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Seeing Red

Local burlesque group Gilded Lily talks waving eyelashes and what gets them through the workday

Photo: Josephine Love, License: N/A

Josephine Love

Maria Bella

Photo: Sarah Kimble, License: N/A

Sarah Kimble

Gigi Holiday

Photo: Erin Gleeson, License: N/A

Erin Gleeson

Gigi Holliday, Maria Bella, and Sophia Sunday

Photo: Cheryl Fair, License: N/A

Cheryl Fair

Lauren Marleaux

Photo: Kencredible, License: N/A


Deanna Danger

We recently met with some members of Gilded Lily Burlesque (Maria Bella, Gigi Holliday, and Sophia Sunday—other member Lauren Marleaux couldn’t make it) over brunch at Golden West Café to discuss their new stage show, Surrealesque, a burlesque opera inspired by the work of Lewis Carroll. We started off by talking about the transition from everyday woman to stage starlet.

City Paper: Have you ever had a fake-eyelash disaster?

Maria Bella: [laughs] The corners of your eyelash will come off and kind of wave at people. Sometimes you’ll go up to a friend, and as long as you’re a good friend, you’ll just be like, “Hey, your eyelash is waving; let me fix that for you.”

Sophia Sunday: I am absolutely terrible at adhering eyelashes. I loathe the entire process, but the end result is so worth it, so I just struggle through it for maybe 30 minutes. They inevitably end up being applied crooked or lopsided and I have to start all over again. [laughs] Maybe I’ll get the hang of it one of these days.

CP: Is it part of your daily routine?

Everyone: No!

MB: We love becoming civilians whenever possible.

CP: Do you feel like you become different people when you’re on stage?

SS: Absolutely! To an extent, you’re channeling people who inspire you, so you have this ability to quite literally put on a different face and tap into this part of your persona that you don’t get to tap into on a daily basis. Especially if you’re working in the kind of jobs that we do.

CP: Do you ever use your onstage persona to help you power through a tough day at work?

SS: I always keep my tube of bright-red lipstick with me wherever I go. Sometimes you just need to wear it proudly.

Gigi Holliday: Normally, I’m very mousy and quiet. When I have to train employees [or] have a business meeting and have to talk in front of the senior VP of my company, I make sure I have red on me, because red means something.

See those onstage personas in full force at the Ottobar Aug. 10 at 9 p.m.

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