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‘Satirical sexual pageantry’ à la Lou Lou

Lauren “Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière” Jiles was a sensual hit in this year’s Burlesque Hall of Fame: Tournament of Tease competition. She came home with two trophies showing her love of performance and entertaining the audience. (Courtesy Lauren Jiles)

Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière, or Lauren Jiles as she goes by during the daytime, embodies strip tease, dance and a touch of Cirque Du Soleil as a burlesque performer. 

The art of marrying classical and neo-burlesque style won Lou Lou the second-runner  up at The Burlesque Hall of Fame: Tournament of Tease June 6-9.

“Just getting selected to compete is an honour because they only pick 10 applicants from around the world,” said Jiles. “Getting on that stage and repping for Indigenous folk is one of the highest achievements of my career!”

Lou Lou la Duchesse performs a blend of classic and neo-burlesque when she hits the stage and is one of the innovators in the industry. (Courtesy Lauren Jiles)

In the burlesque industry, the BHoF competition is the best of the best. With 10 competitors chosen to tease to their max, pushed Jiles to step up her game.

“My act is a mixture between classical and neo-burlesque. This year I chose a narrative of a spider,” said Jiles. “It was a fun experience, and you never know what could happen. I brought home two trophies.”

She chose a unique style for this year’s competition to wow the crowd and judges.

“The costume itself is a spectacle,” said Jiles. “After my dance I do a cotorsion performance, where the spider really comes through.”

Jiles has been crazy for theatre and entertainment since she first hit the stage at five years old with the Turtle Island Theatre Company. The years leading up to her now award-winning performances are what motivated her to pursue her passion.

“During college I couldn’t balance school and performance. That’s where burlesque came in handy,” said Jiles. “In all honesty, burlesque is what saved me and kept me going.”

Jiles was proud to be representing her nation at the competition and came home with two trophies for second runner up and most innovative.

“I didn’t even think I would qualify for (most innovative) because there was some really innovative stuff. It was really cool and surprised to get that one,” she said. “I’m just really humbled for being able to go through with this.”

Jiles said her experience with the international level competition was a great way to introduce herself to new styles and show off her own unique performances.

“Its really nice to share my art form with others,” she said. “I definitely feel like I’m doing something that I’m passionate about.”

Not only does she love performing, but Jiles feels empowered by her performance as well.

“It’s a very empowering art form, for women and men,” she said. “There’s a lot of men who perform in burlesque and it’s just a great way to travel the world.”

Jiles has her own definition for burlesque. 

“People always ask me ‘what is burlesque’ and I always answer ‘I’m in the business of satirical sexual pageantry’” laughed Jiles. 

“It’s not a very conventional career but I’m not a very conventional person.”

Lou Lou La Duchesse De Riere added acrobatics to her act in New Orleans creating the most stunning spider effect seen in the south that night. (Courtesy Lauren Jiles)

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