Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stage to Screen

A few weeks ago a received a very exciting phone call from Granada TV asking me to be a featured extra in an episode of Coronation Street!! The scene was to be set in a strip club, but for obvious reasons they couldn't have strippers on Corrie so they chose a pole dancer and a burlesque dancer (me!)

Roxy on set

Filming took place in a venue near Manchester City Centre on a rainy, miserable morning. I arrived there and met Roxy (amazing pole dancer) and began a very, very long day of waiting around! I had taken a selection of things to wear, based on their specifications: not too much cleavage, no bums or "front bums* on show, midriffs are fine as long as there's not too much flesh on show, etc etc. However, we encountered a slight problem when they informed me that my outfit wasn't suitable as I was wearing stockings and a deep suspender belt, and they are prohibited items before the watershed!! Who would have thought?! So the costume department hurriedly found me a replacement item: which was too big...

Being sewn into my costume

They filmed me doing a basic fan dance but because there was to be dialogue during the scene, they played the first ten seconds of the track, cut the music, called 'Action' and I had to mime a fan dance for about four minutes while the scene went on to the right of me! I've never danced to silence before! Haha!

Because I don't watch Coronation Street, I actually had no idea who was who, or what the storyline was: my Grandma had to fill me in when I rang her later that evening! However it was an interesting day, and I'll possibly be on screen for all of about a nano-second on the 17th May!

Sneaky pictures in-between takes

A few days later, 'The Burlesque Show' tour picked back up again, this time at The Forum Theatre in Barrow for a small but appreciative audience.

Poster outside the auditorium

The stage show was as wonderful as ever - hosted again by the divine Lili La Scala - and the backstage shenanigans were just as fun as the performances!

The Afro-Pictures continue...

Mirror Picture! With  Fancy Chance, Coco Malone, Lili La Scala, Jim Devereaux and Elliot Mason

What to hang on a clothes rail when there are no clothes!

The next morning we all rendezvoused at a local cafe for breakfast: tired after drinking and gossiping half the night!

Fancy Chance asleep on Jim Devereaux

Our second show was at the Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford: a lovely little town - or what we saw of it as we staggered towards Starbucks was lovely anyway! - and in contrast to the previous show, we had completely sold-out!

Coco Malone sound-checking in the theatre

The show was hosted by the incredible Laurie Hagen - she is like a Tim Burton character come to life, full of bizarre energy and infectious humour, and the audience adored her!
Everyone really got into the spirit of the night and thoroughly enjoyed the show: It is sometimes difficult in a theatre setting to encourage the audience into participating as fully as they would in a cabaret venue, as there is the perception of the 'invisible fourth wall' which doesn't usually exist in burlesque, and performers such as Laurie and Fancy do their best to shatter!

The Boys changing room :P

The Girls mirror-picture! With Vicky Butterfly, Coco Malone, Laurie Hagen and Fancy Chance

The Afro-Picture

Read about other stops on 'The Burlesque Show' tour: this one? Or maybe this one...

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Blonde Ambition

When I get bored, I play with my hair - this is just what happens in my life: this is one of my favourite books:

However, I haven't changed the colour for quite some time, and I fancied a rather drastic change: Over the years I have had several different colours and styles:

The Light Studios: one of my first shoots, just as I started Burlesque - curly, slightly ginger/brown, longish hair

Anthony Farrimond Photography: same hat, different hair! This is pretty much my natural colour (mid-dark-brown) and a basic, shoulder length style.

Vermin Art: almost black, with a blonde Mallen streak, and clip-in hair extensions - I had this style for about two and a half years but the upkeep of the streak was a pain, and looked awful unless I styled it properly.

Tip Top Photography, for Red's Ribbons: 1920's style curls and short, mid-brown hair (again, pretty much my natural colour)

So yes, I got bored a few weeks ago and decided I wanted bright red hair... this didn't go so well for me:

With all of the previous dye on my hair, the roots went dark red, the middle went an odd purple, and the ends went black... damn...
So I decided to take the obvious course, and try and get to blonde!! I've always loved platinum and ice-blondes, like Gwen Stefani, but never thought it would suit me - I have green/grey eyes and pale skin - and I thought blonde would wash me out. However I tried on a platinum wig at Kitte Klaw's house a few months ago, so with this image in mind, I set out on the long road to blonde!

