Monday, November 30, 2009

Veronica Varlow

She simmers just below our surface. Unaware to some, yet her energy radiates around us all. Veronica Varlow could be called an anomaly of sorts. Burlesque temptress, pinup model, actress, producer, performance artist, motivational icon. A true Black Swan!

Striking patrician features and robust in spirit, Veronica imbues more than elegance and charm. She also holsters a restless Femme Fatale side that can be unleashed when she sees fit; usually on the unsuspected. With a moniker like Danger Dame, what did you expect?

A vintage girl at heart, but views the world with novel eyes. She shares with us the defining moments and guilty pleasures that add to her passion filled lifestyle. She was kind enough to find time in her busy schedule to chat with me. Miss Veronica Varlow is worth getting to know!

I first became aware of you while you were gracing the screen on MTV's Made documentary as a life coach. What was that experience like?

The MADE experience was unforgettable and life-altering experience for me. I love working with women to bring out their inner bombshell - I loved working on MTV's MADE with Andrea. It was so good to be able to help her discover what was so amazing and unique about her and help bring that out. Seeing her stand straighter, walk taller and radiate confidence after six weeks of us working together was one of the most fascinating and beautiful things I've ever seen. She absolutely transformed. I was once afraid to live my dreams and felt like such an outsider.....I know what it's like. I told Andrea that I felt like I could teach her in five weeks what it took me five years of trial and error to learn. It was an amazing experience and I love continuing that work with other women looking to be more self- confident and discover who they really are. It took me getting attacked in the face by a rottweiler to really re-evaluate my life and my dreams and my situation - that's how scared I was to truly be me and stop being afraid of what other people would think of me. So when I can help another person step out of their shell and shine - it means the world to me.

I remember being impressed by your poise, compassion and seductive style. There also is a Femme Fatale side of you! Have you always pursued a life of glamour and mischief?

I was born with a desperate heart mixed with glamour and mischief.... I remember one of my earliest memories being in a bank with my Mom and thinking about how I when I was older - I would like to rob banks for a living. To this day, it's one of my main fantasies..... I'm not really sure where it started to be honest, but I know the thought has been there as far back as I can recall. In the trailer of Revolver - at the 1:39 minute mark - - the look on my face is priceless - I am finally living my bank robbing dreams - even if it was just a scene in our was real to me. I think my entire body was covered in goosebumps at that moment. When I was a teenager - I was a film projectionist for American Movie Classic festivals in one of the original silent movie theaters in the US. I would sit in the projection booth watching films from the 30s and 40s over and over and over. Watching Katherine Hepburn in "To Have and Have Not" and Marlene Dietrich in "A Foreign Affair" absolutely changed my life. Now those are some femme fatales!

There was a incident many years ago that turned your life around. Will you elaborate?

Yes. This story is the hardest for me to share, but it was the catalyst for a major transformation for me - so I think it's important to tell. The truth of the matter is that I really wanted to do burlesque and to get my film, Revolver, out there for a very long time before I actually tried. My dreams were just that - dreams - and I was working at an office with no light in a cubicle under florescent lights sixty hours a week. Every day I was there, I felt drained. In December of 2000, I saw my first burlesque show and I was enraptured. I dreamed of getting on the stage and doing classic burlesque - being graceful and glamorous. But, I felt like I had no time for my dreams and my job took up every moment of my life. Three years passed and nothing had changed.

On December 28, 2003, while volunteering at an animal shelter, I was attacked in the face by a rottweiler who ripped off my nose. His teeth came millimeters away from my eyeball. The skin underneath my eye was also ripped. In the eight hours of surgery, reconstructing my face, the most prominent question running through my mind over and over was - why had I not done the things in my life that I had wanted to do?

Being faced with a traumatic situation like that definitely made me reevaluate what I was doing with my life. It hit me how short life really is and how important my dreams are. As embarrassing as it is - the only reason I wasn't doing my dreams is simply that I was afraid of what other people would think of me. I am grateful every day that it wasn't the last five minutes of my life on that operating table and that I had a second chance to live my life fearlessly and walk forward into my dreams. Since then, my life has been unbelievably amazing and I've never looked back. I am a different person than I was.

Is there a formula for putting together a burlesque show? What aspects do you consider?

