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The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: My Life as a Plus-Size Burlesque Performer

Posted by Diva Darling | Posted in burlesque | Posted on 07-04-2015

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I’ve been staring at a bright blue Post-It note for the last five minutes as I thought about how to start this piece. My intern last summer at my muggle job liked to write little inspirational quotes on them and leave them for me to find, and I keep them lined up along the bottom of my monitor. This particular one says, “Why fit in when YOU were born to stand out?”

Turns out that’s a pretty good mantra for thinking about how to deal with doubts about being a fat girl in burlesque.

Diva Darling Portrait

[photo credit: Kristina De Santis Photography]

A newer performer in our community, herself a curvy woman, inspired this piece when she wanted to hear from other performers of size about our experiences onstage and off. Who could blame her for wondering how she’d be received? The world isn’t exactly kind to women who take up more than a single-digit dress size of space, and that’s when we’re keeping our clothes on. To have the audacity to get in front of a roomful of people and reveal every jiggle and curve seems like it would be an exercise in pathological masochism.

And yet, being a plus-size performer in burlesque is like visiting another world where the usual rules don’t quite apply.

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