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Servin' Sex with Jake DuPree
Sex & Dating Servin' Sex

Jake DuPree on Burlesque, Bullying & Breaking Binaries

Nonbinary burlesque performer and lingerie model Jake DuPree on learning from Dita Von Teese, online trolling and the Honey Birdette fiasco.

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Jake DuPree on Burlesque, Bullying & Breaking Binaries

Nonbinary burlesque performer and lingerie model Jake DuPree on learning from Dita Von Teese, online trolling and the Honey Birdette fiasco.

“Being nonbinary means that all the rules are taken off. There are no bounds that I have to live between,” says neo-burlesque performer, fitness instructor and lingerie model Jake DuPree. But that confidence and freedom hasn’t always come so easy to them. This, along with soft launching their nonbinary identity, dealing with online trolling, and learning from icon Dita Von Teese are among the topics discussed with host Gigi Fong in the third episode of Servin’ Sex.

“It’s been such a long journey,” says DuPree, reflecting on their childhood in a small, Conservative town in Arkansas. “Hearing ‘he’ all my life, just felt wrong. And I never could understand what that was. When I came out as gay and people would use ‘she,’ it was fun and I liked it, but that equally wasn’t an identifier for me.”

 

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“It took some getting used to because of the grammar,” says DuPree of they/them pronouns, “but these grammatical rules didn’t sprout from the earth; it’s not like we are supposed to live by them [forever]. We can create our own rules! So I know that it’s hard to process sometimes, but if this is the hardest thing you have to deal with, I think you’re gonna be okay.”

Sadly, being misgendered hasn’t been the hardest thing DuPree has had to contend with. In April 2023, Australian lingerie brand Honey Birdette posted a picture of DuPree modeling their designs on Instagram. The comments were abhorrent – and trolls even targeted DuPree’s mother. “It was horrible,” they remember. “It was so quick and for my own sanity I’ve had to completely change my commenting section to be just people that follow me. It makes me think that I just have to have empathy for some of these people.”
Non-Binary Performer Jake Dupree on Controversy

DuPree has found community through burlesque, almost by chance. They were encouraged to take part in an amateur drag competition at West Hollywood’s Revolver by friends, which led to an audition with Von Teese and, before long, the Giant Martini Glass itself. Since then, they have gone on to perform on some of the biggest Burlesque stages around, including Paris’ Crazy Horse.

Servin’ Sex aims to create a safe space for lovers of all identities, allowing for real, intimate conversations about sex, fashion, art and more. You can find more episodes on Hypebae.com/radio, and on your favorite podcasting platforms – Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get yours.

This interview has been condensed for clarity.

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