Tongue in Cheek: Amannda Love
Adam Mann has lived in Brisbane for seven years after moving from North Stradbroke. He’s 25 and works in admin for an auditing firm. Andrew Shaw spoke to Adam about his alter-ego, Amannda Love, who’s set to make a splash in this year’s national Miss Burlesque competition.
Adam, you’re entering the Miss Burlesque Brisbane competition in the boy heat, right?
Last year they opened up the competition to boys, but they refer to it as ‘Miss Burlesque’ over all. I’m competing for the title of Mr Boylesque Australia, which is now held by Raven.
How long have you been doing burlesque?
Three or four years on and off. I used to be a bartender in the Valley and they had burlesque shows. I asked one of them how can I learn to do what you do and she sent me to Lena Marlene, one of Brisbane’s premier performers. I went into my first class about four years ago. I love the theatricality of it – the simple act of a glove pull. I thought, how do they make something so simple look so elegant and captivate an entire audience?
Where do you find your ideas?
An example would be my bathing beauty routine. I was talking to a friend who was doing a show called I’ve Got Crabs in honour of the Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival. She said do you have any seafood-themed acts? I was listening to ‘Bathing Beauty’ from Love Never Dies, and I thought what could I do to it? It’s set on Coney Island, which was huge for doing freak shows in the early 20th century, so I thought what if I tie my ankles together – I can be a mermaid! I had a beautiful, full length dress, with a bikini underneath. I take off the dress, do some hopping around the stage, take off the bikini top and bottom, then finish off the number with little shells covering my boy bits.
I hear you have a new ‘Priscilla’ routine...
I put on a beautiful kimono a friend brought back from Thailand and ping-pong balls suddenly start flying out towards the audience.
What makes good burlesque?
Good burlesque should always have sexiness, it should be tongue in cheek and, some people say, have clothing removal. But I’ve also seen routines where people come on stage wearing very little and slowly and seductively get dressed. When I say I do burlesque most people usually go, “Oh, is that like Dita Von Teese?” And I try to explain there’s more to burlesque than Dita, and guys can do it. They can hold their own against the girls at the best of times.
Doesn’t she have a line of merchandise at Myer?
That’s at Target, actually. I had a look at that but it didn’t quite fit me. She was selling vintage underwear, bras and garter hoses. I couldn’t find anything to fit over my hips.
Is your family supportive?
Very much so. My Dad’s very much a traditional male so I was surprised at how much he enjoys coming along to shows. I think part of it is that he’s proud to see me do something that I thoroughly enjoy and love. For him it’s, “You know what – that’s my son.” And, “Oh my God! Look at those women taking off their clothes!” So there is the women taking off their clothes, but there’s also, “That’s my son and I’m proud of him.”
Miss Burlesque Brisbane finals will be held at the Old Museum, 460 Gregory Tce, Spring Hill at 6pm on Sunday, March 24, 2013. missburlesqueinternational.com / facebook.com/missburlesqueaus
IMAGES: Amannda Love. Photo: Fiona Bacanskas