when I comes to construction but I always learn how to become better by making mistakes. I’m also the choreographer, producer, and director of my show. I design my stage lighting, produce my own music and sing during my performances. I make my hand props and costumes. I style my own hair and makeup. It’s my vision manifested with my own two hands.
Tell us about one of the outfits you wore for your shoot – why do you love it? I wore my first Swarovski burlesque costume for our shoot. It’s very special to me. I labored over it and put every stone into their setting by hand. I think because I invested so much love and labor into it shines a little brighter. We also shot the first hat/Swarovski embellished design I ever created. It’s a dark bunny inspired hat made by hand. I carved the block, stretched the felt with my tea kettle and adhered every stone by hand. My millinery teacher thought it was overly ambitious for my first hat but she always encouraged my wild ideas. [Tigz’s Note: That hat was incredible!]
What song gets you on the dancefloor? “Work it” by Missy Elliot
What are you most proud of in your career so far? I am mostly grateful that I am able to live a life as an artist. It has been such a huge honor to have my work celebrated by different people around the world. I feel like as a creative it’s our responsibility to effect people and transport them. Without my audience there wouldn’t be a show. I am proud of the diversity of my audience and to see them all together enjoying themselves and each other.
What is your top body confidence tip? I say fuck society’s standards and enjoy every ounce of your magnificent self! Our struggles and imperfections are essential to harnessing wisdom, and confidence. If there is nothing to over come then there is nothing to learn.
What will your autobiography be called? I haven’t really thought of this before. . .Diary of a Showgirl or Rhinestones & Rainbows
If you could be a model for any brand, which brand would it be and why? Thierry Mugler. His work has inspired me and my performance since I was a young girl. When I saw video of his fashion show it was like watching my dreams come true. The first time I was truly moved by fashion.
What exciting project are you working on right now? I’ve been working on fun projects that I’m really excited to release. I’ll be debuting new designs from my clothing line at this years DragCon in LA. I’ve been developing a touring show that will feature new acts that I’ve been working on for a few years now.