SATURDAY, JUNE 22 • 8:45PM
Bif Naked was born in secret, to a teenager living in India, the product of a Canadian girl and a British boy, she was rejected by both families, hidden away in a mental hospital from her diplomat-grandparents’ society and politico friends. Adopted by American missionaries, and after years of legal hurdles, eventually gaining her and her adopted sister’s release from India they returned to North America. She embarked on what she recalls with humour as a “charmed life”. A childhood of secret abuse, running away, targeted beatings by girl gangs, she was institutionalized for alcohol abuse as a teenager and sexually targeted, preyed upon by a long list of adult predators. She escaped this early life by joining a punk rock band and left on tour, she married the drummer became pregnant and under extreme duress she aborted the unborn child and later the marriage and continued on a deadly downward spiral which culminated when she hit the floor of a Vancouver drug den overdosed. All of this before her 21st birthday.
Through it all, her creative and academic potential, multiple personalities, and her unstoppable humour were her weapons of self defence. Bif showcased her life’s journey etched in tattoo ink across her body and with her unique ability to transform her true life stories into song lyrics, she found her voice as a solo artist, started her own record company Her Royal Majesty’s Records and at 23 years of age became a Platinum and Gold Album selling International Recording Artist. Throughout her remarkable career, armed with her unique talent and instantly identifiable look, Bif would captivate the imagination of audiences and media alike, releasing ten albums and 24 videos. She embarked on seemingly endless international tours, several feature films and multiple television roles, only to be struck down with breast cancer at the age of 37, the newly married Bif would discover the passion for advocacy, and a triumphant return to health and what she cherished most of all – her own resilience, strength and her unfaltering relationships with her adopted (dog) children Anastasia the bichonfrise, and Nick Naked her maltese poodle dog. It’s already been a long, winding road… this is Bif Naked’s story so far….
Solo albums include the self-titled album, Bif Naked, released in 1996,
“I Bificus” in 1998 and “Purge”, released in 2001. A noted poet, she has also released a spoken word album called “Okenspay Ordway: Things I Forgot To Tell Mommy”. In 2005, after narrowing it down from over 50 songs, she released “Superbeautifulmonster”, which featured 13 tracks. “The Promise”, which was recorded while Bif was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, was released in 2009 and was dedicated to her fans. The album featured tracks mixed by Juno Award winner Mike Fraser. In 2011, after doing acoustic sets on tour, Bif released an acoustic record on Her Royal Majesty’s Records and in Canada Reliant Music in late 2013, featuring acoustic versions of her past songs as well as four previously unreleased tracks. The album is entitled “Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits and Other Delights”.
Prior to her solo career, Torbert played with punk bands Gorilla Gorilla and Chrome Dog. She has toured Europe, the United States, and Canada as a headlining act, and has performed on bills with Green Day, Snoop Dogg, Billy Idol, Dido, Devin Townsend, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Chrissie Hynde, Foo Fighters, The Cult and more.
Bif’s music has been featured in and on soundtracks for shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Moonlight, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven and Celebrity Deathmatch. She recorded a rendition of the Christmas classic, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” for MTV’s Total Request Live CD “MTV: TRL Christmas” in 1999 and was also featured on the Ready to Rumble soundtrack with a cover of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” The song “Dawn,” taken from “Purge”, was featured in the movie American Psycho 2, starring Mila Kunis and William Shatner.
She made a guest appearance in the song “Fucker”, on Strapping Young Lad’s album “The New Black” in 2006. Bif Naked has also made guest appearances with artists such as SNFU on the songs “One Last Loveshove” and “You Make Me Thick”. She also appeared on the Dead Celebrity Status album “Blood Music” on the track titled “In This Day And Age”. In 2011, she recorded a duet with Vancouver yogi and Nettwerk recording artist Will Blunderfield for the international version of his album “Hallelujah”.
Aside from her music career, Bif is a university theatre major, and a Prairie Theatre Exchange graduate, also a sought-after actor. In 1990, she appeared in the film “Archangel”, where she was credited as “Bif Torbert,” playing a Russian soldier. In 1997, she played a liquor store manager in “The Boys Club”. She appeared in the television series “Once a Thief” in 1998, playing Nastassja Momomame.
In 2000, she voiced a character in the Daria movie, “Is It Fall Yet?”, playing a bisexual art camp attendee who attempts to seduce Jane Lane. She was cast as lead actor in the Canadian indie films “Lunch with Charles” (2001) and “Crossing” (2005), the latter of which she recorded the song “My Greatest Masterpiece” for the movie. She was the host of the CBC Television series “ZeD” (becoming their first host in 2002).
For Bodog, Bif hosted “Bodog Fight” in 2006 broadcast on ION Networks USA, and Bodog Battle a music reality series where she was a talent judge along side Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, which aired in USA on Fuse Network. She voiced the character Zoe Payne in the SSX videogame series.
In 2003, she made a cameo appearance in the zombie horror film “The House of the Dead”. That same year, she appeared as a judge of a fictitious reality show in the TV series “Cold Squad”.
In 2006, she guest starred on an episode of “The L Word”, playing a character named Cynthia. In addition, Bif Naked has appeared as herself in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “The Crow: Stairway to Heaven” and “The Chris Isaak Show”. Bif Naked also narrated the TV series “That’s Art?!” (2012).
She is heavily tattooed, getting her first, an Egyptian Eye of Horus, when she was 16. Her tattoos include a symbol of the Tao, Japanese writing, Buddhist poetry and images (such as theBodhisattva), and Hindu imagery she has stated on MTV that her favorite tattoo, on her left arm, reads “Survivor.”
Bif identifies as straight-edge. She is also a comic cartoonist. Bif has always been frank about her bisexuality, and the lyrics of her autobiographical songs (such as 1995’s “Everything”) detail her attractions to and relationships with women. She is also a strict raw food vegan.
She was diagnosed with a heart aneurysm, but corrective surgery was ruled out. In January 2008, she announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent a lumpectomy and chemotherapy. Bif is a passionate Animal Rights activist, and a full-time cancer patient mentor and volunteer.
Bif Naked spoke at the University of the Fraser Valley for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2013, at the Abbotsford campus in British Columbia, Canada it was announced she would be awarded an honorary doctorate from the university in June 2013.