Member Spotlight: Meet Prue!

January 19, 2024
Member Spotlight: Meet Prue!

Member Spotlight – Introducing Prue Gallagher

Why did you join Connected Women, and what do you love about being a member?

I joined Connected Women because I’d recently returned to our Melbourne home after three years in Newtown (Sydney). It was time to make new friends here with like-minded women who enjoyed going to concerts, exhibitions, talk about books, swap recipes and so on.  An ad for Connected Women popped up in my FB feed and I thought ‘why not?’. Connected Women offers a lot more than I first imagined and I am evangelising this amazing platform to all the women I know.


What has been your favourite Connected Women memory so far?

I am very much a newbie in this community but the stand-out for me was simply realising that there are lots of women like me who, for whatever reason, want to make new friends and share activities with people who will enjoy them. Over coffee, I immediately bonded with a lovely woman who, like me, has a husband now working from home full-time. She confided that (I’m exaggerating - she just needed to get away sometimes – I’m the one with occasional murderous intent. I am not doing Axe Throwing as an activity).

What's something you're passionate about, and how did you develop that passion?

Whenever anyone asked me why I was taking Burlesque classes at age 65, I would respond “I needed a hobby and I am lousy at knitting!”. It’s much more than a ‘hobby’ of course – I am passionate about this art form, its history, and its performance.  At my first ‘taster’ class, I was terrified – would people think I was ridiculous? Well, I soon realised that this is a very inclusive community, welcoming all shapes, sizes, genders, pronouns, and ages. (In fact, there is a Melbourne burlesque troupe called Phoenix whose members are all over 50, so age is not a barrier).

I’ve completed some eight or nine terms of burlesque – each time developing a different routine and learning skills such as ‘glove peeling’, fan dancing, stocking peeling and – yes! – pastie tassel twirling. That was a very funny class. Did you know that if you hold your arms at your sides the tassels go in one direction, and if you hold your arms up, they twirl in the opposite direction. (Feel free to insert that fact next time there is a lull in dinner conversation).  I’ve only performed in public twice – both were comedy routines with eight or nine performers. Stripping to panties and ‘pasties’ is usually optional (thank goodness for corsets).

Through these classes and going to lots of Burlesque shows (my husband says he’s the only man he knows whose wife insists he go out to see gorgeous women take of their clothes) I’ve met some amazing women (and men), seen them blossom in every way, and been proud when they were able to quit their dreary day jobs and make a living doing what they love. And every student I’ve met has become (like me) more confident in their own skin. But even if you’re just having fun (like me), we all walk out of each class with just a little more sashay in our step.

BTW, in Melbourne, Maison Burlesque is the biggest school with heaps of classes in all Burlesque variations at all times of day.

What's something you've always wanted to learn or try, but haven't yet?

I would really love to do Swing Dancing. I’ve never done a ‘proper’ dance class and I think it would be great to be able to ‘cut a rug’. I picked Swing because I know there are Swing groups that meet in Melbourne, but any style of dance would be terrific. Maybe 1960s Go Go?


Who is someone you admire, and what qualities do they possess that you find inspiring?

Can’t settle on just one person. I really admire Jamie Lee Curtis for her pro-ageing stance, Iris Apfel because the woman is over 100 and has a whole new career, Frank Lloyd Wright because he produced some astonishing architecture when he was in his nineties, Keith Richards because he’s still rock ‘ roll cool at 80, and my oldest brother, Geoff, who (fitted with a pacemaker and well into his seventies) has gone on seven or eight treks through Nepal’s Himalayas, taking some amazing pictures that have been the subject of three exhibitions. And he works full time. I am so proud that he ‘doesn’t let the old man in’. I guess I most admire people who refuse to accept age as a barrier to their creativity and enthusiastic participation in life.



Prue worked in PR and corporate communications as a journalist and still freelances for a small consultancy. Surprisingly, this was good training for her current role – a permanent stall-holder at Camberwell Sunday Market, where she flogs, sorry, sells vintage bric-a-brac with an emphasis on Australian studio pottery.


That’s me, left, my dog Molly, and daughter, Lucy.