Beauty Parler with Lynda Vang
Posted: Feb 22 2017 | Author: Marielle T
Lynda Vang (or as she's known in the Edmonton Burlesque Community, Chyna Boom) is a woman with prowess living a double life as the public relations coordinator at the Art Gallery of Alberta by day, and a sultry burlesque star by night.
Thoughtful, insightful, and incredibly creative, Lynda is the perfect person to profile for our first Beauty Parler: an intimate chat with our city's most compelling women that includes finding out what's in their makeup bag.
THE GLITTERY WORLD OF BURLESQUE
I experienced burlesque for the first time during the Fringe Festival when Capital City Burlesque (CCB) had its Elvis show at the Starlite Room. I remember seeing all these beautiful women of different shapes and colours being so proud of their bodies and really owning their presence on stage. They were so empowered and I wanted to do that, to be that. There was always this performer in me and seeing those women ignited a flame within me that I thought I had forgotten about. Shortly thereafter, I successfully auditioned for the CCB Troupe and was so excited.
I am also a proud co-founder of the Secret Burlesque Society with a few friends from CCB. The Secret Burlesque Society was this glorious moment in time when a bunch of friends got together and created magic as . We were five burlesque hearts burning bright. From pop-up cabarets in a park, to secret burlesque speakeasies - SBS gave us an opportunity to use the art form of burlesque to stand for something.
At the time, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) had very archaic rules around what was considered nudity for performers. Male performers were allowed to take off their shirts and show their nipples, but if female performers did the same, both the performers and the clubs they worked in would be fined. It was so unfair and ridiculous to define nudity as being different based on gender, so we joined that fight to free the nipple.
The burlesque community in Edmonton and Calgary really banded together, and the AGLC has since revised those rules. Women are no longer fined if they show nipples in a performance and what is defined as "nudity" is the same across all genders. It was wonderful to be able to add our voices to that cause. When I started burlesque, I dove into this community, and now I find myself aligned with, and so supported by, people I admire.
Currently, I’m preparing for my next show with CCB. We're doing burlesque with a live band and it's going to be fantastic!
Start off with a good scrub. With such a dry winter climate, I’ve started to use oil drops for my skin as it’s just been calling for that extra moisture. My skin slurps it up and it feels so wonderful. Then I keep it simple, I work on my brows and try to get them looking okay, then eyeliner, mascara, blush and lipstick. I like to keep it really simple when I can.
Burlesque - It’s the same basic things but amped up for the stage. I’ll wear foundation and concealer, then I’ll add in a smoky eye and false lashes. Eyelashes are the final piece of getting into character. When I started burlesque, I was in school, had a night job, and then I'd go and perform...all in one day. The ritual of putting on my burlesque face was really fun for me. I really did feel like I was becoming Chyna Boom and becoming fiercer - a real femme fatale - and thick eyelashes were that final piece to that transformation. Then, of course, red lips and glitter. SO MUCH GLITTER. I think I have a glitter problem. I highlight around my eyes, décolletage and my arms - honestly wherever my skin is showing. I primarily use LIT glitter and it comes with an adhesive glue or I’ll mix it into my lotion. Oh, and I also use glitter bars from LUSH. I would be a ball of glitter if I could.
How do you de-glitter?
I’m still de-glittering now. Wipes are really handy and a coconut oil - which is really helpful for pasties. And the best part of that whole thing is taking off those false lashes. I have a two and a half hour rule for wearing false lashes. I tell ya, taking off lashes after a show has got to be one of the most satisfying things ever.
I blow dry it and add a moisturizing oil - again with the oils - and I try to avoid blow drying my hair but sometimes winter demands it. For a show, I like to play with my hair. When I first started, I had Betty Page bangs, but now I'm exploring more things I can do. I've tried a bee hive, victory rolls - I will do anything to make it as big as a possible! As they say, the bigger the hair, the closer to heaven. I’ve used curlers. I've even used a stress ball to try to prop it up. Teasing is so hard on your hair so I’ve been looking into Bumpits and clip in bangs. I love dressing up whenever I can.
How does beauty work into your life?
I think of beauty as a way to enhance what you already have. Since I've been doing burlesque, my beauty routine is still kept very simple but with more glamour. Whenever I go out, I feel like it’s a reflection of who I am for the day. And my beauty routine is a big part that. I tend to mostly do the same thing: a strong brow and lipstick of some sort. It’s like putting on a coat of armour to be ready for the day - like a warrior - especially with the red lips. It's how I show who I want to project that day. Of course, there are times when I’m just faking it till I make it. I don't feel like a warrior princess every day but putting on red lips empowers me in a way and helps me get back on track.
How has burlesque challenged the way you perceive your own body?
When I first started, I wasn't very public about it. I was starting a new career and I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was with putting my burlesque underbelly out there. It was new to me, and I wasn’t sure how employers would feel about it. My friends knew but I didn’t make it public. I felt like Clark Kent, being a professional during the day with a secret identity of this super empowered burlesque performer at night. The more shows I did, though, the more that feeling of empowerment seeped into my daily life. For example, I would have never worn red lipstick in the past to a business meeting and now I wear it when I feel the need for more courage and power. My burlesque persona keeps coming out more and more into my regular life and has definitely had positive effects on how I carry myself and how I perceive who I am.
How do you define beauty?
Real beauty is a genuine smile, laugh lines, excitement in the eyes - when you can tell a person is thrilled to be in that moment. Beauty isn’t something I can see but something I can feel. It’s a warmth. That being said, there’s tremendous beauty in being vulnerable. I would be remiss to say beauty is always about feeling strong or conveying confidence. It’s about feeling both ends of the spectrum. You can't feel real empowerment if you don't experience those lows; it's in those moments when you have to summon extra courage or when you realize how resilient you truly are. That's real beauty.
Lynda's 'Can't Live Without' Beauty Products
Lipstick Queen Sinner in Deep Red Sinner
Skyn Iceland Arctic Face Oil