Take the term MILF and ratchet it up a dozen degrees and what do you get? Hot Mama Burlesque, the one place where a crowd gathers to appreciate the hawtness that is a bunch of women in the many stages of motherhood.
A four-year-old tradition in New York City, Hot Mama Burlesque (set for this Saturday, May 21, in NYC) is welcoming their first pregnant mama this year to prove babymakers are beautiful ... and SEEEEEEXY. OK, I'll be honest. I'm terrified of taking my clothes off after pregnancy left my body ravaged by stretchmarks and cellulite (forget what they say about the elasticity of youthful skin -- motherhood in my 20s left me with a tummy of sag).
But I'm fascinated by the moms who have embraced bawdy AND their bodies. So on behalf of curious and self-conscious moms everywhere, I caught up with the show's creator, Raven Snook, mom of an almost 6-year-old daughter, to find out what qualifies a mom to be a Hot Mama.
Give me a look at the moms you’ve had over the years? What stages of motherhood were they in?
We're featuring a pregnant performer, Lolita Von Cake, for the first time this year! Although in the past, a performer named Fritzi Collins (who's sadly not able to do the show this year) was lactating, and did that as part of her number. Everyone in the audience refused to drink her breast milk. It was hilarious.
Incredible Edible Akynos, who looks pregnant in the photo [above], was just faking it. She has two children who are both teens. Another returning performer, Kat Mon Dieu, has three kids, the youngest of whom is 11, the oldest is an adult. And Viva Caliente's [pictured at left] son is in his 20s (and is as hot as his mom!). The other performers (including me) have kids on the younger side, elementary- or preschool-age.
What sets Hot Mama apart from any old burlesque show?
We're moms! And most of the performers do mom-themed numbers. Sometimes they're explicit, like Fritzi's aforementioned lactating number. Others are about housework. Ginger Baker does a sexy striptease while sweeping. Little Brooklyn gets off on washing the dishes with glitter.
Every year more moms contact me asking to join the lineup. While I'll consider mom performers who are newish to the burlesque scene, all of the ladies in Hot Mama are already working in burlesque. In other words, this won't be their first time doing burlesque. While I realize every burlesque performer needs to start somewhere, I really want Hot Mama to be professional. And everyone must actually do some striptease. They can also sing and talk (that's what I do), but I want beautiful nudity in the show. I think it's important. There are a lot of mom variety shows, but not burlesque shows. We're sexy and we want the world to know that!
What’s the typical audience like?
We get a lot of moms. More than any other burlesque show I suspect. My daughter's school's PTA had the loudest table last year. They love rooting on their peers! It's a great moms' night out event. We also get a lot of the burlesque scene regulars too, many of whom are middle-aged and older men. They're very appreciative!
Burlesque is an established art form, but it has its detractors. Particularly as a mother to a daughter, how do you quash the critics?
Honestly, you either dig it or you don't. It's not for everyone. Although my husband is very supportive, he's not a huge fan of the art form. I think he doesn't see the art in it. There are some people who think it's just stripping, but when done right (and we do it right!), it's not.
Yes there's nudity and the act of taking off clothes, but it's done with humor, or an attitude, or with a message, or all of the above. Don't get me wrong: Hot Mama is a fun night out. That's our primary reason for doing it! To entertain. But I do think we have a message of self-empowerment too. And all moms in the audience and on stage respond to that.
As a mom, we all know giving birth doesn’t negate our hawtness, but it’s hard to feel that way -- what does doing burlesque make you moms FEEL? What’s the best part -- is it physical, emotional?
I get a physical and emotional rush performing, especially this show. It's so thrilling to hear the audience cheering me and the other performers on. I feel it throughout my body. Also, I personally do a number that involves physical contact with the audience. I will say no more! I don't want to give it away. But no, it's not sex or anything. It's harmless groping, but people seem to enjoy it. I'm so corseted in, I barely feel anything.
So moms, are you empowered? Would you have the guts to do this? Pregnant or postpartum?
Images via Ted D'Ottavio; Tiffany Smith