On set with The Rougettes and Out in Africa, filming ‘While you weren’t looking’. By Penny Pinup


It was a perfect, boiling hot Capetonian Sunday morning when I found myself up and out of bed, ironing my shirt, packing my make up, curling and setting my hair and rushing around like a mad thing (which is usually the case), in an attempt to arrive dressed and ready on set!

Needless to say, I had barely packed by bag and applied some moisturiser to my face when I realised I was late, so I hopped in the car and dashed down to our meeting spot to meet up with the other ladies in my Burlesque Troupe, The Rougettes.

We were all there to be a part of a proudly South African feature film “While You Weren’t Looking”. It was the last day of shooting for the film and our day to shine! As we sat together around the lunch table, some of us nibbling on the highly recommended home-made bread and others (me) haphazardly throwing a face on, there was definitely an excited and nervous energy floating around in the air.

After lunch we headed down to the set, one of our favourite venues where we perform frequently, Truth Coffee Bar in Buitenkant Street.

After settling into the backstage area ie; turning it into a ‘burlesque mess’ with glitter, feather boa’s, make up, pasties etc… and milling around for a bit, we were finally called to order!
The first scene we shot was of a typical backstage area. Some of us were fixing lipstick, others getting dressed, some applying glitter, or doing up our shoes. We ran through the scene a few times without the camera rolling and then it was go time! There’s no other way to describe this other than it’s exactly what you think it’s going to be: Lights, Camera, Action!

There’s really nothing more fabulous than being a movie star for the day, right? Well, after the first 10 times of reshooting the same scene, let’s just say that our quest to movie stardom was quickly dwindling. The not so glamorous side to being in a movie – reshooting the same scene over and over again.

That being said, the excitement of it all kept our energy up and we dazzled the cameras each and every time.

Taking a breather backstage

While other scenes were being shot we had much needed chill time to rest our aching feet! We had a delicious dinner (the catering was seriously impressive!) and then prepared for our next shot.

This time, we were in a Burlesque club on stage doing what we do best: a tassel twirling routine. Let it be known, tassel twirling is serious fun. The crowd always love it; it’s fun to do and of course feels very liberating! I don’t think any of us thought too much about the actual shooting of the scene so when the camera started rolling and we had no music to twirl to, well it was hysterical.

Turning around to face our crowd (all the extra’s), big smiles on our faces, arms up in the air aaaaand… twirl in silence. It was hard to keep the giggles at bay!

Penny Pinup's signature

After a very long day and night, we wrapped. I can happily speak for all The Rougettes and say that even with the sore feet and heavy eyelashes, we were exuberant!

The experience was really wonderful. From the actual filming on the day to the knowledge that our art, what we love to do, is going to be up on the big screen. South Africa is slowly taking to the art form that is Burlesque and it’s not something that is seen in this context very often.
I feel like as Burlesque dancers we were beautifully represented, thank you to Out in Africa and their team for the hard and passionate work that went into this project.

The film will screen in 2015.

Author: Lady Magnolia