Original article by Stayinart.com, view here:
You were born in Switerzland, went to school there and are now living in Basel. Where did this passion for being a pinup model come from?
I was brought up as a daughter of the 50s. My mother traded antiques and my father restored vintage cars, and they’d experienced such a passion before in their lives. I was brought up admiring Elvis Betticoat and Saddle Shoes. There never really was another path for me!
Acting, dancing, making music: a lot of girls dream about those careers. Zoe, how hard is this business and to what extent do training and talent play a role?
It’s not hard for me, I turned my passion into my job and earn my money that way. But not everything that glitters is gold: it took me plenty of ambition and time to achieve it. You can’t be a stranger to hard work, because 14-hour-long days are part and parcel of the job. In 2018, my company will be celebrating its 12th anniversary: in all those years I’ve been working as a professional pinup model, showgirl, and event manager.
Is it pure passion, is there an artistic approach to what you do, or is your first concern economic success and fame?
I only follow my heart and listen to my gut instinct. In the meantime, I’m privileged enough that I can choose the jobs I want to take on. Zoe Scarlett has become a brand, and genuine events spanning the 20s to the 50s come to me for their entertainment.
Were you actually baptised as ‘Zoe Scarlett’ – it sounds like a nom de plume, and if so, why did you choose it?
My real name is Zoe Scarlett. That’s what the baptism certificate and my passport say.
Art is the name of the game: what’s the difference between a classic pinup girl and ZOE SCARLETT, the pinup model?
Traditional pinup models are drawn. You get me in drawings and in real life, too.
Do you carry out your professional role as a pinup model differently here in Europe compared to your competitors in the USA – what kind of feeling is it to be under the spotlight in ‘that kind of look’?
I don’t play a role, I live and love this lifestyle. I live this way, dress this way, listen to this music. For me such a life is normalcy. It may seem odd to some people, but to me it’s just everyday life.
You’re a successful entrepreneur, because on top of your main profession as a pinup model you also perform as a burlesque dancer on stage. How did that happen?
I started as a pinup model and now, 12 years later, it’s changed a bit. My main profession, actually, is event management and being a Burlesque artist. I create and host between 0 and 100 events with themes set between the 20s and 50s for big companies. And I also perform as a burlesque dancer and singer on stage.
Where do you get your inspiration for your burlesque acts?
When it comes to burlesque, I can fully express my artistic vein. And music, materials, design, and styles mix, so I can entertain my audience in the best possible way even on my own. Old films and books play an important role in all this, of course.
There were already celebrated burlesque artists in the 19th century, such as Lydia Thompson. Do you have a specific role model?
There are plenty of icons who fascinate me, such as Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield, and I could go on until the cows come home. Yet most of these women have a dramatic life behind them, and I don’t envy their previous lives one bit.
Often we find another ideal of what beauty should be compared to the pervasive common ideal. Artist, therefore, look at themselves with a certain degree of irony. How much irony can we speak of when looking at your role?
What’s the traditional beauty ideal, anyway? Burlesque celebrates femininity in all its shapes and sizes. Duckfaces and anorexia don’t belong here. My burlesque numbers are very traditional, demanding, and incredibly glamorous. I love to slip into different costumes and enchant the audience.
How long do you prepare for a burlesque show and what happens before the curtains open… after the music, adverts, and applause have taken up all of the stage?
Basically, it takes up to a year until a new number is ready for the stage. For example, I worked on a performance of mine for the Swiss burlesque festival for 2 years until I could implement everything I wanted. I’m still a bit nervous before every performance, but the nerves are just part of the deal. I believe the moment you’re not jittery anymore, then that’s when you shouldn’t go on stage anymore.
Is there a direct interaction with the audience?
There often are interactive moments in my events. The audience plays a big role and it’s fun to integrate them into the act. Be it with a moderator, a Q&A session, a bit of humour, or by selecting someone from the audience to be my assistant. The audience is pleased when I do something along those lines, because there’s always something new to be experienced.
Wow does Zoe SCARLETT reconcile her private life with her performance? Does each personality have its identity?
I’m not an actress. I’m Zoe Scarlett: this is 100% me. Everything else would be too exhausting to keep up with over the course of the years.
You’re a public person – is there space for a quiet, balanced private life?
Of course there is! I live in the countryside and I like that. I have a dog which accompanies me nearly everywhere I go, and she demands, of course, that I plan my day based on her life. I go into town for work, TV appearances, and shows, but I head back to the countryside after that.
Were you ever interested in an acting career? Have you already been approached or have you got in touch with Hollywood?
I visited a couple of years ago. I attended a course at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles and took part in a workshop which lasted several weeks. I was more interested in acting as a form of art than working in Hollywood. I’m just an incredibly curious person.
You have to be incredibly fit for your job and shows, and always look super, so you probably spend hours on end in SPAs? Tell us all about it, Zoe!
You need to put in 4 hours a day 7 days a week…. No, get off it! Mother Nature was good to me, I barely wear any makeup when not performing – only the eyeliner – and my skin is very smooth and even. I don’t do much sport. That’s just part of the job, when you have an irregular working plan and hours. And, as far as I remember, the first and only time I went to a SPA was two years ago. Sure, I should arrange more time for that, but then I’d miss out on work.
What can your partners and fans expect in the following years? Where will Zoe Scarlett take them to?
Had someone asked me that question 12 years ago, I would never have thought someone would see me on TV one day, or that I could turn my passion into my job. I’ll keep on working as an event manager, maybe someday even in Las Vegas… who knows? I’ll continue listening to my gut instinct and see where it takes me.