Burly Mumma

Miss Alyssa Kitt & I at Miss Burlesque Australia 2019 : Photo by John Leonard Photography

Let’s talk Burly Mummas …

Do you know what a burly mumma is? Have you ever heard of that term before? Do you have one? Ok, in all honesty I may well be one of the very few that use that name/term but I think it really should get used more often. A burly mumma is a burlesque mentor or in some cases a burlesque teacher, although I hear more people refer to their teachers as ‘stage mums’…. there are differences between mentors and teachers but either way you get the idea. Plus don’t forget there are ‘burly daddys'[OK, wait up…. how hot does that sound…. “that’s my burly daddy”] & ‘stage dads’ too, and of course there is also ‘burly parents’ and ‘stage parents’…. whatever the individual would prefer.

So what is a burlesque mentor? A mentor is someone who provides guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling in on going one on one sessions. A mentor can also help with exploring characterisation, developing acts, and further education related to the burlesque world. All mentors work differently and uniquely. There is no rule book written about this. As of yet, that I know of.

I’m going to be super honest right now…. my burlesque journey started off in probably the worst dance studio out there (anyone that went there, knows what I mean). I was unfortunately very unaware of a lot of the in’s and out’s of the burlesque world, receiving the majority of any burlesque knowledge from only one person, that being the owner of the studio, who actually discouraged all students from interacting with the rest of the burlesque community (probably knew we’d all work out that she was full of crap and leave). I had never heard of mentorship, until it was offered to me.

Quick little back story as to how I found my burly mumma….

Whilst still at said studio I entered a burlesque competition that I was accepted into. Originally I was offered a place in the Perth – WA heat but when asked if I would be keen to take a spot in another state, I said yes, for 2 reasons. 1) I was happy to travel and met performers from other states. 2) I knew the owner of the studio would make it difficult for me to compete in my own state (which was 100% correct). Long story short, I chose Newcastle – NSW…. (And thankfully, I left the studio officially before the competition even started). That is where I would meet a burlesque artist that I absolutely idolised and looked up to. What a dream come true. Who would of thought that me giving up my spot in my own state would lead me on the path to finding my burly mumma. Sometimes things happen exactly as they are meant to. Some (me, I am some) may say it was fate.

Drum roll please ….

I am extremely proud to call Miss Alyssa Kitt my burly mumma [if you didn’t notice from the header pic] That’s right, Miss Alyssa Kitt! (for whatever reason you don’t know who that is, I suggest you go look her up immediately). She was one of the judges at the competition. I stayed after the show to speak with her, I mean c’mon, I’m in NSW and Alyssa is here, when am I ever gonna see her again. I also did her workshop the next day and after having those small interactions and conversations, she saw potential in me and offered me a spot in her mentorship program. I seriously couldn’t believe it. That was March 2018.

Alyssa & I in Newcastle, NSW 2018. When we first met.

Since starting my mentorship with Alyssa I have grown so much as a burlesque artist. I’ve taken the critiques and advice from her and it has helped shape my performances into one’s I’m now proud of. My ‘Joker – Miss J’ act was one of the most emotional acts I’ve ever worked on and the very first act I asked Alyssa to help me with. The back story to this act comes from a place of pain, hurt, and imprisonment (much like The Joker himself). Alyssa was able to help me harness the emotion and break free from the dark place in which it had manifested. This was an act that I needed to create in order to get through and over come past trauma, so I could move on and become the artist I am today. Almost every act I work on with Alyssa has such deep meaning behind it, which helps me to project that raw emotion on to the stage. This is something I feel I need, for myself, to give my character more depth.

Alyssa has not only helped me grow and progress as a performer and an artist in more ways than one but also many other performers and artists like Dollar Dazzler.

“I knew very early on that I wanted a mentor for my career, I’d always taken Burlesque “seriously” because I’d been a fan of it for at least 5 years before I even stepped into a classroom, so I knew if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right! I know I had other performers who had said in classes “get a mentor”, but I also was a very chronically awkward and socially inept person when I started due to years of social anxiety and also a rough time during acting school where I let criticism get to me rather than build me and help me grow. I was too afraid for a really long time to even ask someone to be my mentor because I was terrified of the possible rejection!”

“Alyssa and I have been friends since 2014 when I first met her during PIBF, and around 2016/2017 was when she brought me onto the museum. We already knew each others work ethic and philosophy about performance so we suited each other naturally. It wasn’t until I said I wanted to start looking for a mentor that she said she had a spot open and asked if I would like to take it! That being said, I wasn’t initially sure if Alyssa would fit where I wanted to go with my performances; I wasn’t looking to be just the “nerdlesque” performer anymore, and If i wanted something more like that, there are a few who I would be happy to mentor with. Turns out the future Burlesque Dr Kitt knew exactly what to prescribe me and its blossomed into so much more than I could ever have hoped with my friend, boss and burly mum!” – Dollar Dazzler

Alyssa & Dollar

Having someone that 100% wants to see you succeed and wants to help you achieve your dreams, was something I so desperately needed after leaving the studio I was at. Although it wasn’t all bad, it was for the most part an extremely toxic environment that had made me question everything about myself as a performer. The self doubt was at an all time low and I really needed that one person that didn’t know me before and also had no idea about said studio or owner. Someone who could see my struggles and uncertainty, and say “I’ve got you”.

“My mentorship is a way to help my students grow from the inside out in a loving and supportive environment – this can be from building a positive mindset, building self-actualised connectivity of the body and mind, building physical strength through exercises that support their body to be able to do the choreography that they want to do in their routines, through to dramaturgy of specific acts, developing characters and overall as artists that exist both on and off the stage. It’s all been based on my own experience in life through to education – be it history of burlesque, dramatic and theatrical theory, through to my passions of training at the gym, yoga and sensual self-exploration of sexuality. The work we put into ourselves comes out on the stage and my role is to guide this process.” – Miss Alyssa Kitt

Being a mentor is a lot about sharing your experiences and knowledge with another. The more you’ve done, the more you have to share, well for the most part anyways. Be realistic, if you’ve done one term of classes at a burlesque school, does that make you an expert…. yeah nah. Do classes, do workshops, go to shows, watch videos of performances, read, educate yourself, get out there in the community and learn, learn, learn.

“Teaching is a natural progression for many artists. I’ve been teaching burlesque since 2010 and naturally leant more towards working one on one than teaching classes (I don’t enjoy the choreography process for classes as I’m a very intuitive dancer). 

I found that many students would book in for a one on one for one hour to develop a concept or polish an act – there is only so much that can be done in one session. 

While one off sessions are great – they can be a brutal smack to the face of EVERYTHING that you need to improve an act and often I feel like that may leave students overwhelmed or lacking further guidance. Feedback, ongoing work, checking in and generally guiding the artistic process. 

The journey to making an act is a long one, with many ups and downs along the way. It’s important to take into consideration production timelines that fit into our own lifestyles and ebb and flow of creative energy. 

Sometimes motivation is high in the initial stages of inspiration and concept development, but wane when implementing production schedules and keeping the churning list of to dos along. – Miss Alyssa Kitt

I’ve been having regular (usually monthly) sessions for 3 years now…. wow time flies. When I said Alyssa has helped me in more ways than one, I meant it. From mental health to act development to choreography to characterisation to strengthening my mind and body. I’m extremely lucky and honoured to have someone this skilled.

You may be wondering the same thing I did, do mentors have mentors themselves?

“I have found that my own best acts that I have made have been worked on with outside eyes – such as my own long term mentor Lola the Vamp – who guided my burlesque journey from as early as 2009 – to guiding me into my PhD (she even wrote one of my letters of recommendation and introduced me to my supervisor, Dr Sean Frederic Edgecomb). While we speak less about what acts I’m making now, we do speak about autoethnographies of work, burlesque in cultural studies and queer theory. Lola is an endless source of inspiration to me even after 10 years. 

 Mostly – she is the voice that tells me that I’m on the right track, to believe in myself (which can be hard when we are our own worst critics) and KEEP DOING WHAT I’M DOING! I often find with a bit of guidance that we come to see these things for ourselves in time – but it’s so humbling to have someone that you look up to nourish you with their own knowledge as an icon in their field. Good teachers see the potential and help find a way of drawing that out. That’s Lola for me and I want to keep being this person in Australian burlesque for the younger generation of performers (not necessarily in age but years in the burly world – haha I’m only 32 but have been stripping since I was 18 – wowee that’s a long time to be getting naked on stage!)” – Miss Alyssa Kitt

Lola & Alyssa

Towards the start of this year I was approached to be a mentor. It took me by surprise. I was like me, really, me? Of course my self doubt kicked in. I originally said no, I didn’t feel I was in any way ready for that sort of responsibility. Good old self doubt, kicking me down once again. After possibly a good month or so of thinking on that, I decided that I do have a lot to give, a lot to offer, and if they are asking me then they must see something in me, after all they are asking me to help them on their burlesque journey. So I decided to give it a go.

“I wanted to find someone who’s style of Burlesque I liked. Someone who also would help me grow my style and not totally change who Mistress Mustang is. It’s important to note that I am still a baby in burlesque, but I do have a defined character who needs padding out but not a total change.”

“Once I had someone in mind [Delza Skye], I approached her and asked if she had any mentoring spots available. Remember not every performer will be willing to mentor and some will only have a few spots available. You must be prepared for a no. To be honest the first time I spoke to Delza about mentoring she did say no but was still very giving of advice and help. She really is such a selfless and loving person, but strong and fierce at the same time. We did do some work together and talked again about mentoring and came to an agreement.” – Mistress Mustang

Mustang & I at Ivy’s Winter Wonderland presented by Ivy Cabaret 2021

Being a mentor to someone is a huge responsibility. Your mentee looks to you for advice and support. Was this something I could do, wanted to do or had time to do. Also taking into consideration that giving advice and offering support is one thing but at the end of the day your students and/or mentees still are their own person and own artist, they have final say on anything they create and put on the stage. It isn’t about taking control of someone’s art, it’s about helping to try and build it into something spectacular.

“Honestly – I’ve never really done much in the way of promoting myself as a mentor because most of my students come to me – so in a way – they choose me! 

I am selective about who I work with though – firstly, I have to have a positive connection with someone and see potential, drive and commitment to the art that they want to produce in the world (or for themselves). 

…. so in short, potential, drive and a connection. Students often reach out to work with me because they’ve connected with me either on a performative level or through words that I have shared. 

I always want to know what it is that has touched them or what they see in me that they want to see in themselves. I’m lucky enough to work very closely with some incredible individuals around Australia and internationally.” – Miss Alyssa Kitt

Choosing a mentor can be tricky, they ideally need to be someone you connect with, someone you trust, someone you are willing to take guidance from. They also need to want to work with you. It really does need to be a partnership you both want or it may not work out. Personally I won’t work with someone that I don’t feel I gel with. Not because I don’t like them or don’t see potential but if the connection isn’t there I’d rather see them find someone more suitable.

I’ve been running my body positivity, confidence and inclusivity workshops for a while now and being able to share my knowledge and experience on the subject to help people on their journey of body positivity is such a wonderful feeling. Recently I was given the opportunity to teach (something I never thought would happen) thanks to Scarlet Bell Burlesque for offering me a position as a guest teacher. Being a stage mumma has filled me with so much pride and joy. I now, also have a few mentees, and being a burly mumma and being called Mumma Skye brings tears to my eyes (happy tears), something I couldn’t of even imagined way back when I started out as a baby burlesque student. Yes, I’m a very emotional person, can you tell hehe. I actually never knew I’d love teaching so much. Body Positivity, Confidence and Inclusivity is my passion and being able to see my students and my babies grow in confidence and knowing they are in an environment where they are accepted just as they are is what it’s all about for me.

My Intro To Burlesque students & I at The Bare Necessi-TEASE student show presented by Scarlet Bell Burlesque July 2021 : Photo by Vespa Photography

“Haha – I always laugh when my mentored students call me Mama Kitt (cause my own Mum is Mama Kitt). But having a burly Mumma and being one is being that person where your babies come to you knowing that they’re going to be looked after and cared for. It’s like calling your own Mum for support. I love my role as a mentor not just to my own students, but to the burlesque community.” – Miss Alyssa Kitt

Hmmm, are you now pondering the thought of getting yourself a mentor? Let’s be honest a rhinestoned costume and a dance background can only get you so far. Don’t get me wrong, there are some people out there that scream natural ability and talent (argh, fully jelly). Learning about burlesque on a deeper level is always highly recommended if you want to reach for a professional level. There is an abundance of knowledge and burlesque history to learn about. As I say when you think you know it all is when you stop learning. I, myself, know I still have so much more to learn.

“If you want to be serious about this, invest in your art, not just your costumes or your rhinestones! That also being said, mentorship is not someone dictating to you how to perform, its about working collaboratively together to see you succeed. Tell them if you don’t like something, or if you find the lesson they’re giving you is not right for now, then don’t be afraid to pay out the rest of the fees and find someone who does suit you. But a mentor who cares about you, will want what is best for you first and foremost before their own ego. Alyssa is most definitely someone like that for me.” – Dollar Dazzler

Now, you are probably wondering, how do I find myself a mentor? Well, not all performers and artists have the time to offer on going mentorship. Most have muggle jobs that take up a lot of their time. Some, however, will offer one on one sessions rather than an on going situation. Also many don’t advertise that they do mentoring. Best thing to do is to think about who you’d like to work with and contact them directly. Introduce yourself and let them know who you are and what you are after, they will let you know if they can help you or they may refer to someone else. Yes, I know, it’s scary to approach a performer or artist you look up to.

Also I really should mention this bit…. there are costs involved with having a mentor. Much like going to classes. These things cost money. Every mentor will have a different fee schedule and you do need to consider this before you start. Is it something you can afford. Depending who you choose, you do need to take into consideration that they may not be in your budget. Trust me though, they are giving you invaluable information that they have accumulated over their years as an artist. Just remember that before you have a possible heart attack at the fees. Also, don’t choose a mentor solely based on price either. Consider everything as a whole and also discuss with your possible mentor what your budget looks like. I know full well Alyssa goes far beyond just the hours I spend with her. There is much background work that goes on that is done outside of our 2 hour sessions. At some point, and probably still do, these artists have spent a huge amount of money and time on their own education in the burlesque world.

Another note worth mentioning…. just because you have a mentor does not mean you can’t still go to classes or have one on one sessions with other artists. You can still go learn from who ever you feel you need to in order to improve your skill level. For me, Alyssa offers just about everything I need but sadly she is not in the same state as me, and now not even the same country. I have done some one on one sessions with Bettie Bombshell and also classes with Miss Lady Lace for that face to face in studio time.

Now, I bet you are wondering how it all works if your mentor isn’t in the same state or country as you. The wonders of technology of course, Skype, Zoom or something like that. That’s right, you can choose an artist from anywhere in the world. Just be aware of timezone differences. For the most part I do sessions with my mentees via Zoom.

“Working with Delza has improved my performances and confidence 100%. She keeps me accountable and helps me to see the way forward. Whilst she is gentle and loving, she can still be strict and hard when called for. 

