Carrie Finnell: The Bad Girl Of Burlesque

By | June 10, 2019

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Carrie Finnell was the Bad Girl of Burlesque. Source: (

From the 1870s through the 1940s, Burlesque shows were a popular form of entertainment. Staged in nightclubs, theatres, and cabarets across the country, these variety shows featured salacious comedy, lewd musical acts, and female striptease dancers. By today’s standards, the performances of the female dancers were tamed – nothing more than suggestive teasing – but it was enough to entice male audience members to return again and again to see the shows. One of the first of these dancers – and the one credited with developing the striptease format – was Carrie Finnell, the Bad Girl of Burlesque. 

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Ziegfeld Chorus Girls in 1917, the same year Carrie Finnell joined the troupe. Source: (

A Ziegfeld Girl

A former gym teacher from Kentucky, Carrie Finnell joined the Ziegfeld Follies as a Ziegfeld Girl in 1917. As a chorus girl and dancer, Finnell quickly learned how to tease the male audience members with her flirting skills and a show of her well-turned legs. She was naturally buxom and used this trait to her advantage.