SuicideGirls’ Founder Missy Suicide Talks with MWRW Before Upcoming Ready Room Show

Missy Suicide. Photo courtesy of SuicideGirls

 

–By Keith Brake

 

Missy Suicide had a vision, she wanted a place for “Alternative” women to have a platform to be seen and appreciated. Fast-forward sixteen years and that vision has blossomed into what we know today as The SuicideGirls – more than just your average burlesque show. The SuicideGirls have become iconic with empowerment of women with alternative beauty photoshoots, references in movies, television shows, books, comic books and live events ran by the women themselves.  Their popularity includes millions of fans and followers (over half of which are female), a touring burlesque show, over 3000 models and so much more. I recently had the privilege of speaking with the SuicideGirls’ founder, Missy Suicide, about this journey, her inspirations, the burlesque show and her visions for the future of the Girls.

 

Keith Brake: Hey Missy, how are you today?

Missy Suicide: I’m excellent.

Keith Brake: Good, good.

Missy Suicide: You’re the last interview of the day.

Keith Brake: Then I will try to be brief, so you don’t have to wait around on me. First of all, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I appreciate that.

Missy Suicide: I appreciate you being interested in writing about it.

Keith Brake:  I just have a few questions for you, some about the burlesque show, and some about the SuicideGirls overall. What was your inspiration for starting the burlesque show?

Missy Suicide: In the same way that the website had the classic pin up photos and gave it a modern, updated twist. We’ve been doing this for a number of years, so the shows have evolved into a more nerd and pop culture themed burlesque extravaganza. It’s sexy, it’s fun, it’s silly, and it has a kick ass soundtrack.

Keith Brake: All of those things sound like it makes for a fantastic show. That’s great, I can’t wait to go and cover for it.

Missy Suicide: I feel confident saying that it is the most entertaining show that you are likely to go to all year.

Keith Brake: That’s fantastic. I do go to a lot of shows and a lot of events, so I’m excited to be a part of it. So, more along the lines of SuicideGirls themselves, what was the first big SuicideGirls success?

Missy Suicide: We did the book back in 2003, the coffee table book, and we won the independent publisher award for Best Art Book that year and I was so proud of that.

Keith Brake: Sure, yeah, that’s a huge accomplishment. Is that when you had the first inkling that the SuicideGirls were really gonna be huge?

Missy Suicide: You know, I wish I took more moments to think about the future, about how big and cool things were, but I just didn’t take the time to appreciate them. I was too busy thinking about the next project, and the next thing, and didn’t really ever take time to reflect.

Keith Brake: Yeah, sometimes business really takes you away.

Missy Suicide: Exactly, it’s always the fear that it’s not going to succeed, you know? It’s like we have to keep hustling and keep moving.

Keith Brake: So, what do you look for in the girls when you’re casting, specifically for the burlesque event?

Missy Suicide: For the burlesque show, we look for girls that are amazing dancers, that have a ton of personality, ones the exude happiness. When you see the show, you’re gonna see all of the dancers up there and you’re gonna see how happy and proud they are to be there, and confident, and comfortable with themselves. They all are such hard workers, and they’re all so appreciative and awesome.

Keith Brake: Cool. So, how many girls are in the burlesque show? Is it the same crew who travels for the whole tour?

Missy Suicide: No, there’s 6 at any given time, but there are only 17 that are going to be on tour this year.

Keith Brake: Okay, excellent. In the massive success of SuicideGirls overall, is this more than you ever dreamed? Is this on par with your vision when you started, where does this come in at?

Missy Suicide: I mean, I think this is more than I could have ever dreamed and have ever hoped for. SuicideGirls started as a place where I could feel appreciated for being myself, where I could seek what I was passionate about and do that for a living and creating a space for myself that wasn’t a traditional path, and creating a space that didn’t exist previously. You know, we were the first social media sites showing girls that didn’t have a platform any place else. So, in creating that and being able to do things like the movies, and the books, and all of the crazy things that we have done; I also feel like I’ve created a space where other women can do what they love for a living. We’ve got hundreds of girls that are full time photographers because they started as SuicideGirls models, and they’ve taken their passion into something they love and turned it into a viable business. Our choreographer started as a dancer, and now she’s doing choreography work for the whole show. There’s girls who have their own businesses who’ve started as Suicide Girls and met each other on the site, and now they have a goth fashion business, so it’s really been inspiring that way. It’s more than I could have ever hoped for. To be able to create not only a space for myself, but a space for other people.

