photography by Danny Portieous
interview by Melissa Brazier
Christel (pronounced Christelle) Huybregts is one of Montreal’s premiere sultry sexy burlesque performers. Originally from Calgary, she moved to Montreal in 2005 only to find a community of burlesque entertainers willing to welcome her into the fold. Starting out as a cigarette girl with Diary of a Lost Circus and at Worn’s release parties, six months later she found herself taking on the persona of Lola Lamb (her stage name) and performing at the Fringe Festival. She’s now an independent burlesque entertainer whose performance will leave ladies and gents in awe (and a little turned on).
What drew you to burlesque in the beginning?
I saw an Oops Johnny show in 2005 at Café Cleopatra. I didn’t really know anything about burlesque at the time, but there was a girl performing and she was just incredible. It was a plus size woman who was doing a very sensual performance. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand and it was so impressive. It feels like I kind of just came to Montreal and fell into it, but at the same time I also grew up listening to a lot of old music like Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Duke Ellington, and imitating Marilyn Monroe.
How would you describe the burlesque scene in Montreal?
Really welcoming. I haven’t been doing it very long but the people who I’ve been working with have been amazing at helping out with choreography, song ideas, a second opinion, or anything like that.
Why do you think burlesque has made a recent comeback in fashion?
Well, obviously, burlesque has been pretty underground for awhile, the new burlesque stuff anyways. It’s been kind of punk and I think fashion looks towards the underground to find inspiration. It’s a good style for fashion to cling on to because it can sell, it’s sexy. I also think there is some kind of nostalgia in imitating the past.
How would you describe your burlesque style?
My burlesque style is my own cheesy take on cheesy musicals and sappy ‘square’ music. I’m really inspired by the fourties and fifties style, but don’t limit costume choices to be solely dictated by that. I find I’m also often inspired by Broadway musicals. I am not trained in singing, acting or dancing, so I try to keep it simple. I’d love to do something with country music. Country music isn’t exactly sexy, but it speaks to me and is part of my background. I think in the neo-burlesque world it’s all about finding the things that make you feel something, and conveying that feeling to the audience. The fun part is trying to make it sexy at the same time!
Lola Lamb’s Top 10 Montreal Burlesque Performers…
1 – Mystery woman from the Oops Johnny show.
2 – tied between Seska Lee, Luci Furr and Miss Sugarpuss
5 – Mina Lafleur (she is in Toronto but I’m counting her anyways!)
6 – Bobby Strumphose
7 – Mr. Enorme
8 – Jinx Jezebelle
9 – Colin from Bad Taste Burlesque
10-Nat King Pole