Yasmine Vine was born in Tehran- Iran. When she was 3 years old, Yasmine and her family moved to the U.S. but returned to Iran several years later because her father wanted to return to Iran. Her grandfather was a Muslim Priest- an Ayatollah. He was an important Islamic leader within the community. He was very affluent, had many wives and a large following. He did not want his grandchildren to be raised in America as they may stray from Islam. After returning to Iran at the age of 10, Yasmine found it extremely hard to adjust to the ways of life in Iran. “It was as if everything in color suddenly turned to black and white”. All the fun things Yasmine did as a child, like dance, play dress up and sing, all of the sudden were banned as they were illegal in Iran. Iran is an Islamic nation where women and girls (as young as 9 years old) have to wear veils. Yasmine had already developed a passion for performing, however singing and dancing was strictly forbidden and illegal in Iran. Simple forms of self expression are considered to be punishable crimes. Women can face arrest, beatings, whippings and even go to jail if found dancing.
Yasmine was forced to study Islam and soon found herself influenced by this religion. She read the Quran daily, prayed 3 times a day, fasted during Ramazon and soon became the most religious in her family.“ I was very disciplined in my religious practices”. Even as a devout muslim, her desire to dance or create music did not fade. She began writing lyrics and music at 7 years old and would dream songs that she would jot down upon waking. Although Yasmine practiced Islam faithfully, she held on to her own beliefs despite what her religion preached. “Dancing is the most passionate and spiritual state one can have, regardless what any religion says. I am in love with Music and Dance and will always be".
Through faith, luck, and patience Yasmine found a way to develop as a dancer in Iran. At 14, Yasmine met Heidi, a former ballerina who used to dance for the Shah (King of Iran) in the Kings Palace. After the Islamic revolution, (with Dance becoming banned) Heidi was restricted from performing so she began teaching dance privately (and illegally) in her home. She taught classes and held recitals and dance performances from her basement. These classes were underground and illegal. Only trusted people would be aware and invited as it could result in arrest for Heidi. Yasmine found a light in the dark tunnel and was overjoyed with her weekly classes. She studied ballet with Heidi and soon became the lead performer in Swan Lake.
There was a lot of turmoil in Iran and it was not a safe place for a young artist to nourish. Any type of self expression was illegal and punishable by law, There was a lot of civil wars and issues Iran had with other countries and was often attacked.
During this time Yasmine immersed herself in Songwriting, Music and Dance. “Although it was a frightening time and I could hear the daily city chaos, sirens and attacks. I wasn’t scared at all. I would wake up every morning and just dance. Id dream of song lyrics and write them down every morning. My biggest dream was just to come back to America where I can be myself freely. By now she was close to completing High school and knew that living in Iran wasn’t an option. “I had to persuade my parents in allowing me to return to the U.S. ". This would not be an easy task because in Iran, women live with their parents until they are married. Women don’t venture off to create their own independent lives. In addition, Yasmines parents were extremely strict and overprotective.
With faith, patience and luck on her side. One sunny day in June, at age 19, Yasmine left Iran by herself and moved to Los Angeles, Ca.
“When I arrived in Los Angeles, it was a dream come true for me. I finally got out! I was finally free and I could do anything I wanted. I loved the Palm trees and smiling faces. There was a sense of calmness in America that doesn't exist in Iran. Iran was chaotic.”
Unaware of the struggles that lay ahead, Yasmine moved in with a few friends she had known from Iran. “I only knew 2 people and I trusted them .Within a week of moving here I was betrayed, robbed and had no where to go".
In less than a month, the dream come true suddenly became a nightmare. “My parents wanted me to go back to Iran and when I refused, they cut me off financially. I was broke, alone, had no where to live and completely unfamiliar to where I was on the planet. I felt isolated and helpless but I wasn’t going back to repression. I worked too hard to finally get out!”
Yasmine moved from one place to another. She worked 3 jobs and enrolled herself in college.