I now have a strong direction and my ambition meets my ability. The standard of my costuming has risen with her advice. I am more focused, and goal orientated. This year I competed and was a finalist in 2021 Apprentease Excellence Award, which I know without Delza’s mentorship I wouldn’t have gone quite as far.” – Mistress Mustang

Honestly, mentorship is not for everyone but if becoming a professional burlesque artist is something you truly want, then it’s something I do suggest you look into. Do your research and have a good think about the direction you want to take on your journey…. and then if you decide its something you do want to pursue, take that leap of faith, contact that artist you want to work with, you never know til you ask. Go on, do it!

Love Delza Skye xoxo

Forty & Fabulous


Oh my goodness, I’m 40!

Yes, you’re shocked too? Let that one sink in for a bit…. 40! Damn, I look good though. <pats self on the back>

Cake Smash shoot for my 40th b’day – Fate Photography

Wowzers, when did that creep up on me, I can’t be that age, I don’t feel that age. I went to write ‘old’ but replaced it with ‘age’, because guess what, 40 isn’t old. It sounds old to a teenager, sure, because that’s their parents age, but even my own Mum reminded me that 40 isn’t middle aged. Go figure 50 is middle aged these days, even that isn’t ‘old’.

Now, 40 years is a long time, I was born last century after all. Reflecting back on the last 40 years I realised just how much I’ve accomplished (and changed) and I’m actually pretty darn proud of myself <another pat on the back for me>

A quick flash back to my younger days….

Finished up year 12 at school, went straight to beauty college, then straight into work and within a year I opened my own salon. I even got engaged to the love of my life, my now hubby. All before turning 20. Yay, go me. <do a deserve a gold star, I reckon>

I then spent my 20s building my business, getting married, making our house a home and the best bit of all…. making two beautiful babies.

RMoving on to my 30s. The first half was me struggling to juggle being a wife, a mum and a business owner all whilst my hubby was away working FIFO. But I’m superwoman and got that sh%t done. OK, I cried and screamed a lot but I still got on with it. Then, after having huge issues with body image and becoming rather depressed over it and honestly the kids didn’t even ‘ruin’ my body but it was still different to the pre-baby body I once had. I found pinup and shortly after, burlesque entered my life. And that’s when I started to become ‘me’.

Who knows what sort of person I’d be now if I didn’t find those 2 things. Would I be a mum bun kinda woman, would I still be worried about wearing a bathing suit in public (or at all full stop), would I wear active wear everyday (that stuff is pretty comfy) …. meh I’ll never know and I don’t actually care.

I have really grown as a person. Would you believe I use to be extremely shy, like really full on shy, just ask my Dad haha, sorry Dad. I now have a voice, yep I’m loud haha, sorry Mum but I do take after you. I can go to events alone, I can even do public speaking and ummm I take my clothes off on stage whoop whoop! I feel sorry for my hubby, he thought he married a shy timid little flower….. bahahaha. I was told that the closer to 40 you get the more you stand up for yourself and the more you don’t give a rats ass about drama. All 100% true.

How many of you would rather forget about their impending big 4 0 bday and who would rather party like its 1981??

A few years back now, there was a trend going around about having a funeral for your 40th to say goodbye to your youth, oh I totally was going to do that…. but then something changed. I really thought about it and came to the realisation that I have a lot to celebrate, just because society says I’m ‘old’ doesn’t mean I have to get the rocking chair out and go to bed at 6pm. And just think about all the people that sadly don’t make it this far. 40 is not a funeral it’s a celebration. No matter what, we can’t stop the ageing and we to try to remember it’s just a number telling you how long you’ve been on this earth.

So, I had myself a massive party. With showgirls and burlesque performers. An expensive hotel room and a bloody fun after party <that’s for me to know about and you to guess about lol>

My Forty & Fabulous birthday party – Wild Kat Photography

And boy oh boy did I party like it was 1981. Please note: You don’t feel your actual age til you have to deal with a hangover haha. I was beyond spoilt by my friends, family and especially my hubby. I’m one lucky lady to have him.

and…. then the glitter crash hit.<insert sad music> It hit hard. The lead up to my birthday and being so up and down about the big scary number, then the huge celebrations all came to a crashing halt. The day of my actual birthday was the day I said goodbye to one my besties (how dare she move to another state, rude much) and my hubby went back to work the next morning. I then felt alone and with nothing to look forward to. I know, drama city right here. I know what your thinking, get a grip woman. I know, I know <palm to face> My depression and anxiety started creeping in and I was up and down, all over the place. My husband, unfortunately copped the hurricane, tsunami, and earthquake that was me, ‘The Attack Of The 40 Year Old Woman’! Turning 40 is all fun and games til the party is over and you are left to ponder the sheer fact that you are now 40. I can’t even explain it, but I went a little crazy there (just a little bit). I’m a very emotional person, that’s just me, and I feel things on a whole other level but this was a roller-coaster I really didn’t like being on. Like the one in Final Destination 3. That kinda roller-coaster. You can see it’s all going to go to sh%t but you can’t make it stop. So, my deepest heartfelt apologies to my dearest husband. I’m seriously lucky he didn’t serve me with divorce papers. I love you darling.

I’m OK, now. It’s all good, I’m superwoman remember (so I tell myself).

I turned 40 and survived. Gold star for me! Lol

Far out, why is flicking over into another decade, another age bracket so darn scary and why do we even want to hide our age. Is it the pressures of society saying you’re ‘old’, you should have done this, this and this by now, you should grow up, you should act a certain way. Screw you society, I do what I want. <insert middle finger>

Personally, I’m pretty impressed with myself. I don’t look 40 (what does 40 look like, deep in thought now). I have looked after my skin very well and as a result do look younger than I am. So, everyone listen up, if I offer you skincare advice maybe you should listen. I think I’ve proven that I know my sh%t.

I actually achieved a goal I’d set myself. Get to 40 without crowsfeet (the wrinkles around the eyes), no botox and no fillers. Ta Da, I did it. So again, if you are looking for skincare advice, hit me up. Saran Pike Beauty <wink wink> Actually I’ve accomplished a heck of a lot and I am living a life that not only am I happy with but I’m proud of and I can’t wait to tell my great grand kids about all the adventures their Grammy (that’s going to be my name when I become a grandmother) has had. But…. there’s much more adventures to be had before then.

FORTY!!! Don’t be scared (and don’t go crazy like I did). Embrace it, you are not ‘old’ you have just been on this earth longer than others. Look after yourselves, eat well, exercise and go on adventures, live life and plan to get that letter from the King when you hit 100. Your age is literally just a number. Don’t worry about all those noises your body makes, you know the cracks and moans, it makes as the number rises. Just enjoy the roller-coaster, not the final Destination one, the Disney Land one, the scary but fun one. Oh, and eat the cake.

Love Delza xoxo

PS you are never too ‘old’ for anything, full stop.


Body positivity and confidence part 4

“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay

• • •

Body self love is a life long lesson and journey, with twists and turns that come with our ever changing bodies from such things as weight gain and loss, pregnacy, age, illness etc. It doesn’t come easily and it takes working on it every single day. This has taken me years and years to get to the stage I’m at right now and even then, I’m still struggling.

For pretty much all my life, well as far back as I can remember anyhow, I’ve had body image issues and for the last 5 years or so I’ve been working hard to look at myself in a kind and loving way rather than hating on myself. Finding the world of pinup certainly helped me in huge way. I was always trying to dress to the current fashion, which 95% of the time was not made for my body shape. The pinup style is perfect for my curves. I love everything about the vintage and retro style, and dressing in that way was a massive break through for me. Not having to try to keep up with current fashion trends makes my life much easier. Dressing pinup is who I am. It brings me so much joy. The pinup lifestyle and fashion, so to speak, isn’t for everyone but it’s definitely for me.

Recently I’ve been really reflecting on my life and how I see myself. I’ve pondered about what I may of thought if 19 year old me could of seen a pic of 39 year old me. Not even going to lie, 19 year old me would of ended up with an awful eating disorder or become obsessed with exercise in absolute fear of ending up just how I am today. I’m being totally honest, that’s right, I would have been horrified to know that I would be the size I am (and I’m not even that ‘big’). I was after all a 90s teen and back then, skinny was the ‘in’ thing. Thigh gaps (or as I call them, ‘bang gaps’) were all the rage. Curvy girls were considered ‘fat’. Cellulite was one of the scariest things on the planet to teenager (more than likely still is) and don’t even get me started about spider veins. But what if 19 year old me could also be preview to how happy I am, then things would more than likely be different within teenage me’s reaction to late 30s me. What if, what if??

I’m in no way the same person I was 20 years ago, nor even 5 years ago. I absolutely love my curves and embrace them. As much as I’m never going to be 100% happy, seriously what woman is, I’m pretty darn close. Like 90% there.

One thing that has always been my biggest issue with my body is my thighs. My darn thunder thighs. The size doesn’t bother me so much anymore (not like it use to) but the cellulite and the nasty spider veins are what get to me these days. Being a Beauty Therapist means being on my feet for the most part of the day. This, and my age, has contributed to those beautiful purple spider web looking veins appearing on my legs. For these 2 reasons, I’ve not wanted to show my bare legs in public much at all. I’ve over come wearing a bathing suit in public but would you believe, up until a few months ago I had never ever performed on stage bare leg for an entire act.

Ok, ok, I have been on stage twice without stockings and in bathers of all things (stockings and bathers just don’t go), which scared me more than being on stage in the first place, but this was for 2 different pinup competitions. Both of which I actually won. Go figure. Pinup competitions don’t include removing your clothing (well no actual strip tease elements anyways), so it’s a bit different to burlesque. I’ve never performed any of my burlesque acts without stockings on. Yep, I always wear stockings. ALWAYS! It’s a little safety net for me…… but I finally did it. I went on stage bare leg.

I recently revamped my 2nd ever solo act from almost 5 years ago. I had kept the original cardboard bath tub I made (so crafty), and always thought that maybe one day I’d bring the act back. Originally I wore thigh high stockings and took them off on stage right before I stepped into the bath. This time I made the decision to face my fears and not wear stockings at all. This may seem so trivial to most but this was a huge thing for me.

I was so nervous, more nervous than I had been for a very long time. I used shimmer lotion and glitter spray to make me all nice and sparkly and also in the hopes of hiding some of the imperfections. I stood back stage and all of a sudden it dawned me…. I looked over at Madame Demi Diva & Bettie Bombshell and said “have I just hidden the cellulite or highlighted it?”…. Oh shit, too late it’s done now and it’s time to go on stage.

I felt so nervous and I had the shakes so bad…. but I got through the act, I felt good about it, I felt amazing and I felt empowered. I did it! I faced my fears and I’ve never been so proud of myself in my personal self love and body positivity journey.

Getting the photos back from any show is always scary for me and this show even more so. But I absolutely love them, so much so that I asked my beautiful friend, Elise from Fate Photography to do a little bit of her magic (she is a magician) so I could have them printed on glass and displayed in my home, to honour such an achievement of mine.


Celebrate the wins, no matter how small or trivial they may seem. Try to be kind to yourself throughout your own personal journey. We are all hard on ourselves and we all have things we don’t like about our bodies but you can find an acceptance and an approval of it and love it for what it is. We all have flaws but even flaws can be beautiful.

Next time you look in the mirror look at the parts you love and tell yourself you love them, then look at the parts you don’t like so much and tell yourself you love them even though you don’t like them. The more you love on yourself the more you will believe it. It’s hard at first but day by day it gets easier.

Love Delza xoxo

Waxing 101

Everything you need to know or ever wanted to know about being waxed, preparation and after care from yours truly, hooha waxing extraordinaire.

I’ve been a qualified Beauty Therapist and salon owner for over 20 years now and specialise in all things waxing. I’m some what of a Brazilian wax expert you might say.

Number 1, Yes it hurts! I’m not going to lie, it hurts…. c’mon your body hair is being ripped out from the root, it isn’t going to tickle…. but there’s a difference between ‘normal’ pain from waxing and being tortured by someone who is not the greatest waxer out there. There are techniques learnt from going to beauty school and also from on the job training that really make a huge difference to the level of discomfort.

So what does it feel like then, well certain areas like legs sting like a bandaid being ripped off, whilst underarms and bikini line have a deeper more intense pain. None the less the pain is fleeting. It hurts for the second that the hair is ripped out then it’s over.

How to avoid unnecessary pain

  • Make sure you go to a qualified professional.
  • Listen to your Beauty Therapist when they ask you to move your leg a certain way or hold your skin a particular way.
  • Attempt to resist fussing about and moving out of position. Pulling your leg in when it needs to be bent out during a bikini wax or screwing up your face when having your brows done can cause bruising and/or skin peeling if your therapist is unable to pull the wax off correctly.
  • Avoid waxing whilst you are on your period or are unwell. Your pain threshold is already pretty maxed out.
  • Always inform your therapist of any medications or illnesses. Some medications can make your skin extremely sensitive.
  • Trim the over grown areas.
  • Wax regurally. On average your waxing needs to be done every 4-6 weeks. Don’t leave it too long between appointments.

Preparing for your waxing session

  • Firstly, shower before your appointment and avoid moisturising directly before your appointment.
  • If you are having your intimate areas done (bikini and/or bottom area) use the baby wipes that are provided in the salon. Yes, use them. A quick freshen up is very much appreciated. And because I know you are all wondering, Yes I’ve had times where a client has not wiped correctly. Yep, glamorous job right.
  • Exfoliate the day of or night before. Really, exfoliate everyday but we will get to that.
  • Trim intimate areas. That’s right, if you have an over grown forest growing down yonder please trim it. I am not a hairdresser and will not be trimming your pubes. Tip : scissor over comb, you really don’t want to cut that area…. ouch! Trim down to approx 5-10mm as a general guide.
  • I know of some clients taking a some pain relief prior to their appointment to help with the pain but I’m unsure if that is effective or not.
  • Don’t wear your super expensive pretty under garments to have your bikini waxed, your therapist can’t guarantee that wax won’t get on those pretty knickers.
  • If you are more comfortable leaving your underwear on during your intimate areas being waxed that is totally fine, we can work around that. It’s good to have a g-string that is for waxing appointments. One that you aren’t too bothered about possibly getting wax on.

