What inspired you to start burlesque?
Katie Angel- growing up I always looked up to Katie. I admired her- she’s funny, sexy, and confident. Katie is different than the standard definition of beauty- and she’s fucking gorgeous exactly the way she is. I came out to a burlesque show and saw how confident and unstoppable she seemed, and it made me aspire to be that for myself.
How did you come up with your first routine?
I get really inspired by music. Sometimes an idea just hits me in the face, and it sticks. My first routine was actually a group- it was a song I had been singing for years and I could just see the routine in my head. My first solo routine was similar. I was listening to an album I’ve listened to for years, heard one of the songs, and it just fit in my head. I try not to force a routine out of something that doesn’t feel totally right; I try to stick with my intuition.
How did you pick your burlesque name?
Originally I wanted to be Sadie Hawkins, but it turns out there’s already a Sadie Hawkins Burlesquer. After a few shows of going by Sadie Skye, I talked with the Angels and we came up with Sadie Siren. Which is perfect for me, as I have always had a rather nerdy obsession with mythology. From there, I decided that Siren alone was too common and I wanted to use the original Greek spelling of Seirēn… Because I’m super annoying that way.
How long have you been doing burlesque?
It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve been performing with the Angels. For a few months I stuck to singing- it took a while for me to build up the courage to do a full strip.
How have you changed, onstage and backstage in that time?
I’ve been trying really hard to challenge myself. I often limit myself to comedic characters because that’s what I’m most comfortable portraying. But I’ve been challenging myself to more serious styles; like sultry!
I’ve gotten very confident about my body. (Almost too confident.) Three years ago I never would have left the house in a tank top or shorts. Now half of my wardrobe is cutoff tops and funky little skirts. Sometimes I even go braless… Free the boobies!!
What tips can you give aspiring performers?
I think the best performers have confidence and conviction in what they’re doing. In theatre we have a common saying, “if you make a mistake, at least make a big one.” As long as you just go for it, the audience will be right with you.
What’s been your most memorable onstage moment?
Non-Burlesque related- when the audience went crazy for me during my bows for Hairspray. I’d never felt so validated as a performer. That memory keeps me going when I get almost too afraid to perform.
Burlesque-wise, I’ll never forget how excited that random audience member was when I started singing a song from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don’t know why, but his excitement really stuck with me.
Any embarrassing moments?
It’s not onstage, but it happened while getting ready to go on stage. I was innocently spray gluing my underwear to my body and I wasn’t paying much attention to where I was spraying. Suddenly, there was a rather odd, cold sensation between my butt cheeks. With a stark horror, I realized that I had sprayed my ass cheeks together…
…I had to stand in front of a mirror and pull my cheeks apart. I don’t think I’ve ever been so uncomfortable. I don’t think my ass has undergone such pain… And I have a tattoo on my butt.
What have some of your challenges been, as a performer?
I have two very conflicting tendencies: perfectionism and procrastination. Anyone that has worked with me knows how anal I get about my performance- I critique every moment that I’m on stage. But I also wait until the very last minute to put anything together- which causes me needless stress.
What’s your favorite part of burlesque?
I absolutely love the environment. I feel valued and appreciated by my fellow performers. I love that I feel empowered: as a singer, an entertainer, a comedian, and as a woman. I also love that I get my performance fix without having to go through months of rehearsals.
Are there any parts of burlesque you loathe?
I hate that I can’t plan every moment out. I’m an actress: I’m used to following a script and sticking very strictly to the given choreography. In some ways the unknown is freeing; in other ways it’s terrifying. When it comes down to it, it’s really good for me- it’s a huge challenge. But that doesn’t change the fact that sometime I feel absolute terror!
Tell us about your blog!
I’ve been single for quite a while, and I tried online dating. It’s not for me.
I was constantly bombarded by creeps and it was really frustrating. Well, one day I posted a screenshot on my Facebook and everyone loved it. For a while I had been sending the screenshots to my friends and we’d laugh, but I discovered that my experiences caused widespread amusement. So one day I compiled my little collection of creeps and started a blog- Fickle and Alone.
