Ich bin ein Berliner!

At Lada’s Boudoir – Part II (The burlesque days)


Herzlich Willkommen to LADA REDSTAR erotic world

Now that we know Lada’s background a bit better let’s discover a bit more of her professional side. I’m sure it will surprise you!

The Burlesque Days

Vintage Berlin Guide: You have been a professional burlesque performer for three years now. Did you ever have classes? Or learn from someone?

Lada Redstar: No, never. There’s nothing to learn. Either you can do it, or you can’t do it. You can get more self-confident with time. I’ve been learning from myself mostly or from getting to know other performers and from receiving their energy. I think there’s nothing you can teach to anybody. There’s not one way of taking off a stocking. Because everybody has their own way. I believe that you shouldn’t learn from anyone. You should only be yourself. And if you need to learn it from someone, then maybe this is not a thing for you. This is how it is. Of course, this is a harsh way to say it. It’s just like the performers from the past. The ones that became famous were so, because they had something special. And they had this something special because they believed in them self, not because somebody taught  it to them. They are the only teachers you should take in consideration. I don’t think one can learn burlesque in a weekend. It has to be inside you. It has to have a passion behind it.

Lada’s Gradma, Stana, 1940
Lada’s Gradma, Stana, 1940

VBG: How did your family react? Did they support you?

LR: My mom is my biggest fan. When you go to her place it’s scary. It’s like a mausoleum. She’s collecting everything from me: my cd, my posters, books with pictures of me. Her friends know about it and it’s getting even more mental! For her birthday or Christmas they give her presents with me on it, like cups or magnets for the fridge. But this it’s really sweet. She lives alone, so I guess it’s her way of having me around and keeping me close to her. My father, though, is quite silent about it. He doesn’t say anything bad about it, but nothing good either. I think in a way, he is proud. But I guess it’s strange for him… seeing his daughter naked. It will be weird for me to see him naked on a stage.

And your grandma? Is she still alive?

LR: No, unfortunately, she died last year. I think she was really proud too. I talk about her in every single interview. Cause she was always so coquette and proud of herself. I think she was very happy that I was talking about her. Unfortunately she was blind the last years of her life, so she never saw what I was doing. But she was touching my feathers and really enjoying it.

VBG: Is she your role model?

LR: Yes, with no doubt. She had everything! She was a great mother, a great grand-mother, a great woman. One couldn’t see any faults on her. We should think about the pressure of society as women. We shouldn’t think about that we need to be the same as man. But we should see ourselves as people. And I want to be a good one. I want to be beautiful. And I want to be strong and intelligent. In our days, whatever we could say, gives us the opportunity to be like that. It’s not true that it doesn’t. We can be the best. And my grandmother was the best. She was a great professor, kind to everyone, a great cook, very intelligent and all of this in a very hard historical moment. She could speak seven languages. I wish I could be like her!

VBG: How many can you speak?

LR: Five. Still have to learn German.

VBG: How do you create your acts? Where do you get your inspiration?

LR: It’s a very complicated process. I have so many ideas. But costumes are really expensive! Some people save money to buy a car, I save for my costumes. My goal is having a new one every year. I guess that’s why some of them would never become real. I have many ideas. One day one of them just clicks and pops out from the others and I start that project. Sometimes it can start with music, like my “Insectavora Queen of the Bugs” was. I was performing a lot with Armitage Shanks, a compere and singer from the U.S., and he gave his cd. When I heard the music I thought – Oh! I have to do something with this song! – This idea of the queen of the bugs can be a bit weird, but at the same time so glamorous too. I really felt inspired by his music. For other acts it can start with the idea for the costume and then you look for the music. With the “Swallow of Spring Act” it was like that. I wanted to do something related to Spring, as an homage to my mom. Her name is Vesta, the goddess of Spring. Butterflies were too boring so I thought about a bird, the swallow. Plus the swallow is a symbol of so many things, like rockabilly, R’n’R, the 50’s… Even though I didn’t want to use it too much, because I didn’t find it interesting enough to do it only in a rockabilly style, but I was hoping that people would get the reference. I wanted to have a corset with tattoos of swallows on it, but I didn’t want them to look too much like tattoos, I wanted something in the middle. This way I could play around with all of this symbology. Starting as a big black swallow and then becoming Spring with lots of flowers and bumps & grinds and a vivid sexuality! You know what happens in Spring, right?! (naughty laughs)

If they need advices, then its because they should quit right away. It’s not a beautiful thing to say, but it is how it is.
If they need advice, then it’s because they should quit right away. It’s not a beautiful thing to say, but it is how it is.

VBG: You don’t have tattoos?

LR: Oh, yes… I have one, but I got it when I was 16 (again, naughty laugh). So, let’s not talk about it! Nobody really knows about this tattoo, because in our days there is miracle make-up that work really well, so you can hide the tattoos. It is in a very, very visible part of my body, but nobody knows about it! Only in the backstage. And people get really surprised: – What?! What’s that? – But it doesn’t appear in any of my pictures or on stage. It’s a mystery!

VBG: How long does it takes you to finish an entire choreography?

LR: It depends, the last one; “Eastern Crystal Storm”, took me almost one year, from the point I decided exactly what I wanted to have, until the point I brought it on stage. Other acts are a bit quicker, but at least six months. To have everything made, choosing the fabrics, putting all the crystals on.

VBG: Last year you won the crown in the World Burlesque Games at the London Burlesque Festival, you’re on the top 50 burlesque performers 2012. What’s next?

