In our ongoing Q&A series --"The Candy Gram"-- we ask the same quirky questions of burlesque's various performers. If you want to be added to the mix, drop us a line at kellydinardo AT gmail DOT com. Today, say hello to Vicky Butterfly.
What is your hometown?
I was born in London, but my father and mother hail from Vienna and Dublin and I don't wear my heritage lightly. I feel privileged that I have been able to hear my dad's tales of (or what he remembers) of the luxury of the Roaring Twenties and my mum's stories of The Gate Theatre (where she grew up).
How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
Ever since I can remember. I think my first memories were riding a circus elephant (I cried) and being a daisy in a ballet, both when I was 4. I was brought up on a diet of old movies and books so I was used to making up performances from them and pretending to be characters, who of course had fantastic costumes. I performed off and on for the next 12 years. When I was about 18 I fronted a few bands. Burlesque had never been something unusual to me. I remember learning about The Windmill from my mother when I was 13 and practicing some very unsuitable moves for a girl my age in front of the bathroom mirror. I suppose I came to re-define myself as a burlesque performer through modeling, and making costumes for a fantastic burlesque costumer called Miss Zoe Husssy. I saw so much to inspire me that I fancied having a go and by the time I left Central Saint Martins Burlesque had become a full-time career.
How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Well, you can make pasties out of anything can't you? I do like to be innovative. I have about 4 pairs that I've made myself (2 sets of tassels, 2 sets of regular pasties). I also go down to butterflies, vintage gems, Theda Bara-style metal constructions, Vintage lace stick-on bras and rose petals (real and fabric).
What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
I'm sure I couldn't narrow it down to 3! Probably Harlem Nocturne, as it seems perfectly constructed for me to dance and flirt with the audience to. A song from Stories from The Moon, an album of songs by a band I used to sing for that now lacks a name. Their songs perfectly capture the atmosphere of a sort of playful yet vaguely nightmare-ish Victorian fairground. The third is any song I'm particularly 'feeling' at any one time? They usually have a fairly short life-span and can come from almost any genre from Where The Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue to Sailor by IAMX.
What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Well, tape obviously. But apart from that, my fans. I have so many pairs -- Peacock feathers, white ostrich, giant rose petals made of fabric, an original Victorian pair. And corsets. I collect antique ones, unusual ones, make them and turn old ones into new things. I think my smallest is currently 17". And I love the flying butterflies I use in my Butterfly act.
Who had the biggest influence on your career?
I don't like to model myself on anyone else, but everyone's stories and personalities have really helped to inspire me as a person. Principally innovative performers of every era and Ziegfeld showgirls (the way they have endured as icons but are somehow anonymous speaks to me), silent movie stars, '40s Femme Fatales, good-time girls of the Belle Epoque. And my parents. I know it sounds cheesy, but I find their lives so fascinating that it really triggered my interest in all these sorts of things. And Kittie Klaw for regularly giving me a kick up the arse. I'm a terrible procrastinator.
Who is your favorite burly queen?
Anita Berber. Maybe not strictly Burly, but she was just incredible. I think she's the only performer, rather than character, I've ever done a tribute to.
What is your favorite item of clothing?
Currently it's The Garnet Gown from Gone With The Wind that I'm using for a new act.
What's the last movie you saw?
Aimee et Jaguar -- beautiful!
What's on your must-see-TV list?
I don't have one. I'm not in enough to be a regular watcher, and don't think I have the attention span either to do anything other than dip in and out while doing other things.
What book is on your nightstand?
I have four at the moment -- a book about courtesans in the 19th Century, The Glass Books of The Dream Eaters by G.W Dahlquist, The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber and a biography of Joe Meek.
If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Venice. It's so opulently decaying with such an amazing and decadent history. I feel at home there, and I love the way that in order to survive it was meant to be constantly renewed. A real living city.
If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
I'd like to be able to read people's minds. Sometimes. It'd be annoying if you could never switch them off. And it wouldn't necessarily be very helpful -- lots of people lie to themselves. Or teleportation -- I'm lazy. Or decisiveness: that's a superpower to me.
Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Dominique Immora, Yasmine Vine, Cherry Bomb, Millie Dollar, Joanie Gyoza, Bonbon Vivant, Lola Martinet, Frankie Boudoir, Vixen Violette, Ravenna Black, Veronica Lashe, Amber Ray, Beatrix von Bourbon, Angie Pontani, Tanya Cheex, Bloody Belle, Clams Casino, Trixie Little, Michelle L'Amour, Margaret Cho, Miss Dirty Martini, Princess Farhana, Miss Delirium Tremens, Paris Green, Jo Boobs, Jack Midnight, Heidi Von Haught, Diamond Minx, The Titillation Twins, Scratch, Creamy Stevens and Gina Louise.