The performing arts is built into the DNA of Samantha Parks who at the age of two started dance, a time when most toddlers are still learning to walk. As she grew, so did her artistic pursuits, eventually branching out into singing and yoga. After several years maturing as an artist and creator, her vision has culminated into the creative brand Bullsdaughter—a name inspired by her late father Jamell “Bull” Parks and her own life journey.
I first laid eyes on the entertainer, aka Nebula Noir in the burlesque world, during her performance with the cabaret troupe The Black Veils. She emanated an infectious charisma and had a presence that filled the room. It was clear that she comes alive on stage and blossoms under the spotlight. She sang with conviction, moved with desire and her solo acts dripped with passion. There’s no doubt that Parks’ aerial dance number that night put a spell on the entire audience.
How does an individual conjure such magic through performance? Ultimately, it’s innate. Parks naturally possesses a spark that shows she’s tapping into a deeper level of creativity. She also brings that enthusiasm as a vocalist to the rock and soul band Wargirl and as a yoga teacher. In the following interview, Samantha Parks gives further insight into her growth as an artist and what her experience has been thus far.
Q: You’ve been a member of The Black Veils for five years now, and on your website, you mention how the troupe has had an immense impact on you as a dancer. Seeing you in action myself, you have a powerful presence. How do you feel you’ve grown as a performer, and what do you find particularly alluring about burlesque and cabaret?
A: Yes! I’d had the desire to explore burlesque many years before even knowing about The Black Veils and when I was finally presented with an opportunity to join them, I was ecstatic. I had danced my whole life but had been feeling eager to tap into the element of connecting more with sensuality through movement. It was actually my abilities as a singer that became a huge part of my initiation into the troupe, but I was determined to dance as well. I had also been training aerial at the time which, shortly after I joined, became an added element to our productions.
I worked extremely hard to learn all the routines (constantly meeting other ladies outside of rehearsals whenever I could) and Coco, our director, does an incredible job at keeping us on our toes and making sure we come together to create a show we could be proud of. I credit her leadership, the camaraderie I developed with the women who’ve been part of this and my passion for the mission behind it all as the main components for how much I’ve grown. I’ve developed an immense sense of self-confidence, feeling good in my own skin, regaining ownership of what empowers me and breaking down the barriers of societal stigmas since becoming part of what I refer to as my “dance family.” It has impacted my life in such a powerful way, and I’ve learned how much it has inspired many onlookers in the process which, to me, is where the magic happens—when you become a voice/vision for not only yourself, but for others. I believe anyone who exists in this field is re-shaping the way we think about body image, sexuality, liberation, innovation and how to make a statement about what truly matters to you. Burlesque and cabaret are art forms for everyone that house such a broad spectrum of raw expression and I have the utmost respect and adoration for them.
Q: Singing has been another major part of your artistic career and currently you’re a vocalist for the band Wargirl. What have been some of your most memorable experiences being part of the group? Are there other music projects you’d like to explore as a singer?
A: Wargirl has been extremely fortunate in terms of the experiences we’ve had over the past few years. We’ve toured multiple countries in a very short amount of time, and I have to say that every single tour we’ve done overseas has been an accurate depiction of my wildest dreams coming to life. It’s hard to select one specific moment because it’s all been unforgettable. We were on tour in the EU when the pandemic started heightening and unfortunately were forced to end everything early and return back to the States. I miss it so much and I’m holding onto hope that we will be able to pick up where we left off someday. Until then, we plan to remain focused on making music and booking local shows as local events/venues begin reopening their doors.
Outside of Wargirl, I’ve always had a fondness for Jazz. I would often do little gigs on the side covering old tunes with good friends before the lockdown took place. Once in a while, I will step into the studio to feature on recording projects with other musicians. But, overall, most of my musical energy has been poured into Wargirl. That said, I try to remain open to all opportunities as they come ’cause there’s no telling what might organically unfold.
Q: You’ve been practicing and teaching yoga for a decade, and you incorporate dance, music and intuitive movement. How did your involvement with yoga happen and what do you find most fulfilling about teaching it?
A: I began doing yoga on the Bluff in Long Beach over a decade ago and instantly realized that it was a necessity for keeping my sanity intact. It’s worked wonders for my mental health, but that has not come without challenge. Before finding yoga, I’d not realized how much of a disconnect I’d developed with my own breath, nor that movement and meditation could intersect so beautifully. Years later, I decided to dive into Teacher Training and never looked back. Overtime, I’ve learned that my practice can look like whatever I want or need it to be day to day, moment to moment, breath to breath. No one body is the exact same. We’re all moving through different experiences in life, looking through various lenses and at the end of the day it’s important to revisit the center of who you are—authenticity. It’s difficult to consistently be at peace with yourself, but yoga has become one of my vessels in that regard.
What’s most fulfilling to me as an instructor is being able to exchange this same energy with others. I encourage my students to meet themselves where they’re at, expel excess and allow space for levity, joy, tranquility, laughter (whatever their momentary need may look like). I hope to continue to inspire and remain inspired as long as I’m a teacher. There is always room to color outside the lines and no one can stop us, but ourselves.
Q: Your upcoming show with The Black Veils is going to be a special Halloween edition! Since we’re in the middle of spooky season I have to ask, what do you enjoy most about Halloween?
A: SHE A FALL BABY! I was born in November, so I love me some autumn vibes. I’m also a Scorpio, so I naturally gravitate toward haunting, dark and sometimes morbid things. Our Halloween show is hands down our favorite because we don’t do anything else like it throughout the year. It’s a chance to set free the twisted, creepy, spooky parts of ourselves under the umbrella of seduction. We get wildly creative with our concepts, costuming and staging too. Halloween just feels nostalgic to me. The transition of entering this realm where the world is willing to become more super playful and even provocative is something I adore. I’m honored to also announce that I’m in the process of choreographing and co-creating some of the routines for our show on October 22nd!! We’re all pitching in to make this production an incredible and unforgettable experience! Co-producing with the rest of the girls has been dope!
Q: What’s next for you and your artistic endeavors?
A: It’s hard to tell for sure considering the climate of everything, but I’m so damn grateful for The Black Veils and for Harvelle’s Long Beach inviting us back to perform in the place we feel most at home.
I’ve recently had the epiphany that developing artistic productions is becoming a new passion of mine. Other people’s faith in me, such as my dear friend Johnny who helped make my website (bullsdaughter.com); Coco who offered to add my choreography to our regular show; my friend Michelle who has been brainstorming branding and logos with me; my dance students who express constant thanks toward me; and a number of beautiful humans who’ve volunteered time and energy to be part of some of my film projects, like “Fluid and Fierce,” have kept me going and gifted me with the ability to believe in my own capabilities!
A huge testament to this newfound courage and extra push is my current occupation as a sensual dance instructor. I began teaching heels/sensual dance classes during the summer of 2020 as a means to remotivate, recharge and reunite with my roots as a performer and artist. I also wanted to give back to those around me as I had observed so many folks who felt they’d lost touch with connecting to their own bodies. This pursuit was a small experiment that has now evolved into a full-on business I’ve fallen in love with building. My ultimate mission is to host safe spaces that provide guidance and develop community through sensual dance/movement/self-empowerment. I heavily aim to make these spaces feel inclusive to everyone despite prior experience, gender, race, age (18+), body type, etc. As of now, I teach monthly group classes, private sessions and semi-privates. I’m hoping to have some workshops going in the near future. I plan to continue seeing where this endeavor leads me while nurturing what I’ve established as a burlesque dancer, singer and yoga instructor. The possibilities are endless.
To learn more about Bullsdaughter, check out the links below: