I had the distinct honor to get to sit down with Madame Willey, the proprietress of PinUpGirl Cosmetics and Minette Magnifique to discuss the past, present and future of burlesque. This Renaissance woman cultivates the aesthetic that many aspire to when they think of the classic tease and has been an incredible contributor to the community with both her business and her talent for years. It is an honor and a pleasure to bestow The Atlanta Burlesque and Cabaret Society's modest honorific "Burlesque Photographer of the Month". Here's what she had to say:
Talk about all of the roles you play in Atlanta Burlesque as a whole.
I am 1/2 the co-founder of the Atlanta-based burlesque troupe, Minette Magnifique. I also own PinUpGirl! Cosmetics, a Pin-up style portrait studio and cosmetic boutique in Grant Park. I am by trade, professionally, a makeup artist, vintage hair dresser, wardrobe stylist, portrait photographer and graphic designer. I love all my roles and equally can't imagine one without the other.
Tell us about the first burlesque show you saw and what your thoughts were about it:
The first time I saw a live burlesque show was Miss Calu's garage show at the Earl in 2008 and I got to be a big pink showgirl for her...but I have been enjoy burlesque/showgirls/cabaret acts in musicals since I was about 4 years old.
You have been to a lot of shows in Atlanta, what would you say is Atlanta Burlesque's biggest strength. Biggest weakness?
Our biggest strength is our pride in our craft. I love seeing the enthusiasm we all share once we get on stage. Our biggest weakness is advertising outside the burlesque community to get fresh faces in our audiences. Burlesque is still a very underground art scene here in Atlanta but with proper marketing, I think we can bring it to the forefront of entertainment in this city in just a few short years.
You chose ten beautiful photographs of your collection. What would you say ties them together for you?
These are just some of my favorites. I feel like they just really show off the best of each performer. Other than all being burly-q gals, I'm not to sure if they go together at all. But they definitely all have a sense of "fun" about them.