5 Questions with 70-Year-Old Burlesque Legend, Camille 2000

With their extravagant costumes, intimate stage prowess and names like Gina Bon Bon, Lovey Goldmine and Holiday O’Hara, it’s easy to understand how some of the world’s foremost legends of burlesque not only held audience gazes for decades but, in some cases, still do.

Burlesque queen Camille 2000 is just one of the many women featured in the CBC Documentary Channel’s world broadcast premiere League of Exotique Dancers, filmed at the Las Vegas-based Burlesque Hall of Fame and featuring former and current performers, all aged 60-plus, many of whom entered the profession in search of glamour and adventure amid the limited career options available to women in the 1960s.

The Alabama-born Camille 2000 began her burlesque career following a stint in a travelling carnival and, dubbed “The Girl for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” she rose to headliner status, developing her own brand of aggressive, leather-bound striptease. She parlayed her burlesque career into other performance avenues, including modelling and acting opportunities in TV shows like Miami Vice and the Burt Reynolds detective vehicle B.L. Stryker. Now 70, Camille 2000 still performs while also helping to mentor the next generation of performers. She recently sat down for five questions with Zoomer.

What compels you to continue to perform burlesque? 

CAMILLE 2000: The feels it give me. The Burlesque Hall of Fame had been asking me to perform for years but I always declined. I wanted to be remembered how I was. But when I saw a 90-year-old fan dancer on stage I realized it didn’t matter what I looked like or how old I was. At my debut at the Burlesque Hall of Fame in 2011, I felt like a phoenix rising. The burlesque revival has brought me back to life. I love it and thank you all who love burlesque.

How does it feel to perform now compared to decades ago? 

CAMILLE 2000: Performing is more fun now.  It used to be work. But you enjoy the audience appreciation. Everybody loves to be loved and these Burlesque Festivals are a big love fest.

What kind of audience feedback do you generally receive when you perform now? 

CAMILLE 2000: When I did my debut at the Burlesque Hall of Fame, I dedicated the number to my late life partner. I did a fan dance to R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” It was a very moving performance and girls came up after with tears in their eyes, saying “I understand what you were saying in that dance.” When I do the “Tribute to Marquis De Sade,” or “Love Is a Battlefield” (where I use lighted nunchucks) the audience members will come up and tell me what a bad ass I am. I am a bad ass by the way.

What do you value most about your career in burlesque, or what it has enabled you to do? 

CAMILLE 2000: I was really proud when I became a member of Screen Actors Guild in the 80’s. I always thought working with Burt Reynolds was the highlight of my career. And it was until I did this movie—League of Exotique Dancers. I am so thrilled to be a part of this film.

What hobbies do you enjoy outside of burlesque? 

CAMILLE 2000: I love to play with my Rottweiler, Lola Rocknrolla. I love going to the gym, doing Zumba classes and kickboxing. I also like to hang with my special friends and party. I still love to party with good people.

League of Exotique Dancers debuts Feb. 19 on CBC Documentary Channel at 9pm EST/10pm PST during their free viewing month. Click here for more information.