Whips, Winks and Wiggles – Gigi Jolie’s Burlesque Journey to Self Celebration

Dan Charles Personal, Stories, Thoughts Leave a Comment

About this post!

This Month we are celebrating Anya Marco aka Miss Gigi Jolie, Gigi graduated in 2012 and has been a constant friend and sister to the cheek of it ever since. Never afraid to make a stand for her fellow woman Gigi has inspired, encouraged and empowered many a Cheekette over the years. She is also very generous and I will never forget her bringing an array of naughty props….. for us to play with at The Cheek of It! Calendar shoot 2013 of which she was a Pin Up for;)
This is Gigi’s ‘Cheek of it!’ story

Miss Gigi Jolie

I came to Burlesque, or rather Burlesque came to me at 2am one Friday night.  I think I was reading the 243rd self-help book and something in it made me act: the words: go and book a Burlesque course.  I have never followed suggestions in a self-help book before, something about writing in journals has never engaged me and I couldn’t work out why reading the these books alone wasn’t enough to help me overcome my self-hatred and total loss of confidence after my ex-husband left me for another (younger) woman.  I was feeling old (41), ugly and hopeless.  But this book, this glorious, sassy book spoke to me.  So, I got out of bed, turned on my laptop and entered the search words “Burlesque classes London”.


Miss Gigi Jolie - Turquoise Fan Dance 1

The Journey Started

Among the very few classes one stood out.  The one that had a show at Madam JoJo’s.  The Cheeky one. So, at 2am I clicked on Book Now.  I paid the deposit and then I went to sleep.

In the morning, I wasn’t sure if I had dreamt it or not, but my flashing email welcoming me to the Cheek of It school with all the details assured me I hadn’t.  I was going to be taking off my clothes at Madam Jo Jo’s after 8 weeks! And I had to find my way to some part of London I had never been to every week to learn how.  And I had to take my clothes off.  And I had to meet a lot of new women that didn’t involve Plenty of Fish.  In fact I was about to do something that was just for me.

Miss Gigi Jolie - Turquoise Fan Dance 2

Holy shit

That was five years ago.  Since then I have taken my clothes off on stage, I have fluttered fans, pulsated my hips at the audience, spanked audience members and threatened them with whips.  I have driven people crazy demanding they whoop and holla before I remove a strap.  I have fought demons.  I have slayed low self-esteem.  I have scored confidence points and I have learnt how to love myself.  Unconditionally.  All thanks to Burlesque and The Cheek of It School.

Miss Gigi Jolie is a glorious, dark, sultry goddess.  As a result, Anya Marco is a confident, intelligent, 46-year-old goddess.


Miss Gigi Jolie - Fan Dance

But I am not perfect.  I still suffer.

The demons still tap me on the shoulder from time to time and I occasionally find myself struggling with niggling low self-esteem.

But I’ve learnt that I’m human and it’s is ok to have ups and downs as long as the downs do not take over.  Because another wonderful outcome from learning Burlesque is that I have gained a sisterhood of friends and they never let me sink too low.  They have my back and I have theirs.

Gigi Jolie At The Cheek of it! 5th Birthday Celebration


Burlesque Empowered Me

Although throwing myself into Burlesque empowered me to love myself and to not give a fuck some of the time, I learnt that embracing self-love permanently had to come from within me.  Learning to love myself and my body and all the glorious things she does means I can appreciate it all of the time.

I now care more about my body. I care about what I put into my body and how much I move my body.  I blame Burlesque for that! I learnt that by moving my body I could become happier with my body.  And when I am happier with my body whatever shape or size it is, that happiness exudes from me and empowers me.  

Miss Gigi Jolie - Black and white

Burlesque came to me

Burlesque came to me and it left an indelible mark of confidence on me that I am ever grateful for.   

Anya Marco still occasionally performs as Miss Gigi Jolie.  She is 46 and as well as finishing her MA she blogs about all the things that have helped her find happiness over the last 6 years, including healthy quick recipes, body confidence, crafting tutorials and other things at www.stuffnfings.com.

Miss Gigi Jolie


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