Ann Corio

Ann Corio was born in Hartford, CT in 1909. At fifteen, she began secretly performing in burlesque as a chorus girl. Her Catholic mother resisted at first, but after seeing Corio perform she consented, “Just so they look-a, but no touch!” By 1936 Corio was a star in the Minsky theaters in New York City, drawing a star salary during the depression. At the time, there were distinct lines of business for dancers: the chorus and featured strippers and teasers, strippers undressed down to a g-string and pasties, but the teaser “She is always about to undress, but she never completely fulfills the promise of her eyes and hips,” wrote David Dressler in a 1937 study of New York Burlesque. Like her contemporary Gypsy Rose Lee, Corio was a teaser. Corio claimed never to have done the bump and grind...

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By the time she won Miss Exotic World in 1995 Pillow had been combining elements of classic striptease with a unique modern twist for nearly two decades while simultaneously becoming a champion bodybuilder.

Pillow began her burlesque career in 1976 in the standard sort of go-go clubs that featured bikini and lingerie clad or topless dancers. She soon developed her performances into “theme” turns, featuring elaborate costumes and choreography that she used to create a viable character she enacted during the dance. As the years went by, she became a legendary figure for her artistic and high-energy performances.

At the same time, she was a pioneering force in the development of women’s bodybuilding in the early 1980s, earning awards and recognition, including the Gold’s Classic Women...

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