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Jen Gapay

Burlesque is not just about stripping. “It’s helping women become more empowered with their bodies,” says Thirsty Girl Productions founder and co-founder of The New York Burlesque Festival, Jen Gapay (center). She saw her first burlesque performance in the late ‘90s. Since that time, burlesque—which has roots in vaudeville and celebrates all body types—has been making a comeback, and Gapay has been producing some of the largest events in the country. Now in its sixth year, the Festival brings performers from around the world to sold-out crowds. During July 4th weekend, Thirsty Girl will produce The Establishment, a big-tent cabaret experience at the Rothbury Festival, a multi-stage outdoor music event in Michigan. –LL

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