A FORMER cruise ship entertainer has cast off her old image to become a burlesque performer – and has scooped a top award.
Scarlett Belle, from Fairmilehead, beat hundreds of other performers to the best British newcomer award at the World Burlesque Games 2013 in London, the biggest burlesque festival in the world.
The 26-year old, formerly Emma Williamson, decided to take up her new profession after becoming bored with entertaining holidaymakers on board a Caribbean cruise ship.
With hundreds of people applying every year, just eight dancers are selected for each competition category to battle it out in front of a panel of judges.
Scarlett was the only Scottish performer to be accepted into the newcomer category.
She said: “I am so delighted to have been crowned best British newcomer this year, particularly since I have only been performing for 18 months. There were so many amazing dancers taking part in the games, the competition was pretty tough.”
Scarlett’s winning routine was inspired by the classic Burlesque legends and showgirls of the 1950s such as Tempest Storm, Gypsy Rose Lee and Dixie Evans.
She designed and made all her own costumes by hand from a small studio in her flat in north London.
She added: “Since the games I’ve been approached to perform in clubs around the UK and in continental Europe. I’m really excited to see where winning this award will lead me. Working in burlesque has already provided me with so many wonderful opportunities to meet inspiring and creative people.
“One of the best parts of my job is teaching other women from all walks of life and encouraging them to feel confident in their own skin.”
Scarlett regularly performs with London company Blues and Burlesque, whose show will be returning to the Edinburgh Fringe next year after touring the Perth and Adelaide Fringe Festivals in Australia in 2014.