The Marriage of Kim K: An interview with star Yasemin Mireille
A recent graduate of the Arden School of Theatre with a BA in Musical Theatre, the multi-talented Yasemin Mireille has to date performed numerous roles as a singer, actress and dancer, including Velma Kelly in Chicago, the sinister Stepmother in Cinderella, and Dulcie in The Boyfriend.
As the star of the remarkable and ingenious pop opera The Marriage of Kim K, Mireille portrays the reality TV diva with admirable aplomb. Leoe & Hyde’s satirical reworking of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro incorporates fictional vignettes based on Kim Kardashian’s brief marriage to Kris Humphries.
Premiering with immense success at London’s Arcola Theatre in July, The Marriage of Kim K is currently on at C Venues as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until 27th of August.
Hello Yasemin, great to chat with you. The Marriage of Kim K is an intriguing and innovative pop opera. What should it convey to the audience? Is there a message?
The fusion of music genres, historic timelines and relationships is an exciting way of using modern and historical references to tell a classic love story. Couples all over the world will relate to the message that no matter where you are from, whatever your background and regardless of what point in time, falling in and out of love never changes. It also gives the audience an opportunity to experience multiple music styles: opera, musical theatre, pop and R&B all in one show – we are proud to show that you can have it all and it can work when you are brave enough to try!
What attracted you to the part of Kim K?
If there was ever a role written for me, then this was it! A self-confessed Kardashian junkie – the life of Kim K has been one that I grew up with. The opportunity to take on the part and bring out the “diva” was one I did not want to miss! As a strong female influence in the modern world there is so much to Kim that I can use to channel her personality, her drive for life – she is empowering.
You nail the American reality TV diva type in your portrayal of this personality. Have you spent time in the US? How did you prepare for this role?
Sadly I have not been to the US, but in order to research and prepare for the role I had to step back in time to 2011 when Kim was engaged to Kris Humphries – re-watching all the old episodes of KUWTK, when they were in New York together. You could already see the cracks in the Dior foundation of their relationship. Hours of listening to the LA accent on YouTube and mastering her famous vocal fry. It was important that I engaged Kim at this point in her life; she is now in a completely different place as a mother of two and the wife of Kanye West. She was “up and coming” – getting ready to break the internet and slay the fashion world.
What’s your feeling about Kim K as a pop icon – do you think she’s an important cultural influence? How do you interpret her larger-than-life image in your mind and in your performance?
Whether you love or loath Kim K, she is a global icon, using every type of social media available to promote what she does. She strives to be “current” and is a hugely successful business woman. I acknowledge her influence and salute her success, despite the many criticisms of her shallow lifestyle. Through my performance, my primary goal is to portray her with absolute confidence: she is unapologetically herself, commands complete attention, and is a strong presence wherever she goes.
The piece parallels Kim K with Mozart. How does that idea function for you in terms of playing this role?
The parallels in the Kim K story and that of Mozart are defined by the feuding couples’ relationships. In each there is a strong character: the over-the-top Count, who is bold and manipulates his poor wife Rosina, often with all disregard for her feelings; and Kim with Kris Humphries, moving on in her life (and relationships!) even before the wedding cake has been cut! Once we started to study the stories behind these characters it was easy to draw out the similarities and fuse the ideas together in our performances.
Do you have a specific method for getting into character before each show?
Getting into character starts from the feet up! I get into my heels and strut around backstage before applying three layers of foundation and contouring my face to Kimmy K perfection, followed by a flick of the poker-straight hair and there she is…
Reality TV and tabloid news are salient aspects of our culture. Do you think they are merely entertainment or do you see a deeper meaning?
Both. I believe they can provide great entertainment and very be informative about aspects of celebrities’ lives and make people feel like they know the stars they see on TV in greater detail.
Why did you choose musical theatre as a profession?
It’s my passion and I couldn’t see myself ever doing anything else!
Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
Hopefully in five years’ time I will still be doing musical theatre, I would love to do touring musicals again and cruise ships, so I can travel the world and work at the same time. One day I would like to be a director and choreographer.
What do you enjoy most, singing or acting and why
I don’t think you can have one without the other; I enjoy both just as much. It’s such a beautiful way of telling stories and feeling.
You are also a dancer. As a performer, how important to you is dance?
Dance is my saving grace. It helps me express myself, keeps me fit and allows me to be creative. It’s so important as a performer to be able to move and dance well, especially in the musical theatre profession; it allows you to be able to audition for more jobs and helps your stage presence and how you hold yourself in character
Is there a particular character in a musical production that you’d love to take on?
The Countess. I’m not trained in opera, so couldn’t do the part justice, but it’s such a stunning, strong part to play and the music and songs are beautiful. My good friend Emily plays her with such grace, she inspires me.
If you were not in musical theatre what other profession would you have liked to have attempted?
OK so if I really couldn’t do musical theatre? I’d be a really cool saxophone player who hangs out in jazz bars and plays in dark, smoky settings. I’m romantic, right?
Besides your work what are your interests?
I’m really in to fitness and the gym. I also love to cook, travel and spend time with my family and friends.
Do you have any ideas for future projects you’d like to share?
After this tour I have a few auditions lined up but I don’t know what is coming next!
Thanks for your time Yasemin.
Photo: Shay Rowan
The Marriage of Kim K is at the Edinburgh Fringe from 14th until 28th August 2017. For further information or to book visit here.