After care advice (read this carefully, it’s important)

  • Exfoliate!!! – exfoliate everyday (except directly after your wax). Yes, every day! With an actual waxing loofah not those bloody mesh balls that you apply body wash with. Exfoliating will help to remove dead skin cells allowing the hair to grow through freely and not become ingrown. Be warned I’m one of those therapists that will attack those ingrowns.
  • Moisturise – keep your skin soft and nourished. This will also help with ingrown hairs.
  • Use an ingrown hair treatment if you have been recommended it. There’s a lot of not so great products out there but there are some amazing products that actually do work. Hit me up. I have found the stuff that works. Seriously I have the stuff.
Examples of what to use and not use to exfoliate: I sell the riffi mitts. They are amazing… strong, durable and effective. Contact me if you wish to purchase one

More tips and frequently asked questions …. the things I get asked rather often

  • Yes, you can still get waxed whilst you are on your period. If you are having your intimate areas waxed use a tampon and tuck the string between the labia folds to ensure it is out of the way of the wax. Have you heard of the urban legend about the tampon string getting stuck in the wax and being ripped out. Yeah, not pretty at all.
  • Yes, you can get waxed whilst pregnant. Your therapist will be able to position you comfortably and correctly to avoid you rolling onto your belly but still being able to get all the areas.
  • If you have sex before your appointment please clean yourself up (baby wipes, use the baby wipes). Yes, I’ve had clients lay there with cum dribbling out. I love my job (smiling awkwardly).
  • If you have any piercings, especially on intimate areas, tell your therapist. Sometimes they aren’t that obvious or visible….. another urban legend right there. Use your imagination on that one. Wax vs piercing = f$%king ouch!
  • Can your partner watch? If that’s something you really want to do I personally don’t have an issue with it (always check with your therapist though) but make sure they know to stay out of the way so your waxing can be done in a timely manner.
  • How long does the hair need to be? You’ll be surprised, not very long. At least 3-5mm is a good length for most areas. I’ve been a waxing professional for a long time now, so I can get them out pretty short. You do not need to wait til you have turned into a yetti to be waxed.
  • You’ve been shaving for ever, no worries you can start waxing. It will take approximately 3-5 waxing sessions to start getting the hair into a good cycle of growth pattern for optimal results. Shaving can cause hair to grow at different rates and also the hair to become thicker over time. Waxing will weaken the hair and will reduce growth, thickness and amount.
  • I waxed my lip once and it made it hairier…. no, it didn’t make it hairier (palm to face). The hair was gone for a short while, then it grew back and you realised how hairy it actually was. Waxing does NOT make you hairier!
  • If you are being waxed for the first time, a little bit of advice, go to someone who has been working in a salon for some time and knows exactly what they are doing. Yes, everyone needs time to perfect their skills but do not get your waxing cherry popped by a trainee. Trainees are best to work with seasoned waxers not newbies who are scared and will jump all over the place with each rip. This will stress both client and therapist out unnecessarily.
  • Why am I so hairy? Every one has different types of hair growth. This can be due to number of factors including genetics, hormones, illness, disorders etc. Every one is different. Never be worried about how much hair you have or don’t have for that matter.
  • No, your therapist is not perving on you and looking at all the bits you are selfconcious about. Yes, we see your body parts that are being waxed but believe it or not we are looking at the hair that we are removing and that’s it. This is why I mentioned about the piercings, we aren’t starring at your hooha that full on that we have noticed these things. Plus we see naked bodies on a daily basis so we’ve kinda seen it all before. We are not their to judge your wobbly bits, we are there to remove unwanted hair.
  • Why do people get their butt hole waxed? Simple, there is hair there…. Yes, there is, deal with it. 100% your choice to remove or leave but trust me if you are being intimate with someone and the lights are on they are going to see it. Keep that thought in mind next time your therapist asks “all off including bottom?”.
  • You make it look so easy, maybe I could do my own. For the love of all things holy and not, DO NOT try this at home. Do you have any idea how many times someone has told me horror stories about home waxing jobs. Oh lordy, seriously by the time you purchase good quality wax, a wax pot and then the time it takes you to wax yourself you are better off paying a professional. Plus not to mention the bruising and skin ripping you will inflict on yourself because you darling are not qualified in this area of expertise. I’ve had not 1 but 2 clients tell me about trying to wax their kitty and not being able to get the wax off, then jumping in a hot bath thinking the wax will dissolve some how and sticking themselves to the bottom of the bath tub. Yep, 2 people did that. That’s 2 people that I know of.
  • My friend does waxing but is it weird that they know me and they will see my naked body. As long as your friend is actually qualified then there is no reason to feel concerned about them seeing your body. They are a professional and have ethics. They will not judge you or tell all your mates what your hooha looks like.
  • Do you really feel like an under paid Sex Therapist and/or Psychologist? Yes, 100%…. most clients feel comfortable enough to tell you almost anything and will ask your advice. Really, when you think about it, we are far cheaper than actual qualified Sex Therapists and Psychologists with PhDs.
  • Do people really get everything waxed? Yes, sure do. All body parts can be waxed. So yes, breasts, nipples, nose, back, butt hole, full face etc are all on the list.

Ok Wow, that’s a lot of information. Rest assured with a professional, fully qualified Beauty Therapist you are in safe hands. Choose someone you feel comfortable with. I always try my best to make all my clients feel welcome, comfortable and safe. Waxing can be a scary thing for a lot of people, so trust is a huge thing. Ask questions, that’s what we are there for. Trust me anything you may be too embarrassed to ask, we have already heard it all before.

Now, go get those hairs ripped out.

Love Delza xoxo


Please note : this is not an advice article. Everything written comes from my own personal knowledge, thoughts and experiences.

When it comes to children, we all know they kinda tell it how it is. No holding back on the truth of things. They say exactly what they are thinking (especially the younger kids) without a second thought. But as kids get older they learn what you say out loud and what you keep to yourself, something parents and care givers usually teach or at least should be teaching.

As much as we (well, most of us) teach our kids to be honest, to be polite, to be respectful…. there is still things that seem to get forgotten about. Ask yourself, really ask yourself, are you teaching your kids about being kind to others even if they don’t like someone, or if someone looks different, has a disbility, or may be less fortunate than you? Really… Are you? Now think about what sort of things you say… Are you, yourself, making comments (or even jokes) about people’s weight, colour, disability and even sexuality? Hey, we’ve all done it at some point, don’t for a second act like you haven’t…. mostly just as a little joke, not intentionally trying to be an awful person but as adults we really do need to be mindful of what we say in front of children. As the saying goes “monkey see, monkey do”.

I won’t sit here and say my kids are perfect little sweethearts, but I will 100% say that I openly talk to my kids about bullying, racism, body shamming, gender and sexuality. No matter what, I have always taught my kids to be kind to others, even if they are not fond of someone for whatever reason…. be kind no matter what colour their skin is, if they have a disability (physical or mental), if they identify as a certain gender or what their sexuality is, even their body shape or size. There is absolutely no reason to be nasty to anyone just because. Bullying and being a complete a-hole is a choice.

I am utterly shocked that bullying is still so bad, especially with so many schools claiming they have a zero tolerance to bullying. Although, this world is a cruel place and people are becoming more and more arrogant and selfish, honestly why am I shocked. Yes, social media has a huge part to play in a lot of the bullying. They are the gutless wonders that hide behind a keyboard. Sitting at your computer and bullying someone is pretty petty to be honest. But there is still so much bullying going on all day everyday in schools directly to another kids face. Some kids can’t even walk from class to class without being harassed. Many of my friends and clients tell me stories of incidents involving their kids being badly picked on, bullied and even getting into fights.

Seriously though these behaviours must be being learnt in the home. In some homes at least and then those kids are projecting it onto their friendship group and the end result being a bunch of nasty bullies. At what point does a child go from saying things out of pure innocence and honesty to becoming just plain down right mean. Thinking that being nasty to another person is ok. Kids making other kids lives hell. And all for what…. Does it make them feel good to make someone else feel so crap. Do you think it makes you ‘cool’ or popular because you are a nasty so and so. The worst thing is that adults can be just as bad. Far out some of the school mum’s are pure evil. Ladies Bitches, we left high school 10+ years ago, get a life.

Lately I’m hearing that body shamming is a big deal (no pun intended). What the frigging heck! Young kids calling class mates ‘fat’. Being a huge advocate for body positivity, confidence and inclusivity this really makes my blood boil. What the bleeping bleep are parents saying in front of their kids for them to think body shamming is ok. Listen up people, body shamming is not ok at any age. Heck, bullying is not ok at any age!!!!

With the body positive movement becoming bigger and bigger how on earth are kids even picking up on calling anyone ‘fat’. Every single person in this world is unique and different. All of us are different shapes and sizes…. even if we all did the same exercises and ate the same food, we would still be different shapes and sizes. It’s called genetics. Look it up.

Then there is the whole bullying kids about their sexuality, calling other kids gay, as if it’s such an awful thing to be gay. Like seriously, it’s 2020, are we still not past this being so taboo. Grow the feck up people. Who gives a flying F if you like men, women or trees. Love who you want to love.

I’m so beyond fired up over this. Yes, bullying will happen no matter what we do but it needs to be stopped the second it starts. Schools need to stick to their ‘zero tolerance’ pledge and actually sort these bullies out immediately. I’ve heard from friends of mine that their kids school have some kids on sucide watch at school due to such severe bullying. Now that is so messed up. But it’s reality, kids are killing themselves due to bullying. That’s right, this is F*%KING serious!

I honestly don’t have the answers to resolving this but we can all work together to educate our children about bullying. Speak to your kids openly about all topics. Let them express their opinions, allow them to speak honestly to you. Talk about issues of racism, body shamming, sexuality. Having these discussions could help prevent a lot of nasty behaviour in the future.

Parents (and care givers) open your gosh darn eyes and ears. If another parent or even a teacher approaches you about your child possibly participating in any kind of bullying for feck sakes listen. Don’t get your back up and go straight on the defense. Act like an adult and take on board what is being said and then go and speak to your child about the issue. Teachers, you need to listen too and take bullying claims seriously. We know a lot of you are doing an amazing job, praise be, and we know it’s not an easy job. Unfortunately there are a lot of teachers who just don’t care or can be bullies too. Yep, it happens.

I had an issue with a parent about 4 years ago now. I asked this mother if I could speak to her about a problem our 2 kids were having. This other kid wouldn’t allow my son to play with her or the other girls (one being his best friend at the time) because he was a boy. No other reason than the fact he has a penis, basically. I was very polite. Even down played just how much my son was upset over it because I didn’t want to upset this mother. I thought the conversation went well…. nope, she then went straight to my friend and claimed I had been rather nasty to her and her daughter which then caused me to become pretty peeved off and then I got my back up, feeling as if I needed to then defend myself. Why on earth did I even try to be nice, why did I down play my son’s feelings. I was livid. Should of just punched her in the face right there and then for pulling that kind of f*%kery. But that’s not being a good role model for my kiddies is it just.

Moral of the story…. attempt to be nice and discuss with other parents and if they don’t want to listen then go directly to the school. If they don’t listen then shoot, I don’t know. Teach your kid how to fight…. I don’t know. Parents just darn well listen and calmly between you attempt to sort things out.

Were you bullied in school? Or were you the bully? If you could go back and redo school, would you behave differently? If I’m to be really honest, I dare say I was nasty and hurt someone during my time at school. I know I saw some awful stuff done to others that I didn’t stop. I wish I could go back and change it but I can’t. All I can do now is talk to my own kids and teach them to be kind human beings.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” – Mark Twain

Please!!! For the love of all things holy and not, talk to your children regularly. Not only about any bullying issues but also check in on them. How are they doing, are they having any issues at school, are their friends going ok. Let them know they can talk to you. Let them know they can openly and safely speak about anything. Also, if you suspect your kid could be the bully then nip it in the butt right then. We can’t change the world over night but we can sure as heck start chipping away at it. It cost nothing to be kind and teaching your kids that, could save another child from living out a torturous nightmare at school, that could potentially have long last effects continuing into adulthood.

Now, go talk to your kids.

Love Delza xoxo

Stripped Back

As a performer you have a whole other persona to your everyday muggle reality. No one, but your nearest and dearest, see the ‘real’ you…. and really, they are the only people you want seeing the real you, anyways. Your real life should remain a mystery to the general public, for the most part. Therefore most people will never see the emotional rollercoaster ride you go on as a performer. From the joy of being asked to perform in a show or being accepted into a competition or festival all the way to the flip side of things…. the downward slope of self doubt and constant mind games you play with yourself, “am I good enough, no I’m not, yes I am, no I’m not”… to the sadness and some what hurt that comes from rejection. That dreaded email that says “unfortunately, you were not successful”. Not to mention the endless hours of creating an act, rehearsals, costuming, rhinestoning and the list goes on. There is a serious amount of actual blood, sweat and tears that goes into each act. Honestly, go ask the performers competing in Miss Burlesque Australia.

Being a performer and putting yourself out there can be hard. You are putting your art on stage for all to see, and believe it or not there will be judgey eyes on you. Oh yes the judging and the critiques you don’t ask for. Common courtesy people, unless a performer asks specifically for your input or opinion, please keep it to yourself. Burlesque as an art form is all subject to interpretation. There are so many different genres and styles of dance and theatre that come under the umbrella of burlesque, which can make it even harder to put yourself out there and be understood. Especially to the general public that immediately think burlesque is just like the movie ‘Burlesque’ <insert palm to face>. In answer to that …. best said by Miss Alyssa Kitt herself “jazzy… just like the movie… except a lot more filth and less money!”.

The emotional rollercoaster is a huge juggling act. Trust me if you are judging me, you can bet your ass I’m judging myself far harsher than you ever could. I’ve had panic attacks, sleepless nights and even made myself sick over thinking and worrying about an act and what people think of it and me. A lot of which, for me, stems from a rather toxic environment that I started my burlesque journey in. Although now, having an incredible mentor, a beautiful burly fam, an amazing husband and supportive friends/family to help keep me focused and bring me back down to earth, when I’m spiraling into a full on self doubt tornado keeps me pushing towards my goals.

So many people see me as a happy go lucky person, a poised pinup, a confident woman and yes for the most part that is me. What you don’t see is the pain behind my eyes, the anxiety, the self doubt, the worry, the longing for acceptance…… and you aren’t meant to see it, Delza isn’t any of that. She is fierce, confident and tenacious. But muggle me carries all the troublesome aspects and the raw emotions. Hidden well behind winged eye liner and red lipstick. Would you believe, on the days I don’t have my wings and red lips I actually get questioned pretty often by people “are you ok”? ….”You don’t look yourself today”. Wow people, can’t a girl have a day off and enjoy a nude lip for a change. I don’t always need my wings sharpened ready to cut someone. Geez!

With COVID-19 upsetting just about everyone’s lives, I found that it has bought on a lot more emotion than I would normally deal with. I am naturally an emotional person and wear my heart on my sleeve, so you can imagine just how much more emotions I was dealing with. Before the pandemic hit Australia with a big smack in the face, I was full steam ahead, busy working on shows and acts and then…. <insert stop sign> it all just stopped. And not just for me, that’s for almost every single performer out there. Cancellations of every show I was booked for, the New Zealand Burlesque Festival that I had been prepping for, cancelled. Which hit me really hard. I found myself in limbo. Nothing to work towards, nothing to prep for, just nothing and no direction. Where was I going now, what should I be working on….. lost, completely lost. To make matters worse the government had banned beauty salons from operating which meant I couldn’t work in my muggle job either (you can read all about that in my blog Under House Arrest). Far too much time off, and far to much time to get inside my own head.

