This week I told like 300,000 people that I like to get get naked on stage.
I'm a panellist on The AM Show with TV3, and this week they asked me what my highlight of the year was....So I said it was doing my first burlesque performance with Lilly Loca's Bambina Burlesque school.
I decided to do it after learning about the art form when researching my feature article on Burlesque costumier Flo Foxworthy for this issue of Fashion Quarterly. In it, I describe how "burlesque is a mixture of comedy, theatre and dance, shaken up with elements of strip tease and served with a large splash of rhinestones." You create an act, a character, a plot, a costume then you perform you narrative, usually through dance, theatricality and striptease. And while it's not about getting naked, you normally get some of your kit off. Some performers take off one glove. Some performers go down to a bejewelled g-string. Some just spend the whole time fanning themselves seductively with large feathers like large, luxuriant, untouchably seductive swans.
The subject intrigued me. I couldn't figure out why you'd want to cover yourself in glitter and whip your bits around for strangers. But I was also fascinated. All the stars I'd interviewed said that performing was an incredibly cathartic, empowering experience. And a class A adrenaline hit.
They got me. See, this year I looked at my life and realised it had got incredibly dry. I wasn't doing anything interesting or challenging. I was deeply, subconsciously frustrated. Pacing around the house grumbling about unnecessary shit to my long suffering pot plant.
So I made it my mission to try things that terrified me and to write about them in an effort to feel more alive. That included burlesque - alongside naked yoga and stand up comedy.
It was difficult. Firstly because I have the athletic skills of a potato. I have to give enormous credit to Just Workout and Bridget Emmet from Truly Toned. Just Workout tempted me into a friendly, non-grunty gym filled with normal people not hulking, roaring dudes in stringy singlets.
And Bridget was my PT who is solely responsible for getting my lazy bum fit enough to wiggle around the stage. She listened to my fitness goal, took the journey as seriously as I did, whipping me into shimmying shape in a month. And it's thanks to her that I was able to pull off the high kicks and pelvic thrusting of my 80's aerobics instructor themed routine. If you want someone who really understands you and your fitness goal, this firecracker if your woman.
And performing was terrifying. It's not just your body you're exposing, it's all your emotional hang ups, concerns, body issues and latent fears of rejection. You're getting all of that out, whipping it around under a spotlight and asking the world to accept you. You're taking a punt on your own sexuality and staking your dignity on it. It's terrifying.
But that's what made it so thrilling. There was nothing like it. The raw rush of revealing yourself was a dizzying dopamine hit of self confidence. And anyway, I was so concerned about my choreography that I didn't have time to worry about people seeing my bum.
Not to mention, the reception you get from the crowd is irreplaceable. They cheered, danced, thrusted and hollered along as I ground my heart out to Donna Summer's 'Hot Stuff'. (What else?) In those dimly lit moments, a crowd of strangers came together to celebrate people who had decided not to give a fuck anymore and go for it. Where else can you get that?
So yes. In a year of sensational highs and crushing lows - like giving up all alcohol and coffee - burlesque has been an amazing source of of adrenaline soaked, sparkly, screamingly funny self confidence. Yes it was the highlight. And yes, 10/10 would do again.