Burlesque

Camille 2000 – Burlesque Star

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Interview with Star

Camille 2000

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Hi Camille
Thanks for your time, of course this is such an honour to interview you.
My 1st question is, when did you get into burlesque and what was the draw to be involved.
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In the late 60’s. I started in Burlesque on a girlie show on a carnival, Amusements of America. I saw the beautiful girls on a bally, in beautiful gowns & beautiful makeup. I wanted to be one of them, so my hairdresser talked me into joining the carnival. I worked the season on the carnival, the straight man told me that carnies go to Florida in the winter, & there was a burlesque theatre on Miami Beach, the Gayety Burlesque on 21st & Collins, owned my Leroy Griffith, a carny from way back, so I went there.
Leroy hired me, these girls where really good, right away. I knew I wanted to become a Star in Burlesque because the Star made more money, & had a private dressing room. I think my name was Michelle my Belle, Leroy’s wife Monique Starr came into the dressing room one day & said I  have the perfect name for you, Camille 2,000. She said Leroy was wanted to call me Blaze Tarr, because of favourite Blaze, with my brownness red hair.
The draw was actually the money, I was in Burlesque for 20 years. This was the first & also the last Burlesque Theater . I ever worked, I come back to the Gayety 10 years later as a Star. I was the house feature, in the Gayety & Pussy Cat Theatre for 10 years, I was tired of traveling on the road.
I got into acting thru Burlesque, after I was a star in burlesque, I hired a choreographer they wanted to make me a star right away, because I was tall, young & stunning on stage, but I couldn’t walk in heels lol.
When I went to New York I hired a choreographer, who taught me stage presence, & prop work, He said a star never gets on the floor. I travelled with props that would break down for traveling. I had a signature stand, when I teach a class today, I pass on this wisdom – “do NOT get on the floor” but I see a lot of the new girls do that, they just don’t know any better trying to school them, but this is Neo Burlesque & I realize that it is different not the classic, which I had a lot to do with.
The first 10 years of my career I did classic with fans, capes ,feather boas & stuffed cockatoo’s, that Paul Markoff choreographed for me. The last 10 years I started doing aggressive art numbers, we were loosing our audience to something called, Live Nude Dancing, so I brought numbers that i put together. some were saying that is wasn’t burlesque,  it was performing art. I said it’s Burlesque now, which opened the doors wide for Neo-Burlesque to step in.
I had a marquis de sade number, Black Widow where I killed myself & Love is a Battlefield with nunchucks. I also had a disco tribute to Burlesque, but like I said, they told me that wasn’t Burlesque, but it was & is today, at most Festivals they are calling me the God Mother of Neo Burlesque, I’ll take it & thanks for recognizing that.
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stars of burlesque
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I loved your photo’s thank you, gorgeous, your such a name in burlesque, and one who should always be celebrated. Do you have any favourite memories from those time that you can share with us.
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Guess when I became a star in Burlesque, I was so proud of myself. but it cost money to get there. I had to have famous name designers make my wardrobe, and famous New York photographers. Also when the movie porky’s 2 called the theatre looking for a girl with big boobs,I went down & auditioned & got the part, that was the beginning of my movie career. I played the girl dressed like Maire Antoniette in the film, that the politicians were watching. I got my S.A.G. card by getting a speaking part on Miami Vice. I always wanted to be an actress but never really sought it out. but it found me. I also worked with Burt Reynolds on B.L. Stryker a T.V. movie show, that was filmed in Jupiter. I love working on movies &  T.V and  I also worked on Alan Carr’s Where the boys are 84

Also working on the Documentary League of Exotique Dancers here is some extra footage I just received. https://www.facebook.com/exotiquedancers/videos/2038186216272831/UzpfSTExNzQwMTg0OTc6MTAyMTYwMjg2MDY5MjYwMTU/