LR: I don’t know! I’m going to Australia for a two month tour. I’ll be travelling to Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. I’m going to perform almost every night for this two months. I guess a new Continent to start 2013 is already a very good thing.

VBG: Not all the venues give you the same conditions to perform. Which one was the best place you have performed and which is the worst one? Have you ever thought: – Oh God! What am I doing here!

LR: Hum… I think I haven’t had really bad ones… I think the bad ones are the ones that people really don’t get what are you doing. You are performing in the middle of people that are really drunk and trying to steal parts of your costumes. It’s part of the job sometimes, but it’s one of those moment were one can think; What am I doing here?! and other times it’s completely the opposite. For example when I was invited to Helsinki by Lou Lou D’vil. It was a whole month there, in the Helisinki casino with a band, Sami Saari & The Teasers, that played live music for our performances. It was magical! This was one of my best experiences. Then of course there’s some smaller places that have a big space in your heart. Like the Palais Mascotte in Geneve, a cabaret that I worked for an entire month, sometimes I was going there on tour, maybe three times a year. When I performed there it was just like a big family. The apartment were we stay is right above the cabaret. It’s like living that real cabaret life. It will be forever in my heart! Oh! And Vienna! When I perform in Vienna the places are always so beautiful. For example the Hofburg Palace where the monarchy once lived. This was the most beautiful backstage ever, because they were the royal rooms. I was changing there and thinking: – My life is really amazing! I can’t believe that I’m naked in the same room that maybe Sissi was doing her toilette.


VBG: Any advice for the new girls that are coming to the Berlin burlesque scene?

LR: If they need advice, then they should quit right away. It’s not a beautiful thing to say, but it is how it is. You should have your own ideas and you should go for it. That’s why you shouldn’t need advice from anybody. If you need advice it means that you’re not sure of yourself and maybe you don’t really want to do it or you don’t feel very comfortable on a stage or getting naked on the stage. If you need advice on costumes, maybe it’s because you don’t have enough imagination. It’s not nice to say, I know, but if they need advice there’s something wrong… Be yourself and be unique! Find yourself in a way that you can be truthful to yourself and to the audience. This is an artform that is impossible to pretend. You have such an eye contact with the audience that they can see right away when something or someone is not being truthful. They are so close to you that you can’t really fake it. So, find yourself and your own way.

Old funny erotic slides for Lanterna Magica I found at the Geneva flea market!
Old funny erotic slides for Lanterna Magica I found at the Geneva flea market!

VBG: Which is you’re favourite burlesque performer at the moment?

LR: I like Emma Lou (aka Lady Lou), because she is very funny and at the same time very elegant. I think I really like her. And she is a very sweet girl also! Roxy Diamond, too. She’s really sweet and she does very nice show. Oh! Also La Viola Vixen, she’s a Berliner now! She has this vixen figure, very 40’s with her big smile. I think a good performer has too be someone that can be a very good caricature too, this shows how unique one can be. Like Lilly Tiger, she has this amazing caricature face. And of course I love Erochica Bamboo, she is also a Berliner now! She is a legend! We’re very lucky to have her here. She won the “Miss Exotic World” in 2003 and by that time 90% or even 99% of the girls didn’t know what burlesque was. We are really lucky to have such a legend living in this city. Oh! I don’t know! There are so many!


VBG: Why did you come to Berlin?

LR: The truth is because it’s a very cheap city. You can have a very nice life and avoid those stupid meaningless problems of life: – How am I going to pay the rent? How much money will I end up with this month? What am I going to do with my life? – This is bullshit! A person shouldn’t live like this! Our society shouldn’t allow us to live in such a big fear. And I didn’t want that for myself. I want to concentrate on being an artist and not having to worry about that kind of bullshit. That’s why I came to Berlin. Here I can pay low rent for a big flat and concentrate on my career and myself. It’s not like in Paris, where you pay 1000 € for a flat that has 35m2. That’s not life, that is just surviving and I don’t want to survive. My life is going to be only seventy years, eighty if I’m lucky, and I don’t want to live only to pay my rent. I have no intention of doing that! No way!

VBG: When you’re in Berlin, where can one find you at night? Where do you go party?

LR: I’m not that often in Berlin, unfortunately, because I’m performing a lot outside. The good thing about Berlin is that you can have low cost expenses on your daily life, but the bad thing is that there’s no way of living here as a performer. You can’t earn that much money in Berlin. Or you have to work as a burlesque teacher and I don’t want to be a teacher. Of course I would prefer to stay here and work more in Berlin, but this is not the reality. For this reason I have to travel and work abroad a lot and when I’m here it’s just for two or three nights. Usually I just want to stay home and rest a bit, so it’s rare to see me outside. Sometime I go to concerts or to burlesque shows, to the Pinky’s Peepshow.

VBG: And a good place to take a coffee?

LR: I really like my neighborhood. In Bergmannstrasse you have lots of nice cafes and restaurants. But I guess for me it’s at the airport cause I’m spending half of my time in Berlin there (laughs).

VBG: Any secret spot in Berlin? A place that every time you’re in town you have to go there?

LR: I would say the secret sessions of the Dr. Skretchy. That’s the only time you can see me completely naked. They do these secret sessions only once in a while and it’s very private. Of course not at the White Trash, but in a secret location. It’s a very nice thing to do if you like to draw or have a special moment.

Sometime I go to concerts or to burlesque shows, to the Pinky’s Peepshow.
Sometime I go to concerts or to burlesque shows, to the Pinky’s Peepshow.

Don’t miss the first part of Lada’s interview: At Lada’s Boudoir – Part I (The Early Days)



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