Known to her fans as the "Ambassador of
Burlesque for Singapore," Sukki Singapora is one of the most exciting
performers to emerge into the Neo-Burlesque Scene.
It's hard to believe that despite being
trained in classical ballet from an early age, Sukki only
started performing Burlesque in February 2011. At the time it was a terrifying
leap of courage as a woman raised in a strict Asian family living in the UK. As
is often the case in Asian communities, she has often talked openly about the
truth behind the stereotype of only ever being encouraged to do law, science or
medicine; Arts being out of the question.
Turning away from her family and upbringing
to pursue her dreams, Sukki took to the stage as a Burlesque Performer,
incorporating Asian style and traditional Asian songs into her routines, as a
clear message that she was a proud Asian female, breaking boundaries. It was
only as her popularity began to grow that it became clear just how influential
her career was becoming. She recalls: "Asian women living in Britain and back
over in Singapore began to send me letters saying how inspired they were that I
was pursuing Burlesque - something frowned upon in our community. I was
overwhelmed and touched by the support. It was at that point I knew I wasn't just
on a journey of freedom of expression for myself, I was a role model for hundreds
of women just like me, who desperately needed the confidence to break away from
Eight months into her career, a journalist
from Singapore published an article on her story and revealed that she was the
first ever Singaporean in the world to become a Professional Burlesque Artist. She
was quickly hailed as the "Ambassador of Burlesque for Singapore,"
appearing in several other Asian Publications sparking letters from Asian women
all over the world. "Some of them wrote that finally I had given them enough confidence
to try Burlesque too," Sukki reveals, "Others wrote that they felt like they
could do anything they wanted now. I couldn't believe the difference I'd made
to so many women. And I was inspired to do more."
It became clear that the harder Sukki
pushed with her career, the bigger the difference she could make. Within a year
she had appeared in publications in the UK, France, the USA, Singapore and Africa.
She became actively involved in supporting Burlesque in Singapore, and
networked with two dance schools there to promote the teaching of Burlesque in
her native Singapore: Jitterbugs Swingapore and Groove Dance School.
On the 24th May 2012 Sukki founded The
Singapore Burlesque Society: "Its main aim to promote and support
Burlesque in Singapore, and freedom of expression through the Art" with
the hope of offering a safe haven for women and men of Asian/Singapore origin
around the world to talk and network about Burlesque. Recently they announced
on Facebook they had become bi-lingual so that Chinese-speaking members would
be able to participate. It is now over 40 members strong from all corners of
the globe, and growing.
Shortly after, Sukki established The
Singapore Burlesque Club, a Brand New Burlesque Revue with an equality policy of
always hiring at least one Asian burlesque performer per event. She proudly joined
forces with Lesbian Burlesque Night "LesBurlesque" to hold its first ever event
in Manchester this October coming (Tickets available here: www.skiddle.com/events/11696770/). The
Revue inspired one of the most sought-after Burlesque Artists in the world,
Miss Kitten De Ville, to agree to perform for their opening night. Plans are
afoot to boldly tour Asia by 2014, fighting for freedom of expression despite political
Yet the lack of Asian Burlesque Artists
within the industry, and opinions on Burlesque within the Brit-Asian/Asian community,
just show exactly why Sukki's story is so remarkable. It is through the support
of Artists such as her that "attacks on individuals or movements which promote
freedom of expression" can be prevented, and why women such as this "Ambassador
of Burlesque for Singapore" deserve a heartfelt nod of pride from our diverse
and brilliant community.