Interview with Ruby Mimosa

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By. Ruby Mimosa

Ruby, you were born and raised in Hawaii, how did that environment inform your passion for dance and burlesque?

Gosh, that’s a great question! The environment and the family I have truly shaped my passion for dance in a number of ways. My great grandfather Fritz Herman started the Kodak Picture Hula Show at the Waikiki Shell back in the 1940’s. Hawaiian music and hula was a constant in the home. Even growing up and going over to my grandparents’ house and playing with my great grandpa there was always a sense of ease and softness. So much of our family gatherings consisted of going to places with Hawaiian music and Hula around, or just having it in the home.  

There is something to be said about the natural state of the environment that just gives beauty and life to what you are doing. It may sound cliché, but the soft trade winds, the swaying palm trees, the stunning flora, and the majestic Ko’olau mountain range that I grew up with has such magic, symbolism, and beauty it gives way to story – dance - and art. 

I’m not sure that my passion for burlesque was shaped here, but it must have added to it! I mean, I have always loved being naked and running around on the beaches as a kid. I was put into ballet lessons when I was 3 years old and stayed with it for over 10 years. I also did hula, jazz, musical theater, competitive gymnastics, and varsity diving. Having a strict dance background gave me great discipline for how I move my body and tell stories with my face and hands all the way to my feet. 

You have such a dynamic and confident presence; did you always have that confidence? How did you begin to fully love and embrace yourself?

Haha, not at all. I was stocky and always got the boy roles for the ballet recitals I was in, the bullies in my school would call me a ‘stupid haole’, and I always had a wacky sense of style and would wear vintage clothes to school and lots of my peers would think I was way too weird.  

I think I fully began to embrace myself when I found burlesque. Signing up for Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque in 2007 and soon after joining the cast of The Atomic Bombshells was a HUGE boost. I got to see that my body and all types of bodies are welcomed and adored in this format. I was able to be myself, fully, and authentically and show my skills as a dancer and performer. 

When creating my first act I remember Kitten La Rue asking me, “So what kinda tricks can you do?” I wasn’t that sure, so I plopped down into the splits and span around like a manic and said, “I can do the splits!” It was a special time for me; to be wanted and to see that what I have and what I am capable of is truly an “ass”-et.  

You live life on the stage with lots of eyes on you. What do you wish people knew about the you no one gets to see? 

The me that no one gets to see… hmmmm… I’m a pretty open book. In my home life I’m pretty mellow, I work on projects at home whether it’s costume or choreography work, redecorating my apartment. I love painting frames gold so I can hang them on my wall filled with burlesque legends (I always have a can of gold spray paint on hand). I’m a little ocd about my ‘space’ so I tend to be neat and tidy. 

I got into meditation a few years ago and I make sure to have that a part of my daily routine. Having that time and space for quite, chanting, or breath helps to ground me. I enjoy the process of being thankful for what I have and also creating the possibilities I want to have for myself and my life.

Tell us about a time in your life that made you roar.

On my 33rd birthday I jumped out of an airplane. I was something that I always wanted to do and just never committed to. It was the perfect day with the perfect ladies and we all jumped out of an airplane together saying “Via con dios”… cause… Point Break. Now I’m obsessed, go figure, and dream of getting my skydiving licenses one day. 

If you could write a letter to your 15 year old self, what would it say? 

Fear sometimes wants to take the wheel and guide your decisions. You have the choice to do what is right and what you want. 

What would you like to say to the woman that is struggling to love the skin she’s in?

Gosh, this is a tricky one. Everyone struggles with loving themselves on different levels, and all are valid. One thing that I love about burlesque is that it gives people the opportunity to see themselves in a new light, and to embrace the things that they once tried or wanted to push away. If you think your butt’s too big, make it bigger, show it off, throw glitter all over it, and hear the applause. ‘Cause that audience wants to see it and love it… probably even more than you think. 

My favorite class to teach at The Academy of Burlesque is Tassel Twirling. It has the most dynamic shift in attitudes in 60minutes. People come in a little nervous not knowing what to expect. I tell them this is a ‘Hands on Shirts off class” and they giggle. We chat about pasties for a bit, and then I take my top off and show some tricks to putting pasties on. This is the kicker – there are some ways to put on pasties that are a game changer. Then everyone takes a few minutes to put their pasties on. Once on it’s like people that were just sitting down (completely terrified) are totally different humans. We learn over 10 different twirls and usually go over time in class… because everyone wants to keep twirling. Who needs bras anymore?!!? It puts a smile on my face and warms my heart to see a complete 180 switch in people. 

In fact, just last week, a woman who had taken the Tassel Twirling class from me came to another class that I teach. She wanted to thank me for opening up her mind and allowing her to feel able to love her breasts again. She had breast cancer that is now in remission, hooray! However all the mammograms and terror she felt around her breasts was creating a block for her loving that part of her body. She said that class gave her the strength and love that she needed that she hadn’t had since before her diagnosis. My heart wept and was filled with such joy and love for this new transformed woman. 

Ruby Mimosa hails from Oahu, Hawaii and has been in Seattle since 2006. She is an international Burlesque Performer with The Atomic Bombshells and Lead Instructor at Miss Indigo Blue's Academy of Burlesque. Ruby works as a soloist and also performs with funky cowboy band, Brent Amaker and the Rodeo.

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