The Afflicted: Bambi Galore, née Marie Hamby, a 25-year-old Capitol Hill–based burlesque dancer who strips and teases with Gilded Lily Burlesque and the DC Gurly Show.
Diagnosis: Bodily anxiety. Shimmying down to her standard uniform of pasties and a merkin—“basically, a vagina wig,” Galore says—can make any performer question her goods. Galore knows she’s not the stereotypical American beauty. “That’s a girl who’s a size zero, with little to no tits, who is straight, and who dresses girly,” she says. “I’m a size 14. I have D-going-on-DD breasts. I’m not what society typically thinks is pretty.”
Symptoms: Baring too-thin skin can lead to stage fright. Galore first performed at a drag-king show in 2005, and by the following summer she’d worked up the nerve to take the stage again. “It took me six to eight months to even be OK with being up there,” she says. When Galore finally decided to unzip, strippin’ wasn’t easy. At one Baltimore show, “I went upstage, and I heard someone say, ‘What’s the fat girl doing up there?’” says Galore. “There were times when I would say, I am fat. I can’t fit into that costume. Why am I even doing this number?”
Treatment: Flirt with art therapy. “Burlesque, as an art form, is very progressive as to understanding different body shapes,” says Galore. “Just looking at me, most people wouldn’t say I’m a 10. But I’ve had people come up to me, saying, ‘Oh my god, you are inspiring,’ because I own my shape, and I own my body.” Now she’s using that body to comment on her past issues, choreographing a diet-rejection routine set to Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.”
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