The most important thing for me is to do acts that reflect who I am and things I gravitate to. I find those always turn out the best! I take my performances very seriously - it's the time I can appear before an audience and just open my heart completely - unabashedly - to share a bit of myself with them. Every person is made up of many influences - and my influences of archetypes throughout the ages appear in my performances.

I have long been fascinated with bellydance and the mystery of Egypt - so doing an act completely covered in gold and blue Lapis stones as the goddess Isis appealed to me. In all the times I have done my Isis act, I still get goosebumps every single time I perform it. Then I have my Pulp Fiction Vixen acts that reflect my love of those silver screen femme fatales (complete with a .38 pistol) ....and my new military act shows my fighting and tough side. I grew up with boys, so I can fist fight with the best of them - and that is still a part of me. So when I get on stage and perform my acts - I connect with my audience because they believe me - I am showing them pieces of the real me.

So Rule Number One in putting a burlesque show together - find your idea - find what moves you - find what's special about you and begin with that idea - everything will come together easily after that!

Tell us about your recent performance for Diane Von Furstenberg!

It was special for me because I'm a big fan of her designs and I opened with my white feather fan dance before her fashion show on the rooftop of the Soho House on a beautiful Summer night. It was the very first time that I've ever performed burlesque outside - and it's an experience that I'll never forget. The moment I stepped onto the runway platform - the scene was something out of a movie.... the lights of New York City spanned below me from this rooftop and the full moon hung low in the sky. As I danced my white feather fan dance along the runway, the breeze was ruffling the fans and I kept catching my mirrored reflection in the pool, dancing beside me.

Besides teasing, what are your other passions?

The biggest passion of my life is the mission of making the film that Burke Heffner and I wrote together called Revolver, and getting it out there to the world. I think that everyone has a story to share that is unique to their life experience and reveals their soul - and Revolver is our story. Whenever I talk about the screenplay, I get goosebumps and tears in my eyes. I'm that passionate about it. Revolver is what I have to offer the world. I also love singing - slow and sultry - old torch songs like Marlene Dietrich would sing. I love to weave a spell on an audience with my voice.

How did your film Revolver come to be?

Revolver came to be when Burke and I had no money and I would write about a fantasy life of ours in a journal. I made the journal entries as if they were really happening. I had originally planned to just leave it behind in a bar or a coffee shop so that someone else would read it driven by curiosity. Then - in some way - maybe it really would be true in someone's mind out there. But then I shared it with Burke and he thought it would make a great screenplay. We spent many a night fantasizing about this other life of ours - expanding this story of adventure - weaving tales on our rooftop during the Summertime looking at the stars. That was how the story of Revolver came about - the story of Pocket and Blue - the two main characters who mirrored our lives. They were born from our minds when we were hungry for adventure and had no money to adventure on.

Your husband is a professional photographer with whom you have worked with many times. What is the process on set? What kind of input goes on?

Burke is a storyteller at heart. He sees pictures as ways to tell scenes and stories. That's why he has such a good eye for capturing the perfect shot and why he's an award-winning director. He's my true partner-in-crime and we collaborate together in almost everything. He will generally come up with an idea and scene he wants to shoot and he will put the set together or find the perfect location for it. He directs me as I'm posing to get the perfect look for the photo. What I love about him and his work is that he goes in with a strong vision of what he wants - and yet at the same time, he also always leaves time to have unexpected inspiration come up in the moment. That's what makes him a true artist.

Do you have any style icons?

In my eyes, Marlene Dietrich could do no wrong. When I go on tour, my vintage train case has a mirror on the inside lid, to which I have pasted pictures of Marlene Dietrich and Bettie Page for inspiration. I love Marlene's hypnotizing sex appeal and strong kick ass character and I love the playfulness of Bettie. I try to balance the two out in my own style.

You have fans all around the world! What is it like for you to connect with them? Any crazy stories?

I love connecting with the fans and hearing their stories. I recently just toured in Mexico with Emilie Autumn and when we got out of the car, the fans were going crazy - screaming, crying, holding up made me suddenly get tears in my eyes just being hit with all that outpouring of love at once. I thought...."How did I get here? How is this happening?" I'm so grateful for it all.

