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The Suicide Girls Explain the Appeal

"At the end of the day, the company wants us to have fun doing what we do, and be individuals. they want us to embrace qualities in ourselves. We get to eat food, and they want us to stay curvy."

The Suicide Girls recently swung through Toronto for their Blackheart Burlesque show, a sort of Comicon meets burlesque nerd orgy. Meeting up with them at Toronto’s Opera House, half the girls were still stuck on the tour bus thanks to a jammed door. Jennings, the Rainbow Brite pixy-rapper of the troupe was madly body checking the door to no avail while Mel Suicide, their DJ/Maxim pinup star clambered out the rear window. Suicide Girls founder Sean Suhl stood back laughing hysterically at it all. Oh, life on the road….

The show consists of a dozen or so rocking choreographed numbers mostly involving geeky themes like sexy Harry Potter, sexy Link (of Zelda fame), and sexy girl-Big Lebowski in bathrobe, sexy Dr. Zaius, sexy storm troopers, and well, sexy everything pretty much. Girls got naked, nipples were taped, booze were sprayed from mouth to mouth and the agro crowd of 20-something bros elbowed each other into the night while they hoped their friends didn’t notice that they’d ruined their pants.

We were granted an interview with the charming Sunny Suicide. She’s the host and MC of the troupe and freshest member, who’s gone from government worker (with a dance and theatre career on the side) to Suicide Girl, all in the span of six months. Her modestly pierced and tatted body may not be exactly what you expects from a Suicide Girl but her lust for burlesque is what pushed her over the top of their shortlist.

Noisey: So tell me about yourself.
Sunny: I’m 27 from upstate New York. When I was 18, my roommate told me I had to go to audition for this dance troupe called the Charmed and Dangerous Cabaret that performed in their bras and underwear because that’s pretty much what I loved to do in my bedroom anyways! I was recruited and went from being the youngest, to helping run the group and teaching classes. I picked the name Sunny Holiday because it was innocent enough at the time. I was so shy about burlesque and if people found out, it wouldn’t be so bad. Everyone else’s name was too raunchy. I wanted something cute. Being Dominican I would do Spanish numbers because I wanted to work that personality. They always introduced as “Sunny Holiday, your one way ticket to paradise south of the border!” Haha. Cheesy right? I still do that at home.

So how did you get involved with the Suicide Girls?
I went to see the show last fall and paid for all my friends’ tickets. I just wanted to expose them to it. We do similar things at home with pop culture related dances like Star Wars. When I went to the show, I was like “Whoa, this is the concert I always wanted to go to.”

I got so excited, and so hammered, that they brought me up on stage. I got fully naked during the audience dance off, and thought, “This is my moment!” I wound up winning first prize. The other time I pushed my way on stage and tried to jack off one of the girls. I’m totally gay, by the way and I love whiskey, and titties.

I found out later that they were auditioning in LA so I saved up all my money to get there. As soon as I walked in, they all remembered me from the NY show. They were like, “Oh my god, you’re that crazy girl!” Manwe, the choreographer, looked at me and said don’t "disappoint me!" I’m shocked that I got in because I’m not tatted up or seen as typically alternative. A few months ago I was just watching the show, and now I’m in it running things. It’s so cool.

Tell me about Manwe, your celebrity choreographer.
Manwe is amazing. He’s worked with Lady Gaga, J-Lo, Michael Jackson. He even toured with Gloria Estefan. He’s still so vibrant and passionate and also a New Yorker, so we clicked right away. The show is very quirky. We do Planet Of The Apes with gorilla masks on, it gives me the most confused boner, but there’s always the classic burlesque elements. I open up with a number that almost makes fun of classic stuff where I come out with this cheesy feather boa and big spender plays, and I get kicked off stage. It’s not like we’re putting it down but it’s funny because say what we’re doing with Blackheart isn’t burlesque, what is this thing? People have to understand that this is our version of burlesque and at the end of the day, the company wants us to have fun doing what we do, and be individuals. they want us to embrace qualities in ourselves. We get to eat food, and they want us to stay curvy.

What are your fans like?
A lot of the fans are pretty polite and just stand there in awe and watch. Sometimes it’s the best compliment. But it can get pretty rowdy too. However, we attract Suicide Girls fans, and you can be in the smallest town in America, and we’re wondering, who’s going to come out to the show? I also find it really cool that I get to find lesbians all over the world that I would have never met.

Have there been any creepy fans?
It happens. Mel, our DJ is pretty famous in England. She’s been on the cover of Maxim even. In Europe, they embrace nudity more so we’re considered glamorous models as opposed to lower than Playboy over here, but I think the nudity is empowering. There was a guy waiting for Mel with a disposable camera today. He didn’t get a VIP ticket and wanted to wait for her outside to take a pic. We do have to travel in groups to be safe, and people get creepy, but it’s not as bad as you might think.

Are a lot of Suicide Girls lesbians?
No, which is funny because a lot of people assume that. Instagram is huge for us and a people comment about it. They’re like, “this is turning into a lesbian thing, all these girls are on top of each other!” And I’m like, dude, what the hell? Most of the girls are very straight. Why are you complaining about that? I didn’t even know Liryc was gay until most of the way through the rehearsals. I also had the gay assumption but then I got in and realized they all had these boy friend situations. It’s like a Sex In The City episode but with a bunch of tattooed chicks. Last night I was Snapchatting with my girlfriend, four girls, one room, no shirts on... Goodnight! Woooo!

How does she feel about you being on tour?
We’ve been dating since January but I’ve known her for 10 years. She was in the closet forever and I’d been out for way too long to go back in. Now she knows every Suicide Girl. I FaceTime her and even the girls chat with her now. I hate watching the girls go through boyfriend problems. She’s always checking on them.

What’s your tour schedule like?
We’re touring until the end of the year. We have a big break but we’re going to comic cons and then we’re doing Europe in august and then we do south America in September and then the US for the rest of the year. The US tour is 12 weeks long on a bus, it’s tough. During the casting, they asked us “are you sure you want to go to Canada? It’s going to be tough, and cold.” But Everyone’s been respectful and it’s comfortable on the bus. We were watching girly movies with Sean the owner and we asked how he dealt with being surrounded by girls all the time. He said he’s been doing it for 13 years now so he’s used to it.

Jesse Ship is a writer living in Toronto. He's on Twitter.