Of all the burlesque performers around today, there is one rising star who stands out, poised to shine brighter with each twirl on the stage! Miss Ava Garter embodies timeless elegance, flirtatious routines and bombshell good looks. A dedicated performer and a busy mom, Ava takes nothing for granted and has been a devotee of burlesque and Old Hollywood Glamour since she can remember. Her passion for classic glamour, romance, exceptional beauty and grace make her an in demand headliner at the Vamp Lounge aboard the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, along with other prestigious venues around the world. Groomed by some of the finest entertainers in the world, Ava is on the cusp of stardom and we are all invited along for the ride! Take notes, kids~ this is one gal you'll never forget!
I must confess that I just discovered you last year, but I know this was no overnight success. How long have you been performing?
OH my! That is no surprise really, I wasn't serious about taking myself to a much more visible level until mid last year. I have been a peeler on and off for about 16 years with just a little time in there to have a couple of little ones ( my son is 7 and my daughter is 3). I was the girl who never wanted to have any other job and couldn't understand why people felt so oddly about it in society. I still really don't .
What prompted you to be a professional Teaser?
The draw was always the love of the costumes and the stage for me. I have a passion for great costuming and old fashioned glamour. Anywhere that I can get the chance to look or feel glamorous is a place that I need to be. I feel as though the world has lost its shine and grace and that it is important for some of us to help keep it alive and kicking . Burlesque is the perfect art form to help me express all of my passions . In burlesque not only do I have a way to creatively apply myself but I get to combine my most precious childhood memories of watching great MGM , Paramount , or RKO movies too. What better job could one have?
Am I correct in assuming you chose your stage name as an homage to screen goddess Ava Gardner? Why her?
Absolutely true! Gosh, I have a million reasons, I will give you just a few. The most obvious is her sex appeal. Ava was a no apologies woman, and I admire that . In pictures she looked right into the camera. Straight at you, as if to ask you " OK, so what are you gonna do about it?" She got what she wanted but it didn't always make her happy. I know how this feels, men still are hard for me to understand too. She loved deeply and did not mess around when it came to the men she loved. She had a sense of humor about what she did and she always felt that any schmuck could do it....she just got lucky! I just feel that out of the many stars in the sky of Hollywood, is the one that I seem to relate to . I sometimes feel sad for her that she died without having kids , I feel like she would have found the love that she was looking for and really deserved but..... Ah Hollywood.
There are many types and styles of Burlesque now. My personal favorite style in Burlesque (and in general) is the classic glamour and elegance of the 30's and 40's. I've noticed that there a just a few performers who stay true to this style, your self included. Why is it important to you to carry on this tradition?
This time in history is so exciting, isn't it? I love all of the different styles of Burlesque! It's amazing to see the art form grow and change in so many ways all over the world. Actually, it's amazing that it is even being picked up as a form of entertainment right now after all of those
years of bikini clubs and poles. ( hey, I love a good pole too) But what I feel is important is for every performer to go with the style that is the most FUN for them. Whatever is your favorite is great. I just happen to love good old classic Ziegfeld esque strutting and sumptuous and
graceful movement . Like I said before, I feel that the world is in need of more showgirls and if I can fill the void then I am happy to lend my hand.
You have been trained by the best in the business. Where there things you already knew? Were there things you were surprised to learn?
Of course as with every dancer, I had a few tricks of my own when I came to be trained by Catherine and Dita. That is part of the reason why they agreed to train me in the first place. They wanted to make sure that they could be proud to put their names behind me even from the very beginning. I feel so lucky to have both of these women available to me to ask for opinions on what I should do or where I should go with something. The little bits of wisdom that they share with me really are golden and help make me strive to be better and better every time I go on stage. I would have to say that one silly thing that I have learned is that if it goes on stage , it better at least have some glitter on it!!!
You most recently debuted your Bullfighter act! What was the inspiration for this?
Ava Gardner was the influence for that special act. Its hard for me to think of a time when I wasn't trying to make the bull or trying to sell someone on the idea of the bullfight. I would always tell the story of how I thought of the idea . I once heard the story of Ava and her lover (and world famous bullfighter) Louis Miguel . They had an awesome relationship, neither of them bothered to learn much of the others language! They dated for over a year and couldn't really speak any language but the one in the bedroom! Come on now, that's the best story I've heard in a long time. Louis was the most famous bullfighter of his day at the time and extremely sexy, he looked pretty hot in his bullfighting attire. I guess I just imagined what might have happened if Ava ever tried on his clothes. What would her striptease look like? I figure it had to have happened at least once. She was a woman of undisputed passion , I think that the whole idea is possible. I try to keep this little fantasy in my head when I am on stage doing the bullfight act. It makes it so much more fun and heck, what a thought right?
What is your routine before you go on stage? Do you have any superstitious things you do?
Before I go onstage I like some quiet. I really like to think about what it is that I am going to do and take the time to go over my routine in my head. Sometimes I may decide to take something out or even add it in at the last minute! I can't say that I have any superstitions or anything like
that . I actually wish that I did, it would make a more interesting interview, ha ha.
You make Burlesque look effortless~ but like any performer, it must be physically demanding. What do you do to stay in top shape?
I laugh all the time at how easy people like to think that burlesque is. It is super hard to prance about on 5 inch heels in 30 lbs of dress , hair etc. all while trying to be entertaining and beautiful at the same time. I have a huge admiration for Dita , you really have no idea the weight of all of those gorgeous costumes that she wears! They are soooo heavy. One of her feather boa's alone weighs like 15lbs because of the rhinestoned disco balls on the ends! It may even weigh more, I wouldn't be surprised . She wears all of those fantastic things that take your breath away and they are so heavy , but she glides and makes it look effortless. She's amazing. I do Pilates a couple times a week and then I also chase my 3 year old all day and that helps me to barely remember to eat! Never underestimate the power of a 3 year old on your waistline. She keeps me thin.