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Did you make your own costumes and props, your outfits are so cute, no internet back then, I remember when I started in the mid nineties, I had to personally source a costume designer, what did you girls do back then.
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No I did not make my own costumes,I wanted to be a star, so I had my wardrobe made by famous designers, first Simone Sorre, he made the famous blue velvet gown with the ass out, my choreographer had Simone make my gowns tight at the bottom, so I would be forced to move slow. Classic is very slow. not shaking your but fast. Hedy Jo Starr & Bobby Gerstein.
I first saw his wardrobe, when I was working Vegas with Kitten Natividad. She had his wardrobe, some of the most beautiful work you ever seen. He made me an orange solid rhinestone piece, with chaps & ostrich feathers, his stuff was high end & cost a lot of money. I had to make payments.
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I read that you were in Burlesque  1968 to 1988  ( correct me if Im wrong,) it must of been exciting traveling and working back then. You must have met and worked with so many great performers.
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Once you become a star you don’t work with the other stars, but you get to meet them when you follow them into to a place. I met Blaze Starr at the Gayety, but I also worked above her at the 2 o’clock club in Baltimore.
When I followed Kitten into the Troc in Philadelphia, never seen such a doll, I would also worked with her again in Vegas. Before I became a star, I was the extra added attraction working in D.C, the Sophia Loren of Burlesque, she was so nice & gave me tips.
Of course working with Iggy Pop on Miami Vice, I played a dominatrix  name Velvet, & he played Thumper, he owned a S&M club, working with Don Johnson & Philip Michale Thomas & of course Burt Reynolds. This was a dream working as an actress.
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performing burlesque
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How would you compare the current Burlesque Revival, to back when you were on stage, do you  like how it is now.
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Yes I do like how it is now, It makes me smile when I see someone do something beside the norm. I feel like I had a lot to do with today’s Neo burlesque movement, with my aggressive art numbers. from back in the days, stepping out of the box.
I was trying to keep the audience, & saw things were changing. I wish they wouldn’t get on the floor. My choreographer taught me a star does not get on the floor. travel with a  prop. I will always preach that I love the Neo Burlesque, it makes me smile. I feel like a proud Mom, keep up the good works kids & thanks for making it alive again. It has saved me, I thought I could never be happy after Eddy died, but Burlesque has saved me.I always refused the perform when they asked me, I wanted to be remember how I was. but when Eddy died a I did a tribute fan dance to him. To I believe I can fly,  I can’t tell you what it did to me to be on stage again. I almost fainted when I came off, I was so emotional Bambi the Mermaid had to grab me & I couldn’t stop crying,I’m alive again.
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3r_WC_RFlk

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What would you say to a budding performer, what are the top 3 -5 things they need to think about to be a great artist.
Don’t got out there till you are ready, first impressions count. Have great wardrobe, be humble, learn your stuff, be your own self, U can do U. Don’t be afraid of doing something different, polish it up before showing the world.
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Camille 2000 burlesque costume
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Camille when your not performing, I know you still do get up on stage now and again, what do you like to do for fun in your spare time.
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I love to go to thrift stores. I call them Sadies, love to play with my animals, Lola Rocknrolla,  a Rottweiler, Precious Pissy pants a 5 lb. teacup Yorkie & A Siamese Cat Diva.
I use’d to love to go to the gym every day, & take Zumba class, hip hop class, kick boxing & lifting weights but on July 28th I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic cancer, that is not curable nor will it go into remission. This changed my life forever. It started in my lungs, is in my spinal cord, adrenal gland, pulmary artery, hip, shoulder bones & brain, I have taken radiation & now am getting chemo every 3 weeks. They told me that they would let me know when they couldn’t do any more but I am flighting the battle of my life thanks to my Burlesque family for helping holding me up.
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If there is anything we can promote for you  let me know xx
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my website where you can purchase my photos & book Cosmic Queen
also my go fund me page I have big medical expense
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SUPPORT CAMILLE

CAMILLE 2000

www.camille2000.com

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Thanks Camille xxx

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Photo credits
Maurice seymour
Mendoza of Miami
Photolena
N.Y Ed barnas
Camille 2000 legend of burlesque

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