Burlesque performer's risqué outfit at Napier's Art Deco Festival causes outrage online

Cherry Boomb's outfit caused quite a stir at this year's Napier Art Deco Festival.
Cherry Boomb's outfit caused quite a stir at this year's Napier Art Deco Festival. Photo credit: Instagram/Cherry Boomb

A burlesque performer who wore a body-painted costume through the streets during Napier's Art Deco Festival has received a slew of backlash online.

Alesha Hunt, 32, who goes by the show name Cherry Boomb, walked the streets during the Vintage Car Parade dressed as the Spirit of Napier statue.

The gold statue depicts a nude woman with her arms above her head and is a symbol of Napier rising from the ashes of the 1931 earthquake.

Hunt says she only wanted to bring some fun and glitter to the day, but understands that a body paint costume "is not for everyone".

"Not everyone is going to agree with what I'm doing, but I didn't do it for other people - I did it for myself," she told NZME.

"I have always been a big fan of the Spirit of Napier statue and thought why not represent it. Why not push the boundaries and just have fun with it?"

She added that nobody was too provocative with her outfit and she had lots of people asking for photos with her.

Cherry Boomb's Spirit of Napier-inspired outfit.
Cherry Boomb's Spirit of Napier-inspired outfit. Photo credit: Instagram/Cherry Boomb

Art Deco Trust fundraising and communications manager Steph Kennard says Hunt's appearance during the festival wasn't "officially sanctioned".

"The Trust is disappointed anything would detract from the enjoyment of the Parade as a family-friendly event," she told NZME.

Hunt's outfit caused outrage online, with many people sharing their views to the Art Deco Trust's Facebook page.

"I have no words at all to describe my disgust that Art Deco and all that is wonderful about Deco Napier has come down to this shocking, crude, deplorable and disgusting display," one person wrote.

"I saw this on someone else's post, and I don't think it's very appropriate for [the] middle of the day at a family event either. Might be different late at night at an event where people are expecting it, but this, no," says another.

There were some comments supporting Hunt, including one person who says her outfit was done "tastefully and classily" and it represented the Spirit of Napier statue well.

The 2020 Art Deco Festival runs until Sunday evening.