You have traveled the world performing. How does each audience react to you and Burlesque in general?
Right now is a wonderful time to be involved in burlesque. People all over the world are discovering how much fun burlesque is to go out and see. What is so great to me is that you can find almost more women in the audience sometimes than men! Women come out to appreciate the beauty and sensuality of the burlesque queens and I think hope to take a piece of the show home with them so they can have a little bit in there everyday life. Whether it be a hairstyle or maybe just wearing some stockings once in a while , it is a return to glamour and fun that translates all over the world.
I just read a great article on Tempest Storm. I think it was done at this years Miss Exotic World pageant weekend. I am so inspired by Tempests ability to continue with her career and transcend the age barrier. She never had a day when she woke up and said " God, I had better find something else to do". She didn't believe that she needed to stop dancing because she was growing a little older. She is a dancer! That is what she IS. They ran this interview on MSN and my father called me and spoke to me about this "woman" he had read about , not knowing much about burlesque he had no clue that that " woman" was a legend! I talked to him about how I had the same love and the same calling that Tempest spoke of in the interview and that for me, it is really all I want to do . Thanks to Tempest, I think he just may understand. I would love to get the chance to tell her someday about how she bridged a gap between my father and I . I owe her a debt of gratitude because I am that ONE person who she changed the life of when she gave that interview. WOW.
What exciting things are you working on currently?
Right now I am working on the peacock routine. The costume and concept is one that has been passed down to me by Catherine D'Lish and I feel very lucky to be the curator of the act at this time. Its always hard to take something that someone else has made famous and perform in place of them. I am working on putting my own spin on the show and then trying to use a few of her moves as a wink of a reminder to Catherine herself. I will be adding a fountain and a few little other tricks that will make the show my own in the end but after its all said and done, I plan to return the costume etc. to Catherine so it can maybe go into the Exotic World Museum where I believe that it really belongs.
What advice do you have for aspiring Teasers?
It may sound cheesy but I really believe that you should always listen to your heart. Block out the sounds of what people may be telling you and just stay quiet and listen.
Name three things every Teaser must have!
Lets see... every teaser should have a wicked come hither look, a dangerously low cut dress and a great walk. You have to practice that walk ! You know the one, the walk from across the bar to your table when you want every boy in the room to look at you. Every teaser should have an equally teasing walk.
What does glamour mean to you, and what makes you feel glamorous?
Glamour is not something that you can buy or make up . Glamour is an aura about something that makes it special . Its what gives something or someone that awe factor . I feel that women need glamour these days a little bit more than we call upon it. Life is hard and things can get you down, its true, but I have found that I can make myself feel better and view the world in a totally different way when I try to be more glamorous . In my everyday life I wear makeup and most days even go so far as to wear lashes . They make me feel pretty . I love to make sure that my hair is done and that it is usually rolled , even if all I'm doing is a run to Target. If you are having a bad day and you pass by a mirror and catch a look at yourself and think " hey, I'm not doing so bad today, I look pretty damn good!" then I find that it can pick you up and carry you through some of the bad times a little easier than you thought.
What is in your makeup bag?
Always eyelashes. I have the worst natural lashes and so I love love love a good pair of eyelashes. I really like Lip fusion's lip gloss in smooch for day time when I don't feel like lipstick. MAC Classic Dame lipstick and my most favorite thing is my Besame compact. I love it. Its so elegant and small , just like a little piece of jewelry in my purse . I love to whip it out and powder my nose with it everywhere I go.
What was the last book you read?
I just finished Empress by Shan Sa. It was a wonderful piece of historical fiction based upon the life and rule of the great Empress Wu. Her rule during the Tang Dynasty was not unlike the rule of the great Queen Elizabeth the 1st . She ruled for many years without the help of a man or partner and ushered in a time of peace and prosperity that her country still talks about. A golden age.
What was the last party you attended?
I went to a fourth of July party in Hollywood with my girlfriends and it was so ridiculous that we cut out and went to Korea town for massages and body scrubs!
What handsome Old Hollywood Star makes you swoon?
I have a serious thing for Gene Kelly. Now don't get me wrong, I love Fred Astaire ... but to me Gene just embodied the soul of a blue collar guy when he took to the dance floor. He had so much masculine energy when he danced. He had this low center of gravity where as Fred danced very high and straight. Fred was very aristocratic. Something about how Gene danced just takes my breath away every time. I also have a bad boy crush on Errol Flynn . He was so hot with that sword! Oh my god. They say he was quite a ladies man, I hope he was . Then you can always get me with some Jimmy Stewart or some Carey Grant. How lucky was Catherine Hepburn to work with them both in The Philadelphia Story? I don't know how she picked one . I got confused and would never be able to pick between the two.
What does Miss Ava Garter look for in a gentleman suitor?
Wow! Believe it or not, I don't date much. Yep, I'm the terminally single girl. I work so much that I rarely have time to meet any cute boys! Trust me, I'm up for it so if you know of any..... I am determined to meet someone who is a gentleman this time. I have had some bad luck , let me tell you. A good gentleman is hard to find.
Where do you see your self in a few years?
I would hope to find myself traveling my little show all over the world, their are so many places that I can't wait to go to.
Thanks Ava! xx
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photo credits: 1. Plush Images 2. S.H. Photo Lab 3. Bravofoto 4. Marco Patino 5. Jake Davis Photography 6. Phillip Ritchie Photography 7. Lori Brystan 8. Jim Knell Photography 9. Jim Knell Photography 10. S.H. Photo Lab 11. Unknown 12. Plush Images 13. Plush Images