“The first 2 years in America, I basically lived out of a suitcase. I moved 16 times in 2 years. I lived with many awful people and endured many unpleasant experiences but I knew eventually I would be Ok.”
Yasmine remained steadfast in her religious practices. She no longer wore a veil but located a nearby mosque and continued studying and practicing Islam.
In college, Yasmine began studying dance and music.College also brought about other unexpected confusions. “At first I was happy to see so many Persians, but I didn’t fit in. They looked down on me for being in America on my own and for being an artist ,It’s not something that Persians do. They all drove BMW’s while I rode the bus, they all were studying to become Doctors and Lawyers and I was studying Dance and Music. They all lived in glamorous houses in Beverly Hills and I was renting rooms from crazy people! I soon realized that although they lived in America, most Persians were living conformed lives. If I wanted confined luxury, I would have stayed in Iran”
Being in America also provided the opportunity to explore different religions. Throughout the years Yasmine opened herself to learning about Christianity, Judaism, Kabbalah and meditation.
After completing college and getting a degree in both Dance and Psychology . Yasmine was left without direction as to her next step. “I knew I loved dance and that I was a talented songwriter. I studied all the different styles of dance in college, but I couldn’t see myself doing any of them. I wasn’t built like a thin waif ballerina and I felt that jazz and modern didn’t allow me to express myself the way I wanted to”
Yasmine moved to Hollywood and enrolled in Musicians Institute and began studying Songwriting and Vocals. “I was finally in an environment with people like me. Aspiring artists from all over the world. On their own. All seeking to express themselves! I loved it. Everyone was kind and supportive. I finally fit in.”
After graduating from Musicians Institute, Yasmine began working at Capezio Dance Theater Shop in Hollywood. “I had put dance aside, but I loved it so much that I wanted to be surrounded by dancers. My soul was still searching.”
At this time Yasmines spiritual search had lead to meditation and The Self realization Center. She decided to completely put Islam aside. “I did my own search , decided to think for myself and discovered that silent meditation was the only thing that brought me peace, guidance and direction and that following religion brought me the opposite so I took all my Islamic books and dropped them off at a mosque and never looked back"
Yasmines desire was to sing and perform her own music. Growing up under veils in Iran had created a lot of inner inhibitions and after a few attempts at singing at open mics they became very obvious.
One day a girl invited Yasmine to see a Burlesque show.
After attending the show, all of the sudden everything made sense “I saw the girls on stage dancing, performing and stripping freely…and said that’s ME! then I knew, if I could do that then I would have NO inhibititons and could freely sing! If I could do Burlesque, I could do anything!"
Yasmine found the missing link but she was hesitant to dive into burlesque. “I thought it was very cool .The lady who ran the shows offered Burlesque courses but I didn’t think I could do it. I wanted to, but I couldn’t go on stage and strip! I was a reformed Muslim and this was too much!”
Nearly a year later, Yasmine won a free 3 months pass to a nearby gym - Crunch Fitness in West Hollywood.Yasmine met celebrity trainer, the creator of cardio striptease Jeff Costa and began training with him. Cardio striptease was a fun burlesque group class. “Up until then, I had either had strict private ballet coaching or competitive group classes of styles I did not like. This was different. This was fun, non competitive, expressive, burlesque inspired, it was totally ME! I loved the class and became obsessed”
After a year of religiously attending this gym class, Yasmines confidence was built and she was ready to take on the Burlesque stage! “I was terrified!! I got off stage and vowed to never do it again!”
After a year of strictly doing Burlesque, she added singing acts to her shows and began performing to her own songs which audiences embraced! The audience loved her music and would request it so she began selling CDs at her shows. Burlesque also brought on a pin up modeling career that was unexpected but cherished! One day a film producer came to a show and recruited Yasmine to be on a TV show. That opened many doors for many acting oppurtunities.
Yasmine Vine is now a Music Artist performing regualrly in Hollywood, creating music, doing regular pin up modeling and enjoying acting oppurtunities as they come . She loves every second of it!