I didn’t give up. Kind of a stubborn bull really. I continued my sessions with my mentor (aka my burly mama), Miss Alyssa Kitt. I focussed on other aspects of my burly life as much as possible. Eventually, I’d be back on stage, so one must be ready for that day. With all my frustrations of self doubt I was set tasks to work on stripping back who I am and how I’m feeling. Most, if not all, performers are searching for (at some point in their career) that pivotal moment where they feel the acceptance they so greatly need, want and desire. Not realising it was inside them all along. Yes, easier said than done of course. Whilst some may be as confident as all hell (praise be), we all ride our own rollercoaster of emotions with set backs and achievements. Strip back those feelings…. your emotions are valid no matter what. Keep pushing through, keeping creating, keep being you.

Love Delza xoxo

Please note : everything I write about comes from my own personal knowledge and experiences. This is not an advice article

Images by Fate Photography

part time single mum

Are FIFO wives with children the forgotten single mum’s out there. Yeah, yeah, yeah we aren’t single, we do have our partners but for most of us, we spend more than half a year without our partners home. Left to full parental responsibilities solo. So when I say single I’m not referring to our relationship status but the status of us as mum’s, single meaning, doing it solo. So a part time single mum, means doing the parenting part of the time as a solo person. I hope that makes sense because I’m feeling the death stares burning a hole in the back of my head already.

Now, before you get on your high horses….yep Karen, I’m looking at you. I’m not here to be dismissive of all the single mum’s out there doing it all alone 24/7. So you can call off the hoards with pitchforks. And, while we’re at it…. NO! The money our partners get paid does not make up for the lost time, so zip it. Your judgement is not welcome here. Go take it elsewhere. Cheers.

Being a FIFO family is definitely a lifestyle choice and it’s not for everyone. It comes with it’s benefits and also it’s down falls. One of those down falls being the time our partners are away. FIFO rosters vary from site to site from 1 week on site and 1 week home to 4 weeks on site and 1 week home or even longer away. My husband is currently doing 2 weeks on site and 1 week home. This means he is away more than 6 months of the year, more like 8 months actually. Hence me being a ‘part time single mum’.

“Due to tight finances, my husband started FIFO and there were some big changes to our family unit. Parenting became difficult as I was still working full time in a high pressure corporate job with 2 small children and no support. He felt helpless and couldn’t do anything when he was away but saw the kids and I were having a hard time. Even when he was home, I often found myself still solo parenting while he caught up on rest and took care of the kids while I was working. Things became strained as we struggled to get into the new routine and collaborate. Amongst some other issues around insecurities on his part while he was away, we ultimately divorced.

Maya and her kids

9 months after the husband and I broke up, I met my (now ex) partner who also worked FIFO. We both had children around the same age and communication was a big thing for us. Our relationship had a bunch of trust in it and the FIFO routine worked amazingly!! When he was home, we were the Brady Bunch. When he was away, my kids had my full attention without others around and I could do things with my friends without feeling bad for not spending time with my partner. We had some very strict rules and rituals to keep things alive for us and they worked. I had a beautiful partner but also flexibility and no qualms about balancing my social life. Something I wasn’t use to from my previous relationship. We stayed together for 4.5 years and are friends even after the break up NB: the break up was not due to FIFO at all.

Maya and her kids

I am now a single mum and have been for over a year. The kids’ dad is more active but no longer does FIFO. The kids are a bit older and more independent so it is a bit easier but not without its challenges. I still feel supported by the ex partner. Generally speaking though, I am the one that cleans the emotional messes and to cool tempers when things flare up. Being a part time single mum meant I at least had someone to turn to and ask for support. Someone who could talk to the kids when I was emotional and give a logical perspective when I couldn’t. I had a team mate backing me even if he wasn’t there physically. Now…. its just me. Being a part time single mum with the wrong person was draining, with the right person it was a joy. Being a full time single mum is a challenge. At the end of the day though, no matter the capacity, I am a mum and there is nothing more rewarding in the world for me.” – Maya : full time single mum (previous FIFO wife)

We have been a FIFO family for 10 years now. I was pregnant with my 2nd baby when my husband first started working away. Back then his first roster was working away for 21 days and home for 10 days. I won’t lie, the adjustment to our new life was extremely hard for me. I was raising a toddler, going through a high risk pregnancy and still working and running my day spa. My emotions were all over the place (pregnancy hormones played a huge part in this) and my mental health suffered. Dealing with an awful lot of stress and going to many medical appointments alone was almost too much to take (that story can wait for a future blog) but we got through it as a team.

My little family of 4 (Riley just 10 days new)

Why were we putting ourselves through this stress you ask…. having our 2nd child meant I’d more than likely be working far less hours at the salon (I use to own a day spa in the city) and would mean needing to increase our employees hours to compensate. My husband starting a FIFO job meant we would have some extra money to compensate for my income loss. It’s no secret, we all know FIFO workers earn a good dollar, as they should…. my husband works over 13 hours a shift (day and night shifts) for 14 days straight. Also he would have his R&R time to spend at home with us as a family opposed to working everyday during the week, leaving the house before the kids were up, most weekends, late nights and only having 4 weeks holidays a year. Which is what we had previously been use to. Yes, I’m well aware that suits the majority of households. Chill, I’m not having a go. Now that I’ve gotten use to this FIFO lifestyle I actually don’t think I could go back to how it was before.

This has taken our family years to adapt to this huge change. There’s been times I’ve hated it, my husband has hated it and even the kids have hated it. There’s times when either one of us is not in a good head space and we have to help the other get through it, via phone calls and text messages, when all you want to do is be able to hold them tight. When the kids were younger it was very hard to try to explain to them that Daddy would be coming back. Having your kids crying at the front door everytime their Dad simply walked outside just to put something in the bin because they thought he was leaving was awful. Absolutely broke my heart and made me wonder if we were doing the right thing. But they gradually got use to it and now they probably don’t even remember those heart breaking moments.

We got through the hardest of the years (baby and toddler stages) and once I made the decision to move my salon to home, life got far easier. If my husband was going to be away at work for weeks at a time then I needed to be at home as much as possible. Driving to the city for work and trying to get back to the kids before the day care closed was always an epic rush that was taking a huge toll on all of us. Why did I hang on to my day spa for so long…. ohhh that’s right, before I had my babies my salon was my baby. Having the salon at home now means having far more flexibility with my work hours and I can do school drop off and pick ups, go on school excursions and to assemblies and even take them to any appointments they need to go to. Plus no more day care or after school care.

“I have worked FIFO for over 10 years now. Alot of people think it’s the money. Yes the money is great but I made more in Perth, I just worked alot harder for it. The mining work is not hard work, but it’s long draining hours and you really have to put up with some hard to deal with people. If this was Perth you’d handle the problem people a lot better…. if you get me. The time away and missing the family plus your mates, the burlesque shows and car events suck not being there. But most of all for me I miss my sons alot, it really is a mental challenge. I don’t normally let people see that side. I walk tall and make it look like it doesn’t get to me, because when I’m home, I’m really home. I take my boys to school so my wife can have a sleep in. I get to have day time fun with my beautiful wife…. if you get me. Go out and do stuff at home or out and about it’s great. Every 2 weeks I get a whole week off, plus I take 2 weeks off I get 4 off. It really is a balance of up and downs, plus night shift wrecks you. But I can’t see me doing anything else. I like my job.” – Aaron : FIFO worker and my husband

I’ve always had people ask “how do you do it”? My answer is always the same, “I have no other choice”. Being a mum is hard work, as rewarding as it is (think of the good bits, when they aren’t making you pull your hair out) it’s still a lot of work but we as parents decided to make little mini-me’s so now we have to suck it up and raise them to the best of our ability. They are my kids and my responsibility. If my husband is away then it all falls onto me.

Our little family circa 2015

The weeks that my husband is away are hard. The kids out number me and sure as hell drive me insane for the most part. Things are a lot easier now they are both self sufficient and both in full-time school. Though when my hubby is away for 2 weeks at a time I get next to no help, if the kids are sick or have nightmares, I’m the one getting up to them, I do all the cooking and cleaning, help with homework, take them to after school activities, parties etc. Me, all me. There’s that part time single mum thing, again. Remember I also work too. I’ve had more than my fair share of sleepless nights and sleep deprivation because it’s just me. And yes, regardless if you have a partner to help out or not you still go through this, I know, I get it.

“I am a full time working Mum and FIFO wife since 2014. I have a two year old and a five year old.
Times can be tough. The pressure to get everything done can be completely overwhelming, however when you achieve what you have set out to do for the day, and you have done that on your own. You feel like superwoman. Hahaha

My biggest struggle is loneliness. Yes I have a great support network of family and friends but they aren’t around when the kids have gone to bed and you’re watching TV alone on the lounge eating your feelings with a packet of Tim Tams. The nights when the kids are sick and it’s just you that’s with them. (both of my kids usually get sick at the same time ….. so much fun).

However my husband and I are a team. We have known each other for 19 years now. He knows when he is home that he helps. He has always been like that. What I think people forget is that no matter how hard it is for the ‘stay at home’ parent, is that we are still here for everything. We get to have the school experiences. We are there for the birthday parties and the family times, our partners don’t and that’s hard on them. It’s hard but it’s our life. It’s what works for us. And the time he is home. Is AMAZING!!!” – Casey : FIFO wife

Casey and her family on holiday

Asking for help has never been a strong suit of mine, I try my very best to use sitters sparingly if possible (babysitters can be rather costly). I’ve never used a babysitter or put my kids in day care just to have a break (100% my choice, and if you do it bloody good on you, we all need a break from time to time). I actually hate asking for a sitter but sometimes I have to work on location, have events on or I’m going out with friends to places kids can’t go. Plus sitters are 100% required for husband and wife time. Please, please for the love of all things holy and not, please still date your partner. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed time as a couple. Don’t even feel guilty about this one bit.

Not saying I get no help from my family, I’m very lucky that I do. So many people out there either don’t have family, live to far away from family or just don’t get any help from what family they do have close by. 3 years ago we moved next door to my parents which has been an absolute blessing, if only we did this when the kids were younger. Having family to help you even just so you can have an adult outing or even pop into the shops alone from time to time is so good. You know what I mean, don’t you.

Having some what of a routine is very important. This can be hard sometimes and I feel like that routine farely often goes out the door the week hubby is home. It’s taken some time to get it into some order but you make do. Having friends to talk to and spend time with on the weeks hubby is away is super important too. Having hobbies and things to keep you busy also helps. The loneliness and isolation can become very hard at times. Going to events alone is always a tough one. You feel like there’s a piece of you missing. It’s even tougher for my hubby, as he misses out completely and I feel guilty for going out and having fun without him. But life goes on and sitting at home is much worse mentally than going out by yourself. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that you have to juggle. I am very lucky that my hubby fully supports my hobbies and all my work commitments and encourages me to go out and have fun with my friends.

“We have been a FIFO family for almost 9 years. There are good and bad things. It has given our family many opportunities to improve our home and way of life. I am able to work part time. And when he is home, he is really home. No rushing off to work and coming home tired at the end of the day.
The hardest part I feel is, it gets very lonely and isolating. When he’s away and everyone has family plans your left by yourself. The old “we were going to ask you to come but thought you’d already have plans” can be too familiar. At the end of the day when you just want a break, it’s all me!! Everything is up to me!!!” – Abbey : FIFO wife

Abbey and her family


“We have been a FIFO family for 10 years. Since I met my partner he has always been in work that requires travel to different countries and also to go offshore on the oil rigs. He can be away for a week or up to months at a time . We have 3 children 6,5 and a 7 month old baby. It’s tough with children and a partner who works away for many reasons. The hardest part for me personally is the mental exhaustion, not really being able to switch off and get a break. The stress of looking after 3 children on my own sometimes takes its toll . It can also become very lonely which is why a good friends and family support network is very important. I find routine and organisation are key elements to surviving FIFO life” – Sarah : FIFO wife

Sarah and her family

I’ve talked about FIFO life but there’s others out there that spend even longer stints away from each other, defence force families. Many of my friends have partners in the navy and even my brother in law is in the navy and has done many long trips away for months on end. I’ve seen my sister look after her 2 kids, run her salon, spend many nights in hospital with a very sick little one and even get through her first year at uni studying nursing all whilst her husband was away on a 9 month deployment. Only seeing him once in that whole 9 months. Now that’s tough. Come on, you have to agree that’s frigging hard going.

“My husband has been in the navy almost 20 years, we have been together just over 7 years and 4 years of that has been with children. So for me I always knew this would be a “way of life” but nobody tells you exactly what an unusual lifestyle it can be, he can be home for such a long time then away for 9 months straight, also crash postings like on the day of our engagement party finding out he is sailing 2 days later for an unkown amount of time. I guess you roll with it. I’m not sure if military spouses and fifo partners are the strongest around or we just are completely nuts and probably have to much wine “mummy juice” as my kids say.

Tanya and her husband Adam

The longest we have spent away from each other is 9 months. Last year with him completing a deployment in the middle east, this also included weekly running and work ups the year leading up to the deployment. This is something alot of people don’t realise, the work going into these deployments and how much time away they spend before these trips in preperation. Its a LONG time!

We planned to have the kids when we did as we knew he had a long deployment coming up, we felt there would end up being a big age gap if we waited to have our second child, so we decided to have 2 close together so he would be here for our daughters first year. 2 under 2 is a challenge! When he left for his deployment they were 2 and 1 they actually coped quite well. They were so very young so they adapted to our new routine. As they say children are resilient and they certainly are! But now they are 2 and 4 and I’m not sure it would be the same. He leaves in the morning for work and they’re asking what time he’s gonna be home so I think the age of the kids is a big factor.

The family reunited after a long deployment

How do I handle it? This is a question that honestly depends on the current situation, my husband’s last deployment…. juggling a sick child who had 9 admissions in 7 months in hospital trying and to juggle both kids, a house, 2 dogs, work and I also decided it would be a good idea to start a degree so I wasn’t bored while he was away. Note to self…. you are never bored in a deployment with children. Honestly I have no idea how I handled it but tbh I had no choice I had two little people depending on me to look after them and be the mummy and daddy, somehow we just push on. So many women I know say “I couldn’t do it”, but I think you would all surprise yourselves. The hard things that you never think of is attending parties, birthdays, dinners and kids activities alone. You always turn up wrangling two kids and really don’t get to socialise or relax (lol).

I found between juggling everthing there really wasn’t time to catch up with so many friends and family. I found that hard and I felt bad for going weeks or months between talking to people but honestly I just had to do what I could to survive. Your true friends and family dont hold grudges if you don’t see them all the time. Speaking of family, my one advice is you do need support and I had that in my mum. She literally stepped in as the other parent helping raise my children and looked after them. She spent nights in hospitals, weekend after weekend at my house helping. When I had my youngest child in hospital I sat my final exams while she stayed with her overnight keeping in mind she also had a job and other commitments too. Sounds cliche but I couldn’t have done it without her….LITERALLY!