Keith Brake: Exactly. A space for people who aren’t exactly alike but have similar interests in life come together and just hang out and be what they want to be. It’s a really cool thing. You sort of answered my next question with that, you kind of described the evolution of where SuicideGirls has started and where it has gotten to, but do you think that there would be any difference in what it meant to be a Suicide Girl in 2001 versus what it would be today in 2018?

Missy Suicide: I could’ve never imagined. Back in 2001, it was just people who were my friends. And then after I exhausted my friend group, it was trying to convince girls that it was cool, and the internet was going to be something that was fun and that you could connect with people…that serial killers weren’t going to find you. It’s laughable now, but back then, nobody had social media. I had to hand type girls’ blog entries because they didn’t own a computer and the libraries had banned them from using the library computers.

Keith Brake: Oh, how things have changed. Where do you see SuicideGirls from here?

Missy Suicide: I feel like it’s…I couldn’t imagine where it would be now, so I’m trying to take a moment to appreciate where we are now, to be appreciate how awesome it is. I don’t know where it’s going to lead tomorrow, but we can be thankful for where we are. And it would be nice if we could have a permanent space for the burlesque shows, to have a club space and to do all sorts of different stuff. It would be nice to have a comic book store, it would be nice to have a video game, those would be cool things.

Keith Brake: So, sky’s the limit. You guys are open to anything that comes your way.  Did you have inspiration, like who would you cite as your inspiration for starting SuicideGirls?

Missy Suicide: My inspiration at first would be Bunny Yeager’s photos of Bettie Page. Bettie Page had been photographed thousands of times, but there was something so beautiful and unique about the female gaze of Bunny Yeager. Like, she would snap a shot 2 seconds before, or two seconds after most photographers would, and she would catch these full laughs, or beautiful images of Bettie Page that you wouldn’t get ever. Bettie Page looked so natural, and so beautiful, and so confident, and so comfortable. In those images it just sort of clicked in that I wanted to create a space where my friends were treated with the same respect.

Keith Brake: If you were not Missy Suicide today, who do you think you would be? What would you be doing if it weren’t this?

Missy Suicide: Oh man, I think I would be much unhappier, and I would probably still be doing something in the web world. I would probably be a vice president of a tech company that did something Soundcloud-y, or I would have been in several different startup companies and would’ve cashed out at some point. A corporate cog in the machine.

Keith Brake: Do you have any message you want to send to the St. Louis fans? Do you have anything you’d like to tell them?

Missy Suicide: Do what you love. And go see the burlesque show cause it’s super inspiring.

Keith Brake: I agree; they should try to see it. I have 4 or 5 rapid fire questions if you’re okay with that.

Missy Suicide: Okay, shoot.

Keith Brake: What’s your favorite movie?

Missy Suicide: Casablanca. I’ve seen it like 10,000 times.

Keith Brake: What is your biggest, or your weirdest fear?

Missy Suicide: I’m afraid of the ocean, because it is a tempestuous mistress.

Keith Brake: And if you had one superpower, what would it be?

Missy Suicide: Teleportation

Keith Brake: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Missy Suicide: Things that are out of place.

Keith Brake: Here’s an interesting one, what is your one annoying habit.

Missy Suicide: My husband could tell you a thousand of my annoying habits, I’m a neat freak, and I snap all the time.

Keith Brake: My final one, what is your favorite Halloween costume ever?

Missy Suicide: It was probably when I went as David Bowie from Labyrinth, and another SuicideGirl was Lisa from Labyrinth and I married two members, I officiated their wedding. You can see that on the website.

Keith Brake:  Well Missy, I don’t want to take away any more of your time, I hope you have a wonderful afternoon.

Missy Suicide: You too.

The Blackheart Burlesque Show will be at The Ready Room March 14th, and at this time tickets remain for both general admission and VIP meet and greet. See The Ready Room website to order tickets. If you are in the mood for a fun, up-beat “nerdy” show featuring some beautiful and talented women, then this show is for you. For more information about The SuicideGirls you can find them at www.suicidegirls.com and information for the burlesque tour can be found at www.blackheartburlesque.com as always, thanks for the continued support.

Peace,

Keith.

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