Tuesday 30 July 2013

Interview with UK Burlesque Performer Havana-Hurricane!

Photo by Tigz Rice Studios
For all your burly fans needing your fix I have something very special. I have yet another fabulous interview for you, this time Leeds based Havana-Hurricane!

This pint sized platinum blonde bombshell is guaranteed to cause a stir wherever she goes; true to her name Miss Hurricane is like a whirlwind at every event. A true bump n grind beauty Havana aims to tease, to entertain and to leave the audience all shook up.

Find out all the goss in this interview!

How did you get into the burlesque industry?
I'd been aware of the industry for a couple of years due to my interest in the pin up/rockabilly scene. I got invited to a show by my brother who knew it was something I enjoyed from afar (online & YouTube) but never had anyone to go to a show with. We went along with a mutual friend and I was hooked! I knew it was something that I wanted to do and I knew that I needed to be there on that stage. I dreamed of one day hoping that I would inspire and entertain people as much as the performers I saw had entertained and inspired me. A couple of years later I moved to Manchester and took up burlesque classes. After the course finished I started to attend the North West Burlesque Society monthly meetings (http://northwestburlesquesociety.com/); those girls were so supportive they persuaded me to give it a go and debut there... and the rest I suppose is history!
How did the name Havana Hurricane come about and what does it mean to you?
I wanted a name that would roll off the tongue, that wasn't a generic burlesque name and one that gave the impression of a big personality -  someone who would knock the audience off their feet. While racking my brain for anything that might help me find a name and I remembered my time in New Orleans (years prior) and how much fun I had. Travelling was a life changing moment for me and I wanted to pay homage to that, in my own personal way. While in New Orleans I had tasted the 'Hurricane' cocktail - their signature drink and that's when it clicked - a Hurricane cocktail contains Havana rum - Havana Hurricane! I knew that I had to coin that name as my own as it ticked so many boxes.
Do you have a favourite routine/performance?

Photo by Inaglo Photography
My favourite act changes all the time depending on my mood but right now I'd say that my current favourite is my 'Shakin' Quake' act. It's a very fun and energetic bump'n'grind to Wanda Jackson's 'Shakin' All Over'. I'm decked out in a gold sequined and very glittery ensemble! It's such a great piece of music and every time it's played it really gets the audience going - you want to dance! Every time I perform this act people comment on how I seem to be having so much fun on stage and it's true!

Where do you get your inspiration for your routines from?

I get my inspiration from all walks of life, I'm a very creative person and I've found that even the littlest thing can inspire me!

My routines tend to go one of two ways, some are mainly inspired by the music and how it 'speaks' to me should I say, what image I conjure up, how it makes me feel and how I can portray that to the audience and make it entertaining. Sometimes I can be inspired to create a costume first, I'll create the image I see of the routine around the visual aspects and find the right music that I feel can portray the act how I see it in my mind.
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?

My favourite beauty products? Possibly not a beauty product of sorts but I couldn't live without 'Moroccan Oil'! It helps keep my hair soft and in good condition even after bleach damage!

Do you have a set beauty routine?

I'm terrible when it comes to routine so mine is pretty basic! I use face wipes, face-scrub and moisturize. I always make sure that I take my make up off, I never go to bed with it on and I drink a lot of water too.

On that note how do you keep yourself in shape for your performances?

My weeks worth of exercise consists of my lessons in Latin, Ballroom and Flamenco, I love dancing and it's such a great workout too! 

What’s ‘a day in the life of Havana’s diet’ like?

I usually have a pretty good diet, and with not too much junk in it! I like to eat well so I ensure that I cook fresh as much as possible and I eat a lot of protein & vegetables. I don't eat too much chocolate, takeaways, crisps etc but I think it's always good to treat yourself every so often and I won't lie - If I'm having a bad day I'll reach for the Haribo!

Describe your fashion style?

Glamorous! I love wearing elaborate costumes or sequined gowns.

Where are you favourite places to shop?