Tanya with her mum, Tracey and the kids

Like everyone I have my good days, I think yeah this is just our life and I do fine, other days I fall in a big heap and think this is “f@kd”…. as long as there is trust and communication, you’re a team that can get through anything. I was completely aware of what he did when we got together and I’m thankful of the stability of employment my family has.” – Tanya : Navy wife

Not only are defense force workers away on deployment for lengthy periods of time but a lot of the time they have no contact for weeks or months on end and even unable to disclose their location. Depending on where they have been deployed to could mean they are unable to get home to help a sick family member, attend funerals or even be at the birth of their own child. My friend’s husband almost missed the birth of their first child, it was only lucky that he was still in Australian waters doing work ups that he was able to get home, literally, just in time.

“Being a Navy wife can definitely be tough. We had our daughter, Audrey in February and by June my husband left us for deployment 6 months on a Gulf trip, Audrey was only 4 months old and being a first time mum it was terrifying! but I count myself one of the lucky ones because I have my family here in Perth, not a lot of defense members are from Perth so they are away from their families. That 6 months was spent living back with my parents and honestly could not have done this without them! but I was not the same without my partner, the endless sleepless nights, screaming baby and usually me ending up crying on the floor because I had no idea what I was doing. That time definitely made me tougher but also appreciate everything my husband has done for us, he missed out on so many milestones, first solid foods, crawling, laughing and talking. When he did get home Audrey didn’t recognised her own daddy for about 3 days, it was heartbreaking. 3 years later and she is daddy’s little girl! and he has been lucky working back on shore. He has done this for our family and so I don’t go insane again.” – Elise : Navy wife

Elise with her husband, Ben and daughter Audrey (L: before he went on deployment and then R: after he returned 6 months later)

Having a partner that works away can certainly be hard. Not only is it the time away that is hard but the fact that they miss birthdays, anniversaries, events and so much more really does suck. Honestly I think it’s harder on him being away and missing all these things than it is for me not having him home to share these special times. But there’s also the benefits. With my husband’s current roster (2/1) he takes 2 weeks off and gets 4 weeks off. The week he is home he is able to do school drop offs and pick ups, while the kids are at school we can have date days. I am beyond lucky to have such an amazing partner who is a very hands on Dad. The week he is home he gets up to the kids during the night, makes dinner when I’m working evenings and leaves me to sleep in most mornings. Yes, I’m very lucky. Sure is nice after 2 weeks of doing it all myself.

Family day at my husband’s mine site

Yes, FIFO (and defence force) is a career choice (for the most part) but try to remember your friends that have partners working away. We are the ones that people forget about, the forgotten single mum. Although we aren’t technically single and do have our partners please just consider how hard it can be for us on the weeks we are home without our partners there each night. Check in and see how we are doing from time to time and don’t forget to invite us to stuff, just because our partner isn’t home doesn’t mean we want to be stuck at home all the time. Also, check in on the men. They are away and have no one but the people they work with. Think about how hard that is. No, we don’t need pitty, just understanding. And again before you get all uppity at me, Yes…. we know there are mums out there doing this 100% alone. Regardless of our situation, all us mums out there need to have each others backs. Team mum.

Love Delza xoxo

Her Vagesty

Boudoir shoot – Photo by Fate Photography
Please note : everything I write comes from my own personal knowledge, experiences and conversations with my friends and clients. I am not an expert nor claim to be. Along with being an advocate for body positivity and confidence, I am also a sex positive Advocate.

her vagesty

Please be up standing as our new Queen makes her entrance. ‘Her Vagesty’ is here and deserves that crown. She deserves your love. She deserves your time and attention. She is your vulva!

That’s right we are talking vulvas again, but as previously mentioned in ‘Have You Checked Your Hooha Lately‘, vulva isn’t the sexiest name, yes it’s the technical name but meh not screaming sex appeal. I had decided to call it ‘kitty’ but recently it has come to my attention that there is a whole new name that has appeared ‘Her Vagesty’. I am absolutely loving this so much. Ladies we all need to be treating our vulvas like royalty.

“I am certain I cannot be the only one who has called their or someone’s vulva ‘her Vagesty’. It is simply too good of a word – in fact, I just did a quick Google and found an embroidery kit called “Royal Vagesty Embroidery Kit for Beginners”… I have my Sunday night sorted.

I’ve been calling my own vulva ‘her Vagesty’ for about 5 years now and I highly encourage others to join in and help spread the word. It’s a great word, because so often I feel that vulva’s end up being insulted or the butt of the joke and I wanted a name that felt inspiring and noble.

I’m not sure if vulvas need to be worshiped, but I’m not about to tell you NOT to kneel in front of one. But you should definitely treat your own Vagesty kindly and with respect, as they are all very Vajestic.” – Bobbie Apples

I would however like to make a very strong and valid point that even though I’m going to be calling my vulva and all vulvas ‘her vagesty’ or ‘vagesty’……please please, I beg of you, please teach your children that it is a vulva! We should be teaching our children the true name VULVA. All these other names are just nick names. Just needed to clear that up.

I’m finding as I’m getting older that my circle of friends are more open about discussing all things vulva and sex related. However when I was younger it was far more taboo. Could just be more circle of friends (we are all pretty much extroverts) but we sure aren’t shy about telling each other about our private lives. Which is rather refreshing to be able to feel comfortable enough to talk openly about what could be considered embarrassing topics. So this is why I sometimes write about ‘taboo’ topics. In hopes of opening up that conversation barrier.

Now, I’m going to jump right on in and go straight to the real embarrassing stuff, the things no one really openly talks about…. brace yourself….. masturbation….. oooooo so shocking. Yep, that’s right. We all know guys do it and if they say they don’t then we all know they are more than likely lying [insert laughter]. So ladies you should be jumping into it too. Don’t be ashamed, we all need to feel that release from time to time, or even everyday. Hey, it feels good. Not only does her vagesty deserve some one on one attention from her owner but also, this is one of the best ways to figure out what you like, how you like to be touched, how you ultimately ‘cum’ to climax (yeah I wrote that, because I’m super immature, giggle giggle). You can’t expect your sexual partner/s to know what you like if you don’t. Get in touch with yourself by touching yourself.

Is masturbation and/or sex good for your mental health?
“It can be but it can also be harmful. Some individuals within our society have been taught throughout their lives that sex and especially masturbation is sinful, dirty and wrong. This can in turn negatively affect mental health through rising anxiety, guilt and depression. For such individuals, until they change their thought patterns and unpack a lot of long term learnt guilt, masturbation can lead to some serious psychological disfunctions.

On the other hand, masturbation can make an individual feel really good about themselves and even relieve issues such as stress and disrupted sleeping patterns. When you masturbate, your brain released endorphins or “happy hormones” which make you feel really good, which is why sex, orgasms and masturbation can be mood boosters. However, they cannot cure illnesses such as depression or anxiety and individuals should speak to mental health professionals to discuss such issues.” – Miss MonMon : Sexologist and Sex Health Therapist.

Some women will climax from clitoral stimalulation, others from g-spot stimulation and penetration, and some can either which way. Some women struggle to climax on their own, let alone with someone, and this is why it’s so important to figure out what you like and how you can climax. Sex is fun, but when you get that epic orgasm, ohhh wow it’s amazing. Trust me, you want this. Having your partner smash away at you isn’t always going to get you there. This isn’t anything that you are doing wrong really but just the lack of knowing what works for you. Tell your partner/s, or take control. If you need to jump on top and ride them like you’re at a rodeo, then giddy up.

Sex toys, yep I’m going there. Don’t be scared, they are fun. Yes, fun! Seriously why just use your fingers to touch yourself when there are toys out there that do the work for you. If you have never tried a good little bullet vibrator, I suggest you look into these, legit changed my life. (Please do your research on these and any sex toy before purchasing and using). Never be scared to try new things out, life’s to short to have mediocre orgasms.

“The vulva is a wonderful source of pleasure. Every vulva is different, but we all have variations of the same parts. We all know and love the clitoris with over 8000 nerve endings, it’s very sensitive and can bring on that wonderful orgasm you so deserve. Never be too rough on the vulva when engaging in sexual pleasure; over stimulation can lose you an orgasm so take it easy. When using toys, objects or fingers for pleasurable stimulation, make sure they are made out of nonporous materials, they are clean and that nothing is sharp (such as fingernails).” – Miss MonMon : Sexologist & Sex Health Therapist

Which brings me to the fact that I hear far too many women say that their (male) partners aren’t keen on sex toys being used during intercourse. Like for example pulling out a clitoral stimulator to tickle their clit whilst their partner is penetrating them. Like seriously guys, it’s not because you aren’t doing a good job, sometimes we want that extra boost to our climax. Don’t get upset, get interested, ask questions. Use them with us, on us, have fun.

“When it comes to sex toys, it really depends on the individual and their relationship. Sex toys can be great when they are used consensually, respectfully and properly. They can enhance pleasure, “spice things up”, explore new fantasies and help those who are not able-bodied.” – Miss MonMon : Sexologist & Sex Health Therapist

Communicate with your sexual partner/s about what you do and don’t like and also even things you may want to try. We all have our fetishes and fantasies, there is absolutely no shame in that. Be adventurous, again life is too darn short for bad or boring sex. Also, just a little suggestion from me personally (It’s a suggestion not a request, don’t go arranging a tinder hook up every night, unless you want to…. then totally do it), have sex often (with your partner/s or alone). Make time for it. We all have stuff going on and we are all tired, but seriously make the time.

“I started Pure Romance after attending a party and seeing how focused the consultant and the organisation was on their motto of Empower, Educate and Entertain… concepts that match my way of thinking and align with my core values. I am passionate about helping people in general as I work in suicide prevention by day, so I saw this as a unique opportunity to enact change in my other passion, healthy and safe sexual liberation for women.

At first, I found it uncomfortable talking about sex, lubes, penetration, fantasies etc as I’m a closet prude (queue laughter as no one ever believes me). Through practice and seeing how open women become when I discuss these topics so openly and without judgement, it has become something that I am very proud of being able to do. These are topics that NEED to be discussed as women deserve to be able to share their thoughts, desires, concerns or anything they bloody well want to discuss when it comes to sex without fear of being slut shamed or judged.

Selling sex toys, lubes and body products is a small part of what I do. I sell a safe place for discussion, an opportunity to have fun around like minded women, the idea that you can try new things and experiment – all with the ultimate goal of selling sexual liberation with no judgement. Im pretty proud of that.” – Maya aka ‘Coco Corbeau‘ – Pure Romance Consultant : Facebook – Pure Romance With Maya

Exploring your body in a sexual, pleasurable manner is nothing to get all coy about. Enjoy your body and the pleasures it has to offer. I’m pretty sure it’s a proven fact that sex and masturbation is good for helping relieve stress and can even help you sleep better. I definitely read that somewhere. Or maybe I just know from experience.

So, now that we have all the embarrassing sex stuff out the way let’s move on to the next embarrassing topic…. keeping her vagesty clean and healthy. I see many vagesties on a daily basis when they come in for the old growth forest removal each month. So you can imagine the things I see. I’ve been a Beauty Therapist for over 20 years now and for the most part I’ve had nice clean vagesties in my salon but there is the odd one or two that aren’t so well looked after. Boy, I could tell you some stories.

Beauty salon tip : if there is baby wipes provided to you in the beauty room, please use the wipes. They are not optional, they are a must. Us Beauty Therapists appreciate the little extra clean right before we pour hot wax over your vagesty. For further tips please read my blog on waxing 1, 2, 3 and Rip.

Ladies it is so important to keep your vagesty (your vulva, to be exact when we are talking specifics here) clean and healthy. Clean yourself the right way and don’t over clean, that can cause issues. Been there, done that (not pleasant). For the love of all things holy and not, do not shove things like essential oils up your vagesty. Yes, I checked with experts on this, don’t do it. Keep it simple. Your vagesty is a self cleaning organ. Fascinating, right. But still use the baby wipes before your waxing treatment (wink wink).

“Ladies, let’s start with the golden rule, the ‘post coital void’ YES it’s a thing, and yes it is very important. The acidity of our urine has the ability to kill any nasty germs that may pass during coitus, no this does not include STI’s but it does kill those nasty bugs that can cause urinary tract/bladder infections and thrush. Even if you can only manage a small wee in the loo after the deed it will be enough to help.

Hey Demi, how do I clean Her Vagesty? What a great question, there are so many products out there claiming to ‘refresh’ your love muffin, but these can cause a disruption to the natural bacteria living within, its best to stick to water only and pat dry with a towel.

What’s that smell? Have you ever been concerned that it just doesn’t smell right down there? It could be a sign of an STI or bacterial disturbance. If you have a persistent smell, discharge or itch it is best to speak with your GP and don’t put it off!!

My final piece of advice, “If its not on, it’s NOT on” I have seen it all and trust me it is never pretty. Condoms are the safest way to protect yourself from STI’s but please double wrapping is not, I repeat not advised, it can cause friction between the 2 rubbers and gives greater chance of them tearing. So, protect hervagisty and treat her like the royalty that she is.” – Madame Demi Diva – Submarine Medic

Don’t act like vagesties are gross in any way. Yeah, ok they don’t look visually stunning but in their defense they look the way they do for a reason. All that boring medical stuff that I’m no expert on. Vagesties are amazing, and until you try one, (yep you catch my drift, I’m not as vanilla as you may think), don’t knock it. No, there’s nothing wrong with being vanilla. Vanilla just means you can add all the toppings and flavours you want til you find the perfect combination that suits you. You getting what I’m putting down.

Your vagesty is a Queen. Give her the time and attention she so royally deserves. Get to know her, explore her, enjoy her. If you ever feel like you are turning into a ‘Karen’, maybe you need a good stress relief (you know what I mean by now).

Your vulva and all vulvas alike, from this day forward, will now be referred to as ‘Her Vagesty’, the royal kitty from down under (between your legs). Still teach your kids that it’s correct name is vulva (wink wink). Worship her and she will reward you with pleasures aplenty.

Love Delza xoxo

  • Special mention to Miss MonMon for all her expert advice and knowledge added to this article.

“When it comes to sex and sexual health, there is no “one answer fits all” and I really need to stress that point. If you are reading this and taking it as a definitive answer, it could end up effecting your physical, mental and emotional health so I advise discussing everything with either a doctor, therapist or mental health professional. I can’t give a tailored answer and definitely do not try to diagnose yourself” – Miss MonMon : Sexologist & Sex Health Therapist

* This is directed at providing some insight and knowledge on the topic of vulvas. This is not an advice article. Everything mentioned is based on my own personal knowledge, experiences and thoughts. Quotes have been provided from others on their own personal knowledge, experiences and expertise. No one was paid for this information.

Crack The Mirror Of Perfection

Body Positivity and Confidence part 3

This is not an advice article, it is all written from my own personal view based on my knowledge and experiences in my own life, hugely influenced by my burlesque and pinup side of life. Combined with quotes gathered from others within the burlesque and pinup community and also friends of mine, all with their own personal thoughts, journeys, knowledge and experiences.

{Get comfy, this is a long one. I have a lot to say, clearly}

What is perfection? Who decides what is or isn’t perfect? Should society depict what and how we should or shouldn’t look?

