I moonlight at a burlesque club–Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, if you want to know where to find me. No, I’m not a stripper, though a great many of my colleagues at the cabaret are or have beens strippers, and I won’t deny that I have studied strippers in the interest of my own professional development. I’m talking about a burlesque club, with an emphasis on the tease in striptease. Burlesque performers don’t just tease your filthy, lustful little desires. We tease your assumptions about how ladies (and the occasional gent, and even the occasional non-gender-conforming person) should behave. We tease the powerful. We make you laugh. We tease your brain, and sometimes even your heart. Sure, I have a respectable day job that pays the bills, but see, it’s life in the cabaret that make my respectable day job worth it. My respectable day job funds my life at the cabaret, where I’m surrounded by style and creativity, where everyone’s got a signature–a signature move, a signature joke, a signature look, a signature song. And that’s what I bring you here, in which I mine the brains of Denver’s sassiest, classiest tassel twirlers for their Style Secrets. Haven’t you always wanted to know a showgirl’s secrets? Of course you have. Now you can find out. Tatianna TaTa has been a force in the Denver burlesque scene for over ten years. A founding member of the core performers at Lannie’s known as the Clockettes, she may as well have been in the room for burlesque’s rebirth in the late 90s and early 2000s. Ten years in the business has been plenty of time for her to make a name for herself as an aerialist, choreographer, and, in more recent years, producer of the Colorado Burlesque Festival, Burlesque on Broadway: A Tophats and Tassels Revue, and the gory spectacular Zombie Bombshells in: Grotesque Burlesque. With her solid, athletic, acrobatic presence, she made strong the new sexy long before the rest of us started pinning the saying on Pinterest. Above all, Tatianna is a chameleon, channeling Liza Minelli’s insouciance in Cabaret one minute, the next minute twisting on her hoop in a tutu and black and white tights like the mysterious, vaguely foreign, possibly tragic, definitely mischievious circus artiste of our collective childhood dreams. Don’t get too comfortable when Tatianna’s onstage, because this girl will strip down to fake blood and guts, too, and you’ll worry about yourself for being turned on. TM: How do you describe your burlesque style? TT: This feels like a hard question for me to answer… because I feel like my style morphs. But if I could sum it up in a short little phrase it would be “Equal parts high-flying carnie girl and glitter/gore-loving burlesque bombshell!” I am strangely obsessed with and drawn to black and white stripes, skulls, anything with zombies and horror themes, and of course sparkly things! Tim Burton meets 60’s sex pots with big hair and tons of black eyeliner. My goth girl never really went away. TM: Is there any music you like to listen to in order to get pumped for a performance? TT: I won’t lie here. The playlists I listen to the most are my Show Tunes Playlist and my Hip Hop/R&B 90’s Stations! Nothing gets me going like some Hair, Cabaret, Chorus Line, Sweeney Todd, Salt N’Pepa, Dr.Dre, Biggie Smalls, and of course Missy Elliot! And then I sneak in Nine Inch Nails–Trent makes me swoon. I’m all over the place. It just depends on my mood, but you better believe I play it LOUD and dance around while I get ready! TM: What does your health and beauty regimen look like? What products work for you? More importantly, what habits work for you? TT: I recently got into juicing and my food processor and I swear it’s made a huge difference in my life, mental state, complexion and energy level. I’m not usually a food prepper or one to plan that far in advance when it comes to food, but I find myself getting excited and having fun coming up with new juice combos. I look forward to making it now, because I know how it makes me feel. Amazing! Working out–it’s just a must. As an aerialist I constantly have to keep up on my flexibility, strength, and new tricks and combos. Plus, why not continue to challenge yourself? I typically hate going to the gym. It gets old to me. I get bored easily. I’ve been going much more often lately, constantly switching my classes up from yoga, to Zumba, to kickboxing. It’s keeping me motivated and focused. When I work out I am happy, I can face the day and be proud I made it to the gym. Plus, I have an amazing gym partner, Fannie Spankings, who helps keep me accountable. We’re each other’s cheerleaders! I sadly fight adult acne–UGH! I hate to say it! Embarrassing! But juicing, water intake, sleep, vitamins, and workouts seem to help. And of course, washing my face! I’m a huge fan of SheaMoisture African Black Soap- needless to say it helps my poor face when I have to wear makeup and sweat multiple days and nights in a row. Plus, it’s soooo dry in Colorado, I slather on either JASON Age Renewal Vitamin E 25000 IU Moisturizing Creme or Derma E Vitamin E 12,000 IU Creme. I am also a lip-gloss and lipstick junkie. I slather my lips probably about 20-30 times a day with something! Favorites include Buxom, Wonder Lip Paint, NYX Lip Butter, Maline+Goetz, and anything by MAC. TM: How did you become involved in the burlesque scene? TT: At the ripe old age of 18, when I decided I wasn’t going to college and I just wanted to dance and be a performer, I went out into the world with some close friends and started a dance troupe. Upon getting out into the scene and meeting people, we hooked up with Vivienne Vavoom of Burlesque As It Was, and we were hooked. She took us under her wing and gave us some burlesque knowledge. We did variety acts and aerial work and we go-go danced too! My first burlesque show (where I actually took off my clothes) was with Marty Jones and the Great Unknowns where I performed a Daisy Crockett striptease. I remember twirling those raccoon tails with the biggest smile on my face and thinking, yep, this is it! I was so excited and just wanted to learn more. The costumes, the props, the glitter, the music and being creative in my own way! I met so many inspiring women and always felt at home, and so incredibly welcome, just as I was. Some of those ladies from 15 years ago, well, we are still close friends and still perform together and create together today. TM: Tell me about a big break or a moment of truth that made you the performer you are today. TT: Very early on in my career, in 2003, my performance group and I were booked for NIPP’s National BurlesqueFest Tour. When I found out I would be on the road with my best friends, Kitten on The Keys, Kitty Crimson, Empire Burlesque, Devotchka and Catherine D’Lish, my jaw dropped. I was still new to the scene–this was when Burlesque was making its comeback as Neo-Burlesque. Dita Von Teese was touring as well, and I have been lucky enough to share the stage with her more than a hand full of times. Needless to say, to start off as one of the original aerial burlesque groups, get to travel to 22 cities in one month on an amazing tour bus with some of the loveliest ladies and gents I know… I feel like that was the biggest break of all. I’ve had lots of other incredible, noteworthy performances and moments, but back then, no one had all this crazy social media. I sit and reminisce about this time and look through my old photo album of all of the memories. Plane tickets, itineraries, hotels, laughs and cries, ups and downs. I learned so much during that tour, about myself, the scene, and being a performer. There’s no video, and most of the photos I have are from the tour bus or hotel rooms, random pics of our names on the marquees. I’ll never, ever forget it. I honestly believe it to be one of my favorite memories and moments in my burlesque life.