Stage One:
I used a Garnier Pre-Lightener, which I left on for the recommended time of one hour - I found it relatively easy to use, although it's fiddly getting the powder into the small opening of the mixing tube! I applied it to the darkest lengths of my hair, and left it for half an hour before adding more product to the roots.
I then applied a platinum dye by Schwartzkopf. I knew I would get orange hair at first as I dyed my hair black when in college and used this same method to lift it back to light brown (see the very first picture!)
I left it this colour for about three weeks - partly to give my hair time to recover, and partly because I actually quite liked the colour itself! During this time I used a few deep-conditioning treatments and brushed almond-oil through my hair about once a week before bed.

With Elle Amour and glowing orange hair!

Stage Two:
I have no pictures of this! I repeated the pre-lightening and platinum dye process (using the same two products) and it turned my roots neon-yellow and the lengths bright orange! I looked like I was auditioning for the circus!! I had a little bit of a panic, so rinsed my hair using the John Frieda Blonde range of shampoo and conditioner, and it toned the luminosity down a little!
Again, I also only applied the bleach to the roots of my hair after leaving it on the lengths for around 45 minutes, and didn't put the dye near the roots at all, so my head is fine (I had horror stories fed to me of blistered scalps, and hair falling out from the roots in clumps!)

Stage Three:
Here is where I am indebted to Facebook: I posted a plea on the Blushing Marvellous Beauty Parlour group asking for advice, and was pointed to the Blonde Ambition website, which provides advice and tips for anyone attempting to go blonde from a dark colour.
I decided to follow the (bad) example of the websites author and the next afternoon I repeated the pre-lightening and dye process. However, I decided to use a different pre-lightener: I forget which brand it was, but I chose it as it claimed to have lower levels of ammonia so to be kinder on the hair than most commercial dyes. I have to say this was a huge mistake - it was very awkward to mix and apply, and despite leaving the dye on for around two hours, there was almost no change in the colour of my hair. It was only when using the platinum Schwartzkopf dye that the colour lifted even slightly. Again, I rinsed using the purple shampoo and conditioner from John Frieda.
The colour lifted a little and became a warm gold: it looked like I had yellow-blonde hair with an orange rinse through it.
Warm gold with orange tones

Stage Four:
Again, thank heaven for the powers of Facebook and Twitter - I tweeted a plea for advice and was told to use Directions toners. A quick internet search revealed that, on bleached hair, the White Toner from this range could turn hair snow white! I headed into town and bought two pots to be on the safe side. I found it easy enough to apply and use, but I'm glad I bought two pots, because again, despite leaving the product on for a lot longer than suggested, I hardly noticed any change in my hair colour. It was only after using the second pot, leaving it on for around two hours (recommended time is one hour, maximum, as there is a risk of the product tinting the hair lilac!) and rinsing with the John Frieda products that the colour lifted to somewhere near what I've been looking for!
Fortunately, the Directions toners are not dyes, and work as deep conditioning treatments too, so I didn't fry my hair!!
Parts of my hair went white-blonde, but others still had a stubborn orange tint - although a few people said they actually liked it, as there was more depth than having an all-over colour!!

Hair of many colours!

Stage Five:
After a week of rest and recuperation (for a couple of days I brushed almond oil through my hair, slept with my head in a headscarf then rinsed out in the morning with an intensive conditioner) I headed back into town - once again I bought the Garnier Pre-Lightener, the Schwartzkopf Platinum dye, and two pots of Directions toner.
The pre-lightener, however, had the exact opposite effect to that desired, by returning my hair to a hideous streaky orange shade! Damnation!! So I applied a pot of the Directions toner and sat with my hair in cling-film for two hours, occasionally blasting my head with hot air from the hair-dryer. The result was an all-over lightening effect: still a little peach in places and with a slight lilac tinge, but definitely much, much closer to my ideal shade! 
Next I applied the Schwartzkopf Platinum dye: again only to the lengths and ends of my hair. I left it in for around an hour again, to try and bring the colour of the peachy sections close to the colour of the brightest sections. When I rinsed out the hair still didn't look as bright as I wanted it to, but obviously wet hair is darker than dry - the roots were lovely, however! So I repeated the toner process a second time and *finally* achieved....

Blonde!! Actual blonde!! :D

The End!!
I think, anyway... there are one or two streaks of orange left in my hair, but I think this is an ongoing process of using toner once a week or once every couple of weeks to get rid of the brassiness.

What do you think? Have you had any hair disasters? What are your best tips for going/maintaining blonde?

I also blog about Glossybox and Vintage Shopping trips!