1 hour, 29 minutes
Released: January 23, 2018
Recorded: January 6, 2018
On the inaugural episode of WEBurlesque The Podcast, Viktor Devonne talks to the “Titties from Jersey City” Lillian Bustle, burlesque performer, actress, and fat acceptance advocate.
Lillian jumps into the podcast by bringing up about her beginnings in New York City and how difficult it is to become successful as an actress even when you think you are taking the right step; “I tried really hard to make money in theater and never figured it out. I got so far as to get my Actor’s Equity card and my SAG-AFTRA card. Then I realized I wasn’t able to do the stage stuff that I wanted because … I told everyone on the planet [since] I was so excited and then couldn’t fly under the radar…and then I wasn’t performing at all which sucked.”
From there, her and Viktor talk about how she got into burlesque and what the New York scene is like. Lillian has some great advice to give about how to approach someone if you want to give them feedback on their act: “I find that even if I’m friends with somebody, I will say…not right after they get off the stage, but latter on… ‘Hey, do you want some feedback because I had a thought about your act.’ And sometimes people say no and that’s totally fine.”
As well as some thoughts about the proliferation of nerdlesque in the area: “I do sometimes feel like I’m not enough of a fangirl to participate…in the New York burlesque scene because a lot of it is nerdlesque…I do feel like I’m missing out but also feel like a total faker the couple of times I have tried to put together a [nerdlesque] act… The reason I was never into super heroes (and) sci-fi… was because there were no fat people in either of those spaces. And I was like “Welp, I guess in the future and in space they have eradicated fatness.’”
This leads into a discussion about the images of fat people in popular culture and how Lilian sees herself: “I always felt pretty. To the point that my friends would call me out because I would always gaze at myself in windows and mirrors… and I felt like I wasn’t always making that connection with other people… There are many ways to appreciate yourself and for me it was more the first time I was with someone that loves me fore the whole package. Loved me for my personality and my face and my body and not in spite of those things.”
These feelings set Lillian on the path to becoming an advocate for larger bodied individuals and while it isn’t always easy, she is happy that her work creates positive change for others; “I get a good dose of why am I here, what exactly am I doing and what is the point… in everything but in burlesque specifically… just when I’m like, ‘Is this really worth it?’ every fucking time I get a message from somebody telling me how I’ve affected them in a positive way and it takes my breath away every single time.”
Finally, she and Viktor end the episode talking about how diversity in all its forms is needed in burlesque and how we must all strive to be better advocates of it; “Something we have to think about when it comes to diversity in general is what are we putting out there as a community?” Every time I produce a show I feel like I’m telling a story about what burlesque is to the person watching.”
- Synopsis written by Raina Sinclair for WEBurlesque
- Intro and Outro Music: “On A 45” by This Way to the Egress – used with permission.
- Interlude Music: “Lobby Time” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com); Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
- Photo of Lillian Bustle and Viktor Devonne by Atticus Media Productions
- everything else (c) White Elephant Burlesque Corp