san diego’s fave flamingo showgirl is on a journey to find the answer

Part II of a III Part Series

Welcome back dance lover! So as I continue to showcase these talented Flaunt students, I want to point out that I was lucky enough to meet this particular burlesque dancer in class before I saw her perform.

As a friendly reminder, burlesque is a sacred space and those that enter are lucky enough to find it (or does it find you?) So I decided to go to a show one evening at The Rail in the Hillcrest district (San Diego’s notable gayborhood) and witnessed Pinkie perform her mime act and I was blown away. When I went to the Flaunt Dance Studio Student Showcase, I braced myself for another off-the-cuff performance by PV but this time I couldn’t take my eyes off of a sparkly, pink flamingo showgirl.

your author at the show, waiting for Pinkie to take the stage

This led me to wonder… who is Pinkie Valentine? We’ll get there in just a bit.

Photo Credit: Jen Acosta

“I started at Flaunt Dance Studio in February of 2019 and then I kind of took a break when the world went to *shit* or turned upside down because of the pandemic. I saw that Coco was offering free classes and I thought sweet! I kept on it, I had nothing else going on and wanted to lose weight, not feel so depressed, and have something to do.”

“Growing up I danced all my life from 4th grade to senior year of high school and studied opera for a few years and wanted to get back into dance. I was talking to my mom about it and was like ‘mom I can’t find a studio I really like’ and so my *mom* was looking for a dance studio for me- she stumbled upon Flaunt and saw there were pictures of women of all shapes and sizes and ages and she was like, ‘you should go there!’ so my mom was the one.”

Photo Credit: Jen Acosta

“I’ve been working with Lola (her dance mentor) at the dance studio and trying to connect as much as possible, and also signing up for the soloist workshop I felt I was able to create this act that I really love.” – Pinkie Valentine on growing in burlesque

Adding Value to the Burlesque Table

“I bring my comedy- the campiness, my musical theater, and acting. I’m not just a dancer: I sing, I dance, I act, I’m able to bring all of that into it. People tell me I have this presence on stage and that I’m able to connect with the audience so I feel like I bring that: presence, my facials, storytelling, and unique ideas I guess.”

Fun Fact: Pinkie feels this is a field where she is seen and heard! She came up with this mime idea and her mentor, Lola Demure, was thrilled: “It’s nice to be seen, uplifted, and celebrated; not constantly having this competition.”

Pinkie on Hustle Culture

“Having a partner that supports you is *crucial*- he’s mixed all of my music. Again, Lola (pictured below, center) has played an important role in regards to: ‘because I had to go through the shit (Demure, 2022) and learn all of this on my own, I’m giving this knowledge to you girls so then you don’t have to do that.’ Without her I didn’t know how to rhinestone. I took one sewing class in college. You have to enjoy it; if you’re just doing it to be on stage and be seen- no. You have to be passionate about your acts and finding time to do it. As soon as you start forcing yourself, it’s not fun anymore.”

Hustle Culture in Motion

So the answer we’ve all been waiting for, who *is* Pinkie Valentine…

Photo Credit: Jen Acosta

(takes a minute to think and takes a big breath) “I’m still figuring it out.”

Pinkie on What She Wants

“I would like to be more well known; and I would like to work with the bigger names, to perform with Dita Von Teese or Dirty Martini. I would like for them to see my potential. It’s not even about making money… I mean sweet, money’s involved but getting exposure, getting to be on stage and perform on stage and to have fun.”

Burlesque as Art Therapy

“The personal validation that, okay, you don’t have to be super flexible, you don’t have to have your turns and things like that to be a good performer; that you do have skills, that you should trust yourself, that you can choreograph.”
“The validation that, yeah, you can do it, that you are sexy, you can have your body out and people will appreciate you. The validation that I am talented, I do know what I’m doing, there’s no reason to feel like I can’t. It allows me on stage that cheekiness and flirty side of me is able to come out and I’m able to ham it up and release what I want to do- because society is all like ‘oh, you shouldn’t do that’ ”

Help Finding her Burlesque Footing

Pinkie Stage Right Performing Music Box Burlesque Revue Number. Photo Credit: Terri Rippee

“Lola Demure. She’s been hands on [saying] ‘this is what you need to do.’ She’s been able to teach me how to do things in a more fiscal way. She’s caring; and the business side of it. It’s Lola.”

Lola Demure The Prima Ballerina of Burlesque (Pinkie’s Mentor). Photo Credit: Jill Mercy

San Diego Burlesque Community

“They’re helpful, they don’t tear each other down, and any beef they do have is *not* made public. They’ve been really helpful and encouraging. These big names are just like everyone else; they’re not fat headed, they’re kind of nerds and quirky…they’re nice. They just want to have fun and connect with people. The girls from the studio, we take care of each other; we are always going to each other’s shows supporting each other when we can.”

Heads up if you’re interested in performing burlesque, Valentine advises “under compensating newer performers” can happen if you’re not aware. Luckily she had her mentor advising her to avoid this issue.

Pinkie performing her mime act at The Rail San Diego

“I hope that I never have to experience a performer doing cultural appropriation; I don’t see us doing that in San Diego. I feel we are at a point in time that wouldn’t happen.”

Pinkie’s Contribution to this fields growth

“Another performer that’s able to get more people in, I guess. I’m a singer. I thought burlesque was only for dancers so the fact that you can sing and strip at the same time- contributing to a new act or form like hey, if you don’t make it in opera you can sing opera and strip, so…”

Photo Credit: Jen Acosta

Where is Pinkie Valentine Headed?

“Bigger venues, bigger shows. Music Box is performed at Muse in Santa Ana and we were the *first* Flaunt students to ever perform there. In July, I’m performing in the Drop Dead Dames Soláre as their ingenue performer. “

Fun Fact: Burlesque is reclaiming itself as a contemporary feminist movement. When I asked Pinkie how she felt about making that happen for San Diego, California: “It feels good to be continuing this! Making sure it doesn’t die out. It’s not just for small little clubs that are secret; there are huge shows. That would be awesome to have that here in California, taking up big venues. It’s okay in your daily life to be modest but also have another part of you that you are able to release those things, that you are able to have both lives. That you don’t have to be seen as a whore. I’m *choosing* to do this, no one is forcing me to do this. Because I’m choosing to do this we can empower ourselves. We are taking control of it. I can have a job and I can have a life outside of it.”

If Pinkie could be a flavor of ice cream…

Unicorn Swirl, for one it’s pink. It’s really yummy, fun, and silly and I feel I can be yummy, fun, and silly sometimes”

Before we go…

Pinkie’s Mission + Vision Statement

“To bring acts that entertain and shock in a good way; I want people after they see me to be like ‘I’m gonna remember that one.’ You can be any shape you want and still do the splits: I can turn, I can dance. To inspire people, to bring happiness to people, to brighten their day, to remember me and make people happy. I want to entertain people and have fun.”

Pinkie also noted that although she’s a burlesque dancer, she also loves sports and video games. She wants her audience to remember it’s okay to like other things, but advises if we want to make it even better, put it all together and make something really fun out of it! She relies on her outside hobbies to stay well-rounded and keep her creativity flowing.



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