Singapore's first burlesque dancer is turning heads in Hollywood

Reena Devi
Lifestyle Reporter
(PHOTO: Sukki Singapora)

Singapore’s first burlesque performer, Sukki Singapora, has been making a splash in Hollywood this year, thanks to the support of Grammy Award-winning music producer David Foster.

The 27-year-old Singapore-born artist has performed at The Peppermint Club in Hollywood, attended Elton John’s Oscar Viewing Party, and guest performed at the The Globe theatre on Broadway, since moving to Los Angeles from Singapore in February this year.

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore on Monday (4 December), Singapora said that Foster has been her champion in Hollywood since they met late last year through their shared publicist.

“The minute he saw my performances, he really got behind me and championed me. He truly believes in my performances. (He) came to my show at The Peppermint Club, continues to support me creatively, and really help me bounce off ideas,” she said.

Foster, who is currently a judge on “Asia’s Got Talent”, has worked with some of the world’s top musical talents, including Michael Bublé, Josh Groban and Celine Dion. He also crafted the soundtracks to hit films such as “The Bodyguard” and “St Elmo’s Fire”.

Singapora, whose real name is Sukki Menon, said she is “eternally grateful” and “thoroughly indebted” to the Verve Music Group chairman. With Foster’s support, she managed to break through in one of the “hardest places to crack”, where so many have tried – and failed – to make it.

“Since February, to already have Hollywood shows under my belt at the Peppermint Club, walked the red carpet, it’s absolutely phenomenal and is a testament to his generosity that when he sees talent, he wants to support it,” said Singapora.

History of ‘firsts’

Singapora, who is Singaporean Indian with a British mother, started performing in UK but got her big break in Singapore in 2015. Burlesque – a theatrical performance with aspects of cabaret, striptease, satire and music – was legalised in Singapore early in 2015, something Singapora is credited with.

That year she headlined the two-day Formula One after-party Boudoir Noire during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. She is also the first burlesque performer in the world to have been invited to Buckingham Palace for tea.

Cosmetics inspired by her roots

Singapora was here to launch her lipstick line after attending the 28th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) Benefit Dinner at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre on 25 November. She teamed up with global cosmetics brand LASplash Cosmetics to launch a range of lip products cheekily inspired by her roots and personal taste.  

The six-colour lipstick collection – comprising three mattes and three glosses – range from pretty pinks to a glamorous gold and statement reds with names such as Sukki, Chio Chic, Desi Queen, Burlesque Babe, Girl Power and Cupcake Dream.

Singapora made trips down to the factory in Los Angeles to contribute her input for the lipsticks’ designs, from the cake scents to the percentage of glitter used and the packaging. Every lipstick is “an extension of me and a labour of love”, she said.

“I want (people) to put this on and step out of the door and slay life like a boss, that’s the message I want to bring to this,” she added. As an artist who takes pride in her feminist beliefs, Singapora said she sees herself performing well into her older years.

“Why should we as women feel we have a sell-by date? As long as we have and exude confidence, I feel like age is just a number and we shouldn’t let people tell us when we ought to stop feeling fabulous.”

“I will still be going at 102 if I’m doing something right,” she said.

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