Queer AF: Catching up with Candida From Queerly Beloved Burlesque

PHOTO: Julie Hunter -  Naturally Boudoir

PHOTO: Julie Hunter - Naturally Boudoir

As if y’all didn’t already know, Atlanta is a buzzing hub of all things queer, creative, and sexy. Performers from all over the Southeast gravitate to the city to create new opportunities for themselves (and others) by launching their own unique platforms. This year, a new collective of queer burlesque performers started breaking out onto the scene—ready to show you their peaches.

Queerly Beloved Burlesque, started by Candida Valentina, is a new group of raucous performers — burlesque, boylesque, drag, poets, etc — basically all things we love. The group (all pictured above) consists of Royal Tee, Clyf Hangar, Evangeline Laveau, Edie Bellini, Silver Kitsune, Coco Rosé, Benjamin Unbutton, and Capt. Adam.

You can catch them next at the Rocky Horror Queerly Show at My Sister’s Room (MSR) on October 27th.

WUSSY spoke to founder Candida Valentina to talk about the world of burlesque and queer ATL.

Hi Candida! Tell us how you got started in the burlesque world. 

Well I’ve always had a love of dancing but lacked the confidence to do anything with it. That all changed one day in 2008 when I was at a club with a group of friends and was approached by one of the dancers asking if I’d be interested in having a gogo slot there. Little did I know then that that would eventually lead me to where I am now. Funny enough my wife and I were at a burlesque show in 2012 and I looked at her and said, “I would never be able to do anything like that...”  Thankfully, I proved myself wrong on that one.

How did you get up the confidence to try burlesque? What kind of effect has it had on your life?

I actually stopped gogo dancing around 2010 and it wasn’t till around 2014 that I began questioning what I was missing. I told my wife I wanted to dance again and possibly try something new and she said to me, don’t think about it just do it and that became my mantra. Breaking in to the Atlanta Burlesque scene wasn’t easy but with persistence and little help from friends, I finally found an in and I couldn’t be happier. It’s given me a sense of accomplishment in my life. The first time someone complimented one of my acts was mind-blowing because this was only supposed to be my creative outlet. I didn’t know how much a burlesque routine could resonate with an audience, it truly is empowering. 

PHOTO: Julie Hunter -  Naturally Boudoir

PHOTO: Julie Hunter - Naturally Boudoir

What inspires you?

Life. I know that may sound cliché but it’s true. Life is a funny roller coaster ride full of twists and turns and ups and downs, it’s hard to not be inspired by it all. 

What does the word 'queer' mean to you?

I actually was just recently talking to a group of friends about “what is Queer”.  To me, Queer is an identity of a collective and not of just an individual. I feel that at times there is such a negative connotation toward the word or idea of Queer and I truly think there shouldn’t be. To me, it’s not offensive but more of a badge of honor that I gladly wear. 

Tell us what to expect from Queerly Beloved Burlesque show.

Queerly Beloved Revue is definitely something different. I wanted to create a space for all LGBTQIA performers to showcase their talents. It’s a show where you can possibly see acrobats, burlesque performers, Drag Queens, Drag Kings, Singers, Poets, Cirque and so much more.  I will say that our format does change depending on what style of show we do for example our monthly show at MSR is vastly different than our bigger revues at venues like Red Light Cafe. But no matter the venue, expect to see sexy little Queer beings doing their best to put on a show the audience will never forget. 

What differentiates the Queer burlesque scene from the rest of the burlesque world? 

To be completely honest, I don’t actually feel that there are any major differences. Surprisingly, most of the burly performers I know fall somewhere on the queer spectrum, and those that identify as straight as a nail, are normally one helluva Ally. 

Favorite Queer Atlanta spots? 

Midtown as a whole!! So many amazing spots are here in Atlanta! Any place that is a safe space and that welcomes all is my happy spot!

PHOTO: Julie Hunter -  Naturally Boudoir

PHOTO: Julie Hunter - Naturally Boudoir

What are some basic house rules everyone should know when they come to a Queerly Beloved show?

First and foremost have fun. We love an interactive crowd but we also ask that you be respectful to the performers. Consent is very sexy.

Second, if you like what you see, tip the performer, we love that shit!

Lastly, spread the word. We’re still a baby in the community and we’d love the ability to grow! 

Anything else?

I’m so excited to have Queerly Beloved Revue play a part in the phenomenal Atlanta LGBTQIA+ scene. The audiences that we have been in front of have been so interactive and appreciative that it makes us work even harder to bring performances that will have everyone Instgramming and hashtagging all night long. 

For all things Queerly follow us on 
IG: @QueerlyBelovedRevue
FB: @Queerly Beloved Revue

And you can also find me on
IG: @Candidavalentinaofficial 
FB: @Candida Valentina Official
TW: @Candi_Valentina

Photo Credits:
Julie Hunter - Naturally Boudoir 
IG: @Naturally Boudoir 
FB: Naturally Boudoir 
Assistant: Graham Lansford