Each day it gets more popular, and each day I lose more hope for humanity.
My blog can be found at: https://fickleandalone.wordpress.com
Photo: Angela Leisure Photography
How is burlesque similar and different from theatre?
I go about Burlesque very similarly to how I go about theatre. I’m playing a character, Sadie, it’s not *me* up there. Me, who turns bright red any time someone says anything flirty. Me, who falls- A LOT.
That said, in some ways, it’s very different than theatre, because it is kind of… *me.* It’s my idea, my choreography, my song choice, my personality. I’m not performing someone else’s work. I’m performing… *me.* Sadie is a fabulous, braver, sexually confident version of *me.*
If you could do any project with an unlimited budget, what would you do?
I would do a production of Into The Woods in which I played all of the characters.
Or a production of Gypsy in which I played all the characters.
OR a production of Spring Awakening in which I play all the characters.
OR- OR a gender-bended production of Rocky Horror in which I play most of the characters.
Your Mama is super supportive…what does she think about burlesque?
She came to my first burlesque show with me. While we were sitting in the audience watching the performers, she turned to look at me and said, “So… When are you going to start doing this?”
Since then, she has come to every burlesque show I’ve performed in, even the shows where I’ve asked her to step out of the room for my solo. (I don’t like my mommy watching my more sexual routines.) On my solo debut, she and my step-dad sent backstage a bouquet with a note that read, “Breast Wishes!!” and a set of candy nipple tassels. If that isn’t unending support, I don’t know what is.
Here’s what she said for herself, “Burlesque allows women to take control of their own sexuality; to present themselves in the way that they want to be portrayed, rather than have their sexuality dictated to them by male fantasies or cultural ideas of what is or isn’t sexy. Burlesque defines beauty in a way that is inclusive of all women. It promotes self-esteem, positive body image, and the arts. Why wouldn’t I want my daughter to be a part of this?”
When did you meet Katie and Jeff?
I met Jeff when I was five years old. We both participated heavily in the Indy theatre community. We did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat together about six times. I used to call Jeff my Theatre Dad. Which is weird now if you think about it. But I mean… look how cute…
Around the same time, I met Katie when she started stage managing at the theatre I frequently worked at. She was ALWAYS my favorite. So much so, that she inspired me to start doing tech work- which is now my job! She asked me to do lights for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which meant we spent a lot of time in the tech booth together. At this time, she and Jeff were just starting to date. That’s right people, I got to witness the budding relationship of Katie and Jeff Angel! Aww!
Once during the rehearsals of that show, we got locked out of the tech booth. Katie, being the ever-devoted stage manager that she is, climbed into the window through the audience while shouting, “I AM NOT A MONKEY!” After that hilarious scenario, I began sneaking banana-related items into her stuff. I was pretty funny for a ten year old.
If you could time travel with no consequences, where and when would you go?
I’d go into the future. I’d be too tempted to change the past, with unknown results. But if I could go into the future, see the problems that will arise, I could perhaps change the present for the better.
If you could have dessert with any three people, past or present, who would you choose?
Kurt Vonnegut, William Shakespeare, and Freddie Mercury. It’d be an odd mix, but I’d be happy.
What is your perfect Jeopardy board (6 topics that you’d kick ass in)?
Theatre History * Musical Theatre * Shakespeare Quotes and Analysis * Psych 101 * Buffy the Vampire Slayer Trivia * Seemingly Useless Facts Learned from Documentaries
Would you prefer to fly or be invisible? Why?
It would depend on if the invisibility can be controlled or not… If I can turn it on and off when I choose, then invisibility all the way. I’d become a spy. Or a criminal. Or I’d just eavesdrop on private conversations. That sounds like fun.
If you could describe your essence as a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would you be?
Pistachio… Brightly colored, a little out of the ordinary, super tasty but not for everyone. That’s me!!
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