Today we’d like to introduce you to Roula Roulette.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’m a theatre nerd through and through. My journey started through a nomadic childhood and the love of the arts. I became a stage manager, lighting designer, electrician, and director. After finishing graduate school, I traveled and worked for professional theatre companies, opera houses and festivals before starting my life in Atlanta almost eight years ago. It was in the transition to Atlanta that I truly found the life I was meant to lead.
By day I work with theatres and educational organizations to help make their theatres a better space. I provide lighting, education classes, and consultation. By evening I become a burlesque performer and model reveling in the glam and empowerment of it all. Eventually, I stepped into the role of a teacher, mentor and eventually a studio and performance troupe owner along with my partners Talloolah Love and Ursula Undress. At Metropolitan Studios, we get to create and cultivate the art that we want to see in the world. We do that by operating a space that celebrates inclusivity, diversity and provides a safe space for artists of all kinds to showcase, create and find community. We host workshops for individuals to connect to their most sensual self, we partner with several black owned businesses to provide them with an affordable space to be able to interact with their customers and we have a team of Brand Ambassadors that bring their own unique voices to connect with those who could find a sense of belonging in our community.
It was because of our work with Atlanta School of Burlesque (now Metropolitan Studios), that our performance troupe The Candybox Revue was born 5 years ago. Through the creation of performances that celebrate everyday humor, theatrical narratives, highlight social justice movements,and uplift marginalized voices; we are redefining Burlesque entertainment by challenging society’s perspective on what is worthy of being represented onstage. We adhere to the concept that burlesque isn’t defined by size, ability, orientation, color or age – it is an artform that is for everyone.
Please tell us about your art.
My mission and goal in life are to help people, to inspire them to be the best version of themselves that they can. I do that through sensual movement classes, empowerment workshops, modeling, teaching the benefits of self-affirmation, sharing how I navigate the world as a queer femme who was raised in a conservative christian home, and educating individuals on the power of releasing shame and self loathing through sex positivity and body positivity.
I also think that it is important for individuals to understand that being a body positive advocate does not mean that conversations are steeped in the need to be ‘happy’ all the time, but to instead recognize that we are humans with complex emotions and ups and downs and that every day is a journey – a mountain we have to climb, even if it is only a single step. I also enjoy the sensual aspect of what I do, which allows individuals to understand themselves on a sensual level without shame or stigma. That shame and stigma follows people from all walks of life, i.e. plus size individuals who struggle with feeling sensual, sexy and / or happy in their skin, individuals who are trying to navigate their own sexual identities outside of constraining religious ideals and those who are working to deconstruct and create their own individual narratives around what is considered ‘socially acceptable’.
I feel fortunate to have a space for individuals to feel safe, empowered and heard. I am grateful to be allowed into their lives and to see the transformations that happen when they begin to truly live the life they want to, to follow the dreams that they have or create the art that feeds their soul. We are such interesting beings, we all have amazing stories and things we can contribute to our larger artistic communities.
Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
I do not believe the role of the artist has changed, at least not from my perspective. I was always taught that theatre is the common man’s mouthpiece. We are the voice of the people – not the rich and wealthy, but the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the ignored and the persecuted. It is our responsibility as artists to use our platform to draw the eye to issues facing our community, our country, or our world at large.
We recently created a dance piece in response to the #metoo movement in conjunction with choreographer Jo Peace. So many women have been victims of assault or abuse by those they trust or who are entrusted to keep them safe, those in power or due to poverty and finding themselves in situations to which they feel there is no escape. This piece was created to honor those women, and to let them know that we will stand with them. Always.
If you’d like to see that please visit our Youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx-a-KYoIlk
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can check out information on Metropolitan Studios on Facebook and Instagram or at our website, www.metrostudioseav.com.
If you want to contribute to our continued success, you can do so through our fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas at https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal/profile?id=14763.
You can find more information about our Burlesque troupe, The Candybox Revue on Facebook and Instagram or at our website www.candyboxrevue.com.
You can also follow me directly for inspirational and engaging content on both Facebook and Instagram.
- Address: Metropolitan Studios
1259 Metropolitan Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30316
- Website: www.metrostudioseav.com / www.candyboxrevue.com
- Phone: 404-852-7775
- Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/roularoulette : instagram.com/metropolitan_studios_ : instagram.com/candyboxrevue
- Facebook: facebook.com/atlburlesque : facebook.com/thecandyboxrevue : facebook.com/metropolitanstudios
Elizabeth Day of OhHeyItsDay Photography, James Merritt of J Merritt Photography, Chris Burk of Stungun Photography, Mike Stewart of Starrlight Images, and Clay Thornton from SETC, Brian Childress of Hueman Photogrpahy