Miss Chevious Cinders
Let’s start at the beginning, I was born in Takapuna, Auckland in June 1936.
My mother passed away when I was seven months old and I was brought up by my grandparents until I was 12 years old, when my father took me back after he remarried. I lived in Te Awamutu for a couple of years before moving to Hamilton.
I started work at 15 in a hardware store in Hamilton and in 1954 joined the Railways locomotive department and worked my way up from cleaner, to fireman, to driver. I was firing on the expresses between Frankton and Taumaranui and ended up driving the Electric Locomotives from Te Rapa to National Park. After 37 years I retired in 1990.
It was during my railway days that I started to cross-dress. I married in 1978 and fathered two daughters, I thought this could stop my cross-dressing habit but it did not. Eventually I separated from my partner in 1994, and finally divorcing in December 2004. I bought a house in Frankton and lived there till 2005.
During this time the internet came, one day I typed in ‘cross-dressing’ and could not believe how many others like me there were. I met a girl from Hamilton and we became great friends, and after discussions I started on hormones. On 20 March 2005 I flew to Phuket, Thailand to undergo a sex-change operation and spent 16 days in hospital, then went on to spend time at Pantong beach as well as Bangkok before heading home.
For a few years things were very quiet, up until I met up with a woman in 2011 who was holding singles nights. One Saturday afternoon I was helping her decorate a hall for the evenings dance and some burlesque girls from Miss Betsy Rose Lee’s Burlesque Divas were practicing for their evening performance, I was bumping and grinding along with them, then the leader said to me: “We have classes, you know”. I enjoyed the performance they put on that night, went home and started to ponder if I should go to the classes. I emailed Janine asking if a transsexual could join in on the classes, she replied, “by all means’’, so that is how I got involved in burlesque.
Since then I began to enjoy my new found hobby and even performed one routine at one of the singles nights. After Janine hurt her back and couldn’t take classes any more I was at a loss for a few months, until I started going to Bombshell Burlesque classes with Miss Tittle Tattle, I then started to perform at their revues.
In December 2013 I was asked to take part in a Christmas show called Bring Back Burlesque, my job was mainly to interrupt the MC and act as his mother during the show. One day he called around to discuss the show, I showed him a video of an act I did for the Mz Burlesque New Zealand competition, when he saw my Pink Panther costume he said, “I want that in the show”. For the first part of the show I was to appear three times, in different costumes, and annoy the MC wanting to perform, and each time get taken out of the theatre by the security guard. In the end I got to perform my Pink Panther act, this was a ten night show and there was a full house each night. It was a major show for me as I had never done anything like it before and with six costume changes it got a little hectic at times, but I really enjoyed the experience.
I am enjoying the burlesque scene and have made many friends around the world. I have been to many workshops including: Catherine D’Lish, Polly Rae, Vivienne VaVoom, Coco Lectric, Frenchie Kiss, Sina King, Dolores Daiquiri, Indigo Blue, Perle Noire, Trixie Tassles and many more.
I attended the Australian Burlesque Festival 2013 & 2014 and enjoyed the company of other members of the big burlesque family. I have also travelled around the country in support of burlesque to give back a little that burlesque has given to me.
These days I just feel like one of the girls, burlesque has given me a new lease of life and I was honoured to have been accepted to perform at the New Zealand Burlesque Festival 2014. So where to next? Who knows? My aim is to perform at my 80th Birthday Bash in June 2016.
So being Transsexual doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life and I have two transgender friends who are keen to learn burlesque after seeing me perform.
– Pastie Politics Issue 1
Miss Chevious Cinders
Miss Chevious Cinders has had a varied life so far, from working in a hardware store, to being a fireman on steam locomotives, then driving Diesel and Electric locomotives. She then went on to marry and fathered two girls, before having sex-change surgery in 2005 in Thailand at the age of 68. In 2011 she found a new life in burlesque, which has already seen her attend different shows in New Zealand and Australia, as well as performing herself.