Chicago is home to a flourishing burlesque community. Many of the performers take their act on the road, spreading their midwest flair across the country. Mia D. Vine is one such traveler who has brought sassy fun to the stage. Born and raised in the suburbs, she calls the city her home when she isn’t on the road. Vaudezilla Productions is her team, produced by the excellencies Red Hot Annie and Keith Emroll. She owes her charms to an audition back in sixth grade for a school play. She wanted more than anything to hit the stage, and show what she was made of. She went on to pursue her love of comedy through burlesque by auditioning for “The Big Lebowski Burlesque Show.” Since then, she has maintained her integrity by always being exactly herself, albeit through different characters.
Mia D. Vine has performed at such events as the New Year’s Eve Bash 2014 at the Untitled Chicago for Metropolis Ball, produced by Angela Eve. This event lead Mia D. Vine to meet Roxie Le Rouge, who then booked Mia to perform in New Orleans. “A lot of “firsts” came from that single booking. And I’m still very thankful that Angela Eve believed in me and booked me to perform.” The New Orleans trip included working with photographer, Jian Bastille. He took Mia out for beignets and famous NOLA sno cones. He appreciated the mini tour, and Jian providing her portfolio with unique additions.
The first runway Mia D. Vine walked was the Fall 2013 collection for Sugarcoma Clothing at Double Door in Chicago. Mia was honored to work with Sarah Fitzgerald, the beauty with brains behind the Sugarcoma streetwear clothing brand. Since the fashion show, Sarah has since become a dear friend, and great source of inspiration. In addition to pet designers, Mia works quite often with photographer Chris Nightengale. “He’s awesome, efficient and now a real good friend of mine.” Mia and Chris solidified their artistic bond at their first photo shoot- “The first photo shoot we did was literally an hour after I left the restaurant industry for good after working in it for 8 years. I cried, put on a lot of makeup, cried some more, had a cider he offered me.. and then made some art!”
A famous quote that Mia lives by illustrates her humility and appreciation for those who have supported her, and continue to support her work today. Though a performer may dance alone on stage, it took an entire village of people to put her up there in the first place- “If you are dumb, surround yourself with those who are smarter thank you. If you are smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you” Mia gives back to the community by returning kindness to those who helped give her a start. She currently lives with four other artists, who act as her family unit. Two are fellow burlesque dancers in Vaudezilla Productions. The third member is Mia’s director and close friend. The fourth is a photographer, whom Mia has the pleasure of frequently working with. Mia is forever grateful to have such wonderful artists at her side. “Where would I be without my support team? This is something I never forget.”
Performing as multiple characters requires dedication and inspiration. Mia finds her mojo by working “like a rockstar.” Her biggest source of inspiration for playing like a rockstar comes from Rob Zombie. “He was the first professional performer I had ever seen live. I was 16 years old at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. It changed my life.” To this day she emulates the greats in rock, and performs as if Rob Zombie or Ozzy Osbourne are in the audience. Drawing on these legends for the confidence to rock out loud as her spunky self, Mia D. Vine is able to feed her soul with music and keep moving forward.
Working as an artist or performer in any city can be difficult. Paychecks are not regular, and anyone in the creative community knows that you have to think outside the box sometimes to ensure the bills are paid. Mia D. Vine is currently working to become a makeup artist by taking classes at the Makeup First School in Chicago. She hopes that branching out will help support her artistic pursuits, and keep the dance going. She hopes someday to travel to Europe, and possibly even perform there. She wants nothing more than to continue performing at shows, and attending live shows of new and upcoming artists.
Other performances that Mia D. Vine has graced include performing for Harley Davidson, deathpunk crowds of Turbojugend, and Debonair in Wicker Park. She has had the pleasure of private requests to perform as Marilyn Monroe, and is regularly found at Stage 773 with Vaudezilla Productions on Friday and Saturday evenings. You can also pick up a copy of Show Class Magazine, and see the lovely spread of Mia on a motorcycle, shot by Josh Kurpius.
Mia D. Vine, and other spirited performers like her, remind us to savor life. Be sure you enjoy what you are doing, and to give back to those who believe in your craft. Stop by, and see the show. It will most certainly be D. Vine.
Follow her on Facebook: D Vine on Facebook
Check out her official website: D Vine .com
Reblog her on Tumblr: D Vine on Tumblr
Follow her on Instagram: miadvine