Stereotypes are often cringed at and make you roll your eyes. However, the so-called stereotypes who cop a lot of slack for their looks know how to play it up for their own benefit and have fun with it. We all know the dumb blonde, but unlike others stereotypes, blondes are much more playful. They don’t say blondes have more fun for nothing! American actress Britni Leslie has heard all the blonde jokes around thanks to her fair hair, but she’s now turned those jokes on their not to fair heads in her new production Not Just A Dumb Blonde.
What inspired you to be an actress? How did your acting career start?
I started acting at a young age. I used to write scripts and put up shows with my best friends. I was 15 when I started acting on real stages. When I finished uni, I moved to work at Disney World, where I started my career. I worked there for six years, stayed in Orlando for a while with various professional theatres. It was just this calling inside me. I went to school for Public Relations, but then I realised I could make a living doing what I love to do.
What inspired you to move to Australia?
I would have never chosen to move to Australia, but I met an Australian man and I decided it’d be a great idea to move to the other side of the world. I’m obsessed with Melbourne, it has a thriving artistic community.
You have lived in both America and Australia and worked as an actress. How does the US theatre scene compare to Australia’s?
They’re both very impressive. The thing with Australia is the community is relatively smaller. You got Melbourne and Sydney as your big hubs, whereas the U.S. has New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, more a broad spectrum of work in U.S. than Australia. But the sheer talent on amateur level and professional levels in Australia, I’ve been blown away by the quality, really impressed. Iv’e said this before, I still feel that theatre is the same everywhere. The people who do it are similar. The terms are slightly different, but mostly the same. It’s a universal community.
Do you feel the “dumb blonde” stereotype is as prevalent in Australia as it seems to be in America?
I think they would associate dumb blondes with being American. I’m sure that there are Australian women that have a dumb blonde moment, but it’s a very strong American stereotype.
What inspired Not Just A Dumb Blonde?
I’ve always been fascinated by history’s famous blondes, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and those people. I’ve always been cast as the sexy dumb blonde. It’s now that in my more wiser years, it doesn’t bother me and I love it. But the premise is that I want to figure out what it is about me that makes it so that as soon as I got into a casting room that I’m a dumb blonde. A lot of women have been pigeonholed in that role, an it’s tough to shake that role. It’s light hearted cabaret and there’s an underlining theme of not judging a book by its cover.
Who is your favourite famous blonde and why?
While it’s not a Marilyn Monroe cabaret, the world associates dumb blondes with her. She’s an incredible woman. People didn’t give her enough credit. While the show only briefly talks about her, we do some of her songs and talks about her. I think history is sometimes quite fascinating. You see these movies about her and there’s something almost magical about her. The thing she did so well was this vacant dumb blonde and she did it great. She died way before her time, I think that kept her around. There’s something magical about her that’s kept people interested in her all these years.
What can audiences expect from the show?
Its’s a very light, fun show and I think you can expect it to be a good girls night out, or a fun night out at the theatre. Cute moments of audience participation and songs that you know and songs you maybe don’t know. You get to figure out what’s underneath the blonde stereotype of Britni Leslie anyway.
Originally published here at milkbarmag.com on Thursday 13 August 2015