Wonder Women: Gypsy Rose Lee

Happy Birthday to Gypsy Rose Lee, a true trailblazer whose influence is all over the modern-day burlesque scene – from the posh stage settings to the sultry movement and dance. She was one of the first public performers who made something sexy into something classy, as well.

In its early days, burlesque was a mostly straightforward and clumsy act that didn’t have any of the allure or sexiness of its present-day art. Gypsy Rose Lee changed that by adding in her trademark wit and slowing down her performance to a seductive crawl. She pioneered the act of putting the “tease” into “striptease.” Her style singlehandedly took the Minsky Burlesque Company to new heights during the Prohibition Era, often drawing the awe of customers and the ire of police.