Meet Indy’s Next Big Thing In Burlesque: Max Maneater

Multifaceted performer Max Maneater dishes on the ‘aha’ moment that led them to pursue burlesque, how they balance their on-stage persona and real-life existence, and what’s next for them on stage.
A photo of a person laying on a bed in burlesque clothing

Creating intimate experiences that blend creative costuming, fishnets, and a whole lot of rhinestones has led Indianapolis-based entertainer Max Maneater to grace many of the most sought-after stages across the Midwest. Now, Max is looking to what’s next in their character study, with an eye toward becoming your favorite party guest—so long as clothes aren’t required.

Max Maneater wearing a white shirt
Max Maneater; photo: Ja Leesa George

The house lights go dark as your eyes struggle to adjust, eventually accepting the depths of the stage in front of you. Your breath draws in quick, the cool air from the recently flung open house doors rushing across your parted lips, slightly damp from a swipe of the tongue in anticipation, as you await the arrival of tonight’s most elusive performer. Will they grace the stage in a bodysuit clad in rhinestones, Clara Bow-inspired rouge lips, and a smoldering gaze to match? Or will they be disguised in a futuristic alien getup, complete with chrome pasties that make you question if you’re truly happy here on Planet Earth? But what if today, they’re sporting a beard and a bulge, all tied nicely together in an exquisite steel-boned corset and riddled with baguette beads?

The entrance of entertainer Max Maneater can evoke these emotions, questions, urges, and more. And when the performance actually begins, let’s just say that you’ll likely be in love by the time the curtain—and final scrap of clothing—drops.

Max’s foray into burlesque and other performance mediums was lit ablaze after seeing a most chaotic, sexy, and clever burlesque act produced by Angel Burlesque at The Athenaeum just seven years ago. From that night on, they pursued formal classes and practiced relentlessly in their apartment. And the hard work paid off: Max has been in upwards of 100 shows, crafts sold-out productions, and boasts an adoring fanbase on social sites—both with and without a paywall.

A photo of a person with back tattoos and a thong
Max Maneater; photo: Ja Leesa George

Sharing classically intimate moments with strangers and friends alike, Max opens up on stage, yet strikes a balance in their romantic relationship at home. Achieving symbiosis between their on-stage persona and real-life existence may be one of Max’s proudest achievements of their marriage.

“My wife and I have defined the things that are reserved just for us: certain words, practices, positions … we joke and call that ‘The Wife Package.’ The boundaries are drawn in a way that works for us. We talk a lot, but this work doesn’t monopolize our relationship,” Max shares, which is a good thing, since they work together to produce imagery for *that* site. (Otherwise known as OnlyFans, if you’re wondering.)

Burlesque has been the gateway drug for Max’s near addiction to providing the best of entertainment for their audiences, but the talent doesn’t end there. Serving as MC, strutting in drag, or promoting their next production, Max’s relentless ambition spans mediums. Always honing their craft and seeking out knowledge and skills to make their work more electric, engaging, and erotic, Max is hungry for what’s possible for performance.

A person sitting on a table with a leg up in burlesque clothing
Max Maneater; photo: K Theadora

“I’d like to take more risks and try out some of my more conceptual acts that haven’t hit the stage. I get a rush from learning new things. Sometimes I invite my newfound hobbies into my work, but not always. Who knows? Last year I adored Marlene Dietrich, took pole fitness classes, and tried to make a tear-away bra. This year I think it’ll be cigars and a weighted veil,” shares Max.

Weaving a life full of art, ambition, and community, Max is focusing on expanding their reach and their sense of romance—two things that all Mavens can take note of.

On Reach: “I want to get my hands dirty! I want to expand my art, my audience, and my skills by forming a network of mutual support. I love collaboration, and it’s really energizing to work with other people that want to do the same. I hope I can engage with people in new ways and find opportunities in unexpected places.”

A photo of a person holding their chest with red gloves on a chair
Max Maneater; photo: Rachel Schwebach

On Romance: “This year I am making an intentional effort to love on my people the way that they like to be loved on. I don’t want to be on autopilot when I spend time with my wife and friends, and so I’m really working on showing up for people in the ways that matter to them. I think I can be busy and ambitious and a good partner and friend.”

While Max maintains an on-stage persona that’s not dependent on their pedestrian whereabouts, you could spot them the next time you’re out where the banter is lively and exposed human flesh is preferred. If you happen to see a stunning 5-foot-4-inch brunette with a few curls hiding their smolder from full view, strutting by in a vintage pantsuit—it may be worth a double-take just to be sure.

You can follow along with Max Maneater’s projects, find out where they’ll be taking their clothes off next, and reach out to say hello, all on their website.

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