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Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women In The Arts – Spotlight On GiGi La Femme

by Karen Tortora-Lee on March 28, 2011

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These women of the arts hail from different disciplines, but they all have an indomitable spirit and a luminescent spark that makes them amazing human beings who are out there every day, doing amazing work.

Today we continue our series with GiGi La Femme.  The first time I saw Ms. La Femme it was December during the Burlesque Blitz and she was completely naked.  I then watched, mesmerized, as she did the most seductive reverse strip tease I’d ever seen in my life.  After Blitzing my way through the Burlesque offerings I though I understood what it meant to sit and watch a gal take her clothes off.  Some do it with charm.  Some do it with flair.  Some do it with lights.  Some do it with humor.  Some do it with a touch of rage.  Some do it better than others.  Some do it better than most.

But Gigi?  She does it with a breathtaking, hypnotic vamp that’s covered in a type of voodoo that has been living in the veins of women like her since the dawn of time.  Women with names like Delilah, Jezebel, Aphrodite, and Cleopatra.She is a temptress whose power reaches like a vapor right out to each member of the audience and tickles them under the chin before, winking, it slinks back around her  where it lives.

However behind all this glitter, glamour, sequins and feathers beats the heart of a businesswoman who has been able to take her show and transform it into a very successful monthly feature called Revealed Burlesque which runs at UNDER St. Marks.

I’ve been wanting to interview her for months, and this series gives me the perfect opportunity to celebrate a woman who is beautiful, smart, powerful, dynamic and amazing.  Ladies and gentlemen – I give you – Gigi La Femme.


GiGi La Femme by Luke Ratray

You produce a monthly burlesque show – tell us a little bit about it.

The show I produce is called Revealed, held the third Wednesday of the month at Under St. Marks Theatre. What really sets this show apart is the full nudity aspect which isn’t common for most burlesque shows where the dancers are usually scantily clad in g-strings and pasties. Performing in Revealed pushes acts to the limits: sure, you can be dance while being naked but having a reason to get to do so is the appealing part.

The show is hosted by the critically acclaimed Bastard Keith along with his stage kitten sidekick, Victoria Privates. Every month boasts a buffet of performances from the best in burlesque in addition to featuring a debut from a lady or gent who has yet to show their pinks, as it were.

Revealed is very special to me because it’s intimate, thought provoking and classic entertainment at its best.  

Why do yo think Burlesque is seeing such a resurgence lately?

I feel lucky enough to be from (and live in) a city that has embraced the burlesque revival since the early 1990s. From drag shows to girlie shows, burlesque was resurfacing in many different forms and NYC wasn’t the only city that latched on to the phenomenon: shows and troupes were also forming in places like Los Angeles, Seattle, Nashville and New Orleans to name a few. To be in a burlesque show is exciting in itself and that feeling translates to its audience. Comedy, accessible sexuality and glamour provides for an entertaining escape. That’s the bottom line and it’s what people want.

GiGi for Staples Street Project (Photo by Chris Zedano)

I came to your show and loved it.  It’s a lot more acceptable for a woman these days to participate in the appreciation of a show like Revealed Burlesque.  What do you attribute that to?

Thank you! I think people appreciate the lengths these performers are taking in regards to their acts whether it comes to concepts, costumes and thensome. I also make a concerted effort to include different kinds of numbers: classic, humorous, edgy, you name it. There’s room for it all when curated properly. Secondly, I think people just enjoy performing in their birthday suits! It may seem obvious, but it’s quite liberating when you can perform in the buff in a safe and comfortable environment, not to mention saving a little cash on pastie tape :)

You are very strong and empowering on stage.  I think the strip tease these days has a lot more to do with female empowerment than exploitation of any kind – especially the way it’s being done.  However, what would you say to your detractors?

Again, thank you so much. I believe first and foremost that, as a performer, you have the liberty to create anything you want when you take the stage. It’s a blank canvas and you make all the choices from the costume, to the music, to the choreography and to the concept. The choices are solely up to the performer. That being said, exploitation, for me, doesn’t even enter into the equation.

Are there barriers you fought against in the past?

There were and are plenty of barriers: personal and business related, but you’re going to come across speed bumps no matter what field you’re in. I would ultimately say that the good outweighs the bad, but I won’t lie: there have been hard times. Regardless, at the end of the day, you just have to deal with the problems and come to your own solutions. When push comes to shove, you have to do what you best, maintain a positive attitude and keep looking forward.

The men that you work with – how do they treat you?

Majority of the time, I meet many men and women who are just lovely, respectful and appreciative towards burlesque as an art form. It’s really quite wonderful. Though, there are always bad seeds out there and you just have to take each situation with a grain of salt. Because performers are *so* accessible, it leads people (not just men) to believe that they can be your best friend and be privy to your entire life story especially since many of us have an online presence. Have I had to “talk to” people or block folks from online social networking sites for being inappropriate? Sure. It’s going to happen. The important thing is to remember to stand up for yourself and not take anyone’s crap because they feel entitled to do so. At the same time, I’ve made so many wonderful friends and connections over the past six years because of burlesque and am very grateful for that.

Are there some resources you’d like to share that you find particularly helpful as a woman?

To be honest, the best resources I have are my friends and my family. When I need advice or need a laugh, I know exactly who I can go to.

What’s up next for you, Gigi?

In a few days, I’ll be going on a month long tour with Dangerous Curves Ahead, a troupe I am a part of with Anita Cookie, Clams Casino, Darlinda Just Darlinda and Minnie Tonka. I am so excited! It’s our third trip and we’ll be hitting the west coast from San Diego to British Columbia. Aside from that, I hope to be traveling more and also bringing Revealed with me! Stay tuned to for more info in the coming months.


More about Gigi La Femme

Since 2005, GiGi La Femme has been named one of New York City’s sultriest striptease stars and is the producer of the monthly show Revealed Burlesque at the Under St. Mark’s Theater.

Awards include: Golden Pastie Award winner for Best Booty Shaker 2009, Perfect Posterior 2011 and Miss Coney Island 2010.

The multi-talented bump ‘n’ grinder, go-go girl, chanteuse and pin-up model has traveled the nation with the ladies of Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go performing her super hot signature acts in addition to teaming up with her favorite songstress and Bosom Buddy: Anita Cookie!

Check GiGi out online at:

Catch her if you can ♥

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