A bunch of my fans started Veronica's Kissing Army. There is also a very active forum. They are very dedicated! One of the best presents I have ever received is a book that they made and sent all over the world - each one of them made a page for me and then sent it along to the next place. They were so creative - there were poems, pictures, letters hidden behind tiny laced up paper corsets, exquisite art work - and the book had traveled from Spain to France, from England to Norway, from Lithuania to the US, from Germany to the Netherlands. That book hit places all over the world.... to think that everyone put so much time into it and kept it going is amazing. It is one of my treasures.

And another crazy random story - as I type this - I'm on the back on the tour bus - we just pulled into Canada. Because we go through the border on a huge tour bus, we always get stopped and searched as it's kind of a rock and roll stereotype that there's got to be all sorts of illegal things going on in the tour bus. So - when I perform - sometimes I get female fans who throw their bras at me and I've amassed quite the collection on this tour. I put a bunch of them on the rear view mirror of our tour bus and as our bus was pulling through the border patrol this morning, the inspector laughed about it and waved us through! It's the first time in over a year our driver hasn't been pulled over at the border. So I have the girl fans to thank for throwing their bras at me!

What advice can you give those who are interested in performing burlesque and pinup work?

The quote that I live by is: "It is not who you were born....but who you were born to be." You do not need to be defined by who you were yesterday or who you have been in the past. You can use every day to grow and to be more yourself than ever. Let your imagination run wild....unleash your inner bombshell. Do what makes you happy and comfortable and don't let other people's opinions of you or criticisms get you down. Fight for what you believe in. Let the real you come out in your performances and pictures - if you are having fun and being creative - people are going to take notice.

What does Miss Varlow want out of life?

Besides world domination? xoxoxo

Thank you Veronica! xo

Photo Credits
1. Burke Heffner 2. David Perry 3. Burke Heffner 4. Burke Heffner 5. John Bentham 6. Jan Blok 7. Amy Sussman 8. Burke Heffner 9. Burke Heffner 10. Vlad Volovhin 11. Burke Heffner 12. Danielle Bedics 13. Burke Heffner

Sunday, November 29, 2009


We look at these images and awe over their beauty and their glamour. Maybe you crush on them or respect them as an entertainer. Least we not forget that iconic beauty is also within ourselves. You can be a vintage purist or just like a certain aspect of times past~ this degree of composure and loveliness is inherent in all of us, you just need to believe in yourself. No one is perfect, and these images represent that hard work behind the scenes in grooming and training to become the "ideal standard" of the time. We should take from this a dedication to be the best person we can be in all aspects! It's not the end result, it's the journey getting there. Everyone can be beautiful; everyone is a star in there own right!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

True Corset

I have recently discovered a truly charming online shop that caters to every glamour gals' love of pretty things~ True Corset!

Based in the UK , True Corset is an online pin up and burlesque inspired boutique that aims to recreate the 1950's retro pin up look with playful yet sexy corsets, stockings, shapewear, knickers and more! Jade and her team are super sweet and helpful.

Their muse, Paulina De La Passionfruit, not only designs some of the most luxurious and delightful corsets, she also is the go to gal for pinup style guidance! She will take you on a coquette like journey through satin, lace, silks and brocades. The site is easy to navigate and contains helpful information such as detailed product descriptions, proper sizing, history of pinups and even a blog.

Although they carry a wide range of delectables and accessories, the show pieces are the corsets themselves. Fastidiously crafted and sumptuous to the touch, it's no wonder many pinups, burlesque performers and all around glamour gals choose them. There is a style and size for all. They are constructed using the finest materials and fitting standards such as proper vintage patterns and classic boning techniques. My favorite are the Dita corsets!

I also adore the frilly knickers! Comfortable and beyond cute, they are a must have. I love mine ;) Here, Bernie Dexter models the pink!

Stop by True Corset and treat yourself!

Thank you Jade! xo

all photos courtesy

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lost Charlie Chaplin

photo credit Everett Collection/Rex features

From the Daily Mail UK

£3.20 battered tin bought on eBay reveals lost Charlie Chaplin movie worth £40,000
By Wil Longbottom 06th November 2009

A chance purchase of a film tin for £3.20 on eBay has unearthed a previously unseen Charlie Chaplin movie which could be worth up to £40,000.

