BREAKING CHAINS AND STEREOTYPES: A BOLD CHAT WITH LITTLE MISS NASTY

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In a world obsessed with curated perfection, Little Miss Nasty stands out like a rebel yell in a hushed library. This group of performers is a potent cocktail of entertainment and empowerment that succeeds by shaking the status quo with their celebration of women’s bodies, sexuality, and artistic expression. However, when you are part of a reckless movement, obstacles won’t take long to appear. Censorship policies have highlighted the struggle for female representation and freedom of expression.  

We had the chance to chat with Gina Katon, the leader of this provoking group about their mission, the motivation behind LMN, and the challenges they face before their NYC shows. This interview explores the complex nature of the group that challenges societal stereotypes while maintaining both humor and sensuality, all while providing top-notch entertainment. Let’s take a glimpse into a movement, a conversation starter, and the fight of women to reclaim their own narratives, bodies, and voices. 

Your performances seem to be an intersection of burlesque, rock, and activism. How do you define this distinct artistic blend and ensure each element stays cohesive?

We aim to embody the complete essence of the divine dark feminine through art. We recently coined the phrase “SEX. ART. REBELLION.” to kind of sum it all up. Of course, Little Miss Nasty is sexy and sultry and dark and provocative. But it’s also the rage that women are dying to express and a celebration of the female body in all of its glory. Expressing female power and energy has been historically looked down upon by so much of society. As women, we’ve been made to feel small, told to be polite, and shamed if we have loud voices. Made to feel essentially unworthy. Women have been put in the shadows and silenced in so many ways throughout history and it continues all over the world today. When we showcase our fearlessness on stage we empower not only women but all people. What better way to show the world that we are strong, powerful, and unapologetic than by celebrating our sexuality and performing to rock and metal?

Beyond entertainment, what specific emotions or reactions do you evoke in your audience? How do you measure the impact of your performances?

Eyes get bigger and brighter, the blood rushes, excitement is flowing and hearts are pumping. We charge people’s empowerment batteries. People leave Little Miss Nasty feeling fired up and full of newfound confidence. They feel majorly sexy! There’s an atmosphere of “Fuck it, I too can take on the world and be a badass and be exactly who I want to be with zero fucking guilt!” It’s an exchange of divine fire. A sharing of souls. It’s a constant protest for freedom.

It’d be interesting to know more about the sources of inspiration for Little Miss Nasty. What stories or experiences from today’s world inspire the powerful themes and narratives explored in your shows? What are your artistic inspirations to treat them in the way you do? 

Our foundation of inspiration is built upon the fire from bands like Rage Against the Machine and iconic shock rockers like Wendy O Williams. Just giving zero fucks on stage. Pushing the limits, breaking gender expectations, bending the rules. Basically holding our third finger up to the sky screaming “fuck the man.” Speaking of the man, history is repeating and we are fucking furious. Women deserve full control of their bodies and no man should ever make rules about what we can do or how we should act. 

LMN has been censored in too many ways. Recently Instagram and Facebook have basically stripped us of our artistic expression. The essence that our brand was built on has now been muted, simplified, PGd, cheapened, shadow banned, restricted, hidden… Does META hate women? Why are they so afraid? Does the curve of our hips offend society? Do our breasts, the very things that give LIFE insult people? Are our Little Miss Nasty performances so offensive that you must hide us under the social media rug? It’s ridiculous how much everyone is terrified of the female body. The female form is to be celebrated. We should honor her in any way she pleases. We should put her on a fucking pedestal. She’s a goddess! She is life! She is beautiful. 

Little Miss Nasty is known for its strong message of female empowerment. Can you elaborate on how your work supports Women’s rights?

80% of our audience is women. Women who are just as fed up as we are. Women who are seeking that support from other women. Women who love themselves and simply need a release and want to feel their own power through our art. We send a strong and powerful message during our live shows. The performers and the giant LED visuals really move people. Fans are often left in tears. We get standing roaring ovation so many times and that leaves us in tears.

Your work celebrates diversity in body types and representations. How do you address audience members who might have internalized negative body image norms or feel excluded from traditional burlesque spaces?

When people think of “burlesque” they immediately imagine a curvy beautiful woman who is sensual, sexy, and delicate. When they enter the world of Little Miss Nasty and see how we express “burlesque” their minds are blown. Head banging, thrashing, acting like a beast. Not only are we expressing sexy femininity but we dive heavily into our masculine and animalistic side. Our show literally starts with a head-bang section. As far as body types you don’t need large boobs to wear pasties. Some of us rock them with an A cup or less and It’s very sexy. You definitely don’t need a “perfectly tight” body to be confident in a g string. In rehearsals, I demand that the performers hit the movements so hard that their booties shake. I demand the jiggle. I also highly encourage women of all shapes and sizes to attend our School Of Nasty pop-up dance classes that we host across the country! We don’t want anyone to be afraid of letting it all hangout or letting a little bit hang out! We embrace it! LMN doesn’t wear typical dance fishnets that hold all of it in. We let it all out. Cellulite, bruises, and all! We don’t give a flying fuck and we celebrate our bodies. That’s usually when audience members think to themselves “So why shouldn’t I?” We represent all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. It doesn’t matter. If you can dig that confidence out and embrace your uniqueness then nothing else matters. There will never be another you so use that to your advantage! You are beautiful just the way you are. 

