Hitchin burlesque dancer Briar Rouge’s TV love quest to continue on Channel 4’s First Dates programme

Hitchin woman Becky Bennett as Briar Rouge, her burlesque alter-ego.

Hitchin woman Becky Bennett as Briar Rouge, her burlesque alter-ego. - Credit: Sharon Cooper photography

A former property manager from Hitchin who is now a raunchy burlesque dancer appeared on Channel 4’s First Dates programme on Tuesday night – and though things didn’t quite go to plan, she’ll be back on the show this week for another try.

Hitchin woman Becky Bennett as Briar Rouge, her burlesque alter-ego.

Hitchin woman Becky Bennett as Briar Rouge, her burlesque alter-ego. - Credit: Sharon Cooper photography

Becky Bennett, who performs as Briar Rouge, wore a dress from Graceland of Sun Street during her TV date with Bristolian comedian Lewis.

He clearly took a liking to the former Samuel Whitbread Academy pupil, but the feeling was far from mutual.

“He’s ever so sweet, and we had a great time but we just didn’t hit it off,” the 28-year-old said.

“I’m a bit more mature, I guess. The producers really liked me though, so they matched me up with another guy and invited me back. Being on the programme was a great experience. Fred, the maitre d’, is lovely.”

It has never been easy for Becky, who was orphaned when she was two and bullied through school, and spent eight months bedridden after collapsing at work in 2014.

Diagnosed with severe stress and chronic fatigue syndrome – also called ME – Becky’s Briar Rouge alter-ego was instrumental in helping her turn things around.

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“A friend was performing on a cabaret night in Hitchin last year and they needed someone else at the last minute, so I just went for it,” she said.

“That really lifted my self-esteem and gave me the push to get back into it, and since then things have gone really well.”

Becky has been signed up by the London model agency Ugly and featured in the national press. Her ME is not gone, but is a bit more under control now.

“I get carried away on the good days sometimes, so every now and then I do crash and spend a week in bed, but I’m learning to manage it better,” she said.

“I’ve been really overwhelmed by people’s support. I have people saying I’ve inspired them, which means a huge amount.

“That’s kept me going. I don’t think I could go back to a nine-to-five job. I feel really lucky.”

You can see Becky’s next dinner date, with 6ft tattoo artist John, on Channel 4 at 10pm on Tuesday.

Becky will be holding burlesque classes at Walsworth Community Hall on Tuesday evenings from March 29, at £8 per class or £30 per four-week course.

She arranged this course after her Thursday evening classes at The George pub, which start on March 31, sold out up to the end of April. For more details visit www.briarrouge.com.

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