Now I'm a small teaser!

I found a sexier side to myself after losing my wobbly bits...

Published by: Laura Hinton
Published on: 4 October 2012

Sitting nervously in the audience, I waited to hear the casting announcement for the college play. I loved studying drama. I enjoyed everything about performing arts - and was desperate to play the beautiful and sexy Adela in this year's show, The House of Bernarda Alba.
‘Ashley, lovely audition,' the director smiled. ‘I've cast you as Poncia, the sturdy maid.'
‘Oh... thank you...' I said, with a fixed grin on my face. But inside, my heart was breaking.
I was only 18 but, yet again, I'd been cast as a woman in her 50s, would have to wear frumpy clothes and shuffle around at the edge of the stage.
I couldn't help thinking my size 18 frame had something to do with it. The part of Adela had gone to a wisp of a girl, a Hollywood starlet in the making. But there was a starlet inside me, too...
‘You were fantastic,' my mum Elaine, 50, told me on opening night. ‘You are bound to make it big someday.'
But I knew that in order to be big in theatre, I had to be small in size - there was just no place on the stage for a curvy girl like myself. Or was there?
I'd been watching shows on YouTube and had got a real taste for burlesque. Not the stripping bit - I didn't want to reveal my rolls to anyone! But all those curvy ladies in glam outfits, shaking their booty and winking theatrically...
It was feminine, yet being big didn't matter. In fact, it was an asset! Turning up at my college dance class the following week, I excitedly asked my teacher if we would be doing any burlesque.
‘This class is about telling a story through dance,' she said, dismissively. ‘Not getting your kit off.' Disappointed, I found my partner - a tiny girl who would have looked better in a ballet tutu.
I was mortified when the teacher asked me to fall back and be caught by her.
‘Everyone has to do it, it's about trust,' she insisted. So
I braced myself and flumped backwards.
‘Urgh!' my partner puffed as I knocked all the wind out of her.
Bright red, I pulled the teacher to one side. ‘This just isn't for me,' I hissed. ‘I'd rather try exotic dance.'
Reluctantly, she agreed, and
I signed up for a local burlesque course. Lining up beside the other girls the following week, I took a deep breath. It was now or never!
Soon, I was shaking my curves in time to the beat.
‘Work your props, ladies!' the instructor whooped as she handed out feathers.
Smiling, flourishing behind a feathered fan, I felt a million dollars, and oh so glamorous! ‘You're a natural, Ash,' the instructor winked.
‘Thank you!' I grinned, doing a little shimmy in appreciation.
Before long, I had thrown myself into burlesque and just couldn't get enough. I was forever looking up new moves on YouTube and my confidence levels rocketed.
‘You're a whole new person,' Mum kept telling me.
So, when my college course finished, I didn't head to London for auditions - I joined a local burlesque dance troupe instead.
As a member of Easy Tease, I performed at pubs, clubs and parties, and also gave classes to kids to help boost funds.
‘I wish you could do something for us mums,' one
of the parents said after a kids' class one day.
‘A dance class or something... you're so good at it.'
‘Really?' I gasped, a little embarrassed. ‘Would you be interested in burlesque?' I asked.
‘That sounds great!' she grinned, and some of the other mums agreed, too. So, I hired a room in a social club, and Stiletto Boot Camp was born!
Come dolled up to the max and ready to party! my flyers read and, a few weeks later,
I found the tiny hall bursting at the seams.
Women of all ages, shapes and sizes were there, wearing mini-skirts, heels, plenty of make-up and nervous grins! ‘Grab a chair and let's get going!' I smiled, handing out feathers as Beyoncé blasted out of my stereo system.
Soon, nervous laughter was replaced by sexy simpering as the women left their real lives behind to become goddesses for the afternoon.
‘That was amazing! I've not felt as sexy in years!' one woman told me afterwards.
Week after week, my class was packed. Another lady, Amanda, even told me it had given her marriage a massive boost!
I'm a whole new woman, too - a slim but curvy size 12.
My showgirl dance school has given me the boost I needed. Not only do I teach burlesque, but I hire myself out as a solo performer - parties, pubs...
I even did a wedding not long ago! I love it.
I've recently launched a charm school, too. Write your problems down, I tell my ladies. Then we pass them round and work through them together.
I advise women how to be confident, sexy and in control.
Play hard to get, I say. Be flirty, but never cross that line. Men have to work for your attention.
It's crazy, but I've become a role model. From someone who was once so insecure, I've now totally blossomed into someone new - all thanks to burlesque.
I'm proof that every woman has a goddess within.
Ashley McTease, 25, Newarthill, Motherwell