Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Interview - Agent Lynch

Like Clark Kent, Kate Lynch leads a double life that sees her as an advertising pro by day, but a rising burlesque star by night. Her 1960s stage act - Agent Lynch - has taken the burlesque circuit by storm, with more to come. She also runs regular Burlesque classes that are sponsored by the US Lingerie Company Secrets in Lace (who make Dita Von Teese’s line of stockings). Agent Lynch is inspiring for any gal who wants to go for her dreams. Check website www.myspace.com/agentlynch, and contact Agent Lynch on missions@agentlynch.com.

What was the inspiration behind your character?

While I appreciate the 40s and 50s, glamour of traditional burlesque shows it’s the 60s continue to inspire me. I love the music and aesthetics of the era so when I became a burlesque performer 3 years ago I drew on this passion and I wanted to create a character that embodied the era. Agent Lynch my burlesque character is a Cold War-esque pouting super spy, every one of my shows is just her in a different disguise. Films such as Barbarella, Blow Up, Danger Diabolik and TV shows like The Avengers are a goldmine of ideas. After dreaming of being a Bond Girl as a child sometimes I can't believe I have actually made a career out of running round in a catsuit pointing a gun!

What gave you the guts to get on stage?

Vodka. No just joking, it was vodka and gin! I'm not from a performing background at all, so it was terrified before my first show. I kept on thinking ‘No one can stop me if I decide to run out the door now!’ I actually studied Law at Bristol and I was an advertising Account Executive when I first started so I had very little experience of being in the spotlight. It's strange while most people ask me 'Isn't it scary taking your clothes off on stage?' that is not the partial nudity that worries me. I guess I have always been fairly comfortable with my body so my fear came not from bashfulness but rather from my desire not to fall flat on my face or get my bra hook caught on my fishnets. However the good news is that the more experienced you are the easier it gets, a bit of fear is good although maybe not so much that your hands are shaking and you can't unfasten anything.

What advice do you have for other women interested in becoming burlesque performers?

When I first started performing burlesque it was popular but there certainly were far fewer burlesque dancers. My advice to anyone starting out is the old adage 'You gotta get a gimmick', you have to make something about yourself stand out from the crowd of dreary corsets and fascinators. Some people did not want to book me at first as I did not fit in with their more vintage burlesque shows, however I feel like taking a slightly different angle has benefited me in the long run. I'm now 'that 60s girl'! Take something you feel passionate about and turn it into a show - be it your favourite film or passion for motorbikes. Dare to break the mould and think big!

How do you balance your two roles as performer and advertising exec?

I worked full time until last year as it takes a long time to build up a reputation as mostly you get booked by people recommending you. It was really hard to balance burlesque and a full time job, as burlesque is incredibly time consuming not just in terms of costume making and rehearsal but also in promotion and arranging shows. I made a choice fairly early on that I wanted to do burlesque as my career so I swapped my demanding job as an Account Exec to be a 9-6pm PA. Now I work 3 days a week advising people (perhaps ironically) how to get into advertising. I can move my days around according to what I have got on which is great as when I travel abroad for shows I don't have to take holiday. It can still be tough to manage especially having to switch to Agent Lynch mode after spending a day in the office. I sometimes feel like Clark Kent. Hopefully I won't have to work two jobs for much longer as I'm becoming more established as a performer but I'm not Dita von Teese yet!

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