First, Southern Fried Burlesque Queen 2011. Next, the world. Knoxville's own Siren Santina, creative director and co-founder of Salomé Cabaret Burlesque Revue, won the first-ever Southern Fried award in Atlanta last year, and has now been selected to represent the United States in this year's World Burlesque Games, held May 7-13 in London. Participants will vie for money and product prizes, endorsements, and the crown. Santina, who has the lively distinction of an act that includes singing-—much of it mastered as a voice student at the University of Tennessee—will perform "Operatic Inebriate" in her pursuit of the Triple Crown event. It requires entrants to incorporate extra dance genres, hidden talents, and surprise gimmicks into their signature routines. Santina, a Seymour native, has lived in Knoxville since college, but "traveled all around the country thanks to this unlikely art form I've developed a habit for," she says, and counts this as her international debut.
"I'm up against some tough competition from all across the globe, but at the very least I think I will stand out for my uniqueness," she says. "I'm going to give them Gilbert and Sullivan as they've never seen it before."
And if she wins, here's hoping there's an Intergalactic Burlesque Games, too.