Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashleeta Beauchamp.
Hi Ashleeta, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Like a lot of burlesque dancers in my community, I started burlesque by being involved in the Rocky Horror Picture Show Community. I had a few friends who were burlesque dancers that did the infamous “Trixie Striptease” at the beginning of the movie and one of them Shy La La suggested I come to a burlesque show she was in. I showed up and I was so drawn to the energy and creativity on stage that I wanted to be a part of it. She became my “Burlesque Mom” and eventually mentored me into being part of her burlesque troupe The Brazen Booties.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Navigating the burlesque community as a person of color is not easy (navigating any community really isn’t either). Aside from trying to grow and learn as a dancer and performer, there are a lot of social justice issues that come with any subculture. I consider myself someone very vocal about things I see in the community that are oppressive or harmful. Tokenism, racism, performative allyship, fatphobia and transphobia are all things that can come up when people are booking their shows or organizing their festivals. It can be alienating when you are constantly asking people to do better and do right by marginalized people. I think that is the thing that I continue to struggle with the most in regards to the burlesque community. It’s a lot of emotional labor to create a more ethical industry and not much love or support in return.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I usually like to stick to classic burlesque but more and more, I’ve been creeping into the nerdlesque community which primarily centers their numbers around popular culture like comics, tv shows and movies. I’m a big fan of horror movies and tv shows and one of my most booked numbers is a number I do for American Horror Story Burlesque at Seduction Burlesque in Long Beach. The number features the “Freak Show” character Desiree Dupree who has three breasts and I think that definitely sets me apart a lot of people can twirl two tassels but I can do three! I really enjoy putting work into my characterizations and screen accuracy.
How do you define success?
I feel like people define success with awards and prestige, but really I just love to dance. I don’t really compete or travel much (especially with covid) But I think success is really feeling satisfied with your career and where you’re at simple as that.
These photos are by Bee Oliphant And Jason Kamimura