Today we’d like to introduce you to Silver Kitsune.
Silver, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started in North Carolina, in the city of Charlotte. Burlesque was never something that I was looking for, it was just somewhere I ended up. It’s actually kind of funny: I got into this because I talk in my sleep. My fiance was the grip for a local burlesque troupe, and I used to go to their shows to work a hookah table for my sister.
This was back when you could still smoke in bars, of course. One night he asked me what I thought of the show we’d just worked, and I told him. I wasn’t mean or anything, I rarely am, just unfiltered. I come from a background of musical performance and art, so I’ve always watched performances with the eye of being a performer myself. You look at it, and you see what could be improved on, what you liked or didn’t like… That kind of thing.
After I woke up, he challenged me to do it myself if I had so many opinions. So I applied for a festival in town, and when the producer saw my application video, she hired me to the troupe immediately. That was in 2010. I’ve been performing ever since. I think I may have taken six months total off this entire time? I went independent as a performer about five years ago when I moved to Alabama, then full time as a performer and fabricator two years ago.
It’s been a really strange and interesting life for sure. You never can tell where this job will take you. I work all over the country, from Baltimore to Mobile, Vegas to Nashville. As long as you stay professional and keep a high quality of work up, there are always places to perform and friends to make.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has, and it hasn’t. It’s a complicated answer. Where I started was… rough. The producer that ran the troupe I worked with for the first four years was the kind of person who doesn’t seem real outside of a Lifetime movie. It taught me a lot about the dark side of the entertainment industry, but it also pushed me. A lot.
It’s not a path I would have wished on anyone, but it taught me about the kind of performer, artist… the person I absolutely did not want to be. I don’t like to participate in a call out culture unless I really have to, I don’t go in for “naming names” on public forums like Facebook, mostly because the court of opinion in this industry is a powerful machine that I’ve seen aimed injudiciously to devastating result.
But I try to be the kind of industry member that promotes high standards of conduct and treatment of others. I don’t look like what most people expect a burlesque performer to look like. I’m not the socially acceptable version of an erotic body. It’s meant that I’m judged a lot more on my abilities than I would otherwise be in a sex-work adjacent industry, but I can honestly say I prefer it.
Out of makeup (as a gender queer individual, I view the high femme presentation of my stage persona to borrow a lot from traditional drag in its transformative aspect) I’m stuck somewhere on the effeminate side of androgynous. So I can say that has likely made it easier for me to avoid the harassment that some of my coworkers have to deal with.
Since going independent, I can say, without reservation, that while the hours are long and the pay is uncertain, I am content with my professional life.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
Silver Kitsune, LLC and Foxy Fancies are flip sides of the same small business: me. Silver Kitsune, LLC is the performance aspect, what I put on a stage. Foxy Fancies is the fabrication side: the costuming, the prop building, the writing, and various creative pursuits.
I’m known for my costuming pretty well, especially for what I put on my own body on stage. However, what I consider the crown jewel of my fabrication work are my Vegan Feather Fans; wholly man-made fans that are an analogue to the traditional ostrich fans used historically by burlesque and cabaret performers.
What were you like growing up?
A straight up cookie cutter geek! I was quiet, nerdy, read all the time (still do!), in the band, advanced classes in school, invisible to my crushes, you name any trope from a classic high school movie, and I was it. I never really minded, though.
I have two sisters, and we were each other’s best friends growing up, so making a lot of friends was never really a priority. I did go through a lot of bullying. Mostly centered around being queer gendered (which we didn’t even know was a thing then, not really), and being mouthy.
I’ve always been, and it certainly did not help. But as much as public school was horrible (I mean, did anyone have a good time?) I did discover a deep love of Rush, sci-fi, fantasy, the sciences, and writing that has continued into my adult life. I have wonderful, weirdo parents, which has absolutely made me the person I am today.
They both know about my work, and they have always encouraged us to be whatever we wanted to be. They’re the kind of parents everyone should have, honestly.
I don’t think there was ever a moment where we weren’t shown that we could accomplish whatever we set our sights on. It hurts my heart that there are so many people in this industry that don’t have supportive families.
I think if I hadn’t graduated college in the midst of an economic crash, I would have ended up in a very different place than I am now, professionally. I still think about going back into astronomy or biology off and on.
- Website: https://thesilverkitsune.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lesilverkitsune
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesilverkitsune
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lesilverkitsune
Ron Tencati, Charles Bailey, Julie Hunter, D. L. Gital