1% Better S3,

Jillian Schmitz – the Art of Burlesque, Worst Best Mistakes, & Overcoming Destination Disease! EP136

November 14, 2019
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Jillian Schmitz is the one-woman dancing, producing, choreographing phenomenon turning burlesque in Hollywood (and beyond) on its head. She has created the all-male burlesque monthly “Man Show” at LA’s Harvard & Stone.

I was delighted Jillian recorded with me to help me understand the world of burlesque better, dive into her career journey, highs, lows, and everything in between.

Summary of the episode below:

  • Creating an All-Male Burlesque
  • Responding to the #MeToo movement
  • Capturing female desire with the male burlesque show
  • Artistic value
  • Attention to detail
  • Explaining the origins of Burlesque
  • Having humour, a transformation and a reveal in the Burlesque shows
  • All Male Dance Show – in response to the women’s movement
  • The recently you’ve started to have a new focus ‘Men’s Edition’?
  • An All-Male burlesque review shimmies off the genre’s gender Norms
  • Auditioning for the Pussy Cat Dolls and finding a big break after getting cut from this
  • This led to an opportunity to start in a burlesque show – Lady’s in Lace!
  • Developing herself as an artist during the following few years freestyling a burlesque piece and finding her niche
  • Keeping a consistent Burlesque performance during these years
  • Moving to LA at 18 without knowing anyone in the industry
  • Seeing the Industry as a ‘6-month industry’ with every 6 months, a new crop comes in and willing to do more for less!
  • Getting a little bit of your art in, you win
  • Having the backbone of burlesque to keep her going
  • The industry breaking your heart a million times over!
  • Quitting every day in the industry but keeping going
  • Creativity and throwing herself into the work to keep going
  • The fear of being unable to work as a dancer if an injury ever happened
  • A life changing experience after tearing her ACL in 2016
  • Making a deal with God to get through a contract before having surgery and taking a 6-month break from work
  • Taking a full 2 years to be fully back at pre-surgery strength
  • Seeing this injury as a time to reflect and accept many of the challenges Jillian faced in her life – depression, eating disorders, and more
  • Approaches Jillian used to unpack by reaching out for help!
  • Daily practices to keep herself in a positive place
  • Dealing with Anger, Fear, and Anxiety with Dancing and being Active
  • Creating a Recovery Painting Book during this time off called ‘colour your recovery’
  • Influencers that give Jillian strengths
  • Coping mechanisms for anxiety and fear – trying to make it fun!
  • You can’t lose anything you don’t already have!!
  • Lying to herself about jobs that she didn’t get!
  • Goal setting and meeting them!
  • Management expectations and setting them too high!
  • Taking your art and putting it on something else
  • Advice to pass on – Get the money up front! & Follow your Bliss
  • Book Recommendations:
    • Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Choose Yourself – James Altucher
  • Dancing and appearing on Ted 2 and Tropic Thunder

To find out more about Jillian and her work & upcoming shows, you can go to:


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