By Laura Latzko, May 2017 Issue. Meet the other 2017 titleholders here.

Excellence in performance has always been important to Matt Finish. He’s a veteran of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a comedic, all-male drag ballet company. He co-founded the Tucson burlesque troupe Don’t Blink Burlesque. He earned the prestigious burlesque title of Mr. Exotic World on his first attempt. Still, the Arizona EOY pageant marked the first time the classically trained ballet dancer and burlesque performer has participated in a competition for male entertainers.

Echo: What was it about the first burlesque show you attended that made you decide to do it yourself?

Finish: They were so glamorous and sexy, and they were having fun. At that point, I was getting a little burned out on ballet. It’s very structured … Just

creatively, I was a little stifled … Then, way back in my undergrad years, I was also a go-go dancer … [The burlesque dancers] were just having the best time, and that’s what it came down to. I wanted to have fun dancing.

Echo: What made you decide to compete in the EOY system?

Finish: I won an award in 2015 called Mr. Exotic World at the Burlesque Hall of Fame. I was one of four male-presenting performers to be selected out of the world … It was my first year competing there, and I happened to win, and that’s lovely. But it’s like winning the Oscar for Best Actor, and you’re not allowed to win it more than once … I’m not sad about the accomplishments I achieved, but I wanted to get back into it and mix it up a little bit …

Echo: What do you hope to accomplish at the national pageant?

Finish: …I want to raise the bar. Male performers notoriously get away with a lot. I’m hoping to set the bar really really high. I’m going to give the guys at nationals a run for their money …


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