With a new tattoo, protecting the skin from infection and irritation is the sole concern when choosing your outfits during the healing process. However, for some people, the image you portray is main priority. For some, it's their job.
When dealing with hot wax, glitter, and tight corsets, burlesque performers require some adjustment to the tattoo healing and planning process.
INKED sits with performers, Sydni Deveraux and Fancy Feast, as well as their tattoo artists.
While most burlesque dancers keep their legal name hidden, Sydni Deveraux legally changed to her stage name “many years ago.”
“I was a jazz singer in high school, and played the flute competitively,” Devereaux told INKED. Sydni said that by the time she turned 18-years old, she was fully “obsessed with Suicide Girls.”
“I was tall and nerdy and all about alt culture. I was #500 Suicide Girl. Back in the day, you’d meet up with people and go on outings and talk about manga,” Deveraux told INKED. “One girl recommended a burlesque outing, and it struck me for sure.”
Sydni describes burlesque and tattoos as the “perfect alchemy.”
“When I saw liberated women dancing to music I grew up singing, my brain snapped open,” she said.
At a karaoke bar, Deveraux started her transformation to The Golden Glamazon as a karaoke host, where she was called the Chocolate Glamazon, for her skin’s golden hue.
From there, Sydni Deveraux’s burlesque tagline blossomed.
“It’s all a fantasy and an illusion. There are the easy breezy, femme fatale archetypes, the dangerous, and super slutty ones,” Deveraux explained. “But I really loved the idea of being in control on stage, while being as feminine and powerful as I wanted.”
Deveraux said she loved that she was “getting to create my own naked content,” while getting to share her passion with such an accepting and inviting community.
“A lot of people tend to think burlesque is that movie with Christina Aguilera and Cher. The energy of burlesque is very Cher, but burlesque isn’t just one thing,” Deveraux said. “It’s the art of strip tease, which can mean a million things.”
Deveraux’s first tattoo on was her lower, right hip.
The tattoo was “dream” in Kanji, which she got in the basement of her high school on Martin Luther King Jr. day.
“I hid it from my mom for 3 years until she saw it at a basketball game,” Deveraux laughed.
Seattle tattoo artist, Chula Tupper did Devereaux's sleeve, who she had given free reign to fix a “horrible decision” she made when she was younger.”
“My sleeve is a cover up as a thank you to my tattoo artist,” she said.
Deveraux is also a proud member of “team tramp stamp” although she is “refurbishing” it with the help of SOHO Ink’s tattoo artist, Tom Tapit, who will be “turning it into a piece of jewelry.”
For this, Devereux joked, “I won’t be corseting for a couple of weeks.”
Making tattoo appointments, and allotting time for the full healing process is different for burlesque dancers.
Especially as you have to be incredibly gentle with your scabs.
Your tattoo may get a little itchy and crusty when it starts to heal, but scab pickers beware. When you scratch, you can pull the color out.
While we advise to follow your artist's aftercare instructions, even if you did nothing at all to your tattoo, your body will know how to heal itself.
Dousing in Aquaphor, is an important "no" to keep in mind with the "less is more" rule.
Burlesque dancer, Fancy Feast, told INKED, “Burlesque is the most fun you can have while watching performance art.” She said, “burlesque has evolved from a far away dream for the big folks, to a job that I love very much.”
A big part of loving her job as a performer, is that through burlesque, she gets to be a part of “reclaiming and updating the pin-up image, to include more genders, body types, and skin color.”
She also enjoys that she can showcase her body art, through performance art.
“I love that I get to show off my tattoos in my line of work,” Fancy Feast said. “There is a congregational intimacy with burlesque, that allows the performer to subjectify themselves, not objectify.”
Fancy Feast, got her first tattoo on her shoulder blade at 22-years-old.
Fancy grew up in a religious community in Ohio, and explained that getting a tattoo, even at 22-years-old, was not celebrated.
Considering Fancy Feast performs with hot wax, she says, “scheduling a tattoo appointment is kind of funny.”
She gets her work from Amanda Wachob, whose abstract and watercolor work stands out with her “representational organic shapes, and accidental shapes.”
Fancy Feast added, "Not only is her work beautiful, but it's brilliant."
Wachob told INKED, "Give yourself ample healing time when scheduling performances. It's best not to be doing any sort of aggressive movement that will stretch your skin, and you want to avoid any sort of friction with your costume and your fresh tattoo."
HEALING with Female Fashion
When asked how a burlesque dancer might "cheat" the healing process to continue with normal performance schedule as soon as possible, Wachob suggests bandages that can help accommodate your lifestyle with the healing process.
"Tegaderm bandages can work well, they are a transparent breathable dressing that will conform to the body," she said. "Hard to cheat healing though, depending on what your tattoo is, it still may take up to two weeks to heal fully.”
Hazel Honeysuckles' tattoo artist, Scarlet Sinclair, told INKED there is "no way to cheat" the healing process.
"I recommend staying away from leggings, stockings, and fishnets, because they can stick to any new skin trying to form, preventing it from being able to breathe properly," Sinclair said.
"It's gotta be treated like a fresh wound that can easily get infected in the first few days."
Sinclair added, "Definitely no perfumes, scented lotions, or glitter anywhere near it."
While there are many complexities within the tattoo world, in the world of performance, so does burlesque.
“Burlesque is maybe the baby of a comedian and a stripper, but it is a constellation,” Fancy Feast said.
“The cousin is a freelance worker, the godparent a therapist, and the grandma is the seamstress.”