"When I was growing up, you were either fat or thin. My peers placed me firmly in the former category, and let me know it. Frequently. I lacked confidence in myself, my talents, and my body. That changed in 2005 when I discovered The Rocky Horror Picture Show being shown at Studio 35 accompanied by a live performance. Their cast chose to assign the roles based solely on talent, rather than ‘looking the part.’ I joined up, performed as multiple characters, discovered I had directing abilities and gained confidence in myself. That confidence led me to modeling and burlesque—two art forms that were notorious for excluding plus-size persons. Through these mediums I can express sensuality, hilarity, melancholy, or any other emotion I desire, all by painting a picture with my expressions, movements, and body language. Now that I feel confident in myself, I want to help others gain that confidence, both by setting an example as a performer, and by providing them the space to express themselves. I’m now a multi-published model, an actor, a burlesque performer, a director of two casts and owner of a performance art bar. I’m proof that anybody, and any body can create art!"
—Cora Mandragora, performer/burlesque