Hell to the NO! Why should we allow society to tell us what or how we should look. Chasing the never ending pursuit of what is deemed ‘perfect’. Who even makes these choices of what is or isn’t perfect? Seriously we are all so unique, why do we all need to look the same, that’s just boring.

Growing up as a teenager in the 90s, yep last century, the ‘in look’ was to be skinny. I mean super thin. Like, if your thighs were touching that was not going to cut it. This being the case I never felt like I was skinny enough. Even being a size 6 to 8 AUS, my thighs still touched, so that little voice inside my head was constantly telling me “you’re fat”. If only I knew earlier that the reason my thighs touched was because of my body shape. Go figure, good old genetics. A lot of pressure is put on us to have the perfect body, well what we are told is the perfect body anyhow. These days curvy bodies are so much more represented and accepted, in actual fact all body types are. Hooray!

Body Positive Shoot – organised & photographed by Ella Hackleton Photography

*Since this shoot, I’ve had the confidence to wear a bathing suit in public

“Body positivity is something that is very close to my heart, as someone who has always struggled with the way I see myself!
I organised this photoshoot to show women of all types and backgrounds that it is ok to be you, that you are gorgeous and worthy just as you are!
As women, it is so important to stick together and support one another rather than tearing each other apart and that was something I think we achieved at the shoot, women who may have not usually met each other in the real world, coming together and embracing each other!” – Ella Hackleton

Ok, I’m going to get a bit personal right now (please don’t hate, like for real, I’m a very sensitive person) …. Lately I’ve had a few people refer to me as plus size. For the life of me I can’t figure out if they are giving me a compliment or if it is a nice way of calling me, well for lack of any other word, fat. Is this the 90s teen still inside of me with that voice ringing in her ear “you’re fat”…. My gosh, the word ‘fat’ is so harsh! Being called plus size isn’t the issue, I don’t even find it offensive in any way, but growing up, way back… you know, last century, plus size was referred to as a large person, much larger than I. It starts to play on my mind that maybe I see myself differently to others. I’m a proud curvy girl, 100% happy about that, I have those thick thighs with the booty to match, a cinched in waist and an E cup bust (an hourglass figure to be precise) but am I plus size [puzzled look on face] ? I personally believe there is a difference between curvy and plus size but very unsure of how it is defined exactly. Why does it even matter and why does this make me second guess how I see myself, because deep down how others see us still lingers in the back of our minds. This is when we need to remind ourselves that what we think, look and feel about ourselves is more important than what others do. Whatever labels are placed on us, we need to remember those are just words, that’s all.

That’s me on stage at ‘A Night At The Opera’ : A Queen Tribute Burlesque Show (Fringe World Perth 2020) produced by Ivy Cabaret – Photo by Fate Photography


“Yes, I do consider myself to be curvy, but not plus size. To me, my curves are a love hate relationship, some times I love the body I have and feel so good being able to show them off, but sometimes I feel frumpy and uncomfortable when clothes don’t fit or feel right.” – Madame Demi Diva

Madame Demi Diva – Photo by Fate Photography


“I do consider myself plus size, it’s when magazines/media or sometimes even people who are skinny (a size 8) that say “ah I’m so fat I need to go on a diet and lose weight” or magazines consider a size 12-14 to be plus size. That’s what shits me. Plus size to me is 18 an over.”

“Since losing weight I have gained more confidence. But, since dancing. Omg so so so much more confidence. ‘I’m bringing sexy back’ is how I feel. I am a lot happier than what I was 2 years ago. I feel lighter on my feet. I feel that I can get more done. I’ve gone out a couple times and I’ve had compliments on what I’m wearing, where as 2 years ago I would of just got a stare because it was too revealing.” – Debbie Does

Debbie Does on stage at ‘Tricky Thicc: A Fat Burlesque Revue’ produced by Glamazon
Photo by Stephanie Clare


“I do feel that performers should be the one to classify themselves as plus size, as there are a lot of variables that can go into that label. For example, I see myself as plus size, due to my body shape and that I’m not a ‘commercial’ size. I have wobbly bits, and they do bother me at times, but I am constantly becoming more comfortable with my body. After giving birth a year ago, my body changed again. I had to get used to those changes and how they felt. I have performed at 8 months pregnant, and 8 months after having my daughter and find that putting on my makeup, my glitter and my outfit helps me to feel powerful, strong, confident. Like I don’t need to care what others think! That confidence fuels my performances and helps me to feel gorgeous for who I am. That it is who I am, wobbly bits and all, that the audience loves on stage.” – Kitty White

Kitty White on stage at Burlesque Idol Australia – Photo by Digital Image Studio

I’m finding a lot (not all) of my (salon) clients that are in their teens or early to mid 20s are still extremely self conscious of their bodies and pick at ‘normal’ body issues as if they were the worst thing in the world, as if their body was unusual or gross. I try my best at helping them understand that this is all perfectly normal and they aren’t alone. As much as the media shows more and more diversity (they are trying anyways) it’s apparent that young women, and I’m sure men too, are still feeling the pressures of society’s ‘perfect’ body. Cellulite is a reality, stretch marks are a reality (at any age), your body jiggles. Darn it girls, who cares if your thighs touch, at least your phone won’t drop in the toilet when you are sitting there scrolling your socials. I get it. I’ve been there, I was this age once upon a time. Nothing is wrong with your body, you are ‘perfectly imperfectly perfect’. Real life is not airbrushed or filtered, it is raw and real.


“For myself I actually couldn’t give a shit what people think. I have in the past been accused of being anorexic, but I feel what I’m putting in my body is my decision and no one should have the right to judge what I look like. But I do know people my age that feel that they are pressured into looking a certain way and feel like they are judged on their appearance.
The only pressure I feel, is towards myself, as I am in a sport that revolves around how my body looks. But I don’t feel the need to look a certain way for others. But once again with my friends, their are certain pressures from peer groups, society and media.” – Sarah (Sezzi)


“I think that growing up and especially reaching my early to mid 20’s, I feel I’ve had unrealistic expectations on how I ‘should’ look…
I don’t know if this stemmed from not having a constant female figure in my life when I was at the age of learning and understanding my body or if it purely came down to how I viewed women on TV or social media and came to the conclusion that, that’s how I need to look”

“Training 6 days a week and having an active recovery rest day once a week, for me is more for my metal health. It’s only this past year that I’ve started to achieve the goals of how I want to look from learning about my nutritional needs. Food is so important to having the energy to train as much as I do.”

“If I’m honest though my journey might have started out wanting to look a certain way from comparing myself to fitness influencers and women in my life. However, it quickly became less about other people and completely about myself. When I started smashing my own goals and feeling happy about myself and how I look to myself, I knew I was now doing it all for the right reasons.” – Emily

Photos of Emily during a workout

When it comes to talking about body positivity and confidence the focus is hugely directed at body shape and size. Learning to love your body just as it is, is a huge part of the journey to finding body positivity, confidence and self love but there are so many other aspects that aren’t as openly spoken about or seem to be a little detached from the body positive movement. If we are going to preach and advocate for the movement then we need to be inclusive of all bodies. That means not just shape and size but also gender, disability, colour, height, age and even how we look after and groom our bodies.

Which brings me to the topic of body hair. Society heavily suggests that women in particular should remove body hair, society also says men should at a minimum ‘manscape’. But shouldn’t we be the ones to decide if we do or don’t remove our body hair. Recently it came to my attention that more and more women are making the decision to go au naturel. Especially over the COVID-19 lockdown and beauty salons being banned from operating (darn corona, what have you done to my business). Personally (my personal opinion, don’t get all attacky, sit back down Karen) I don’t like the au naturel look for myself. Perhaps the Beauty Therapist side of me but I feel sexier being freshly waxed, shaved, plucked and hair free. But this is my choice, I don’t feel like I’m forced to do this at all. I’m a grown ass woman who can make her own choices. But some feel the constant pressure of having to shave their legs and armpits. If you feel more confident and happy being au naturel then you should 100% do it and rock it. Gosh, I do envy the extra time and money you must have not having to constantly be removing hair. All the same I’m still going to continue on my merry little way of hair removal torture.

“When quarantine started I challenged myself to stop shaving everything. I wanted a break from conforming to societies (and pinups) standards, I just wanted to find me again! (Plus the cost of razors? Am I right!!!!). The choice made me feel more at home, more myself, because as much as I dress up at events, I’m a pretty chilled, down-to-earth person (as most people who meet me, know).”

Bettie Butcher – Photo by Pandom Images

“As a teenager I felt ashamed for having hair (crazy ey, hair! We’ve all got it!) I even remember being called names and made fun of. I wasn’t allowed to shave my legs until my teens and I remember it being the biggest deal ever. But why should it be? Its just hair!
I wanted to be brave and show people that its okay to be proud of your body hair, its a part of you and you should love every little bit of yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you different because you are beautiful, with, or without body hair” – Bettie Butcher


“I started shaving less about ten years ago, and then stopped almost entirely about five years ago. I have pangs of insecurity every once in a while. A longing for a smooth and pretty leg, but I always had stubble by the end of the day, and red sensitivity everywhere, so even shaved my legs weren’t winning beauty contests. Overall I’m much more comfortable physically and mentally than I was when I shaved.”

Mona Minx – Photo by Lauren Reagan

“I’ve had bonding moments with other furry performers, and have had others mention that they wish they felt comfortable doing the same, but I’ve never faced any negativity backstage. On a couple of occasions, audience members have sought me out after my performance to excitedly show off their unshaved pits, and I’m really into it. If it makes someone else feel safer in their own skin, I’ll never shave again.” – Mona Minx

Mona Minx – Photo by Jeffrey Freer


“For one of my acts I didn’t shave my armpits, it was a neo routine and there wasn’t any real reason why I didn’t shave, I just wanted to embrace the hair since the routine was incredibly raw.” – Ida Ocean

Ida Ocean – Photos by John Leonard Photography


“I have had mixed reactions on my body hair as a burlesque performer. One producer asked me to show it off as a statement as I was the only performer in the show with body hair. On another occasion, an audience member complained to the producer about my body hair; thankfully the producer supported me and told the audience member they were welcome to never come again.”

Fi Bonacci – Photo by Express Eyrie

“In my personal life, I have had a few men express distaste for my choice not to shave, although women have generally been fine with it. Thankfully my partner supports my bodily autonomy.” – Fi Bonacci

While on the topic of hair, let’s talk colouring our hair. Personally I love seeing outrageous unnatural hair colours. It’s an amazing way to express our individuality and creativity. On the other hand their are many of us colouring our hair to a reasonably natural colour to hide those silver strands. Why is it that society makes it seem so awful for a woman to show her grey hair but a man is considered a ‘silver fox’. So many people out there spend a huge chunk of money on colouring their hair to hide those pesky greys (in my case, pure white). Do we do it because we feel like it shows our age, do we feel like we need to, because society says so? In all honesty, I’m really not ready to do away with colouring my hair. I love my dark locks, so I’ll continue to colour those bad boys as soon as they appear. I have black hair and white hair sure does show very easily. I’m not kidding I’m turning into Cruella de Vil, like for real, minus the whole stealing puppies part. What is so wrong with having grey hair, really? We are all going to end up with grey or white hair eventually. It is, after all, a natural progression of life. Oh, and heads up…. the downstairs hair goes grey too…. yep!

“I had been thinking about going au naturel for a long while but whenever I would go to the hairdresser they would suggest a little toning .. and I’d end up losing all the natural colour! In 2018 my hairdresser moved and it took me a while to find a new one who could work with my curly hair, so I used that time to let my hair grow through. I was 48 at the time and I had been on a bit of a journey discovering who I was and embracing all of me. As a bigger girl all my life I have struggled with my body image and being good enough. Through burlesque, (which I started when I was 47) I had come to love my body all the lumps and bumps but I still was colouring away the greys and it didnt seem to make sense any more.”

Polly Poussey – Photo by Crooked Images

“Going grey has been so freeing. I’m not stuck seeing a hairdresser every 5 weeks to hide my skunk line. Its cheaper… I probably save over $2000 a year! I love it… I find the comments interesting. Some ppl think Im brave (wtf!!) Some ppl compliment me.. but quickly follow up with “but I couldnt do it!” Others tell me how much darker hair suits me! But tbh I really don’t care what they say… its the natural me and just like my lumps and bumps I love it.” – Polly Poussey


“I stopped colouring my hair about 8 months ago when I started realising that I have been covering up the true person I really am – I have been dying my strawberry blonde hair since I was 16 years old, probably in an attempt to change myself and feel like someone else, and maybe some deep seeded reason also is that I was not proud to be me. But 32 years later I am only just understanding who I am and embracing it greys and all. Growing out my natural colour is still a work in progress but I really love the colour and am excited about being natural, being me and not needing to hide me.” – Kathryn


“I colour my hair as an outlet for my creativity. I love colours and the energy they hold. I feel confident, and unique with wild hair. Purple is my ‘normal’ hair colour. This is a colour of magic and spirituality, which reflects my life. Therefore it is the best colour to represent my personality.” – Fanny Fatale


“I colour my hair because yeah I do feel more confident and I like to stand out from the crowd also orange is my favourite colour and its also the colour of Halloween my favourite time of year.” – Miss Kat Destiny

Miss Kat Destiny – Photos by Angie Delarie Pinup Photography (L) & Fate Photography (R)

Even things like cellulite, spider veins, stretch marks, dimples, freckles, scars and skin imperfections are all completely ‘normal’ things found on almost every person. No one is perfect, no one. We all have our flaws and things that make us feel insecure but that doesn’t mean we need to be ashamed of them or feel the need to cover it up. I totally understand the feeling of wanting hide or cover up the things that make you feel insecure. I’ve hidden my legs away for years and only started to feel confident in a bathing suit in last few years (remember that shoot at the start of this blog). I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% happy or confident about showing my bare legs but I don’t allow it to stop me from going to the beach or pools with my family and friends. I’m not going to lie, I use leg makeup (sometimes) to help hide my spider veins because it helps me to feel better about showing my legs. Whatever helps you to feel better within yourself do it. Don’t allow these things to hold you back from enjoying life.

“The struggle for me has been my 2 scars on my chest. I worked at BNT and I wanted to be a lingerie model but when I had a pacemaker and heart surgery it left massive scars on my chest. I would refuse to show them I wore turtle necks for most of my early 20’s and I had the best body. My first photoshoot I thought I was going to mortify people but showing my big ugly scars. It took me so long to wear a bikini. I think the hardest thing about body positivity is that people always compare themselves to the beautiful models in the media. I’d walk into bras n things and hang posters of beautiful flawless women and think that was the ultimate standard. That if I didn’t look like that I would never be a model. Who wants to see scars between breasts anyway?”

