Old fashioned kind of sexy
“I’m not there to lecture anyone,” says the 38-year-old actress and singer who’s hoping to bring some class back to the persona of the female performer. Images of near-naked pop stars with plastic bodies, Nicky Minaj and her pre-pubescent posse of followers, and Courtenay Place on a Friday night have launched Anslow in another direction – donning a full length gown to sing a selection of inherently sexy songs, such as “He’s a Tramp,” “Lover Man,” and “I Never Do Anything Twice.”
“I just want to show people there’s another way. I know I’m probably not going to get many people under the age of 20, but I’m hoping to get their mothers,” says Anslow. “Ultimately it will be a fun night out. I’m not there to tell them what to believe and think.”
What she wants to do is show them that a sexy performer doesn’t have to bare as much skin as possible. With a mix of musical theatre and comedy, backed by four jazz musicians, Anslow will sing a variety of tunes taken from the songbooks of the sophisticated divas of the last century. Peggy Lee, Julie London, and, in particular, Eartha Kitt, have inspired her.
“She was the original Cat Woman and she never looked like a slut. She just entertained people with what she was – this incredibly sexy woman singing incredibly sexy songs.”
To Anslow, restraint is what’s missing from present day pop icons. “Empowerment is important for young girls and they’re being shown that to be empowered you have to be comfortable walking around in your bra and undies,” she says. “Your sex is yours – you can’t spray it all around the room. It’s not something you put out there. It’s something you hold in. It’s not how you look; it’s how you behave.”
Anslow grew up in Huntly and got into performing after her grandfather encouraged her to listen to musicals and take singing lessons. She eventually graduated from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art around the time Madonna was shedding her acid-washed jeans for a leather bustiere, but Anslow holds close an experience with a different kind of female icon. Aged 15 and playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, she was invited to sing with Malvina Major during a local fundraiser.
“She didn’t know the very beginning of the song because it’s not always done, so I sang that part,” she reminisces. “Then, at the very last verse she leaned over and said, ‘Come on and sing with me’ and she pulled her voice back and we sang together.”
That generosity and class is at the root of the person she wants to reveal in her show.
“At the end of the day I may be an old fashioned girl,” she says with a seductive smile.
Sophisticated Sinner, Blondini’s, 8:45pm, August 23-25, 30, 31, and September 1.