Amy Brooks, 33, fixes her hair before the first dress rehearsal of the “Wrathskellar Tales,” a production of the Burlesque Troupe, “The Boston BeauTease,” in Quincy, Mass. on Oct. 19, 2016. Brooks began taking Burlesque classes last summer. She grew up in a conservative and religious home, and attended Olivet Nazarene University in Ill. “[I] would have prayed for her,” Brooks said, describing how she would have felt in college if she knew how she acts now.
Amy Brooks (left) receives feedback after her performance from Instructor Mina Murray (right), during a “Burlesque Your Way” class on Sept. 19, 2016 in Allston, Mass. Brooks said she was hesitant to join a more advanced class after Mina Murray invited her over the summer. “As I started putting the piece together and it became this deep and meaningful piece to me and my journey, I knew that I couldn’t back out,” she said.
Amy Brooks adjusts her choker while waiting in traffic on her way to the first dress rehearsal of the “Wrathskellar Tales” on Oct. 19, 2016 in Cambridge, Mass. “The way that I was brought up was to cover. That more is better. That you don’t tempt men with what you’re wearing…but this is what I need to be doing right now,” she said.
Amy Brooks (right) performs an original Burlesque routine to Beyonce’s song, “Halo” while an instructor watches during the final “Burlesque Your Way” class before the student showcase in November on Oct. 6, 2016, in Allston, Mass. “I was always the really big girl, but I was a decent dancer,” Brooks said, describing her experience as a middle school and high school cheerleader. “I had to sew two skirts together in order to fit into it because they were so, so tiny.”
The halo from Amy Brooks' costume sits on the ground after her performance during a “Burlesque Your Way” class on Sept. 29, 2016 in Allston, Mass.
Amy Brooks (second from left) listens to the Stacey Rizoli’s (left) feedback from instructors during the final “Burlesque Your Way” class on Oct. 6, 2016 in Allston, Mass. “I liked that it celebrated women and who we are right now, not who we’re trying to be,” Brooks said describing the class.
Amy Brooks returns to her job as office manager of a private wealth management firm, whose name has asked to be redacted, after taking a lunch break in the Financial District of Boston on Oct. 14, 2016. In December 2014, Brooks had gastric bypass surgery to reduce the size of her stomach after deciding she was tired of losing weight and gaining it back. Since the surgery, she has lost 130 pounds.
Mina Murray (right) explains how to properly execute a tassel twirl with pasties on to Amy Brooks (center) as Stacey Rizoli (left) watches during a “Burlesque Your Way” class on Sept. 29, 2016 in Allston, Mass.
A photo of Brooks in college sits on her mantle in her home on Oct. 19, 2016 in Quincy, Mass.
Pearl Buttons (right) consoles Amy Brooks (left) before the start of her first burlesque performance during the Boston Academy of Burlesque Education student showcase on Nov. 6, 2016 in Cambridge, Mass. “I’m freaking out. I didn’t think I would,” Brooks said.
Amy Brooks performs her first burlesque routine in front of an audience during the Boston Academy of Burlesque Education student showcase on Nov. 6, 2016 in Cambridge, Mass.
Amy Brooks (left) and Kristin Schroeder (right) embrace after the end of the Boston Academy of Burlesque Education student showcase on Nov. 6, 2016 in Cambridge, Mass. Schroeder, Brook’s best friend, flew in from Minneapolis to see her perform. “She was in really abusive, manipulative relationships...and she doesn’t put up with that crap anymore, and she’s starting to date guys that are worthy of her,” Schroeder said.