Moxie Delite credit Frenchie Holiday

Credits: Frenchie Holiday (Photograper)

My experience with Mx Burlesque Victoria was quite taxing, but rewarding. I am a competitive person who takes a lot of pride in the competitions I've competed in and won, so I took this experience quite seriously both times I competed.

When I competed in 2022, I didn't gauge the full capacity of work and calibre of drag and burlesque that I would be prompted to give until it happened - MBA truly had given me a new goal and standard to reach for myself and my body of work. My first time competing almost made me feel like my absolute best wasn't enough, I broke down backstage and blocked out the memory of the competition for a whole month before posting publicly about it. There were many reasons for this - I'm horrible at time allocation at the best of times and had made my Melbourne Fringe season so incredibly busy on top of taking on work outside of MBA that would sap my energy and time that I could've used to better my craft for the competition.

I also believe that MBA prompted a standard of performance that is much higher and polished than I had ever been challenged to reach - as someone who had been performing drag for almost 4 years at that point and burlesque for 3, I felt incredibly inadequate in comparison to the likes of my competitors who were seasoned dancers and performers. I did however want to make my mark and show that I was different to the other performers - once I shut out the possibility of placing, the focus returned back into the idea of presenting the best version of Moxie at that place and time - and I believe I achieved that! At the time, I presented my best performances that represented me and my drag the best, which is what I usually want out of competitions if not to win.

I expected the experience to be confronting and to be uncomfortable with having to grow and elevate.

My second time competing in 2023, I knew what was to be expected and I was determined to place. My other goal besides placing was to polish up my outfits and performances in time for the competition. I now believe that the standard I hold myself and perform at has elevated thanks to the competition and my mentor Kitty Obsidian. Without them I couldn't have raised the bar on my performances and professionalism like I do today. They whipped me into shape ensuring that my outfits were perfect and especially my striptease performance would hit every mark on the criteria. Of all my presentations, my striptease performance is the one I am proudest of to get out of MBA - for once in my performing career, it made me feel polished.

I went into Mx Burlesque Victoria this year expecting to run into some barriers where I would have to take a hard look at my work and professionalism and have different aspects of them critiqued and analysed whether I liked it or not. I expected the experience to be confronting and to be uncomfortable with having to grow and elevate. That confrontation with my body of work left me incredibly vulnerable and upset at many steps of the way - most notably leaving me so unsatisfied with my outfits and body of work prior to being casted that I adamantly wanted to get new outfits and new acts for the competition.

MBA truly pushed me to incorporate tease into my acts, feel sexy doing my acts and slow down my movements.

I brainstormed with Kitty and decided on bringing to life my Papa Don't Preach act for the striptease category and Mr Beans' Holiday for the unique category. Learning from my mistakes from last year, I had commissioned Belial B'Zarr at the beginning of the year to create my red carpet outfit while I worked on my performances - last year I left my red carpet to the very last minute and my presentation suffered due to the fact.

My striptease performance was incredibly important to me since my performance last year didn't suit the criteria, and the criteria is structured in a way that encourages performers to appeal to their own sense of sexuality and play into teasing the audience. Until competing this year, my burlesque acts were either more expressive and characterised by angrily tearing off clothing, or comedy nerdlesque acts - MBA truly pushed me to incorporate tease into my acts, feel sexy doing my acts and slow down my movements. Doing Papa Don't Preach was very affirming of my gender, and I attribute learning about striptease and doing an act that was out of my comfort zone that truly made me grow and polish my performances. The restrictions of the striptease category pushed me to work my own aesthetic into what the judges would be looking for, and ultimately taught me how to elevate my presence and movements when performing burlesque.

Through doing MBA the first time, it taught me how to condense my aesthetic and personal style into my two acts and red carpet outfit - the experience truly prompts performers to hone in on what their best traits and acts are, and this was incredibly important to my development competing the first time. Competing in 2022 showed me that Moxie is characterised by emotion packed lipsyncs and ridiculous nerdlesque - and ever since making that connection, I’ve wanted to continue building on that brand.

I try to give myself multiple goals when entering competitions, so when one doesn’t work out, I can be happy that I achieved one of them.

My Mr Beans' Holiday act was motivated by Domino who encouraged us to reach a calibre of burlesque that would only be seen in Miss Burlesque Australia in the past. I was determined to work with backup dancers and take my concepts to newer heights, and outdo my ridiculous Spongebob act from 2022 - and I have MBA to thank for that motivation! An act that pushed my work in the direction of creating bigger props and choreography was incredibly difficult and in the midst of creating the Legacy Drag Competition in the background, my Mx Burlesque Victoria experience wouldn’t have been possible without help from my friends who spent many nights and sessions stoning and choreographing my ridiculous new act. My Mr Beans’ Holiday act is not at the level I wished for it to be - and I attribute that to the fact I had many other opportunities to rehearse Papa Don’t Preach - the lead up to the night itself meant that I practised that act at every show and opportunity I could, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to perform my Mr Beans’ Holiday act beyond rehearsals. I am ultimately incredibly happy with my Mr Beans’ Holiday act - it made me incredibly satisfied to shock the audience and show the facet of my stage persona that loves being a high camp nerdlesque idiot!

Overall I’m incredibly happy with my experiences with Mx Burlesque Victoria - I am a competitive person and my years of performing are generally characterised by entering a new competition each year with intentions of grabbing another title. This experience made me realise how much of a drag race stereotype “pageant queen” I am - I truly do aim to chase after the highs of competitions, competing and adding another title to Moxie Delite - but even though I wasn’t able to place this year, I am ultimately satisfied with my performances and how I was able to reach my goal of polishing my performances and outfits for the competition. I try to give myself multiple goals when entering competitions, so when one doesn’t work out, I can be happy that I achieved one of them. I am very proud of how I’ve presented Moxie Delite across both years of MBA, and this won’t be the last time I’ll be gunning for the title - I’m determined to one year place and make my community of friends who have supported me across the years proud, I owe it to the queerdos that came before me and after me to be visibly successful in my efforts as a trans woman of colour in burlesque.

More Articles