The glamorous glitz, the coy coquetry, the sultry suggestions: It’s all there. But when Pelham Spong ’06 emerges from the shadows, coming into the light to unfurl her feather fans, it’s the confidence that she reveals that’s most alluring.
“I think it’s important to remind the audience that the sexiest thing a woman can be is confident,” says Spong, a film and stage actress who double-majored in theatre and French and has been working as the office manager for the College’s North Campus since she returned from a five-year stint in Paris in 2010. It was shortly after that, too, that she began performing burlesque acts in local venues and at events like the illustrious New Orleans Burlesque Festival.
“I ask myself now how I haven’t been doing this my whole life. It appeals to me on so many levels: the theatrics, the costumes, the vintage throwback,” she says, noting that – although she creates her costumes and her acts to embody the luxurious glamour of burlesque’s heyday – what she does is a far cry from the stripteases of the 1940s. “It’s no longer a show for male audiences. Now it’s about women’s perception of their own sexuality. It gives the women the power. It gives women the confidence to be who they are.”
– Alicia Lutz ’98
Photo by Leslie McKellar