Face Of The Day

Toni Elling began performing when she was 32 years old and when

David Rosenberg provides background on the above image:

Roughly 10 years ago, photographer Stephanie Diani went to Helendale, Calif., to check out the Miss Exotic World pageant, which is now located in Las Vegas and known as the Burlesque Hall of Fame. … Diani had heard about the Legends of Burlesque—“ladies of a certain age who perform and teach younger dancers,” she said—and found herself watching the women, some of whom were septuagenarians, parading around in scantly clad outfits or even just pasties with an air of confidence that fascinated Diani. She made a mental note to work on a project about them.

Seven years after her visit, Diani decided to research the dancers’ whereabouts and began a series of portraits of the women taken in their homes (or sometimes in a hotel room) wearing either their favorite costumes or something of significance to them. She began with Stephanie Blake in Simi Valley, Calif., who then referred Diani to another dancer. This began a word-of-mouth project that became “Dames: The Legends of Burlesque.”

(Photo of Toni Elling by Stephanie Diani)