Redd Alert

Pinup model Ms. Redd peels back the layers on what it’s like being both a cocktail waitress and a burlesque queen

Photo by Holly West

Photo by Holly West

Ms. Redd has Never Been the kind of woman who blends in. Her Amazonian height and Rita Hayworth mane made her a singular standout while cocktailing at nightlife venues including Pure and Blush. Now, in addition to her modeling and burlesque work, Redd is cocktailing at Golden Tiki, where her sultry, retro style fits like an opera-length glove.

You’ve worked at a number of clubs on the Strip, but you don’t have the typical “look”…

I was hired by Steve Davidovici at Pure. Most of the girls were very young, 21 to 23, which I was not at the time. They’re usually on the shorter side, petite, tanned, mostly long brown hair. Here I am: 5 feet-9, bright red hair, curvy and pale. I thought: There’s no way I’m getting this job. But he hired me and said, “You’re what I want. You’re what we’re lacking in here.” When you go to nightclubs, I’ve noticed everyone seems to look the same. I’d even have customers comment, “Everybody else kind of looks the same, and then there’s you.”

Has anyone been surprised to see you working at Golden Tiki?

They told me they’re bringing in this big bachelor party and I’m going to be the waitress. These guys came in, and I popped around the corner: “Hi guys, welcome to Golden Tiki. My name is …” and before I could even get it out, one guy blurted out “Ms. Redd!” [They recognized me from a shoot I did] about five years ago at Frankie’s Tiki Room for Bachelor Pad Magazine. And he looks at his friends and he’s smiling like, “Oh, you guys!” And they’re looking a little lost. And so am I. I ask ,“Are you the bachelor?” And he’s grinning, “Yes! Yes, I am!” And he turns to his friends, “You guys are the best!” Finally I put it together and I’m like, “Sweetheart, I’m actually your waitress.” And he’s like, “But you’re Ms. Redd!” And I said, “Yes I am. And I’m just going to be your waitress tonight.” Apparently they had been outside and the bachelor looked at the Golden Tiki and was like, “Man, I wish someone like Ms. Redd was in there.” And here I was—his waitress!

When did you decide to dedicate yourself to burlesque?

My dad was in the hospital. I was doing a model signing at Viva Las Vegas the next day, and I was also hosting a pinup contest at Blush. I brought my pictures to show him—most people might think that’s a little odd, but he was always very proud of what I did. He sat me down on his hospital bed and said, “I really think you should pursue burlesque.” I started laughing, and I said, “Did you tell mom that one?” And he’s like, “Honestly, you’ve done everything with class and elegance, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I think you really should pursue it. It makes you happy.” The next morning my dad passed away. He had told me: “Promise me next year you’ll be up on the stage at Viva doing the burlesque contest.” And I thought, “God, you’re crazy. That takes a lot of time and effort.” But after he passed away, I was absolutely determined.  On the first day of voting at Viva Las Vegas, I beat everybody by 100 votes. [I advanced and eventually] came in second.

Which classic burlesque stars inspire you?

I love Shannon Doah. I’ve been able to perform and share the stage with her. That was a dream come true. The legends—they have so many stories and to talk to them is amazing. They definitely paved the way for the women who are coming up now. Tatiana clothing did a line a couple years ago for Tempest Storm, and I was selected to represent her. I didn’t know that until they put a camera in my face and were trying to interview me with half my curlers and half my makeup: “How does it feel to represent Tempest Storm?” And I about passed out. “Um, I’m just finding this out now? I’ll let you know in about 30 seconds when I can process everything. But … it feels amazing.”

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of places here that do burlesque …

I really wish that there was an authentic burlesque show in town. Most of what is called burlesque on the Strip—it’s more of a topless revue. Unfortunately there’s not a genuine classic burlesque show: There are little shows in bars, but it is time for Las Vegas to bring something classic in that form now. Everything else has been revived in this town.

So, what comes after burlesque?

I’m trying to get into a chef program to do stuff with celiac food because unfortunately most of it tastes like shit. I cook Italian food like nobody’s business. Two years ago for Christmas, I made eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, and we did a whole huge Italian meal. And my mother’s uncle and her cousin came—they’re from New York—and they’re like, “Where the hell did you learn to cook like this? My God, girl, you cook like an authentic Italian! It’s a shame you can’t eat this.” And I sat down and I started eating and I said, “I can. It’s gluten free, too.” I have a lot of knowledge about food and beverage—when I hang up the dance shoes, that might be somewhere I might eventually go.