Lola LeSoleil

The Lady of Leg-itude

May The Fierce be with you.

In 2005, I was still mucking my way through online dating...with mixed results. On a first date with the surgeon, the proximity of DragonCon came into the conversation. Neither of us had ever attended and we agreed it would be a brilliant second date. Rather than creating the beast with two backs the night before the con (because wow, there was serious chemistry), we sprawled on the floor of his living room with printed copies of the DragonCon schedule and highlighters, methodically planning our weekend. He was fan of sci-fi author Robert Jordan, and wished to attend related panels. I was more interested in anime and vendors. We both were keen on the robot battles and decided to spend the final day of DragonCon rooting for the carnage of tiny remote controlled gadgets. It was glorious and I was hooked - on DragonCon and him.

He is now a fond part of my memory, but DragonCon is still with me. In 2009, I made a concerted effort to plan costumes. I made illuminated fairy wings from a Threadbanger tutorial and bought a Princess Leia costume and blaster from a local costume shop. In place of Leia's signature buns, I wore afro puffs in keeping with my hair texture. Somehow, my buddy talked me into entering the Star Wars costume contest. There were all manner of intricate handmade canon costumes, sculpted armor and authentic SW aficionados whose attention to costume detail bordered on manic. And there I was in my store bought Leia. When the announcer asked me for my intro, I was ready. My version of Leia was the embodiment of the Princess had she been created by film director Melvin Van Peebles, and modeled on Pam Grier. I told the announcer, "It's 'Princess Leia's Baaadasssss Revenge'". The gentleman, clearly familiar with quintessential blaxsploitation films, gave a knowing smile, nodded and replied,"I can dig it." There were 500+ SW nerds, geeks and fans in that ballroom, all having a hell of a time marveling over and critiquing the costumes. Each contestant had intro music as part of their presentation chosen by the emcee from his playlists of the various Star Wars soundtracks. Until he announced Princess Leia's Baaadasssss Revenge. For me he chose the Theme from Shaft and I was elated as he paced his description of Leia as a name taker, ass-kicker and babe to be reckoned with over the chickka-chickka of Isaac Hayes' masterpiece. The audience was whooping and cheering as I strolled onto the stage. With my back to the audience I marked my poses and made them wait for it. Bam! The room exploded and folks were on their feet! Sadly, I didn't win, or even place in the contest, but I gave the crowd a show...which sealed my glittered path to burlesque.

When the Leia costume was fresh from Costumes Etc, before layers of con dirt set in.

In 2012 I was extended the opportunity to open the DragonCon Glamour Geek Revue, the Saturday night burlesque show curated by Talloolah Love. I'd been performing burlesque two years and had landed the sweetest plum by dorky heart could've desired. For a few years I'd attended different incarnations of the DC burlesque show. I'd wistfully wish to eventually be on their stage. I even toyed with the idea of evolving my Leia costume into something glorious. It is said luck is when preparation meets opportunity. So to that luck I added Jimi Hendrix, The Isley Brothers and rhinestones and found myself thrilled to delight a ballroom of over 1,000 fans!

Photo Credit: Annalise Kaylor, 2015

"Foxy Leia", as she is now known, has traveled from New York (Nerdlesque Festival 2014) to Seattle (Bechdel Test Burlesque 2013), and become a Queen (Southern Fried Burlesque Fest 2013). And with Star Wars: The Force Awakens making new fans and and rekindling old flames, she'll be packed and on the road many more times to continue serving Rebel realness.

Want to know more about burlesque in Atlanta and beyond? Take a peek at the Atlanta Burlesque calendar or Facebook page.