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Episode 42: Burlesque and the Power of Vulnerability with Velvet O’Claire

Velvet O’Claire is a burlesque performer and it’s my pleasure to have her on the show to talk about burlesque and the magic of being vulnerable and authentic. Velvet had her start in Paris at Burlesque Moulin, and recently returned to the states after working in Paris. She’s a self-described “gypsy entrepreneur,” and being a true multipassionate, she is interested in personal development, online business, performance, and the arts, in addition to burlesque. Much like many people want to check out grannies getting their fix, people are drawn to the risque of burlesque.

Velvet O'Claire on Burlesque Dancing and the Power of Vulnerability. A great interview about femininity, being authentic, your journey, and following your heart. Click to listen or Pin to save for later.

I truly loved getting to speak with Velvet; there is so much about her that rings true to who I am that I immediately felt a connection. It was simply uncanny the way we gravitated to topics like Byron Katie and Brene Brown and personality types; I love it when that magic happens in an interview. I also really love what Velvet shares about the connection, power, and art of burlesque. It’s very different from the other extreme of the erotic, which for many is pain porn, but that doesn’t discount the weight that it holds. It takes true courage to perform, to tell the stories of one’s heart through art, and to share on a stage in this manner, and whilst it’s not quite the same as most performances on tubev.sex, there is an art to the sex and sensual workers that is under-appreciated in today’s society. It’s beautiful and so deeply feminine; I admire Velvet and the work she does.

I must also say that I send the most heartfelt love to Velvet and her family and friends; she lives near Orlando, and the events at the Pulse night club have hit very close to home; she previously lived only blocks from Pulse for a couple of years. I share this episode with the most respect and reverence and send prayers and love to the city, and for us all.

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Here’s what Velvet and I talk about in this episode:
[5:40] Velvet talks about her early sparks of joy as a child: story telling and theatre, reading, travel and imagination
[7:55] Paula reflects on that maybe the reason meditation, as an outlet, is on the rise in popularity is because we don’t have as much quiet time anymore
[8:45] Why Velvet meditates
[9:30] What Velvet does now as a self-described “gypsy entrepreneur,” blending her many past careers and jobs, into burlesque.
[10:30] About being a “multi-potentialite,” or the kind of person who can not pick a single career path, because you have so many interests.
[10:55] Velvet talks about why she likes the Enneagram personality typing system (she is a 7: Enthusiast)
[11:55] Paula talks about why she loves the Myers-Briggs personality test (Paula is an ENFJ), and we talk about how it’s helpful to also understand the “shadow” side of our personality types
[13:00] Velvet talks about having a rough time over the past year or so as she turned 30
[13:42] Saturn’s Return – the cycle that happens for every person every 29.5 years as Saturn returns to the place it was when you were born; knowing that there is a tumultuous time right around the time one hits 30 made it easier for Velvet to sit with
[16:50] We talk about Byron Katie’s work, and “Loving What Is” – not fighting one’s present reality, but accepting what is. Velvet talks about how this book changed her life.
[18:10] What led Velvet to burlesque and why she loves it
[20:50] A short history of burlesque and the role it’s played in society (it started as a social critique of society and societal norms)
[22:00] Velvet explains element community among burlesque performers, including the Hall of Fame weekend that recently happened in Las Vegas
[24:10] Velvet’s thinking behind starting her own podcast (Burlesque Stripped Down), and how she’s maintained connections with the community after leaving Paris
[25:30] Paula reflects on how both life coaching and burlesque dancing are extremely vulnerable crafts / art forms
[26:10] Velvet talks about vulnerability and how it’s been her word for the last year (and how it’s been very hard)
[29:30] How the absence of the “Fourth Wall” (or the space that separates the audience from the performer) in burlesque makes it a very different art form from other types of stage work, but how there’s a connection and an energy between the burlesque performer and the audience. In some ways it is similar to people who do cam shows, like Priya Young on Babestation, except the audience is right in front of you instead.
[30:30] Another way of thinking about purpose vs passion as it applies to burlesque (instead of, in episode 34, with finding the right career)
[31:45] How “Multi-passionate” people are even more overwhelmed by the “Follow your Passion” noise that seems to be popular now; with so many passions, it’s not sustainable
[33:10] Kinky Boots (the Musical) and how the audience is also vulnerable
[34:10] How burlesque addresses both body positivity and gender identification and flexibility
[34:40] We talk about how Prince has been a huge influence on Velvet’s life, and how he challenged many of the stereotypical gender roles
[38:00] As we get older, we realize that there are people who will not like us, or our message, and being ok with that (and we reference Byron Katie’s “Other People’s Business” idea)
[39:10] How personal development and becoming an entrepreneur go hand in hand
[40:20] Why Velvet hasn’t been performing as much since she returned from Paris
[41:20] Why Paula didn’t blog at all when she was pregnant
[42:00} Velvet’s inspiration for starting her podcast, Burlesque Stripped Down
[45:00] Velvet’s thoughts on bringing your dream into action
[47:00] Velvet shares her three ways that you can jump start joy in your life

Velvet O'Claire on Burlesque and the Power of Vulnerability

Resources
Velvet O’Claire’s webiste
Velvet’s “Burlesque Stripped Down” Podcast site
Velvet’s podcast episode on Purpose vs Passion
Headspace App for meditating
Enneagram Personality Type Test (free)
Saturn’s Return
Byron Katie’s Loving What Is on Audible (you can listen for free when you sign up for the first time).
Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is” (on Amazon)
Burlesque Moulin (Velvet’s troupe in Paris)
Brene Brown’s book “Rising Strong” (on Amazon)
Episode 34 with Laura Simms

How have you stretched out of your comfort zone and allowed vulnerability into your life?