At 5 ft 3 Kitty Petite is absolute living proof that you even if you’re small you can still be humongous! In fact she’s actually a whole lot more than that. Kitty’s HUGE! GIANT! EPIC! MAHOOSIVE! But not only that, she’s a devilish little dynamo with more than a little bit of badass about her.
If you haven’t seen one of her performances, then this is what we had to say about her act at the 2016 London Burlesque Festival:
“Kitty Petite tittered onto the stage with massive fairy tale malevolence – tiny footsteps, sneaky looks, an absolute rascal in hiding within a voluminous, sweeping cape. With her mischievous face, slender body, and all round naughtiness, Kitty was a fun-fun-fun performer to watch. The feisty girl even threw in a cheeky glitter cumshot. Fabulous!”
Glitter. Mischief. Big capes, and tons of gorgeous, big-hearted naughtiness…what more could you possibly want? And what more could you possibly need?
Ladies and Gentlemen…Kitty Petite!
Hiya, Kitty, how did you get started in Burlesque? And what made you want to go and do it?
I actually started out as an actress. That’s what I had been training to do. I took my first burlesque class because I was purchasing some screen acting classes at an Arts school in London and saw a discount code if you took two classes or more and I thought it would be good for my CV to have some dancing on it. The burlesque I initially started doing was a lot more dance oriented (jazz, ballet & show tunes). Long story short, I ended up loving it more than acting and even though I do love acting I’ve put it on the shelf for now because I just love creating my burlesque acts so much.
Where was your first performance and how did it go?
I guess I technically actually have two first performances as a burlesque performer at least. I was part of Suzanna Molnar’s Burlesque Babes after taking her classes for about two years but I only ever did one show with them which was a City Academy Christmas show at Toynbee Studios in 2012. That was just dancing with no element of striptease, but she did teach me some pretty kickass moves that I still use today. Then what I consider to be my Burlesque debut was last year’s The Cheek Of It Springtime Showcase with Lady May Den Voyage’s class. That was the first time Kitty stepped on stage. It went really well, although I have a very different performance style now.
How do you go about putting your acts together?
It usually stems from either an idea for an act or an urge to put an act to a particular song. My oldest act (the Sally Stitches/FrankenKitty one) has actually been in development for around a year now. It started with me wanting to do a Sally Stitches act because I love Tim Burton and it took me about a month of solid Spotifying to find the perfect songs because I didn’t want to use just the soundtrack because it didn’t fit with my idea of the character.
Every time I perform it I update the choreography or costume, adding bits here and there. Little tweaks, changing the hair and make-up. It’s come a long way since I first performed it, the tone of it has definitely changed. The first time I performed it I looked (unintentionally) like Jack Nicholson’s Joker and wore this pinstriped corset which I found just restricted me. Now my hair and make-up is 1960s inspired and I’ve turned her into a naughty GoGo girl. I’m a bit of a crazy perfectionist and I change the choreography a little every time I perform it. Yesterday for instance I changed a key part of it about half an hour before a show because it just wasn’t sitting right with me and it actually worked really well.
I think you bring a cheeky/naughty yet classy approach to your shows. How much time do you spend preparing? Or do you just get up and have fun?
Thank you. The older an act the less time I spend preparing. If the acts fairly new then I like to take a day off before performing it to go over the choreography and see if I can polish it. Although my newest act is a Joan Jett/Runaways inspired act and I tend to improv a lot of that on stage because the costume can be slightly unpredictable to take off, but it’s pretty anarchic, sexy and fun to do so it fits.
Which of your acts is the most fun to perform?
I have this act that’s inspired by Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time which I love performing because I get to dress up in a lab coat (that I actually monogrammed in a Disney font) and safety specs and pretend to be a scientist. I’m reworking it and am going to relaunch it in November. It’s a super fun act to perform because I start it off using Oingo Boingo’s Weird Science which always makes me want to dance. I’ve added some surprises in there that I didn’t have the first few times I performed it.
