Carla Caruso, Diamonds & Whirls
Burlesque extraordinaire Rachel St James launches a new fitness craze at Sydney\’s Entertainment Quarter in February â€“ burlates. It\’s a sexy blend of burlesque and Pilates (it\’s also known as “naughty Pilates”.) So, start swivelling those hips!
Tell us what it was like working at Johnny Depp\’s restaurant/bar Le Man Ray in Paris. It was a very specialÂ moment in my career. Le Man Ray has such an exotic and elegant fit-out.Â It was a dinner show and I performed on stage in my martiniÂ glass,Â with a French opera singer and a classic violinist. My act was really well-received by the Parisian people, which means a lot to me because my parentsÂ took me to the Moulin Rouge when I was just seventeenÂ years old â€“ and I was blown away! As for the elusive, glorious Monsieur Johnny,Â at theÂ timeÂ he was with his familyÂ in the south of France, however, he does like to approve the talent and sent his condolences.
What made you go from modelling and being former Penthouse Pet of the Year to burlesque? I spent my childhood in North Queensland obsessing overÂ old-school Hollywood movie stars, such as Marilyn Monroe, Mae West and Betty Grable. Pin-up modelling and burlesqueÂ performanceÂ blossomedÂ during that era andÂ it has been a great source of inspiration for my own career. Modelling definitelyÂ opened the doors to showcase my talent as a performer. I feel very lucky to haveÂ had that opportunity.
Ever got to meet any of your burlesque idols? IÂ have always looked up to the original burlesque stars, such as Gypsy Rose Lee and Lili St Cyr (below), and would love to one day meet Dita Von Teese. But, on aÂ recent trip to LA,Â IÂ did (at least) getÂ to meet my â€˜femme fatale\’ idol, Angelina Jolie.
Is burlates something that is taught overseas already or is it entirely new? Entirely new! As I have been teaching burlesqueÂ dance for a number of years, I wanted to createÂ something that could reach a wider audience. I already have plans to launch the product to an international market.
What sort of fitness levels do you need to take part? The two-part burlates course is designed to takeÂ you from first-timer toÂ boudoir goddess!
What are some moves newcomers can learn? Burlates has signatureÂ movesÂ such asÂ theÂ hip swivel, body roll, leg kick, shimmy, strut and butterfly – just to name a few!Â All are designed to create a toned,Â feminine body, with aÂ defined waistline.
How do you think burlates can help empower women â€“ and help spice things up in the bedroom a little? The first rule of empowerment is confidence. It is every woman’s right of passage to feel beautiful and sexy and that needs to come from within. The movements I teachÂ are aÂ facilitator of that confidence, which carries through to the boudoir!
For more on burlates, head to www.rachelstjames.com.