“I realised if I don’t love it and accept it no one ever will. I wanted to feel confident leave the turtle necks in the closet wear the bikini and not give a shit what anyone thought was beauty standards. A lot of people saw the scar and took pity on me. I didn’t want pity I wanted people to know I fuckin survived what I believed would kill me at 21 and if I’m going to hide my body and feel ashamed forever then the stupid fuckin media won. They won their stupid beauty standards. And what about the other girls out there having scars and thinking they are gross what kinda message does that send. That if you fight for your life your ugly. No! I wasn’t going to have that! Why should I hide what has made me, me because of these standards of beauty everyone else perceived. It scared people. I was asked to hide my pacemaker scar once because it made someone feel uncomfortable. In my early 20’s I would have cried and hid it. But now I think if you don’t like it look away. Putting up posters of beautiful woman in their lingerie all day at work for 10 years made me believe that that was beautiful. In reality accepting your body and loving who you are is way more beautiful.” – Miss Lexi Heart

After becoming a mum my body changed, not in a huge way for me, but never the less it changed. I’d put on weight, I had some stretch marks on my tummy (not a lot, I got lucky so to speak, that oiling ritual every night must of helped), my boobs grew (even my nipples and areola changed colour and size…. yep that happens), my body wasn’t the same anymore. It was hard for me to look in the mirror. I felt yuck and very unattractive. How could my husband look at this if I can’t. I know I’m not alone with these feelings. Accepting that our bodies change after having a baby is a pretty hard thing to swallow. We sure as hell shouldn’t be hating on ourselves, we just grew a tiny human inside of us, but we still do.

“Prior to having kids I was a size 6-8, 48kg aspiring model. After gaining between 22 and 25 kgs with each of my pregnancies, it was very hard to lose the weight. I was sad and couldnt come to terms with the fact my taught small figure was replaced with stretch marks and jiggly bits.”

Coco Corbeau – pre kids & now, after kids

“After my divorce and realising the amazing things my body could do like bring humans into the world, lift heavy things and withstand side effects from mental health issues, I started wearing my stretch marks and jiggly bits as trophies. I became proud of my body and its achievements and started being kinder to myself. I no longer have scales in my house and we talk about being healthy and strong not skinny especially around the kids. I was proud when my daughter said recently that she wanted to have a big booty so she could look like me. Own what you have. Wear it proudly and listen to those who support you not those who want to change you to fit their idea of what attractive is.” – Coco Corbeau


“During Primary School I was a big tomboy, that was how I coped with being a chubbier kid. Going into High School, like a lot of girls then, I stopped playing sport, so my weight stayed up. While I never remember feeling huge pressure about my body, I do know I never felt happy or comfortable with my body.
During my first year at Uni, I had a self realisation moment, (I still remember the date!) I had been eating horribly while going between classes and work all the time. I had just bought some take away, I felt my pants were quite tight on my tummy, I looked down and thought to myself, I need to change this. So that next morning I went for a walk and ate breakfast, which I never did. Over the next 10 months I progressed from walking, to jogging, to running and then to playing netball which I had always loved. In the end I lost 17kg. While I was now pretty fit and feeling good, I now realise I had developed a bit of an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. I was a bit obsessive, I would beat myself up if I missed a run or ate something unhealthy.”

Chelsea – (comparison photos) Top left : Age 18, Bottom left (red dress) : Age 22, Right : now age 32

“So once I became pregnant, it was a bit scary for me to put weight on again and not feel in control of my own body. However, I kept up moderate exercise (which I attribute for having an easy pregnancy and recovery) Slowly started to embrace my pregnant body.
Once I had my little girl, I got back into my exercise routine pretty quickly (with the approval of my doctor). It was around this time my attention started to change from wanting to be ‘skinny’ to wanting to be ‘fit and strong’. So I started lifting and as well as running and netball. That for me, was life changing. I now celebrate what my body can do and achieve rather than just how it looks. I no longer own scales, I measure through my progress in my fitness.
I love my body now more than I ever have and feel comfortable in my own skin. Because I’m doing what I’m doing for me, not anyone else.
I only hope I can set this as an example for my own daughter.” – Chelsea


“During my late teens and 20s, I was a professional model. I usually specialised in swimwear and underwear due to my figure! I remember feeling very comfortable about my body but still my confidence was not always the best despite outward appearances.

When I was 28 I met my husband and was heavily involved in the fitness industry as a personal trainer so my body image was positive despite ongoing insecurities about the way I looked. I was always self conscious about my legs and hardly ever showed them.”

Louise – left : modelling in her 20s, Right : personal trainer late 20s

“At about the age of 32 we tried to have children to no avail so we decided to start IVF. My life changed dramatically. My body changed due to all the hormones and my body image plummeted. However IVF was successful and I was pregnant with my first child at 37, my weight went from 51kg to 95kg. Post baby my body looked like a melted candle, a large one at that. I hated the sight of my body.”

“Low self esteem, low self-worth ensued affecting my relationship with my husband. I was so unhappy and to make matters worse I got really bad post natal depression. As well as an umbilical hernia, I had to have my abs sown together !!! So no more abs for me !!!!!

I did loose the weight through weight watchers eventually but my body was never the same !!!!”

“Around 42 I decided to embark on my university education to become a registered nurse. I gained 12kg which affected my mental health and body image ! I hated my reflection with a passion. I also experienced burnout so I decided to get into shape again with a trainer/coach. The results are astounding to me. I feel even more confident than I did as a model. I competed in my first fitness competition and came 4th. I went from 84kg down to 61kg for the competition !!!

Louise – Left : after, Right : before
Louise – on stage competing

“For me, I feel better being fit and I see it as an older mum my responsibility to be as healthy as I can so I can be around for longer. I am happy with my body but still conscious of my legs and now my tummy but I can deal with that because I think I’m ok for 49 years old !! – Louise

Learning to love our ‘new’, ‘mum’ bodies is the start of a whole new journey of self love. Some of us bounce back pretty darn quick and others don’t. We are all so different and many things factor into what and how our bodies change during pregnancy and after giving birth. Body type, skin type, metabolism, genetics and lifestyle just to name a few. Regardless of how well, or not so well our bodies ‘bounce back’ after having our babies shouldn’t mean hiding away. Wear those tiger stripes with pride, remember there are many women out there wishing they had those. Let’s celebrate all mum bods, from the rock hard toned ones to the softer rolly ones.

Now, I know I talk a lot about the burlesque and pinup community, these are my people after all, but these communities truly do encourage all things body positive, confidence and inclusivity. Well for the most part anyways. Like 99% of the time. Look, to be completely honest, there will always be a very small minority not being inclusive and upsetting others in all aspects of life. Some people are just assholes and usually not very well recieved in the community. However, finding the amazing world of burlesque and pinup completely changed the way I saw my body and where I started to find my body confidence. These are 2 places/groups of people where I’ve found that ALL bodies are represented and accepted. Let’s be honest, burlesque artists are some of the most confident people you’ll ever come across.

“Burlesque is a feminist political art form. As a fat woman, the messages I see in the media tell me: be invisible, nobody wants to see you, your body is wrong. But by performing on stage, I am demanding to be seen and to take up space that people don’t want me to occupy. I am demanding that my body be accepted as it is and not what magazines and diet ads tell me it should be. I value body diversity and positivity, and being body positive means supporting ALL bodies. Producers should strive to offer gigs to BIPOC, fat, trans, and disabled dancers. As performers, we can encourage producers and other performers to demand more diversity. We can strive to nourish our political roots and show radical body positivity in our community. Our world is full of beautiful, unique, magnificent bodies and burlesque has the opportunity to celebrate those bodies in all of their glory.” – Honey Nightingale

Honey Nightingale – Photos by Amanda Gagnon


“Burlesque to me is all about body positivity. I have grown up hating my body, and punishing myself with constant dieting or emotional eating. Over the last 20 years I have lost, and regained, over 100kg (not all at once). It never occurred to me to accept my body as it was, that it was enough, until I had been doing burlesque classes for about a year. I began to examine my internal dialogue, and have simply changed the conversation I have with myself. As soon as I criticise myself, I replace the thought with a positive one. I walk around telling myself I’m hot, and that my bum is my best feature. Burlesque as a practice has taught me to love the individual me, and given me more confidence than anything else I have done.” – Cherry Charleston

Cherry Charleston – 50 year old burlesque performer | Cancer survivor | Body positivity advocate –
Photo by 42nd St Photography


“As a male burlesque performer and being plus size my burlesque journey has been filled with love and support but it was an uphill challenge to gain not only acceptance from the audience but also fellow performers when I was starting out. I remember doing my first shows interstate and internationally walking into tech where I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me, I was viewed as the token boylesque and the plus size performer. Many of the performers on the bill had never seen me perform and I felt isolated and like I had a challenge to prove why I’m here and why I got booked for the show. It wasn’t until I performed that I felt accepted by them. A lot of my acts start out quite ‘tame’, which is done on purpose, I want the audience to think – oh he’s a nice dancer isn’t he or that’s a beautiful costume or his facial expressions are funny before I really let loose on stage and throw the audience through a loop with some crazy kicks, leaps and splits. I like to show them something they aren’t expecting from a plus size performer.”

Trigger Happy on stage at Burlesque Idol Australia – Perth 2020 (Guest Performer & Judge) – Photo by Jason Matz Photography

“I’ve always been confident but I never had body confidence until I started performing boylesque- the thrill of audience members screaming and cheering for you while you take your clothes off onstage is exhilarating!” – Trigger Happy

Trigger Happy – Photo by KTB

Not only are we seeing more and more diversity within the burlesque community with performers from all walks of life including gender, race, and background but we are also slowly starting to see disability being represented more and more. When you hear the word disability, you don’t really think sexy, sensual or desirable. Be honest, the majority out there don’t. There are many performers now shining a sparkly bright light out there and proving that any and all disabilities can be seen as sexy, sensual and desirable.

“I think it is very important to show that disabled people, especially women, are still able to be ‘sexy’ or sensual, there is such intense stigma that disabled people don’t like sex or have any form of sexuality and thats just not even close to true and we have the right to express that as much as anyone. So I think disbaled people in a traditionally able-bodied ‘sexy space’ is really critical for acceptance, that visibility can help change minds.”

Empress Eyrie – Self Portrait

“I think burlesque is starting to become more aware of those with disabilities and I myself have been involved in a few shows about inclusiveness that featured disabled performers. I am also seeing that more disabled performers are getting booked for main stream shows which is wonderful and some shows are really working hard on accessible spaces.”

“I am still ‘new’ to my disability, for lack of better words, I only started using my cane full time in the last two years or so and coming to terms with that through my perfomace art and using that as a form of visibility has become really important to me in helping me understand this identity. It really is hard to feel sexy sometimes when your body is failing you and everything hurts but burlesque reminds me that it is very important to channel that inner passion that can feel lost sometimes.” – Empress Eyrie

Empress Eyrie – Photo by Starkiller Creations


“Being plus size in this society can be hard. Being disabled in this society can be harder. Being both is rough. Not only am I fighting what society thinks of me, but what I think of me. After leaving an abusive relationship, I knew I had to find something that made me happy – all of me. The burlesque, drag and cirque community is truly a community. Every size, shape, identity and color are included, represented and welcomed. Through burlesque I gained confidence, friends and a new purpose – shine a spotlight on performers with disabilities who are often overlooked.”

Minda Mae – Photo by Dena Denny

“I noticed the lack of representation of people with in the cabaret community and its associated shows. After speaking with performers with varied life experiences in relation to ability, I realized that a festival exclusively for disabled performers would be important for helping performers feel included, seen and valued. It also would spread awareness and visibility for this underrepresented community. The DisabiliTease Festival will be a place where performers do not feel like the “token performer with disabilities” or as the one performer who is different from others in a show.” – Minda Mae

Minda Mae – Photo by Greytree Studios

There is beauty to be found in ALL bodies and ALL people. Be proud of who you are. You deserve to be seen, you deserve to take up space, you deserve respect no matter what. If people don’t like it then they can make the choice to look away. There is no need to pass judgement and speak your mind of distaste. Keep your lips zipped shut. Reserve your judgement for your own private thoughts or to a private conversation if you must (we are all guilty of this, don’t try to act like you are all high and mighty and have never done it). If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all. Simple.

There was a time (many years ago) that I would have allowed society to dictate to me how to look and even dress, always keeping up with the latest styles, trends and even diets, but not anymore. I am my own person now. I may seem like a bit of a ‘princess’ to some, and I’ve been judge by this. Regardless, I’ll proudly own it. I like to wear makeup (everyday), I remove almost all my body hair (this girl is as pale as a ghost with black hair), I colour my hair, I keep my nails manicured, I like to dress up, I like to wear sexy lingerie…. why? …. because I want to, because it makes me feel good, it makes me feel confident, it makes me happy. Full stop! This is me and I will not apologise for it. No, I’m not scared to be seen in public without my makeup on or hair done. There are plenty of photos on my Instagram fresh faced and makeup free. I don’t go to the gym fully made up…. and anyhow so what if I did. Stop that judgey eye roll, Karen. Whatever makes you feel like your ‘best’ self is all that should matter.

Photo by Fate Photography

We all need to stop worrying so much about what society says we should look like, what is sexy, what is ‘healthy’. Stop comparing ourselves to others. Stop the negative thoughts from creeping into our heads. We are all unique, every one of us. Start accepting people for who they are and what they look like. Just be a nice person for shit sakes. What one person finds or deems attractive, another doesn’t and that’s ok. How you feel about yourself and how you see yourself in the mirror matters more than anything else. The pressures of society can be too much and sometimes extremely detrimental to your metal health and even physical health.

Call yourself plus size, curvy, skinny, roly poly, fit, even fat or whatever shape you want to identify as. Wear makeup, or don’t, tan, or don’t, shave/wax, or don’t, colour your hair, or don’t …. you do you, I’ll do me. Body positivity, confidence and self love grows from within. You need to find it for yourself. It’s your journey and it won’t be the same as anyone else’s.

My ultimate goal is to inspire, encourage and empower others on their own journey to body positivity, confidence and self love. Together we can

Crack the mirror of perfection!”

Love Delza xoxo

*Huge thank you to all the lovely people who helped contribute to this blog

Part 1 – Body Positivity and Confidence

Part 2 – Curve Loading

‘Crack The Mirror Of Perfection’

t-shirts available from my Etsy store


Want to know more about me, check out my About Me page

Photo by Fate Photography

Get Your Pose On

A guide to help you prepare for a pinup shoot with advice, experiences and thoughts from myself and other professionals in the field.

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Shoe room shoot at Diamond Heels – Photo by Fate Photography

Have you been thinking of booking in for a pinup shoot? Wanting to try something new, possibly a little out of your comfort zone or already into pinup and wanting to start your portfolio. Stepping in front of a camera can be scary, especially if it’s your first time.

I have been a pinup for close to 6 years now and I’ve spent a heck of a lot of time in front of the camera and also behind it. You guessed it, I’m a photographer too (yes, I know, multi-talented little old me), so I have experience on both sides of the lense. Boy, have I grown over the years and always learning more and more. So, I want to share my knowledge and experiences with you so that you can be as prepared as possible for your pinup shoot.

Firstly, yes you will be nervous. This is a completely ‘normal’ feeling. Being prepared will certainly help ease your mind. Having everything ready prior to arriving at your shoot at least a night or 2 before the shoot date is best. You do not want to be rushing around on the day and stressing about more than you need to be stressing about.

