“How did Chari-Tease start?!”, I hear you cry…..
Well, it was a complete accident really. For a long time I had wanted to thank the staff who had looked after me for 5 months whilst I was in Princess Alexandra Hospital following my stroke on Christmas Day 2004.
The staff became my family and looked after me so well. The care was absolutely brilliant. My family and nine month old son came to see me every day and they even let my dog visit me.
I had wanted to do something for them for a long time but I wasn’t ready emotionally, mentally or physically.
The stroke has left me half blind in both of my eyes. My right arm doesn’t do much and I walk with a limp but I am walking, even though doctors said I would never walk again.
So one night I was at The Square in Harlow, watching a burlesque night. Sadie Sinner was hosting and I thought to myself, the girl is amazing! I went home and said to my mum I now know what I want to do – and I know who I want to help me.
The problem was I had no way of contacting Sadie. I couldn’t remember her name (another stroke side effect).
I spent months searching for Sadie but I had no luck.
My mum said just do it anyway but I WANTED Sadie, her style, her way of doing things. I knew if I couldn’t find Sadie it wasn’t going to happen.
Then one night I was selling my vintage clothing at another burlesque event and I saw Sadie. My mum was helping on the stall .”Omg, mum, the girl is here – the one I told you about!” I said, “I’ve got to speak to her!”
After the show my mum said I know why you want her, she is brilliant. I then had to pluck up the courage to speak to her. I was really, really nervous.
Sadie came over to my stall and was looking. She said, “I love that hat”, to which I replied, “you can have it for free if you help me with a charity event”. Her reply was, “Hell, yeah!”
And from that moment Sadie and I became friends. The plan was just to do the one show, no more, just a one off show. Sadie and I worked so hard on it. We put everything in to it.
Then the night came, after months and months of hard work.
At the end of the show I and Jules
Brown – together known as Flossie cheeks –
performed a burlesque dance in front of 200 + people. I was so scared. Nobody but Sadie knew we were going to do this.
It was based on me in my wheelchair being poorly and, by the end of the song, up and walking. I wanted to show the staff at the hospital how far I had come on.
The night went far too quickly. The next day I messaged Sadie and said we need to do this again….. neither of us have looked back.
And so Chari-Tease was born …..