Critics might argue that burlesque’s sexualized performance elements contradict feminist ideals. How do you respond to this criticism and ensure your work remains empowering women?

I say fuck em. Too many critics. If you’re a man then your opinion on burlesque’s sexualized performance elements contradicting feminist ideals is dead on arrival. And as far as other women… …are women really fighting other women? We need each other. Come on now! We see performance art that celebrates female body positivity as empowering.

Little Miss Nasty’s version of burlesque is one of a kind and needs to be experienced in the flesh (all pun intended) before judgment is cast. So unless you have actually been to an LMN show your opinion is void.

How has censorship impacted your artistic journey as a female artist? Have you had to adapt your creative process or change the type of stories you share through your shows in response to censorship? 

Censorship is a nightmare. Disgraceful and insulting. However, weirdly enough censorship is also inspiring in that it massively fuels our fire. Those censoring us think that we will respectfully abide, take a step back, and obey their PG wishes. No fucking way! Recent experiences with the censor police have actually been a blessing as they have really made LMN laser-focused on creating even more radical new art. We are releasing our debut Little Miss Nasty album “Weapon Of Choice” in March and the first single “Buried In Sin” was written entirely about our recent experiences with censorship. The song and the video will be our most impactful work of art to this day! Mark my words, with one listen to the song and one view of the music video people are going to be seriously moved and empowered.

Can you provide specific examples of instances where censorship has affected your work and how you have navigated through it?

For sure. We have had an ongoing residency in Las Vegas at AREA15 since 2022. However, after the first 2 debut shows, AREA 15 told us that they were pinged by the city of Las Vegas and they threatened to close the entire venue down or take away their liquor license if Little Miss Nasty didn’t immediately alter aspects of our show.

Apparently because our butt cheeks and “underboob” were exposed we were in violation of some medieval city ordinance. According to the city of Las Vegas cleavage is okay, but exposing any skin under the nipple is forbidden. In Vegas really? Yes, in the city of Las Vegas (not on the Strip) if your venue falls within a certain distance of a school or place of worship you must not show any female buttocks or the underside of the breast below the nipple. However, we pivoted immediately and came up with the loophole of all loopholes – skin-colored body paint! We dug through the city rules and noticed that body-painted women can indeed expose butt cheeks and underboobs so long as the body paint is not translucent. So we color match each cast member’s skin tone and apply that exact color of body paint to their underboobs and butt cheeks. Fuck your rules! We win.

Also currently META is censoring the fuck out of everything we do. Our social media pages are highly restricted and can’t be shown to anyone other than our current followers. META refuses to share our content on the desired “for you” page and will not allow us to run paid ads unless they are basically made for toddlers. Instagram has been our main source of promotion for a decade now and now we are essentially erased. Having a negative effect on sales. Our Instagram has been a reliable reflection of our show and brand for years now. But now here we are being forced to act like the Disney channel version of ourselves with threats of losing our page if we don’t abide by what META’s robots find offensive and alter our cherished content. Now we are basically left between a rock and a hard place. Our social media reach is way, way, way down and that has had a real major negative effect on a small/mid-level brand like LMN! Hidden. Censored. Silenced. Why is META so afraid of the female body?

Do you see these challenges as reflecting a broader societal discomfort with female expression, particularly in non-traditional forms? How do you address this discomfort through your art?

100%. Any chance certain segments of society get to push women and women’s rights under a rug they joyfully take. We are a rock and metal burlesque show! We are entertainment. We are not a threat!

However, because of these injustices and the fact that men in government (mostly) are trying to continue to take away women’s reproductive rights, we really are more motivated than ever. We are here. We are loud. We are proud to be provocative. Proud to rebel and to revolt. Hopefully, with our art and our voices, we can continue to reach a broader audience and positively affect and empower as many people as possible.

Little Miss Nasty has evolved throughout its journey. What are some key milestones or learnings that the group has achieved, and how has it impacted the group?

We started as a small dance show on the Sunset Strip and joked about dreaming of taking our show all over the world. When we scored our first national tour opening for a major rock band we hit the road for 7 weeks straight. Our minds were blown by the effect that our “little dance show” had captivating audiences of thousands of people nightly. This opened our eyes and imaginations to the endless possibilities for LMN. We decided it was time to expand our brand and have residencies in as many big cities as possible. We continued our LA residency with a full-blown Vegas-style production and launched new residencies in Long Beach, San Francisco, and Las Vegas at AREA15 and House Of Yes in Brooklyn. We are debuting the new NYC residency show this month (FEB 16,17,23,24) at Paradise Club inside The Edition Hotel in Manhattan. The venue was designed and dreamt up by Ian Schrager who created Studio 54. So it’s massively sexy and sultry! Come to the shows!

We have a United States tour this April and May and are headed overseas this summer! We are spreading the Nasty around the globe!

Most excitingly… We had the urge to express ourselves beyond just dance and performance and hit the recording studio. We’ve released a handful of singles and are about to release our debut album “Weapon Of Choice” this Spring! 

To conclude, what does the future look like for Little Miss Nasty? 

World domination, one woman at a time.

photos / Jason Little

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