Medianoche in a costume with matching mask.
All photos courtesy Medianoche.
Medianoche, Miss Exotic World 2017, is well known for her graceful and sensuous performances, as well as for making her own glamourous and unique costumes.
During the pandemic she added new panache by making the essential fabulous.
Jo: "When did you start making masks?"
Medianoche: I started making cloth masks soon after the pandemic began. With mask shortages and seeing as I had free time and a big stash of fabric, it made sense! I took my time to develop a pattern that was flattering and fit my face correctly... It took a few tries but it was worth it!
"Did you make them to match existing costumes?"
I started off with just regular everyday masks, but eventually made one to match a costume for my first show back -- and have been making them to match all my costumes since! I now have about 8-10 costume masks. I have fabric and rhinestone remnants from most of my costumes that I hold on to for repairs, and most scraps were the perfect size for a matching mask.
"When did you first perform in one?"
Halloween 2020! It was my first show back in the pandemic, and the only one I did prior to getting vaccinated in March 2021. It was a private party for about ten people, but I still requested that everyone be masked while I was in the room.
"Do you think wearing a mask onstage changes your performance? If so, in what ways?"
It does and it doesn't... I find that I have to express myself a lot more using my eyes and body language, but that's something I've always loved exploring. I find as a burlesque performer that the main focus is on my body anyway, so adding a mask doesn't ruin or change any of my other reveals. If anything, it's kind of the ultimate tease!
"While you were making them, did you discover any dos and don'ts for performers who might be making or commissioning a custom mask?"
I've found it best to double mask my show masks over a surgical mask. It adds extra protection, acts as a filter, and enables multiple uses of the decorative mask without having to wash it every time -- crucial if they're heavily rhinestoned or decorated as mine are!
"You are consistent in your promotion of masking for venues and performances. Is there anything you'd like to suggest for performers who are having trouble adapting?"
I've been keeping an eye on positivity rates and will most likely perform unmasked when they're under 2% in NYC, but this pandemic is a journey... When the next wave hits (most likely during or after the holidays) we should all be masked again. It's okay to reevaluate and adapt accordingly, don't be afraid to mask up -- even if you're the only one. And if you're not comfortable being masked onstage, consider masking up backstage and in the audience. It's easy and kind to protect yourself and others!
"How long have you been performing burlesque?"
I did my first burlesque performance in November of 2008. It's been a pretty crazy 13 years!
"Have you always made your own costumes? How did you get started?"
I went to fashion school, though they didn't teach me much that I didn't already know -- I've been sewing since I was a toddler and started making my own historical corsets when I was 15. Burlesque costuming came naturally, and I've been making most of my own costumes from scratch since I started.
"How has the pandemic affected your professional approach? Did you do any online performances or start any online accounts?"
I only did a couple of online shows during the pandemic; performing live on screen was tricky and not really my preferred format. I started an OnlyFans in 2019, and it really took off in 2020 when the pandemic hit. My page is relatively tame, as I mostly used it to film and broadcast my burlesque acts when there were no venues open. I still post on it regularly, and I often joke that it's the only place you can reliably get to see my entire face!
Want to see Medianoche unmasked?
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