We are obsessive about collecting, restoring and wearing those beautiful old pieces, because they are works of art. The craftsmanship in many of the newer costumes simply cannot compare! Also, even though I have been fortunate enough to be able to afford a ridiculous wardrobe of brand new costumes, I still really love to make brand new costumes, I still really love to make my own- because often, there is nothing on the market that can match up with my on-stage fantasies, so I need to make them myself. I love to do this, and it feels special to me as well. And I still get a kick of out of using recycled materials and just crazy stuff in general on the costumes I create for myself. My costume line, “Princess Farhana For King Of The Nile” is based on my own original retro/ Egyptian Golden Age designs. I have a new collection coming out in 2013 and I’m very excited about it! We can’t talk to you without mentioning Theda Bara... ;-) For those who don’t know her: Theda was the very first sex symbol for the masses, long before Harlow or Monroe.. She was an actress in the 1910’s, starring in silent movies, in black and white. Her garments were copied by Mata Hari (and some Oriental dancers after that, like Princess Banu) and her ‘smoky eyes’ are copied massively to this very day, by almost any woman and even some men.. After Theda, there were many more who loved to be ‘the temptress’ and it’s something that ‘fits’ you as well.. as you also are a burlesque performer since 1995. How do you balance between sensual and cheap, between feminine and sex object.. ? What would you say if you were accused of giving Oriental dance a bad name (are you?) and how do you keep the self respect and respect of others, when stripping on stage?
I grew up immersed in my mother’s extensive theatrical library (she was a singer, dancer and actress for years before having me and my siblings. When I was a kid, she taught musical theater at a university, and would put on stage productions. As a little girl, I was absolutely fascinated by her books, it was my imaginary world, I so wished I could leave my life in the “earthy” 1970’s and live in a glamorous world of silent movies and the Folies Bergere… I wanted to BE Theda Bara, or La Belle Otero, Ruth St. Dennis, Ginger Rogers…. I adored the elegant, sexy black and white pictures of 20th Century movie stars, and also all the gorgeous posters of Broadway productions, ballets, or Alphonse Mucha prints, and even music halls from Europe, like the original Moulin Rouge. >>
ISPAHAN Magazine, an Oriental Dance Glossy. Autumn issue.