Superstars of Burlesque: Michelle L’Amour

This week our fabulous new series continues; a whirlwind guide to who’s who in the world of burlesque royalty. And they don’t come much more top-notch than this lady. The 2005 winner of the Miss Exotic World Pageant, she is also the founder of the infamous Naked Girls Reading, she has her own studio and she’s known as “the ass that goes pow!” Yup, you’ve guessed it, she is Chicago’s own queen of the quake, Michelle L’Amour.

Who is Michelle L’Amour?
Michelle L’Amour is one of the biggest names in contemporary burlesque, having embarked upon her ecdysiastical career over a decade ago. She began performing burlesque when she was 22 and just three years later, she scooped the prestigious Miss Exotic World title, securing a place for herself as one of the world’s top stripteasers. She has also appeared on numerous tv shows, including reaching the semi-final of the first series of America’s Got Talent, she has headlined several of the top US burlesque festivals and has appeared in Dita’s touring revue ‘Strip Strip Hooray’.

How did she get into burlesque?
With a background in various types of dance, including jazz, hip-hop and ballet, Michelle took her first steps into the world of burlesque whilst studying for a degree in finance. She then established The Lavender Cabaret with her partner, Franky Vivid and performed with her troupe, the Sugarbabies before going on to compete at Miss Exotic World in 2005. Since then, she founded Studio L’Amour in 2008 where she runs regular classes and workshops and the following year, established Naked Girls Reading. She also has her own troupe, The Chicago Starlets, who won Best Group category at the 2010 Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend.

What style of burlesque does she perform?
Michelle has never been about the politics of burlesque or sending a message. When she gets up onstage she wants the audience to have fun and enjoy the show. Her performances clearly draw upon her background as a dancer, which can be seen in her movement and incredible posture and poise. Her routines vary from funny, to beautiful to jaw-droppingly “how on earth does she do that?!”

Some interesting facts about Michelle…
*Miss L’Amour claims not to have been a big partier in college, but she did have a penchant for dance and was known to get up and dance on the speakers at school dance parties. With hindsight; an obvious precursor to her career in burlesque.

*A natural exhibitionist, she is happiest without any clothes on. That works out rather well then!

*She has the most amazing bum! Yes, you read that correctly. For example, her unbelievable hip-shimmying talents, as demonstrated in the video above of Michelle’s performance at the first New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Well over a minute of the routine is carried effortlessly by her seamless shimmy-shaking hip-action.
Her twerking talents are also well worthy of a mention, as shown in her laugh-out-loud piece ‘Butthoven’s 5th Symphony’. She could not be more deserving of the moniker “The ass that goes pow!”

That brings us to the end of this week’s Superstars Spotlight. If you missed our previous features, check them out via the links below.

Dita Von Teese
Catherine D’Lish