Size 18 burlesque dancer is on a mission to prove the sultry art is for everyone
We live in a world with a very narrow definition of beauty. As far as male beauty is concerned, a special emphasis is placed on height and a muscular frame. Women, on the other hand, are told that the look they should be aiming for is a slender, toned appearance, with curves "in all the right places".
Unfortunately, this inevitably leaves a large chunk of the population feeling as though they are lagging behind in the "looks department". Yep, in spite of these so-called ideals, most people are not flab-free with bulging biceps and washboard abs. But that by no means suggests that they don't exude sex appeal. Because, let's be honest, what is sexier than being totally and utterly comfortable in your own skin? Nothing, I'd say.
Well, one woman who truly embodies this idea of being comfortable in your skin is 36-year-old Ginger Snaps, AKA Wendy Sanders.
The curvy redhead has spoken about how being mistaken for a burlesque dancer led to her becoming, well, exactly that; a bona fide burlesque dancer. And she certainly wasn't going to let the fact she's a size 18 stop her from pursuing this dream.
Now, Ginger Snaps is combining her variety performance with aerial skills – creating an incredible spectacle, her luscious red locks flowing, as she spins from the ceiling on a hoop, in very seductive lingerie.
Take a look at Ginger Snaps' very colourful tribute to Ziggy Stardust:
Ginger, of Austin, Texas, is on a mission to show the world that big girls can be sexy, despite what the naysayers might have to say. She began performing nine years ago, saying: “When I first started being a plus size performer, I did get some people who refused to cast me. They said it was because of audience demand, but I know people love seeing me on the stage.”
She added: “I have won the best burlesque performer in Austin for the last two years running, so it shows that people do want to see me.
“I want to encourage larger people to take up burlesque, as it’s totally liberating. You just have to move past your fear. As far as I’m concerned, if someone tells me I can’t do something, it just makes me more determined to pull it off. ”
Ginger Snaps performs Aerial Lyra Burlesque and looks damn good throughout:
Ginger, who now lives with her 34-year-old software developer boyfriend Joe Langeway, was determined to learn more about the art of burlesque, after several occasions of being mistaken for another performer.
She laughed: “I’m not sure who people thought I was, but it came up quite a bit, so I must have had a lookalike.
“As a result, I checked out burlesque online as I didn’t know much about it, and I realised I should give it a go!” She added. “When I was at college, I started taking dance classes and I was running a Rocky Horror class, too, so this sort of thing seemed like a natural transition.”
Ginger first started her education on all things burlesque by watching YouTube videos before she finally plucked up the courage to join a local troupe.
She said: “The first time I performed burlesque, I absolutely loved it. I look back on it now and laugh, because I had so much clothing on. As I’ve got more experience, I’ve also gained so much more confidence.”
Now firmly a part of the theatrical world, Ginger also came across another performance art not usually associated with plus-sized performers.
She continued: “I did a few shows that also featured aerialists and my boyfriend at the time was working on a website for them."
“He ended up with lots of free credits for classes, but he didn’t want to use them. I decided I would, although I was really terrible at my first class and spent about seven months just falling over before I managed to do anything.”
Once a full-time wig and makeup artist, Ginger has made burlesque and aerial arts her highest priority.
“I was working as a wig and makeup artist – which I still do a bit of – when I got into this,” explained Ginger.
“Now I also teach burlesque and lyra, a type of aerial art, as well as being a performance manager and producing some of my own shows and festivals. Last weekend, I even organised the first plus-size burlesque festival.”
Ginger admits that as a bigger girl, she is not as light on her feet as other performers but believes this can be a problem for anyone.
Ginger Snaps performs her Star Trek Lyra number:
She said: “I do moves that work for my body, but so do all performers.
“I have thin students whose legs might be shaped differently, meaning they can’t do the same things as some of the others.” She is hoping to inspire more plus-sized women to join the world of burlesque. She said: “Yesterday I had a workshop with 12 plus size people, who could do all the moves.
“People are told they can’t do this because they are plus size, but that’s simply not true.”
She continued: “One girl told me some of the studios she tried had said they had a 200lb weight limit for using their equipment. That’s ridiculous because you can have a few 120lb people on the same piece of equipment, so how can you ban a single 200lb girl from using it?”
She said: “My mission is to get plus size burlesque and aerial performers representation and to get studios to encourage people of all shapes and sizes to perform.”
She added: “No one who is larger is going to take it up if they don’t see plus size performers out there. There are aerialists who have limbs missing so just being plus size shouldn’t stop you.”
It's very admirable that Ginger is using her position to shed a light on something that shouldn't be all that surprising anyway: big girls can be sexy. Hopefully, she'll continue the good fight as it is a lesson that everyone could benefit from learning.