Michou Cabaret - Interview with Creative Director, Oscar

Photos by Sham & Cybelle , write up & video by Emma, interview by Ambre.

Michou Cabaret opened in 1956 featuring all drag performers & impersonators

Ambs was standing outside of a side street of Pigalle, under a pink and blue sign that seductively whispered michou with each faint neon buzz. It was dark out, and cold, October in Paris, streets were rainy, and Sham was trying to keep warm in a cutoff tank top that simply read “erotic inferno” he had just got free from a shoot. 9:45, the doors opened and Oscar, the creative director and featured comedian in the Michou Cabaret greeted us, and led us backstage towards the dressing rooms.

A skinny white hallway that branched off into several small rooms, opposite a rack of identical sequin & tulle minis — for the final number one could assume — and promises of puffy pink wigs. Oscar led us into his dressing room, lightly tapping on packed powders to transform for the evening. He and Ambre chatted in french, while Cybelle and Sham silently took photos, the mamiya chunk-chunking of the lens punctuating moments.


0:07-0:08 : Beauty ?

0:09-0:13: Beauty ? In one word ? I am.

0:18-0: 25: What does it mean to you to be lucky enough to wear makeup every single night to play in front of people? 

0:26 - 0: 52: Lucky to wear make-up? It’s not a luck. To me, make-up is not that fun. What’s funny to me is to be a character, to get into someone’s skin. That’s funny to me. 

Make-up bored me. Make-up is the just the technical part. Some people love it, I’m not a fan. 

It’s just an excuse to get into someone else’s skin. That’s not what excites me the most. I like to be a character and, not especially a feminine one. 

0:53 - 0: 56: So comedy is more of your first love?

0:57 - 1: 09: That’s what the most fun to me. Not the make-up, not becoming a woman, not being beautiful. I’m not beautiful that often anyways. On stage, I’m more quirky. 

Dream? Beauty? That’s me obviously because I’m the opposite.

1:26 - 1: 30: There’s still a form of beauty in that, in being able to be someone else?

1:31 - 1: 46: Yes, of course! That’s most interesting to become this person and starting to think like her/him. When I do my character, I’m live on stage. I’m not singing but interacting with people and I have to think like her, not as I would. 

2:16 - 2: 19: And how is it here? How’s the vibe?

2:20 - 2:40: Oh, it’s fucked up. No, it’s amazing. People come to have fun, to disconnect. People are in the 70’s design room that hasn’t change, we kept everything. The room is so tiny that people are kind of forced to talk to other.

2:53 - 2: 57: When you wear makeup you can do more bullshit. You can speak more casual with people, you can touch people.


After Oscar finished putting on false eyelashes, we were led to the main room, each surface covered with overlapping decoratively framed mirrors. We squeezed into the side and clutched four glasses of champagne and watched the magic of Michou dance, lip sync, and sparkle across the stage.

Special thanks to Oscar & Ambre

Scroll for all the photos (click to enlarge)

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