Home Arts & Culture Lou Lou ranked #1 most influential

Lou Lou ranked #1 most influential

Courtesy Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière

After appearing on the 21st Century Burlesque magazine’s top 50 burlesque performers list for the last seven years, Kahnawake’s Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière, also known as Lauren Ashley Jiles, has finally ranked number one.

Thousands of votes were cast from around the world to rank the most influential performer in the industry.

Jiles was hopeful she’d appear on the list after ranking second in 2022, but admitted she started feeling her hopes wither as the magazine began slow-releasing some of the names.

“They release it in increments, so it’s the first 20, and then the next 10, and then the next five, they really milk it. When they released up until number five, I thought maybe I’m not on the list this year,” Jiles said. “I was really shocked when I found out that I was number one.”

She was at a shopping mall in Plattsburgh with her aunt when she found out. Her aunt was especially excited to hear the news.

“She proceeded to tell everyone in the store I was the best burlesque performer in the world,” Jiles said. “That was funny.”

She performed at Playground Poker in Kahnawake the same night, on New Year’s Eve, calling it a “really nice whole circle moment.” She showed off two of her “most glamorous” numbers that night: her spider act and her classic blue boa act. 

“I’ve been performing for 18 years and I don’t often get a chance to perform in my hometown,” said Jiles, who performed there again Thursday night. “It was packed. I was staying with my mom that lives only five minutes away from Playground Poker, and it took us almost an hour to drive there. There were cars lined up all the way close to the bridge.”

She will perform again at the facility on January 11 and 13.

Reflecting on how the last year went, Jiles called it “truly, truly amazing.” She got to tour across Canada and the United States, and also spent seven weeks in Europe, getting flown out to Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, and Norway to headline at festivals. She also shot a music video for Vision Video, a goth band from Athens, Georgia, taking on the role of an evil witch and killer. 

“It was super funny and super camp,” she said.

Lou Lou first debuted on 21st Century Burlesque magazine’s list in 2016 at number 44. By the time she hit number two in 2022, she had also just recently been crowned Miss Exotic World, which recognized her as the most influential burlesque performer in the world. 

“That’s the biggest competition in the world in my industry, it’s like the Olympics of burlesque. Just getting into the competition is a huge honour, because it’s 10 performers that get selected to compete every year,” she said “I competed and I won, and now I’m no longer competing in it because it’s the highest honour that you can receive in my industry.”

Moving forward into the new year she said she’s looking forward to serving as the executive producer of the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s annual weekender to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada this June.

“It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m really happy to be in a position now where I can give back to the performing arts community,” Jiles said. “One thing I want to accomplish this year is to encourage more people to get on stage, whether that be through teaching or mentoring, or producing.”

miriam@easterndoor.com

This article was originally published in print on Friday, January 5, in issue 33.01 of The Eastern Door.

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Miriam Lafontaine is a reporter with the Eastern Door. Her work has appeared in Le Devoir, CBC Montreal, CBC New Brunswick as well as the Toronto Star.

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Miriam Lafontaine is a reporter with the Eastern Door. Her work has appeared in Le Devoir, CBC Montreal, CBC New Brunswick as well as the Toronto Star.