It takes a bold woman to don pasties. It takes a very bold woman to don pasties as a septuagenarian.
Photographer Stephanie Diani stumbled upon The Legends of Burlesque, an ensemble of burlesque dancers of an older set, and was immediately entranced. At the Miss Exotic World pageant these brazen ladies, who are in their 50s, 60s and 70s, stripped down to their skivvies and performed for fans and photographers, boasting their bodies and matured, erotic prowess.
Years later, with the images of the same scantily clad bombshells emblazoned in her memory, Diani began tracking down the biggest names in the business through the Burlesque Hall of Fame website. She invited the dancers to pose for portraits donning their favorite Burlesque ensembles or a particularly meaningful garment. Needless to say, Diani had a blast:
“I loved spending time with the women: they were wry and smart and playful. In June 2009, I photographed Hall of Fame legend Big Fannie Annie, by her own account 450 pounds of sizzling sex, in a hotel room in Vegas where she and Satan’s Angel were getting ready to perform during over Hall of Fame weekend. Angel asked Fannie: ‘Do you have any of that cum-in-a-can I can use?’ — a reference to the industrial strength hairspray that is an essential tool of their trade. Another, Toni Elling, took her name from Duke Ellington, whom she used to know.”
Since Diani completed the series some of the dancers have passed away from various health issues. Yet their confidence, strength and dazzling pizazz lives on through Diani’s glittering portraits. You’ll laugh, you’ll clutch your heart and you may even have the urge to disrobe. Behold, eight kick-ass burlesque dancers of a certain age who show us the power of the pasty.