Last year, Christina Aguilera and Cher showed us how your legs (and lungs—belt it, girls!) can get a spectacular workout on the burlesque stage. A new documentary is now highlighting the performance art and the real-life stars who wowed the crowds in the early-to-mid 1900s.
"All of the women we interviewed for the film were different shapes and sizes. But no matter what, they never once talked about their physicality, now or then, in the negative," says Behind the Burly Q director Leslie Zemeckis. "Some were heavy, some were flat-chested, they varied in firmness. But they accepted their bodies and what they could do without worrying about losing weight or hiding a 'defect.'"
We adore the old-world glamour that these women possess, so we asked a few of the former burlesque stars to share their beauty and confidence secrets. Keep these in mind when you're having a bad body image day:
"I dress up everyday. I don't wear jeans, not even to take out the trash! I put on my jewelry, lipstick and a nice outfit, even if I'm not going anywhere."—Joan Arline, current burlesque performer
- FITNESS Takeaway: Toss the worn out T-shirt and baggy sweatpants for your next trip to the gym! Try a bright, fitted tank and a pair of leggings, capris or figure-flattering pants.
"Eat right, sleep at least eight hours each night when possible, don't smoke and laugh a lot."—Joni DiRando
- FITNESS Takeaway: Include one of these "10 Healthiest Foods on the Planet" in your diet everyday this week. And of course bypass the cigarettes and become pals with your pillow!
"As you walk across the stage of life, always keep the rhythm in your step, a smile on your face and love of life in your heart."—Lillian Kiernan Brown
- FITNESS Takeaway: Create a mantra that your can repeat when life gets tough.
More from FITNESS: What we love about our bodies.