The Saint Edgard is a stage name of one of the brightest stars on the boylesque scene in Stockholm but not many people know that behind that name is a born and bread Icelander: Sigurður Edgar Andersen. He has been living in Sweden for three years making a name for himself in the entertaining world but has never performed in Iceland. That’s about to change though as tomorrow, Thursday November 9th he wlil be one of the performers at Reykjavík Kabarett’s anniversary show in Þjóðleikhúskjallarinn in Reykjavík.
GayIceland was curious to get to know the boy behind the name so we contacted The Saint Edgard and started by asking him how it came about that he will finally be performing in Iceland.
“Yes I am! I can’t wait,” The Saint Edgard burts out, smiling from ear to ear. “Miss Mokki, Margrét Erla, contacted me and asked me to perform at their anniversary show and I agreed immediately. This will be the first time that I perform in my home country and it means a lot to me. I have been doing burlesque here in Sweden for two years now and I think it’s time to take on Iceland next.”
Even though The Saint Edgard is a relatively unknown name in Iceland he is famous in his field in Sweden and some say he is the best of the best. How did this Icelandic boy end up as a boylesque star in Sweden?
“It all started when I was looking for a job as a waiter and never even got a reply from the places I applied for work in. Then one day I saw an ad in a paper that Melt Bar was looking for a performance waiter. I applied and got an answer on the same day. I had no idea what burlesque even was but the first night I worked there I performed a solo dance with cha cha, jive, walz and such stuff.
“Sex appeal is a beautiful thing and when I’m standing on the stage everything just flows from me naturally. If all the people in the world would attend a burlesque course and learn to love their bodies I’m pretty sure the world would become a better place.”
I’ll never forget that night because that was the first time I saw burlesque live and the moment I saw the performance of Mrs. Murphy blew me a way. How she owned the stage and transfixed the audience with her charm, self confidence and performance, which made me come to the conclusion that this was something I really wanted to do.
Today I live for doing boylesque and my only goal is to get better and better. I never think of myself as some boylesque star, but I have gotten a lot of great opportunities in a short time and gotten to know some wonderful people and for that I’m really grateful. I’m very much looking forward to the future as there are some amazing things planned for 2018.”
What was it exactly that fascinated you so much that you decided to do this for a living?
“What fascinated me at the beginning was the glamour but as time goes on you see that behind all that glamour there is a lot of hard work, sweat and money that you have to spend on it. But for me personally the boylesque has given me so much self-confidence and tought me to love myself in a way I didn’t do before. It teaches one to embrace one’s flaws and just own them.”
But what does The Saint Edgard’s family think of this way of making a living?
“I’m very grateful for the understanding and support my family has shown in this, especially my mother. They thought it was just a hobby at first but now they know that I’m in it for real, not just to stand on stage and get attention. I’ve actually never spoken about this to my grandmother, she still thinks I go on stage and dance a bit of jive,” Edgar says with a laughter. “I have to sit down with her and explain what it is that I do.”
The Saint Edgard’s parents are divorced and both live in Iceland where his mother breeds dogs and his father is a GP. He is the oldest of five siblings and grew up with his mother, two younger sisters and lots of dogs and horses. “The dogs mean a lot to me,” he explains. “I love nothing more than to take a good walk in a forest with my dog on Sundays and just really relax.
When I was younger I was this shy, humble kid and the dogs were my best friends. Then I entered a period where I was really depressed and stuck in a dark place and I came to the conclusion that I needed to get into new environment. That was three years ago and in that period I decided to move to Sweden.
That was the best decision of my life! It taught me that you have to follow your own conviction. You only live once and one has to have the guts to step outside one’s comfort zone. I have grown a lot as an individual in these three years and gotten to know such a huge amount of tremendous people. I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunities I’ve gotten.”
“Being a part of the burlesque world has taught me not to judge people. It does not matter if you are an actor, a cook, a doctor, a porn star, a waiter, a dancer or whatever. As long as you’re happy and what you do does not harm anyone just go for it.”
When The Saint Edgard was younger he practised ballroom dancing and he says that has helped him a lot in the boylesque scene.
“When I lived in Iceland I practised ballroom dancing and it has really come in handy to have that background. Ballroom dancing taught me a lot about performing on stage and to know how to use my body. Of course boylesque is a much less constructed art form, you can basically do what ever you want. Ballroom dancing is a competition sport and there are strict rules on how to move and perform.”
But how is the burlesque world as a whole?
“I love the burlesque world and the people in it. Mostly because they are so open-minded. Being a part of the burlesque world has taught me not to judge people. It does not matter if you are an actor, a cook, a doctor, a porn star, a waiter, a dancer or whatever. As long as you’re happy and what you do does not harm anyone just go for it. Two years ago this was all very alien to me but now I’ve
seen so much that you would not believe it! Sex appeal is a beautiful thing and when I’m standing on the stage everything just flows from me naturally. If all the people in the world would attend a burlesque course and learn to love their bodies I’m pretty sure the world would become a better place.”
Some boylesque dancers have been quoted saying that they are looked down upon by the women in the burlesque world who think men are prominent enough in other areas of the entertainment world and should leave burlesque to the women. The Saint Edgard has not experienced that, he says, and neither have the Swedes had any bone to pick with him because he’s Icelandic.
“The Swedes have been very welcoming and they just think it’s fun that I come from Iceland,” he explains. “Neither have I experienced any hostility from the women in the scene. It’s the women who have molded me and helped me learn and I have humongous respect for them. I’m sometimes told that I am ´too much´on the stage but I just answer the person saying it that she is ´too little´. You have to stand up for yourself in this business and be able to take critic. But at the same time you have to know the difference between the constructive critic and the unconstructive. Personally I think that a good act must be able to stand on it’s own. If you take away all the glamour, glitter and crystals there has to be something underneath.”
“… for me personally the boylesque has given me so much self-confidence and taught me to love myself in a way I didn’t do before. It teaches one to embrace one’s flaws and just own them.”
How is the Swedish burlesque scene compared to the Icelandic burlesque scene?
“I think they are pretty similar. The Swedish scene is obviously bigger and the Swedes are keen on sophistication, beautiful costumes and something pretty to watch. I’m sometimes told that I should spare some of the energy on stage but when I saw Margrét Erla performing at Melt I realised how strong the Icelandic energy is. There is something in us Icelanders that is so raw and beautiful and expresses itself so naturally.”
Let’s go back to your upcoming performance in Iceland. What can the audience expect?
“OMG! I’m so excited! It’s such a great honour for me to perform for the first time in Iceland at the anniversary show of Reykjavik Kabarett. I will bring my favorite act to Iceland and can hardly wait to shake the audience to their core!”
The Saint Edgard will only stay a week in Iceland this time and most of his free time will be spent with his family. But he’ll be back.
“Just you wait,” he grins. “I’ll be in Iceland from December 18th to the 8th of January and then I will bring all my show gear. That’ will be something. Stay tuned.”
Main photo: Felicia Lemmeke
Photo of The Saint Edgard with bottle of champagne: Fredrik Robertsson