Happy Easter Everyone!! Boy do I have an Easter present for you!
This lady really needs no introduction! (But I’ll give you one anyways!) She is one of my absolute favourite performers, a real beauty and a real pleasure to interview. Ladies and gentlemen I give you my interview with Catherine D’Lish!
Catherine D’Lish has earned a reputation as a contemporary “striptease virtuoso” with her unusually inventive shows performed in an elegant and whimsical style. Catherine is easily the most influential stripping entertainer performing today. She has headlined in varied venues from Las Vegas casinos, nightclubs around the world and fetish events to the top gentlemen’s clubs and “mainstream” theaters; was a headlining performer for Playboy’s 50th Anniversary Tour, and starred in “Burlesque Fest”, the first national tour of its kind. Catherine has competed in and won nearly every pageant and title available to striptease performers, holding over thirty titles such as Miss Nude USA, World’s Performer of the Year, Miss Erotic World, Showgirl of the Year, Miss Exotic America, Miss Nude International, USA’s Best Shows, Miss Exotic World, and is a member of the Burlesque Hall of Fame.
Catherine is renowned for her extravagant costumes and elaborate props. Recognized as the premier fan dancer today, her most popular shows are classic striptease- complete with a giant champagne glass bubble bath finale.
Catherine has also built a reputation as the best burlesque costume designer and creative director in the business. She has created dazzling costumes that are ornately hand-jeweled and feathered, with laborious attention to detail not commonly seen today. Catherine is well-known for her work as creative director/costumer/choreographer for Dita Von Teese. The shows and costumes she has created have earned international recognition and acclaim. Each of her dazzling ensembles is paired with an equally lavish prop. Catherine has one of the most extreme collections of enormous props in the business, including a larger-than-life champagne glass, grand gilded birdcage, giant spider web, and a magnificent eight-foot tall waterfall complete with fountains and flowers.
In addition to traveling and performing, Catherine fills her time by teaching workshops and also coaching established performers privately. She has recently launched a retail feather design business with Fabulous Feathers, based out of Los Angeles.
How did you get into the burlesque industry?
I started as a stripper in a small seedy strip club (not a "gentlemen's club" really a strip club. Like downtown, sailors, red lightbulbs and questionable characters strip club). I was a teenager, looking for a part-time job at the time, and saw an ad in the newspaper for $$$NUDEDANCERS$$$, I thought it was hilarious and went down to the club on a lark. I was right, it was hilarious, and it was hilarious every time I went back. While I was working in the strip club, I heard about a stripping contest, and one thing led to another, one contest led to another, and eventually I was winning stripping pageants. At that time I was approached by an agency and began touring clubs around the country as a headliner.
How did the name Catherine D'Lish come about?
When I started doing bigger contests, I couldn't just be "Catherine", so I had to come up with a last name... I thought "D'Lish" was funny, and "Catherine D'Lish" had a nice ring to it, so I've been using it ever since.
Do you have a favourite routine/performance?
No one act or performance experience stands out as a favorite, I like all the shows for different reasons. They are all fun to do, no matter how many times I've done them, and every booking has been pretty pleasant. I've had a great time working with all kinds of different people, in different places- still having fun doing it!
I am going to be attending your workshop on 18th May as part of LBF and will be attending the show in the evening which I am extremely excited about. What is your favourite country to perform/teach in?
(I'm glad you're coming, I look forward to meeting you there)
Like I mentioned above, I just don't have a favorite place. I am glad that I've been invited to teach in so many different countries, I've had tons of fun with the students, and find that people are pretty much the same no matter where you are... workshops are always a good time for me because I enjoy seeing people cut loose and set free their sexy side.
As well as burlesque performing you are a well know burlesque costume designer and creative director in the business. How did you branch out into these areas?
When I first started stripping was when I started making things to wear on stage. I liked screwing around with different looks, and putting together shows for my turns on stage. Eventually, I started getting requests from the other girls to make things for them too...
As I began doing bigger contests, my costumes got bigger and better as well. I like making stuff, and I like putting shows together, and I also like doing it for other people- who doesn't love costumes and shows?
Who is your favourite performer to work with?
I think it's no secret that Dita is my absolute fave, we're best friends and naturally she's my favorite stripper (besides myself, I really like working with myself too).
You have performed in a huge amount of places...do you still get nervous about going on stage?
Ha- no, I don't get nervous. I don't think I'd enjoy that experience at all! What's there to be nervous about?
I clearly remember my first time on stage, at my "audition" at that first nude club. They just told me to take all of my clothes off and go out there naked. I said, "ok" and I remember standing on the steps about to walk onto the stage, and I was wondering, "what is this going to be/feel like?" And then I stepped onto the stage, and it was just like I had been a moment ago, but a few feet forward. I thought to myself, "ok, here I am"... no different than I was before.
You are on stage and being photographed a lot of the time. Looking after yourself must play a big part in your life. What are you favourite beauty products and why?
Your skin is just amazing! Do you have a set beauty routine?
Thank you for the compliment. I'm basically hyper-sensitive to pretty much everything, so I use products that work with my sensitive skin, drink tons of water and don't eat sugar or processed food. Those seem to be a few of the most important things to keep from looking toooooooo crappy... and if I sleep 8 hours every night, that does worlds of good, and I can look my best.
What's your diet like?
I like to stick to fresh organic food. Even when I'm traveling, I'll hunt down the closest source for good produce. So much more fun to eat.
Well, right now I'm typing naked in my bed. That pretty much sums it up. When I'm home I like to be comfy and cosy in things that look good when I pass the big mirrors that are scattered around the house. When I'm out, I like to appear at least moderately attractive.
Where are you favourite places to shop, both for burlesque goodies and for yourself?
Definitely the fabric store, and at the Swarovski site. Not necessarily in that order.
What are your must have pieces of make up?
If I'm not performing, I can be happy with just a good powder and eye makeup. For my lips, I've become a big fan of those marvelous products that don't rub off no matter what you do with your mouth, if you know what I mean...
What do you like to do with your time off from being Catherine D'Lish?
Ha. Very funny. You mean like right now, when I'm in bed and should be calling it a night but I'm answering interview questions? I don't feel like "being Catherine D'Lish" is any different than being myself, so I suppose I'm always myself and there is no not "being Catherine D'Lish". There's always some kind of work to be done. Lately I have been fantasizing about going on another sexy Mexican scuba-diving adventure... I really loved the feeling of being so deep underwater nearly naked in such a warm ocean... as soon as some time off comes around... whenever that is... sigh...
What are your biggest inspirations and why?
I think I get the most inspired by raw materials, whether it's crystal, or feathers, or fabric, or music, or a promising new student, or the elements used to fabricate a prop. I like to tinker with stuff and see what can come of it.
What advice would you give to a girl reading this interested in getting into this industry?
I'd suggest trying to do her best, but her best, not an imitation of somebody else (that's rarely interesting to watch), to become physically strong and skillful so that she can be a good performer, and strive to look her best- visual presentation is important. Don't be an asshole, and if she's already an asshole, try to recognize it and make some changes so that people will enjoy her company... acquire an arsenal of amazing portraits, develop her sense of style and practice, practice, practice!
A huge thank you to Catherine for her time with this interview, she is a very busy lady indeed and has given up her time just for you all! Stay tuned for more awesome interview and burlesque insights, beauty news and al things glamorous!