That’s What She Said

I am so excited to be a guest on this week’s Sluts&Scholars podcast! It has been a dream of mine to be on this show, and I’m so pleased with the results. Take a listen to learn a bit more about me and about my class, *P* Confidence (Class begins Oct 25). Click on the photo to hear the full conversation.

Banned on YouTube

After all of these years, I am continuing to cause trouble. This is a recent communication from YouTube (I bolded all the important/upsetting bits):

We’d like to inform you that due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines your YouTube account Michelle L’amour has been suspended.

Graphic sexual contact that is meant to be sexually gratifying is not allowed on YouTube. We review educational, documentary, artistic, and scientific content on a case-by-case basis. Limited exceptions are made for content with sufficient and appropriate context and where the purpose of posting is clear.

Please be aware that you are prohibited from accessing, possessing or creating any other YouTube accounts.

Now, I can assure you that nothing I posted on YouTube was GRAPHIC. Yes, I posted some performance videos. I posted some family friendly Patreon promo videos (all things that would fall in line with a Victoria’s Secret commercial) and I even posted some interviews I had done and also, my Big Reveal, where I came out about alopecia.

A few weeks ago, I was notified that a video I put up with me posing with snakes was taken off my account and I was given my first warning. Nothing else came from YouTube until this banning email above. I am going to assume that the video that threw this into high gear, was my ‘Pleasure is Power‘ video, a tribute to Andy Warhol’s ‘Blow Job‘.

In this video, all you see is my face. There is no music. There is no sound. It is completely silent. I experience pleasure in this video, but all of that is off camera. It. Is. Just. My. Face. Well, as it turns out, a woman with sexual agency and pleasure is a thing to be feared. While my video is down and my whole channel is removed AND I can’t even access YouTube on my phone, the original video by Warhol with a man being pleasured continues to stay on this platform with millions of views. There is an imbalance here.

Back in the day, at the height of burlesque, girls were getting arrested and thrown in jail for their ‘lewd’ behavior and scandalous headlines were splashed across newspapers all over the US. Many of these women, and club owners, orchestrated this scene to get more press for their club and in turn, getting more asses in the seats to see the asses on stage. Nowadays, while we aren’t being dramatically thrown in jail, we are being silenced. Our voices are being taken away, but it’s all happening in secret. Women who deal in the sexy arts are being left in the shadows, with a huge effect on their bank accounts. Remember how branding, marketing and promotion is so important? What do you do when all your avenues to grow your business are taken away?

Well, that’s what I’m hoping to fix. Taking a cue from the dancers’ past, I want press on this. A lot of it. I want articles, podcasts, whatever! If you know someone that would be interested in this story, let me know. This is not just happening to me. So many of my friends cannot post more than a picture of their eyeball without getting into trouble. We’re being watched and judged. I am not going to stand for this!

Recently, I took class at the Martha Graham School in New York City. During that class, the teacher said, ‘There is no movement, without opposition’. I will move through this opposition and come out the other side stronger. I encourage you to join me.

In the meantime, follow me on Vimeo or join my fan club!

A Year in Review: 2016

37844_134897239874261_7602823_nHappy New Year, or as I like to say, Happy Nude Year! It’s the time for reflection and for starting anew. I have been reflecting on this past year and I would like to share my experience with you.

2016 had a theme of self-care, self-preservation and incubation. While I accomplished quite a bit in my career, I was on a quest for personal growth and development. In 2016, I transitioned out of running the Chicago Starlets and went headlong into production of Le Nu, my most daring show to date. I then began production of Unbridled at Untitled, a weekly show at a beautiful supper club in River North Chicago. This was in addition to our weekly Big Sexy Show at The Comedy Bar on Saturdays and booking entertainment for the Drifter. I also started a podcast called ‘Revealing’ on the Yak Channel (run by James Van Osdol and Amy Guth), continued to produce Naked Girls Reading and was able to partner with Leslie Zemeckis for 2 events in Chicago and LA, and finally created my fan club on Patreon. I also was part of the production for Halloween at the SOHO House and began a new type of event called HUSH.  As you can see, I was, and still am, very busy. Because of this, some things needed to change.

I became a little overwhelmed in doing all of these things and the stress really took a toll on my health and my relationships. It was not a good scene. I finally threw up my hands around May and began going to yoga. Traditionally, I always hated yoga, preferring pilates. Yoga is hard. Not because of the poses, but because of the mental energy that has to happen. I was always distracted and a little angry if I couldn’t do the poses. I would judge myself if I couldn’t do something and what’s worse, I would judge others. But, this time, I found some calm, some freedom and compassion for myself and others. I realized that I had a very negative person inside of me that needed to be put to rest. My running narrative of ‘I’m an idiot’, ‘I can’t do that’, ‘I’m not pretty enough’, ‘I’m fat’, ‘I’m not this or that’, etc was just too much. It was all consuming and not productive. It wasn’t serving me, my relationships or my art. I continue to do yoga now 3-4 times a week and it is a time for me to get in touch with my body, take a break from the noise, and learn about myself. I realized that the poses are just physical representations of our spirit and how we handle challenges in our life. When they call it a ‘practice’, they mean it.

My next step of self-care was to step away from teaching. I took July and August completely off. Those of you who teach, know the amount of energy that goes into it. It is a very generous act and you must be full before you can fill others. My reserves needed refilling. I then started just doing monthly workshops at Studio L’amour, in addition to traveling and doing some guest master classes.  I felt so much better! Turns out, I actually DO like teaching!

Then, I felt my body needed some fine tuning. In September, I turned to acupuncture. This idea came to me in yoga. I had never thought of it before, but my health was not where I wanted it to be and needed to try something else. It’s a weird practice, but it makes a lot of sense. It’s all just based on blood flow and nourishing the blood. I currently go once a week and it’s a great time of relaxation and meditation. I highly recommend this to anyone who has stress disorders.

Emotionally, I’ve been through a lot this year. It was my most successful year as a producer and a performer, but internally, I was struggling. Constantly comparing myself to others. Feelings of jealousy creeped in (oh that is a an ugly feeling). I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Like people didn’t like me. Like I was never going to ‘make it’. I lost the plot, as the Brits say. I questioned why I was doing what I was doing and did I even like it? Perhaps this is my version of a mid-life crisis. I didn’t seek crazy adventures, I sought out building myself a good foundation so I could continue having crazy adventures! In addition to the yoga and acupuncture, I also did a lot of traveling. I was able to get out at least once a month and just travel to travel. It wasn’t for a show. I didn’t hustle, because for the first time in my career, I was actually making money in my home town. I was able to experience cities and not worry about performing on strange stages and changing in crowded tiny dressing rooms. I did a little bit of travel for performance when I felt it was worth it for me, whether financially or just because I thought it would be fun. Performing because I WANTED to, not because I needed to so I could pay the bills. Very different motivations and very different feelings for me on the stage. I found the love again.

The joy I feel on the stage is so strong right now. I love it. I actually think that to myself while I’m performing now. I bask in the glow of the lights and your love and energy. Ringing in the new year was so magical for me. The energy in the room was so overwhelming and I got to take that joy and give it right back to you. What a treat.

I write this because I want you to know that it’s not all sparkles and feathers. Just because I may look like I’ve got it all together, doesn’t necessarily mean that for me, or anyone else you might see on Instagram. I’m working on life, just as you are. I’m working to find my best path, just as you are. I want to encourage you to keep working and do what you need to do to make it work. It is not easy, but it is necessary. If we have learned anything in 2016, it’s that life is short. Make it what you want and be willing to fight for it.

Wishing you all the best in 2017!
Michelle L’amour
‘The Most Naked Woman’