How does it feel to be on stage and having fun with the audience?
Honestly it’s one of the best feelings ever. It’s one of those things where if everything comes together and the audience are digging what you do then it just spurs you on and you can play with them a little more. A good audience really makes the performance 100 times better. I’ve just done Best Of Burlesque at the Edinburgh Fringe and that was one of the best audiences I’ve had so far.
What has been your most naughty or most outrageous moment so far? Or even simply the most memorable?
I can’t answer this question. I’m so sorry. I have had so many amazing moments my brain overloads when I try to pinpoint one. As for naughty or outrageous. Haha. That would be telling!
What interests or things that you find exciting do you bring to your acts?
I’m basically a massive nerd and I tend to bring different fandoms into my acts. At the moment I have Sally Stitches, Princess Bubblegum and Joan Jett that I perform. But I have quite a few in the works that are again focused on particular shows/movies/genres. I do try and make them understandable for people who have no idea who the character in performing is. I don’t think it’s fair for someone to come to a show and miss out on enjoying one of my acts because they don’t understand it. But I’ll always try to drop an in joke or two into them.
I really loved that Sally Stitches act you did at the London Burlesque Festival. The tiny shuffling footsteps and the darting eyes were great. It was impish, fiendish and mischievous! Can you tell us a bit more about that act?
I’m just a bit of a nerd really. FrankenKitty (the Sally Stitches act) is actually the second act I’ve ever created. The first one I did was some weird Grease/ska mashup that I’ve put on the shelf for a bit. I’m a big fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas and I thought it would be fun to play around with the Sally character and make her naughtier than she is in the movie.
If you had an unlimited budget to create an act and show (including props and costumes), what would you create and where in the whole world (past and present) would you perform? And who would you invite to the show?
Oh gosh. I think for sure I’d have to go to Vegas in the late 1960s. I’ve never been but it looks amazing, and I’m a massive Elvis fan so obviously I’d invite him, and Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast At Tiffanys is one of my favourite movies), Tempest Storm, Bettie Page. I think I’d create a massive show with a Nerdlesque space theme. Lots of original Star Trek references and spacey stuff, 60s music. I just love beehives and 60s style and when that’s paired with 60s sci fi I just find it so funny.
How much pinup and modelling work do you get the chance to get out and do? (the little shoots I’ve seen look awesome!)
The photoshoots I’ve done have mainly been ideas that I’ve had and had to get out of my head. My go to photographer is Claire Seville because I’ll tell her a crazy idea that I have and she’ll go “We can do that” – I think my most recent shoot with her definitely reflects that. I haven’t really done much pinup modelling, I’d love to do more. I did a life modelling burlesque event recently, that was fun.
Which shows in London have you performed at and which shows would you recommend people to go and see?
I’ve performed at Apothecary Cabaret in Stoke Newington and Hooray Cabaret’s Jiggles & Giggles in Hackney. I’d totally recommend both of these shows actually (or any of Hooray Cabarets shows). I just love that both of those shows aren’t just burlesque. Apothecary has sideshow and magic and wonderfulness and Hooray is just full of comedy and beauty. When you go see either of them you can tell that the lovely ladies who put on those shows love what they do. I love shows where you can have a giggle and feel included even when you’re in the audience.
What kind of acts or pinup work would you like do in the future, and what have you got coming up next?
I’d definitely like to learn contortion because I’d like to include that in my acts. I can just about do the splits, but I have chest stands in my goals to be able to do by the end of next year. I for sure want to do more photoshoots, I feel like Sally needs one because the only pictures I have of her are onstage action shots, so that’s on my list of things to do.
I’m also competing in the World Burlesque Games in December for the British Newcomer Crown. Which I’m just so excited about and am actually so honoured to be selected to compete as I’ve only been doing this for such a short amount of time.
Photography: Claire Seville
MUAH (for all photos) Kari Roberts