I had the distinct pleasure of meeting our next Muse before seeing her perform. And I’m glad I did, cuz otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have been so cool…Not that I’m ever cool, but if I’d known how she can cast a stare while drawing you in with her mischievous smirk, I wouldn’t have been cool a’tall! Producer part 2 of 3 for A Platinum Production. The lady with the loveliest twins: Belle Jumelles.
Photography by Angela McConnell
Gracie: How did you get your name?
Belle Jumelles: I went over a bunch of names before committing to mine. I knew I wanted it to be a play on being a bigger girl, or focusing on a specific part of my body because body image is a big deal to me and I take pride specifically in being a bigger girl. I’m also bilingual, so I knew I wanted to incorporate something French there.. After playing with a bunch of combinations, I came up with Mademoiselle Belle Jumelles. I liked the ring of it and tried it on a bunch of my closest friends to get their input. Fell in love with it, and never looked back.
Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?
Belle Jumelles: It was my 4 year anniversary in March. I started out in Hamilton with Boudoir Rouge Burlesque, and then started doing it a lot more when I moved to Toronto 3 years ago.
Gracie: Signature colour?
Belle Jumelles: I don’t actually have a signature colour. I like to play with colours, but I always have a pop of black in all my costumes. One of my goals is to have a reasonably big budget costume that is all colour matching (covered in rhinestones – obviously), with no black in it whatsoever. I’m hoping I get that this year.
Gracie: Who’s you’re biggest fan?
Belle Jumelles: This is a hard one, because I have some really supportive people in my life. I’m going to have to say Joe Kilmartin. He has been cheering me on since the start. (Honourable mentions: Wolfman, Coco Framboise, Kaleen Joseph, My mom)
Gracie: Who is your Showgirl inspiration?
Belle Jumelles: I’m inspired by many performers. Coco Framboise, Dainty Box, World Famous Bob, Judith Stein, Lady Josephine. That’s the short list. But, there are so many amazing performers who inspire me every day. My co-producers, Johnny and Stella are also a huge source of inspiration. I love creating with them!
Gracie: Do you have a signature move?
Belle Jumelles: My titty-shimmy is pretty impressive. But, that’s just based on sheer volume of titty.
Gracie: Do you have formal training?
Belle Jumelles: I took a few improv classes. Does that count? Lol
Gracie: Do you have any secret talents?
Belle Jumelles: I’m a lady. I don’t share those secrets with just anyone.
Gracie: What was your burlesque ah-ha moment?
Belle Jumelles: When Tanya Cheex asked me if she could be in our show. She’s a legend in our community and it felt pretty awesome to have her ask us if she could be on our show. It was that moment when we knew we could ask whoever we wanted if they would like to work with us.
Gracie: Do you tassel? Both directions?
Belle Jumelles: I haven’t yet. I’ve had this notion that my boobs are just too big. But, I might give it a shot this year.
Gracie: What is your favourite peel and reveal?
Belle Jumelles: This one really depends on the act. But, the bra reveal is always fun because there’s been a big buildup and I can really tease people by that point.
Gracie: Do you have a favourite body part?
Belle Jumelles: I’m proud of ALL of this!
Gracie: Does your audience have a favourite body part?
Belle Jumelles: Well.. They don’t call me Belle Jumelles for nothing.
Gracie: What is your favourite style of movement? (ie: erotic, erratic, erroneous)
Belle Jumelles: I’ve been told I don’t have to move much. I give good face and have really sexy slow movements.. So, I guess erotic is my style.
Gracie: What is your favourite part of a new act?
Belle Jumelles: A new act is always exciting! I really love coming up with the costume concept and then having it all come together.
Gracie: How do you build it? What comes first: Song, costume, concept?
Belle Jumelles: That depends on the act too. In the beginning I was mostly inspired by a song. I either loved the beat, or the lyrics said something that inspired me. More recently, we (A Platinum Production) play with themes so much that the concepts come from that inspiration. With the Diva Offs, it’s always the music that inspires the acts.
Gracie: What is your favourite costume piece?
Belle Jumelles: I really love my candy shop corset. It’s covered in jewels made to look like I’m covered in candy. Johnny spent hours gluing each one on. It’s pretty awesome!
Gracie: Your most unique prop or costume piece?
Belle Jumelles: I have this 5 ft tall lollypop that Mark Boyer of 3B Artistry made me that I really love. It looks like a jumbo rainbow lolly pop!
Gracie: What is your characteristic style?
Belle Jumelles: In most cases, I’m a vamp. But, I like to be comical sometimes.
Gracie: What is the most important part of you number?
Belle Jumelles: I think good acts have a few important elements. Sticking to your character, slowing down the tease elements, and musicality make for a great number!
Gracie: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you backstage?
Belle Jumelles: I don’t really have a strange moment that comes to mind. But, the first time I met April March, I helped tease out and spray her hair. It was such an honour!
Gracie: What’s the most unique show you’ve been a part of?
Belle Jumelles: Our holiday show was pretty unique. It was like a Judy Garland Holiday special meets burlesque. There was a really amazing energy about it too.
Gracie: Is there a dream theme you want to perform?
Belle Jumelles: Broadway was a dream theme for me for a while, but I got to do it twice now. We have had the opportunity to perform with a live band. But, anytime that can happen again, I’d be so excited for it. I know it’s not a theme per-se, but it’s what I love the most!
Gracie: Favourite venue in your current city and on the road?
Belle Jumelles: We’re lucky to get to perform is some of the best spaces in this city. I love Buddies, Club 120, The Flying Beaver, The Gladstone, Revival. They all treat us really well.
Gracie: Who is your favourite local showgirl?
Belle Jumelles: Oh man! How am I supposed to answer this? I’m going to give props to an amazing newbie. I think Zilly Lilly is spectacular! She’s creative, she’s funny, she’s got good movements and musicality.. and she’s brand new! Imagine what she’ll be like in a couple years!
Gracie: If you weren’t a showgirl, what would you be?
Belle Jumelles: I would be a Broadway superstar lol
Gracie: Do you think you’ll ever retire?
Belle Jumelles: I really hope that one day I give people the same feelings I got when I saw Judith Stein perform at last year’s festival and April March at this year’s Girlesque. It was truly inspiring!
Gracie: Do you have any words of wisdom for budding showgirls?
Belle Jumelles: Words of wisdom, eh.. get involved in everything. Help out where you can and be nice to people. Then, every time you get an opportunity to be on a stage, rock the shit out of it!
Gracie: I want to thank Belle for her candour and remind y’all that The Producers Show is May 29th at the Gladstone. Doors at 8pm! See you squares there!