Q. Why did you become a Burlesque Performer?
A. I wanted to celebrate and express my femininty in a saucy and sexy way.
Q. What is your intention when you perform?
A. My intention is not to make women feel threatened and uncomfortable, but to inspire and entertain them. I want to encourage women to feel empowered by their sexuality and not feel afraid of it.
Q. What does Burlesque mean to you?
A. Burlesque is about celebrating women of all ages, sizes and shapes. It's about having fun enjoying being a woman without fear and repression.
Q. Who do you presently admire on the burlesque/pin up scene and why?
A. I admire Dita Von Teese for bringing burlesque in to the main stream and for making it a glamorous, revered and respected art form. I admire Sukki Singapora for being a wonderful Asian ambassador for burlesque. I admire Kitten Von Mew for living a 1940s lifestyle. I admire pin up model Diablo Rose of LeKeux Vintage Salon for her hard work and generosity in sharing her pin up look and for inspiring women to embrace it. I admire the troupe of dancers from Crazy Horse in Paris for their dedication. I admire Talulah Blue for her 1920s style and for the stunning costumes that she makes which you can see on her Etsy page. I admire Kitty Ribbons for her innovative routines such as her Sugar Plum Fairy and Russian Doll burlesque acts. I adore the Instagram pages of Ava Elderwood the German pin-up model, Lillian Love the British pin-up model and Rachel Ann Jenson the American pin-up model. I admire International showgirl Immodesty Blaize for her tireless preservation of Burlesque as an art form through her interviews and documentaries and I admire British pin-up model October Divine for being the modern day Jessica Rabbit.
In short, I admire all women who enjoy being beautiful, stylish, unique, iconic, successful, talented, accomplished and intelligent and who have the ability to turn these things in to an art form and share it with others.
Q. What is your vision?
A. I would like to inspire other Asian women to experiment and have the confidence to embrace a vintage look for themselves. This is a look I never thought I could achieve for myself, nor had I thought to because of my ethnicity. It was only when I did a 'Vintage Pin-Up Photo Shoot' with Lynsey LeKeux in her Birmingham salon that I realised it was possible. I called it 'Get The Birmingham Look'. Now it's my dream to see a group of Asian girls going for a night out on the town with their victory rolls in their hair and for women to ask for 'The Birmingham Look' when they phone Lynsey's LeKeux Salon.
Q. How would you describe yourself?
A. I would describe myself as being both 'Asian with a Vintage twist' and 'Vintage with an Asian twist'.
Q. Are you a religious person?
A. I was brought up as a Christian and went to Sunday School at a Methodist church, but I am an 'evolutionist' rather than a 'creationist'.
I'm also quite a spiritual person, plus I believe in Karma, positive energy and fate.
A.What do you like most about the vintage revival in the UK?
A. I have felt for a long time that today's fashions have made women feel miserable and unhappy with their body image. It has been responsible for plunging young girls and teenagers in to debt, making them feel insecure and unsure of themselves. This has encouraged women to be competitive towards one another instead of supportive. I've found that when you're wearing something vintage people stop to admire and compliment you, thus promoting a culture of admiration, respect and appreciation, especially at places like Twinwood WWII Music Festival, where you don't tend to experience anyone looking you up and down with disdain and jealousy.
Q. What else do you like about the vintage revival?
A. It's the first time that there has ever been a real threat to High Street fashions. Girls don't need to look androgenous or size zero because it's ok to celebrate being curvy and voluptuous. When you are young you make yourself up to look older in order to get in to clubs, but when you dress up vintage it is a 'mature' look anyway so it's ok to 'look and be an older woman'. Vintage clothes and hairstyles are not just about a certain identifiable style, they are about a bygone era of glamour and femininity which we have lost a little bit of.
Q. Are you particularly patriotic about anything?
A. I'm particularly protective towards Birmingham. I hate the negativity that is often expressed towards the Midlands.
Q. If you had to support a Charity which one would it be?
A. There are so many charities that I would support, but if I had to choose one, it would have to be one that helped raise awareness to fight against forced and arranged marriages.
Q. You see yourself as a 'Feminist Performer' what does this mean?
A. A 'Feminist Performer' is any woman who feels empowered by expressing her femininty and sexuality through her art.
Q. How would you describe yourself?
A. Kind and Generous, Feminine and Glamorous, Determined and Ambitious, Resourceful and Intelligent, Mischevious and Curious, Friendly and Funny, Caring and Compassionate, Creative, Eccentric and Visionary.
Q. What is the worst thing you could be?
A. Mediocre or mean
Q. What advice do you have for someone who is just starting out?
A. 'You are your name', choose it wisely and make it memorable, alliterative or quirky and make it easy to pronounce. 'Gita' would have been the traditional Indian spelling, but I 'Anglicized' my name so that it became my 'homage' to Dita Von Teese.
Q. What are your Burlesque Highlights?
A. I was thrilled to win a place in the finals of Black County Burlesque's 'Newcomer of the Year' competition. I was especially proud to make it into Issue No. 13 of 'The Burlesque Bible International Magazine' in 2015 and ecstatic when Dita Von Teese herself stopped to pose for a photo with me outside the Crazy Horse Theatre in Paris after her 'Crazy Show' in 2016 before being whisked away in a Maserati by her minders. It was also wonderful to meet Immodesty Blaize at Sexhibition in Manchester.
Q. Is there anything you dislike about Burlesque?
A. Without wanting to run the risk of making myself unpopular, I dislike the snobbery surrounding having to wear 'steel boned or whale boned corsets' in order to be able to call yourself a 'proper' burlesque performer. It's nonsense, plastic lined corsets are perfectly respectable. I want my corset to work 'with me' as part of my costume or lingerie and not be restrictive like what Victorian and Edwardian women had to endure. In fact during WWII the government comendered the steel in women's corsets to help with the war effort.
Q. How old were you when you first started performing Burlesque?
A. I could have performed anywhere, but it meant more to me to make my debut in my home town, so I waited for that opportunity to come along. I was in my mid to late forties and I haven't looked back. Fortunately we are living at a time where it is illegal for employers to discriminate and people have become less 'ageist' and judgemental. I believe '50' is the new '40' and that I'm 'gold not old'. I'd like to become a role model and say to other women please don't 'write yourself off'.
I don't think anyone would dare to write off Madonna!
Q. Could you share something personal about yourself?
A. I never knew who my biological parents were. I was taken from an orphanage when I was just three months old and adopted by two wonderful people who gave me love and stability and the chance to make something of myself.
Q. Could you share anything else personal?
A. My father served in the army in the medical Corps as a nurse and was very romantic. He would send nylons in the post to my mom who worked in a munitions factory during the Second World War. They were a luxury, so when ever I'm wearing stockings in my act they are my homage to my mother. They are not just part of my wardrobe or costume, they remind me of their adversity and make me feel deeply connected to them both and to the nostalgia of the era they shared as two young people in love.
(Photographed by Lynsey LeKeux pronounced 'Le Q' in 2013 at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. Lynsey is Creative Director of LeKeux Cosmetics & LeKeux Events. She was also voted 'Entrepreneur of the Year 2013' at the Woman of the Year Awards. Lynsey is a regular contributor for The Vintage Life Magazine).
An Interview with Geeta Von Tease.
'Get The Birmingham Look'