Collector Morace Park decided to buy the battered container because he liked the look of it and did not even open the parcel for a while after it arrived.

When he did, he noticed the title of the movie, Charlie Chaplin in Zepped, after unrolling part of the film.

The find has caused a storm among experts and features unseen footage of Zeppelins flying over England during World War I, as well as very early stop-motion animation and outtakes from Chaplin films.

The main animated sequence starts with Chaplin wishing he could return to England from America and fight with British soldiers.

It shows him being taken on a flight through clouds before landing on a spire in England.

During the First World War he was criticised for not joining the war effort. Chaplin did present himself for military service, but was rejected as being too small and underweight.

All the footage has been cut together into a six-minute movie that Mr Park, who lives in Henham, Essex, describes as 'in support of the British First World War effort'.

Mr Park bought the film container 'from someone else who deals in bits and bobs' and did not even open the parcel after it arrived.

When he did, he spotted the film's title after unrolling part of it and decided to search for it online.

He said: 'I Googled it and then my interest was pricked. I couldn't find any sign of it on the internet.'

He then sought the help of neighbour John Dyer, the former head of education at the British Board of Film Classification, and the pair began a search to find out what Zepped was and why it was unknown to film historians and Chaplin experts.

Mr Park said: 'It starts with live shots of Chaplin. It then turns into a dreamscape.

'We see a Zeppelin bomb attack. And then we see Chaplin taking the mickey out of the Zeppelin, at the time a powerful instrument of terror,' he told The Guardian.

The movie, shot on 35mm nitrate film, is believed to have been a First World War propaganda piece aimed at lessening the fear of airship bombing raids which Germany had been launching on Britain from the beginning of 1915.

Charlie Chaplin was contracted to the Essanay film company in December 1914, where he made some of his early masterpieces including The Tramp.

A year later, contract and salary disputes saw the then 25-year-old star sever relations with his employers.

Mr Park and Mr Dyer have travelled to Los Angeles this week carrying out research on the find, along side film maker Hammad Khan, who is making a documentary about their search.

On Monday they showed the film to Michael Pogorzelski, a film history expert and director of the archive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - the body behind the Oscars.

'It is an extremely interesting find. An unknown and uncatalogued Charlie Chaplin film,' he told The Guardian.

Mr Pogorzelski believes the film is made from outtakes and footage from previous films reedited by Essanay and cut together with shots of Zeppelins and animated material.

He described it as 'either piracy or entrepreneurship - depending on which side of the fence you're on'.

Simon Louvish, author of Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey, told the Independent: 'There are a number of these compilation films around, and in Senegal there were a number of films that had been cut together by other people using Chaplin footage.

'Keystone Pictures was going bust at the time and footage from these Chaplin films was freely available. This is less so of the Essanay films.

'Chaplin by 1916 was signing multimillion-dollar contracts and was very aware of the copyright on his films.

'It would be no surprise though if someone in Egypt, which was under British occupation at the time, decided to use one of the world's most famous figures to support the war.'

David Robinson, author of Chaplin: His Life and Art, said that after Chaplin left Essanay the company tried to exploit footage of its former star.

He says legal controversy created by Essanay adding footage to previous Chaplin films including Burlesque on Carmen, could account for the fact that Zepped never saw wide circulation.

The copy unearthed by Mr Park appears to have been classified for exhibition in Egypt, then a British protectorate. Mr Robinson believes the real value of the film could be anything between £3,000 and £40,000.

Chaplin was one of the first Hollywood 'mega-stars' for his hit silent films. He won an honorary Oscar in 1929 for The Circus, as well as the award for Best Music in 1972.

Other classics he wrote and starred in included Gold Rush, Modern Times and The Great Dictator.

Chaplin had 11 children and was married four times - to Mildred Harris, Lita Grey, Paulette Goddard and Oona O'Neill.

He was knighted at the age of 85 in 1975, although the honour was first put forward in 1931 and deferred because of the controversy of him not serving in World War One.

He died on Christmas Day in 1977 in Vevey, Switzerland.

***According to the book Paulette: The Adventurous Life of Paulette Goddard (This gal was Liz Taylor before Liz Taylor!) there was speculation that she and Charlie Chaplin were not legally married. Neither one had publicly admitted it.