Burlesque starlet Chrys Columbine will be performing at Coco de Mer during the much anticipated Seven Dials Spotlight event in August. We're excited to announce she will be previewing a brand new, smouldering act that will be staged in full later this the year. We caught up with the porcelain beauty to discuss burlesque, culture and Hollywood glamour.
Chrys, tell us, how long have you been performing and what did you do before you became a burlesque artist?
I have been performing for 7 years and before burlesque I worked in PR for a film company in Soho and I was also previously a musician and a fashion and fetish model.
What drew you to the stage?
I've been in awe of old-school Hollywood glamour since I was a child. I, like a lot of little girls I'm sure, wanted to be like the women on the silver screen when I grew up: Vivien Leigh, Ava Gardener, Audrey Hepburn were all inspirational. I was also entranced by the women on stages of the Ziegfeld Follies. I kind of fell into burlesque by accident. I've been in showbiz on-and-off, all my life ( I went to a very prestigious stage school and had few bit parts in theatre and TV as a child) so I was no stranger to being on stage. However, it was my brief work as fashion model and my obsession for corsetry, lingerie and latex that eventually lead me to burlesque. I saw my first ever burlesque show by one of the original pioneers of British burlesque, Gwendoline L'Amour and instantly fell in love. I knew this was what I wanted to do. It wasn't until years after that I performed my first ever burlesque show and since then I've never looked back!
As well as an expert in the art of the tease, you're an accomplished pianist. Where did you study?
I trained with a famous Japanese concert pianist and briefly at Junior Guildhall. I then went on to complete a BA Honours Degree in music form the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
This Seven Dials event will be all about culture. How would you spend a cultural day out in London?
I would start at the National Portrait Gallery, then take lunch or tea in Fortnum and Mason’s, followed by a walk to see some of the best street-entertainment in none other than Covent Garden... and then end up at a splendid classical concert in Royal Festival Hall on The South Bank.
Which pieces from Coco de Mer would you choose to represent yourself in a still life composition?
It would have to be the Belle Et Bonbon Bisoux knicker! It represents everything I love and try put into my shows - incredible beauty, class, ornate detail and a little depravity.
Continuing with the cultural theme, in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Orsino says 'If music be the food of love, play on.' What kind of music makes you feel sensual and romantic?
It depends on the type of sensuality - if I'm looking for the romance and passion that takes me to another world, then I look no further than my all-time favourite classical composer Beethoven - no music in my opinion has equal measures of beauty, passion, tension and epic quality (think, his Ninth Symphony - Ode To Joy). But if I'm looking for sensations on a raw, wild side I look to some of my favourite rock bands - anything from AC/DC to Nine Inch Nails to Cypress Hill (yes, I do love a bit of hip-hop too).
You'll be showing crowds a glimpse of your new 'Black Swan' act. Which words would you use to describe it?
Ethereal, mysterious, dark and a little depraved.
Where can we see you perform?
All the top cabaret haunts such as Proud Cabaret, Cafe De Paris, Cafe Royal, Cellar Door and occasionally in the unique Beaufort Bar of The Savoy. You can also find me doing unusual events at some of my favourite Mayfiar haunts such as No. 5 Cavendish Square and Playboy Club. Aside from that, I perform abroad a lot, this month for example will be performing in the South Of France, Cyprus and Lebanon.