If Sophie Sucré isn’t part of your world yet, prepare to be obsessed. This bold, talented burlesque performer from the South dug deep to offer Burlesqueadelphia a peek into her life and art. Stay connected with Sophie Sucré on her Facebook Page.
Burlesqueadelphia: How long have you been involved in Burlesque? Why?
Sophie Sucré: I began burlesque in 2009. I was invited to audition for the Peek-A-Boo Revue by then troupe member Kelli LiMone.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit, I wasn’t exactly aware of what I was agreeing to.
As a free lance dancer, I was excited at an opportunity to perform, and with an award winning troupe no less (Peek-A-Boo had just won Best Troupe at the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend, the summer before in 2008). I thought I knew what Burlesque was, but it wasn’t until I saw the first show (a summer show at then Asbury Lanes- may she rest in peace) that I realized the full totality of nudity, comedy, and dance involved…needless to say I was hooked.
Being a troupe member is a really wonderful way to enter into the art form. I got to watch a lot of veteran’d performers create, workshop, and hash ideas…and when I finally decided to do a solo (I was primarily a chorus girl for my first two years in the troupe), I got to practice and hone my ideas with not just myself in a studio a lone, but with the knowledge of everyone involved.
The bulk of who I am as a Burlesque artist is primarily because of that valuable time spent investigating my style and voice with my troupe mates.
BXPHL: How/Why did you choose your stage name?
SS: My name when I first began was Miss Sophie. I remember watching the movie The Color Purple, the character Shug Avery stood out to me. She was considered the town whore, a failed woman, with failed marriages, who went off to find success, and was returning not so successful…but she was so fucking talented. I remember watching the scene when she sings “Sister” to Celie (Whoopi’s Character) in the juke joint.
She was often referred to as Miss. I felt somewhat similar to her as I began to make sense of what it meant to do Burlesque. How folks back home might view me. Of what I was choosing to do post college… a girl from the South myself, (while not being fully aware of the tabu nature of what I was embarking on), I understood that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
That leaving home to become a dancer, didn’t mean my family, most of all my parents might of imagined that dancer would evolve into Burlesque performer.
I chose Sophie, short for Sophia- a name who’s meaning impart means “wisdom”. After almost 6 months in… I felt the Miss of my name wasn’t necessary. I began thinking of other surnames. I liked the idea of sugar, but I didn’t want it to be literal, so at the suggestion of Tracey Todd Superstar and Christa D’agger (Peek-A-Boo legends), I took the surname of Sucré which is French for sugar…which gave birth to my tag line: like Sugar and Spice and everything nice…
BXPHL: How would you describe your persona onstage?
SS: My persona is one of baddass personified. Or, what I think a badass is…I think Sophie has these huge balls, balls that my everyday self, sometimes has to reminded I have. She doesn’t ask for permission, but she only engages with consent. She takes her time, and she doesn’t like to rush the moment. Cause the journey is so much fun.
BXPHL: Why do you love performing for Philadelphia audiences?
SS: For one, Philly audiences are the loudest and loyalest! They come out time and time again, they’re invested…they remember what acts you’ve done, what new nuance you dropped into said act, and are just some of the sweetest and fun people to shoot the shit with post show.
BXPHL: How do you invent/create your costumes?
SS: It depends on where the inspiration comes from. Sometimes it’s based on the archetype of the character I’m personifying or it’s in aid of the movement I’ve created. Being a Burlesque performer has made me a better craftswoman and sewer, but there’s still so much for me to learn. Getting to have pieces made by Rob Paluso/Anita Manhattan, Lulu Lollipop, and Dottie Riot–there’s so much to be inspired by and to respect when it comes to construction and creation. I find that for me, what’s most important is fluidity of movement regardless of what I end up wearing. If my movement is prohibited, then my performance becomes muted. I have to be able to move freely.
BXPHL: Where do you get your ideas for different acts?
SS: Sometimes it’s a song choice that inspires movement, sometimes it’s a conversation had with friends…or something in the news/current events.
Sometimes it’s therapy…people often assume that burlesque performers get up on stage and take their clothes off for the attention and adulation.
For me, the seed of inspiration planted often comes from something I’ve been chewing on for some time, that I manifest into this 4-6 minute performance. I also consider my performances to be a private conversation to be had between me and “you.” There just happens to be 100+ people in ear shot.
BXPHL: If money were no object, what would be your dream burlesque act?
SS: Water, all the fucking water, for me to splash around in, slide through, dive into, and emerge out of…ugh I would die the most beautiful death.
BXPHL: What would you like to say to your audience?
SS: I love meeting folks, please make sure to say Hi, or approach me after a show! I appreciate that you came out, and I hope to see you again (Ya’ll come back now ya hear…and all that jazz)
All Photography: ChrisK