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A Conversation With: Fifi Fantome

(she/her) @fififantome

Intro time!

I’m a Canadian-born, Berlin-based queer performance artist. Fascinated by the idea of intimacy, embodied experience and the language of movement, I experiment with how to assert and perform gender roles and break labels in regards to sexuality. I’ve performed all over Europe, Canada and the United States in circus, theatre and burlesque shows including Festival Montréal Complètement Cirque, KW Art Institute, Copenhagen Opera Festival, The Chicago Art Institute, and Stockholm Burlesque Festival.

Fifi Fantome is posing in front of a red, textured background, wearing a long, black fluffy blazer-like coat and a black bowler hat. Fifi's hair is a curly blonde bob, matching with gold eye make-up and bold red lips and eye shadow. Underneath the black blazer is silver jewellery in lieu of lingerie. in

© Audrey Kezzyn

I am a dancer, aerialist and performance artist aiming to mock stereotypes of gender, challenge cliches of the sexualized woman, and use the body as a tool to express the abnormal. I am one of the co-founders of The Velvet Creeper; a Berlin-based burlesque troupe with roots in circus, sideshow, performance art, burlesque and theatre.

Black and white photo of Fifi Fantome in a hectic space, standing atop a bed. Fifi wears striped trousers, a black corset and eyes on her chest. Behind are multiple little tvs hung on the wall haphazardly.

© Krousky

How did you get into circus and burlesque? What did it mean to you then, and what does it mean to you now?

Fifi Fantome poses against a brown wall in black lingerie, her hands, in black gloves with textured rope falling from them, lifted above her head.
© Risu Chan

I was working as a writer and bartender in Montreal and a bartender at a place I worked at invited me to a Burlesque club where he worked to see a show. I went to see a show at The Wiggle Room and fell in love. Lavender May was performing an Alice in Wonderland burlesque act with glow in the dark magic mushrooms, and it was everything I wanted in my life. After that I fell in love with burlesque and signed up for an amateur night called Voix de Ville.

I made an act with my very good friend Aria DelaNoche, where we were two lollipop girls who licked psychedelic lollipops. They made us become more and more crazy, rip off all our clothes, spank each other with lollipops and eventually cream pie each other in the face. We won the competition, 100 dollars and were invited next week back to perform.

© Geiler Scheiss

From there everything skyrocketed. I started taking burlesque classes under the guidance of my first mentor Bonbon Bombay, and soon I was performing regularly at The Wiggle Room. I then joined Bonbon Bombay's Sideshow Troupe, The Blue Mushroom Zirkus Psyshow. 6 months later we were asked to do a circus show in Copenhagen and I was asked to do an aerial act, so I learned in 3 months and created the worst Aerial Hoop act of my life. I fell in love with circus and decided to stay in Copenhagen to do a preparatory circus program and then later moved to Berlin to do a 3 year circus program at Die Etage.

© Monika Deviat

What is it like studying and training at a circus school?

I graduated last December and it was a really interesting experience for me. I enjoyed having something so intense in terms of training and meeting lots of amazing people through the school.

© The Naked Moon Photography

Who (or what) are you most inspired by?

I'm most inspired by Billie Rae, who is an incredible creative director that I have worked under for House of Red Doors, which is now House of Lunacy, Midnight Society, Weisse Maus and so many other incredible projects. She is a really great friend and huge inspiration. Another big inspiration is Laura Stokes, who is an incredible circus artist who created my favorite one woman show of all time called Call Me a Pussy.

Fifi Fantome is wearing a green and red leotard, deep-cut. Her hair is long and green, with bold green eye shadow and dark lips, on a green background. One arm rests on her hip, and the other above her head.

© The Naked Moon Photography

Where do you see yourself and your career in five years?

That's a hard question for me to answer as everything went up in the air with COVID and performing. Since the pandemic it's been really hard for me to look towards the future. However I would like to eventually work as a director and creator of my own circus show.

Fifi Fantome is elegantly balancing on her waist on a hoop, suspended in mid-air on a white background. She wears gold knee high boots and a fabulous gold coat, with bold red hair in two knots.

© Monika Deviat

How are you inspired by the different communities around you?

I’ve been performing in much of the club scene in Berlin as well as circus and burlesque. Well, I perform in all these different places and genres of performance art and I’ve felt very included in the queer scene in Berlin. I felt free to express myself as a performer in the most extreme and authentic ways. The queer and performance art community here gave me so much and I'm so thankful to have that support around me. It feels like a family.

Fifi Fantome is dressed in an elaborate white cape and skirt, both of which are made of strips, leaving much bare. The back ground is red, as well as her eyes and a square surrounding the area of her lips. She holds her hands up near her head, on top of which she is wearing an odd contraption with five model hands are afixed in different positions.

© The Naked Moon Photography

What has been your favorite performance in your career so far? Have you always been into performing?

Since I was a kid I've been into performing. I was an obsessive queer little drama kid when I was young and was always into theatre, creating videos and just being a little weirdo.

Fifi Fantome stands in front of a green-foresty background. She has one hand behind her head and the other behind her back. Her face is wrapped in brown netting, and on top of this a white veil is fixed on. Her top is white, geometric stripes, with nude and black in between..

© Vanessa Tam

What was your most memorable experience of this past summer (2021)?

Probably doing a residency in The Palace where I met a lot of incredible artists and enjoyed an amazing experience in a castle in Poland with 200 artists or putting on a huge Clown Picnic in the middle of Tempelhoff with Riley aka Gutter Gucci.

Fifi Fantome poses with long blonde hair, bold red lips, gold eye shadow and a nose ring, and a wavy blue dress. A tattoo of a moon peeks through from the low-slung nature of the dress.

© Emilia Lyon

If you could be featured in any film, as any character, which would you choose?

David Bowie in Labyrinth

Massive thank you to Fifi Fantome for speaking with us! The Burlesque-Circus industry is definitely intriguing, and we hope more and more opportunities come your way!

See more of Fifi on her website:

Support her on her patreon:

And you can, of course, follow her on instagram: @fififantome

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#theatre #queerperformance #drama #davidbowie #thepalace #clownpicnic #guttergucci #berlinbased #canadian #dancer #aerialist

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