I buy most of my clothing online, I don't really like shopping unless it's for a costume piece or crazy outfit I can wear on stage, at a show or for a photoshoot!

What are your must have pieces of make up?

Day to day I don't actually tend to wear make up as I like to give my face a break after wearing so much at shows. If I do I'll keep it simple with a light coverage foundation, mascara and then a bright coloured lipstick either red, pink or orange. I have blonde hair and blue eyes so I like to keep simple but with striking lipstick to accentuate my eyes.

For a show my 'must have pieces' turn into a bag full! I love playing with my stage make up and experimenting with colour. My main pieces for on stage are my Illamasqua Eyebrow Cake & Sealing Gel for super strong brows and my MAC 'Girl About Town' pink lipstick - I don't often wear red lipstick on stage.

My favourite brands are MAC, Illamasqua and Sugarpill.

What is your favourite perfume?

Agent Provocateur!

What do you like to do with your time off from being Havana Hurricane?

I don't often get much time off but when I do I like to do things with my time, I've never been one to sit around and do nothing. If I’m not at a dance class then I'll be seeing friends, going to the theatre or off on some crazy adventure somewhere. 

I used to do ballroom and lain dancing myself; I know you are also a keen dancer. How did you get into this style of dance?

It's something I've wanted to do for years but I never felt confident enough to go to a class as I didn't have any male friends who would come with me. Last year I felt a little stuck in a rut artistically and I wanted to do something that would take me out of my comfort zone and to do something that wasn't burlesque related. I decide to take the plunge and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made! I absolutely adore it and I couldn't imagine my life without it now.

How have you found the different dances?

I really enjoy them and I love how different they are. I recently had my first exam and got some great feedback, I was really worried that I'd be great at Latin & terrible at Ballroom but I seem to be doing well at both right now. It'll be interesting to see which I'm stronger at in the future. I do Flamenco too and that's incredibly different to the former styles, I find it much harder. I hands up admit that I'm terrible at it but I'm slowly getting there!

You are due to go to America in September, what are you plans?

I'll be going over to the USA to perform at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival in their 'Queen of Burlesque' Competition (http://neworleansburlesquefest.com/) and I'll also be performing at the New York Burlesque Festival too! I'm very excited and honoured to be chosen to go over and compete in such a fantastic competition in New Orleans. 

How do you go about making/creating your costumes?

I usually design and embellish all the underwear for the majority of my acts myself (apart from my Shakin' Quake & Moonlight Serenade acts) and I commission the dresses/outerwear. I like to work very closely with my designer so that we can come up with a costume piece that's fits like a dream, is easy to remove and stands out in a crowd!  I'm inspired by many things during the designing process so I tend to start with collecting bits and pieces whether they be sequins, rhinestones, pieces of material, drawings etc.. anything that sparks my imagination and then I'll take all my ideas to my designer.

Who is your favourite burlesque performer to watch?

I'm not too sure I could pick just one! I have so many favourites but a couple of them are... Dirty Martini, Perle Noire, Loulou D'vil, Dixie Evans, Luna Rosa, Julie Atlas-Muz and Go-Go Harder - I could go on for days!

Who are your biggest inspirations and why?

My performances and style are heavily inspired by (and I doubt this is any shock) - drag queens! I love drag and everything about it. I find it so fascinating and my style is heavily influenced by the scene. Further figures that have inspired me are Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muz, Satan's Angel, Dixie Evans, Cher, Dolly Parton & Marilyn Monroe - the list goes on!

What advice would you give to a girl reading this interested in getting into this industry?

Be yourself and never underestimate what you can achieve. Work hard and don't let the negativity get to you. Believe in yourself because you CAN do it and you will get there but be prepared to work your ass off to do it. Last but not least - do your research! Read, watch videos, and go to as many shows as you can and look outside the box, not just at burlesque but at other creative forms, you can find inspiration everywhere.

I would like to thank Havana for her time with this interview. I have more very exciting interviews lined up for you so keep reading!


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