Fishnets and briefs for legal starlet
8 November 2010 | By Gavriel Hollander
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Hard-working people that they are, lawyers need to find ways to unwind away from the stresses and strains of the office.
And while her colleagues might prefer to do their relaxing on the golf course or in the steam room, Kim Seward, a trainee legal executive in the personal injury team at Preston firm Marsden Rawthsthorn, is more at home strutting her stuff on stage.
As alter-ego Miss Eva Fox, Seward has been a fixture on the burgeoning northern burlesque and cabaret scene since she donned her fishnets in July.
Having been one-half of successful local singing duo The Rockabelles since last year, a friend approached Seward with the idea of going solo on the cabaret circuit.
“She said the music would suit me and I’m game for owt, so I thought I’d give it a go,” Seward explains.
Giving it a go has paid off, with the bookings flying in for Seward in her Eva Fox persona as well as for The Rockabelles. The pair - Seward and Zeynep Oszabuncu - have even been given the honour of performing at the switching on of Preston’s Christmas lights.
She has also been booked to perform at the North West’s renowned Aids fundraiser Red Ribbon later this month and been given the job of entertaining partners at her firm’s Christmas do.
As far as she knows, though, they have yet to turn up at any of her burlesque shows.
“I’d love to see them there,” she jokes. “Some probably want to go but are scared they’ll bump into one of their clients.”
The 28-year-old thinks the art of burlesque, the popularity of which has rocketed in recent years, is still largely misunderstood.
“I think it has a bit of a reputation for being something it’s not,” she says. “My experience of it has never been sleazy - it’s often very tongue-in-cheek and funny.
“I keep my clothes on, but I’m keen to make my act more entertaining. I have to keep most of me covered because of the nature of my job, but I want more dance and comedy integrated into it.”
Dance and comedy do not tend to integrate quite so readily into Seward’s day job. “My jobs could hardly be more different if they tried,” she jokes. “I have to be different people.”
But there are certain characteristics she possesses that serve her well in both these diverse worlds.
“I do like to get my own way,” she admits. “It’s about being driven, about wanting to be successful and playing to your strengths. That’s what I’m good at.”
A self-confessed “complete show-off”, Preston-native Seward has had the singing bug ever since her mum played her Motown records as a kid. She has been in bands since she was a teenager, and even supported former Drifter Ray Lewis in Edinburgh when she was 16.
Until that point she had dreams of a full-time singing career, but soon realised that the lure of learning, and ultimately the law, was equally strong.
“I never thought of pursuing singing as a career when I left school because my grades led me to the world of academia more than that of music,” she explains. “I seemed to think that you couldn’t be a singer with A*s.”
However, after earning her law degree the call of the stage was still strong and so she tried her hand at singing full-time, but admits it was not quite the lifestyle she had imagined.
“I really didn’t like it,” she recalls. “There wasn’t a big cabaret scene at the time. I was singing at working men’s clubs - no offence to them, but that isn’t my kind of scene.”
Seward returned to the law, writing to every firm in Preston looking for an opportunity to prove herself. Now, she says, combining the two careers helps her to “stay grounded”.
“My mum introduces me as the singing lawyer,” she laughs. “She loves it.”
Next year Seward hopes to qualify as a legal executive before taking the LPC, while working at Marsden Rawsthorn and packing in the gigs.
“I hardly have any free time at all these days,” she says happily. “But I’ll squeeze it all in somehow.”