Things to have ready before the shoot date :

  • Nails – make sure your nails are clean and tidy. You do not have to go and get false nails put on but you should have them filed nicely and have a coat of polish on. I highly recommend red, even on short nails. Remember you are wanting that pinup look. Also, if you are wearing open toed shoes please do your toe nails too and also scrub those heel. Cracked dry feet never look good in pretty heels.
  • Outfit/s – choose and try on your outfits. Make sure they fit and check there are no holes or stains anywhere. Iron/steam out wrinkles best you can.
  • Accessories – choose your jewellery, heels, scarfs, hats etc. Try on with your outfits to make sure it all goes well together. You may not need to walk around in the heels but can you stand in them and pose. Even I own a pair of heels or 2 (or more) that are ‘photo shoot heels’. Which means they are fine to stand in but not great for walking in. However you still need to be able to balance yourself in them.
  • Body Hair – I’m not saying you have to shave or wax your body hair, that is 100% your choice, but please keep in mind any body hair left on exposed areas will be seen in the photos. Do not, I repeat DO NOT ask your photographer to photoshop your body hair out. If you make the choice not to remove it then that’s your ‘too bad’ moment right there. So please consider this when prepping for your shoot. Will your legs be on display? Will you be in lingerie and need that bikini line tidied up? What about your underarms? Of course shaving can be left to the day but waxing I recommended at least a day or 2 before. You don’t want to look like you have chicken pox in your photos.
  • Hair – obviously any hair styling will be left to the day of but please colour your regrowth and if you are setting your hair in rollers you may want to do this the night before and sleep in them.
  • Skin prep – giving yourself a simple facial a few days prior will help your makeup go on and sit nicely on your skin. Keep in mind…. Sometimes, depending on what products you use, your skin can break out after a facial. However, facials will only pull out the underlying crap in your skin they will not create blemishes that weren’t already waiting to appear. A good exfoliant and hydration mask are best for prepping before a shoot.
  • Check the location of the shoot – How long will it take to get there. Check if there is parking available or close by. Or if you are catching public transport, check the route. You do not want to be late to your shoot. This could mean your session being cut short. Also, this creates more stress for you and you will end up arriving in a fluster and you won’t be able to relax.

Honestly doing all this before the day of the shoot will set your mind at ease.

Boudoir shoot – Hair/Makeup/Photo by Red Leopard Photography

“While getting ready the night before, I prep my hair and make sure I have a vision with the look I’m wanting to create ..nothing like not being organised. I find if I don’t plan, I rush and go into a major panic, not great for your mentality going into a shoot. Be prepared!!”

“Mentally prepping I will practice posing looks in the mirror and see what angles work best for the shoot in question. Working on the best points of your body ..that being points you love about yourself. Your smile, your eyes, your waist the list goes on. The best advice I can give is breathe relax and let your natural beauty shine.” – Miss Joycurve

Now, to the day of the shoot :

  • Hair & Makeup – I always recommend arriving at your shoot ready. Unless you are attending a workshop style shoot where you have allocated time to do hair and makeup with the group. If you are feeling confident in doing your own hair and makeup great. If you are unsure but on a budget there are many great tutorials online that are great so you can have a go at it yourself (practise before hand though). If you are not feeling confident what so ever then I recommend booking in with a professional that specialises in pinup and vintage styling.
  • Drink Water – drinking water will help keep you hydrated and also help with muscle cramps. Yes, posing is hard work.
  • Eat – eat something light before you head off to your shoot. You may be there for a few hours and you dont want to be getting light headed, especially standing in heels. Also if you take snacks, make sure they are quick and easy to eat. You don’t want to get bits of food stuck in your teeth.
  • Moisturize – moisturize your whole body so your skin looks and feels fresh.
  • Pack your bag – pack everything in a bag or suitcase. Include makeup for touch ups, hair brush, hair spray and bobbie pins.
  • Dressed ready to go – usually if it is an indoor/studio shoot you will be able to get changed into your outfit once you arrive but if it’s an outdoor/location shoot keep in mind there might not be anywhere for you to change. Either go already dressed in your shoot outfit or be prepared to change behind a car or even a tree.

I know this all seems like a lot to do but it’s honestly best to be prepared so that your shoot runs smoothly and you get the absolute best shots possible.

“I always chat online with all my clients. Asking questions lets me know more about them prior to the shoot (Hobbies, interests, talking points). I always ask clients to rock up a little earlier if they are a newbie. Punctuallity is a major thing for me, being a natural light photographer we only have a few hours to get those shots completed so running on time is essential. Also running on time allows me to get that conversation going before jumping straight into the photo shoot, keeping my client more relaxed.” – Angie from Angie Delarie Pinup Photography

Now let’s talk posing. Having some idea of some basic posing will help you a lot. Most photographers are good with helping you pose and giving direction but some aren’t, so having a little bit of an idea will help the shoot run smoother. There are some great tutorials online to help with this. Standing in front of a mirror and trying different poses will help you to see how your body looks in a particular pose and what suits your body shape. We are all different shapes and sizes and also have different insecurities about our bodies so knowing how you look standing or sitting in a particular way can help you avoid showing those insecurities. For example, I have tuck shop lady arms (I totally do), so I try not to pose in way that allows my upper arm to hang or I tense it so it doesn’t appear as loose. A simple turn of the hips or shoulders can change your pose from meh to great. Stick to poses you can comfortably achieve. Us models make it look easy but it’s not. I end up pretty sore the day after a shoot just from the poses alone. I help with posing and direction for a lot of Fate Photography’s group shoots. I find having someone there to help with the posing helps greatly. Just fixing up hair, straps, jewellery and being able to say lift your chin or even pose so the model can copy me helps out immensely.

“The best advice I can give to someone who’s new to shooting or taking part in their first pinup photoshoot is to let go and have fun! To get the most out of your shoot, practice your poses in a mirror and see what suits your body, break down different body alignments like arm lines and leg lines, and work on expressive facial expressions. I imagine posing is like a slow motion dance changing my movement to create lines as the photographer shoots. The biggest issue most people have in a shoot is being nervous, tension shows in your body and face, which affects your poses, by letting go and just having fun you’ll have the most fabulous photo captured. Whether you picture yourself as the glamorous pinup queen that you are or if you channel Bettie Page or Dita Von Teese to help you feel in character, it will give you fabulous results! The first photoshoot I took part in was to help a friend with a project, and I fell in love with the whole process, stepping out of your comfort zone just might find you your new passion!” – Miss Lady Lace

*Miss Lady Lace has some incredible videos on how to pose in her Pinup Posing Series. Plus hair and makeup tutorials and so much more. Check out her YouTube channel

“I’ve had many photoshoots over the years I have been a burlesque performer so the number one tip is CONFIDENCE! Its always scary to be vulnerable in front of a camera you have no control over. Find yourself a Photographer who can chat with you and keep you laughing! My favourite in Perth is Chayla Taylor or Wild Kat Photography. The next thing is to find some poses that work best for you. Your photographer can help you pose, but it is everyones personal preference to flaunt their best features. I’m a corset wearing gal most of the time so poses that work for me are standing or on my knees with arms up to flatter a little waist and my giant balloon boobies. When you finish your first photoshoot and do another, try to experiment a bit with your poses so you can boost up your range… and of course have FUN!” – Sugar Du Joure

Choosing a photographer. There are many incredible photographers out there and there are also some pretty crappy ones too. There are a few things to consider when choosing the photographer that is right for you.

  • What look are you wanting to achieve? Shoot style? Setting? Eg: Studio/white back drop, outdoor/garden, boudior, portrait etc.  Think about what sort of shoot you are wanting and what outfits you are you wanting to wear will help decide this. Does the photographer offer the set you are thinking of. There’s no point wanting a luxury boudior shoot if the photographer you choose only has a white backdrop and no props.
  • What is your budget? Think about how much you are willing to spend. Check prices with photographers before booking them. You don’t want to fall in love with your photos only to find out that your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase any images. Some photographers include a certain amount of images with your shoot. Others have a shoot cost plus image cost on top. Some offer digital copies, others only offer printed copies. These are things you need to know up front to avoid disappointment later.
  • What style of photography are you wanting? Eg: vintage aesthetic (where the photo looks aged), pinup/magazine vibes, raw/natural (not a lot of editing) etc. My style as a photographer is pretty raw with minimal editing using mostly natural light. I also mostly photograph babies and families so that suits exactly what I do. I always advise any potential clients to look through my work before booking me. If you don’t like my style then please don’t book me as I don’t want to disappoint you. Look through any potential photographers galleries so you know what you are getting. All photographers offer different looks and have different skill sets.
  • Ask around for recommendations – ask your friends or fellow pinups who they recommend, who they have shot with, what was the photographer like, how long does it take to receive your completed/edited images. Everyone will have different opinions and experiences but this could help you decide.
  • Do you want a one on one experience or would you prefer to do a group shoot so you aren’t alone? Group shoots can be great as you have other pinups/models there to help guide you through your shoot. It’s also a great way to meet like minded people and possibly make new friends.

Personally I would recommend either a studio portrait shoot or a group themed shoot for your first pinup shoot. This is completely up to you but I really wouldn’t recommend anything along the lines of lingerie shoots straight off unless you go to a photographer that specialises in this and you know they will make you feel comfortable. Getting photos taken in lingerie or semi nude, even nude nude, is a huge deal. You need to feel safe and know your photographer has only the best intentions for you. Again do your research!

What is the best part about running Pin Up Workshops at Lady Velvet Cabaret?

“For me there are so many favourite parts about running the workshops. First is always meeting new people. We get a wide range of experienced Pin-Up fashionistas, to beginners who want to give it a try for the first time. Everyone gets along so well together and it’s amazing to see the experienced gals help out others with their own Pin Up tips. I always leave a workshop with new tips and tricks and new friends” – Sugar Du Joure

“One golden rule that is clear before you even start…. the photo shoot is not about you, it’s about the person you are shooting. Keep your clients happy, relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera and around yourself and always have FUN!
Communication is the key for any sucessful photo shoot. Build a positive connection!
I love one on one client photoshoots it allows more time to get to know my client but I’ve also found in the past 3 years that running small group shoots are an absolute hit, especially if their newbies. Everyone helps out, more hands on deck and the atmosphere is amazing” – Angie from Angie Delarie Pinup Photography

I’m just going to say this one…… don’t choose cheap just because it’s cheap. Yes, have a budget but do not go with your cheapest option simply because it’s the cheapest. Not saying cheap shoots always equal low quality but usually when its really cheap it’s honestly not going to be amazing. Alright, there is the odd exception. But seriously, don’t let that be your deciding factor. Just like going with the most expensive doesn’t always guarantee the best either. Again, look at the galleries. Check the photographers work. You’ll find group shoots can usually come with a slightly lower price than a solo shoot, as the photographer is shooting more people in one session, therefore the cost of the shoot time is being split between the group.

“I’ve had a rough time in the past year because of cheaper companies taking a lot of my business. I cannot compete with $20 photoshoots. I’ve actually had to lower my prices because of this. So, normally the shoot itself runs for half an hour / 45mins, then there’s editing time on top of that, which can end up being 3+ hours on one shoot that I’m charging $100 for, and that includes images. That roughly works out to be $33 per hour, I’m earning. It’s not much for something that has taken me 8+ years of training, experience and expensive equipment. I still have bills to pay.” – Elise from Fate Photography

Elise (Miss Van Dutch) – Fate Photography

Also look at what shoot packages may be on offer and what is included in these packages. For example a shoot may cost $250 and include 10 images or it may be $150 and include 3 images. $250 seems more expensive but in fact you are paying $25 per image as opposed to the cheaper shoot working out to be $50 per image. I know what you are thinking, this is all becoming confusing but really these are things you need to be aware of.

While we are talking prices and costs…. DO NOT ask for free shoots! Exposure does not pay the bills. Many photographers will offer TFP (time for print), that’s right, they offer it. Don’t ask for it. Telling them you will share it on social media to your less than 1000 Instagram followers is not cool. If you do wish to approach a photographer for a possible collaboration, then be prepared…. what are you offering in exchange for their time and skills? Perhaps come to some sort of arrangement for a discounted rate or maybe allow them to use the images for their own advertising. If you do come to some sort of arrangement please make sure you tag them on your socials and share their pages and recommend them. Remember they are helping you so help them in return.

Coming from the photographer side of things, please do not think our job is easy and that we get paid a lot for doing bugger all work. Your shoot may only take an hour but there is also set up time, pack up time and not to mention the editing time that goes into every single shoot. Personally I don’t do a lot of editing to my images (remember this is my style and way of doing things) but it still can take me hours to edit one shoot.

A few shots I took of my beautiful friend Dominica Black. I know you were wondering what my photos look like.

This brings me to the whole Photoshop thing. Not every photographer uses Photoshop (yes, a lot do, but not all, that’s myself included). Stop saying “you can just Photoshop that out, right”…… grrrrr. If you actually knew just how bloody long it takes to Photoshop something out you wouldn’t even ask. Simple things like blemishes can be easily fixed up but asking for something to be removed from an image or even to have a smaller waist or bigger boobs is not an easy job, especially if you want it done well. And when I say ‘well’, I mean not an obvious adjustment or modification. Or if you do want these things done then expect to pay for it. I’ve seen experts work for hours in Photoshop changing and modifying things so that you can’t tell it ever happened. Don’t ever think this is something easy to do because it is not. I don’t use Photoshop and I tell my clients up front. So, no I can’t Photoshop a smile on your kids face. Ain’t gonna happen.

I am all for Photoshopping and I use it for all my photos, however I never Photoshop someone’s shape to be smaller or bigger. Although, I have been asked a few times to make someone a different size. Plus I don’t just click a button and that’s how the photo turns out, it has taken me the last 8 years to really find my style and process of editing. It roughly takes me half an hour to an hour per image (hence why I personally charge from $25 per extra image on top of the images included in the package).” – Elise from Fate Photography

Elise (Miss Van Dutch) – Fate Photography

Oh wow, I’ve really smashed you…. information overload. There really is a lot to consider when doing a pinup shoot or any shoot for that matter. Definitely take the step and do it. Try different styles and different photographers. I’ve shot with so many different photographers now. I’ve had good and bad experiences. Mostly good though and of course I have my favs but I do try to shoot with different photographers as much as possible and also join in on pinup workshops when I can.

“Remember that photographers are professionals and you have nothing to be embarrassed about, part of their job is to make you feel comfortable. Discuss your ideas with your photographer in advance if you have any concerns. You’re going to look amazing.” – Miss Katie Lenoir

Have fun with it, try not to over think it too much. Be prepared and that will take a lot of the stress out. I can’t take your nerves away but I can assure you, once you are there you will warm up and enjoy the experience. Now go get your pose on. Happy shooting.

Love Delza xoxo

*Please note that this is all written based on my knowledge and experiences. With quotes gathered from other professionals in the Perth Pinup Community.

I do not get paid for any recommendations or business tags

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