Imagine Rob Zombie performing Cirque du Soleil, but Rob Zombie as an impossibly hot blonde with a perfect hourglass body and an ass so round it almost violates building codes across the United States, and you’d have Gia Nova.
The former go-go dancer-turned-fetish dancer-turned-stripper-turned-burlesque performer tours the adult clubs of this land delivering what can only be described as the world’s most rock-and-roll strip show. With a face that is almost breathtakingly gorgeous complemented by piercings and tatts, she’s like a pin-up girl for the alternative set. But when you combine it with her athletically sexy dance routines, the best fire-breathing this side of Gene Simmons and that thing she does when she works her metal panties with an angle grinder, you’ve got a performer who is really in a class by herself.
Gia was kind enough to take time out from her current tour to talk ass, burlesque and Henry Winkler. And that’s the trifecta of awesome, my friends.
When modern audiences hear “burlesque,” they probably think of something like the Pussycat Dolls or that movie with Cher from a few years back. How do you define it?
Burlesque is the root of modern stripping. It started out as a blue collar entertainment and it was girls putting on shows and eventually stripping out of their clothes to pasties and a g-string or whatever was legal at the time and where they were, and they’d have acts in between, such as comedians. Some girls played it classic and sexy and other times it was like a parody, jabbing at whatever was going on politically or social problems. That’s more like what burlesque is. The movie “Burlesque” and Pussycat Dolls I guess is some variation, but those girls aren’t taking off their clothes and the true meaning of burlesque is taking your clothes off and putting on a show. I’d classify them as more like cabaret.
What attracted you to the art of burlesque?
I think it’s the theatrics of it, which plays into fetish as well. The costuming, the look, the storyline. So much of it is theatrics and that’s what appeals to me. The telling of stories and the entertainment value.
I tried to define your shows but they almost defy description. They are very unique.
Thank you. I kind of put everything that I, personally, would want to see into my shows. At the end of the day, most girls in clubs are gonna be pretty hot. You have to look good and be in good shape to work in a strip club and anybody can take their clothes off. So at the end of the day, what are you going to do, if you’re touring the country as a feature dancer, to stand out so that you’re not just another pretty face taking her clothes off? If you’re coming into a club as a feature and there are already a bunch of girls there who are 10s or 11s, how do you justify that they’re paying you to be there? What are you bringing that’s different? That’s why I incorporate all of these elements from the circus and rock shows and horror films and other things that appeal to me into my act. All of my shows are different combinations of things I find entertaining, because at the end of the day, I end up taking my clothes off the same way. [laughs] Might as well spice it up.
I’ve seen you live and I’ve seen some of your performances on video and the best way to describe it is like a combination rock concert-horror movie-Cirque du Soleil. But with an amazingly hot woman doing everything.
[Laughs] Well, thank you. I think you kinda hit the nail on the head. I’m a huge horror movie fan, always been inspired by music like Rob Zombie and Pantera and Tool and the glam-grunge rock of the 90s because that’s when I grew up. I put elements that I find entertaining into my show. You can’t please everyone, but my enthusiasm comes across in every show and I figure if I do what I like, it will connect with other people who like the same things.
How did you first get into this line of work?
I started out working as a make-up artist and in special effects and worked weekends as a go-go dancer at a fetish club. I wasn’t making a lot of money and I used to always joke that I’d just become a stripper, but had no idea what that entailed. I applied for a job at a strip club as a waitress and they wanted me to strip; they refused to hire me as a waitress. I didn’t want to, so I offered to do make-up for the girls. I did that about a year, and then one night, I tried dancing myself. And the first night I did it, I made so much money that there was no looking back. It opened my eyes. At the time I was choosing between paying my electric bill or buying groceries, so this was a way out.
You are probably the only strip act that incorporates fire breathing. How does that happen?
I actually had someone teach me that when I started touring. At first it scared the crap out of me, but I’ve always been a pyromaniac, although with a healthy respect for fire. She taught me the basics and from there I developed my own technique — and you need your own technique to be comfortable. Then I took classes on fire safety and performance techniques.
Drunk people in an audience and fire seems a dangerous combination, but so far, no casualties?
Nope. Only those who don’t tip. [laughs]
At least the fact that you’re breathing fire must keep the audience in check, not as willing to try to cop a feel.
You’d think that, but I still get a lot of drunk guys screaming, “Put the fire on me.”
Always a sign someone’s been over-served.
Yeah, and the fact that they’re so drunk makes them extra flammable. Not good.
Now in addition to fire, you’ve got The Grinder.
Oh yes. That’s an act where I have a solid steel bra and a solid steel-fronted pair of panties and I go at them with a grinder and throw sparks about six feet in front of me. It’s really fun. Something that’s rooted in metal and fetish and it gets a great reception.
One of the interesting things about you and the “niche” you’ve created for yourself is that you have tremendous cross-over appeal with fans of horror movies and comic books and that has made you a popular attraction at horror cons and other conventions [and she’ll be appearing at Fetish Con in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, August 9.] Do you enjoy that world?
I do because I am a nerd. I love horror movies and all of the things that are celebrated at these shows. And going to these shows is amazing because you not only get to interact with the fans, you get to see some of your idols. I was at one with Henry Winkler, and everyone was coming up to him saying, “Hey, it’s the Fonz,” but I knew him best as Barry Zuckerkorn on Arrested Development, which is my favorite character of his. I also got to meet Elvira, which was a highlight for me because I am a huge fan of hers.
Okay, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about your ass. Because it needs to be talked about.
To someone who has never seen it before, how would you describe your own ass?
Oh, I don’t even know. Round and muscular. I have a muscle butt.
You work a lot for that ass?
Actually, I think I get all the muscle from dancing. I didn’t even have a butt until my first year as a touring dancer. I look at old pictures of me and I have no butt. Me and my whole family have always been the buttless wonders. Then one day I started to get one and I think it’s from dancing in high heels. What I do is such a great workout, it’s just like doing squats. It’s almost more effective for me.
What’s one article of clothing that best accentuates your ass?
Let’s see. I am a big fan of garter belts and fully-fashioned stockings. And even though it’s not something necessarily for the ass, that’s like the only thing not covered. So you pair it with a little thong underneath so that your butt cheeks are peeking out. That’s a sweet look for an ass.
Strangest fetish regarding your own ass you’ve ever encountered?
I’ve had requests from people who want to buy my gently worn underwear, but I don’t find anything particularly bizarre or gross about that.
Best compliment you’ve ever received on your ass? I can’t imagine you don’t get at least 50 a day.
I’ve had someone ask if they could bite my ass like an apple. That was interesting.
That’s as good a line as any to get people to want to come out and see your show: “The ass you’ll want to bite like an apple.”
Yes! Only you can’t bite it. But you can stare at it.