Money runs the world and at a young age I wasn’t blind to that; I started dancing at 20. I always loved the image of glamour it portrayed and the amount of money I saw every time I saw images of strippers. To hell with the views of the general public; I wanted to get paid and I didn’t want to slave two nine to five jobs to get it. At the time, my financial situation was...BROKE and I was hungry. A friend of mine who worked at the same lame job finally got some balls and we went to this club in Brooklyn called “Zamba Rio.” Zamba Rio was run down, ghetto and the other ladies weren’t very friendly. Surprisingly we didn’t have to audition, but we were required to pay a house fee of $20; I was nervous since I didn't have any prior dance experience. Before I knew it, we were getting dressed and being taught how to use the pole by a woman named “Kitten."
During the night I danced for this Spanish guy who approached me with cash in his hand; I wanted all of it. Unlike most clubs, I didn’t have to take him to a private room to be topless, so I took advantage of the situation. I kept telling him how horny I was so he’d keep tipping me; he smelled terrible and was gross. My first night I walked away with about $450 after my house fee. I took home my bag and was ready for the second night.
It was more than a typical hourly wage shift but in the dancing realm, it was... nothing.
Over time, I learned a big part of the business of stripping was building clientele and repeat customers. So, I started doing locked door parties when I wanted to make more money and between going to the club. Locked door parties required a pimp and that had NO RULES at all. I never had a pimp, but my friend would always get me in. I never did anything more than dancing. Luckily, I made a lot of money from the fact that I was new and “unused” as they’d say; a lot of the other girls were older and unattractive. Men would ask “Did I have a white pimp.” because I was different.
The most I’d ever made was $800 from a night. The money and the greed turned me into a puppet and yet I came back every day for almost two years.
Over time, I began to notice how less I started to make and the request to make more money became uncomfortably demanding. Living in NYC everyone is always on the go and sometimes it means sacrificing a day at the nail salon or not even having the money at all; I became obsessed with how I looked for the next year. I loved the requirement that the adult entertainment industry expected you to have nails, hair, and body had to always be perfect; the industry showed me how looks were everything despite what people say. I had to value my appearance because some customers came to me and some didn’t even bother looking my way. I had to create tough skin and dominate the floor working.
The want of the money grew the obsession of self-image and the introduction to the meaning of how much energy is drained from being an entertainer.
Between maintaining the beauty regime to entertaining, you could only imagine how physically and mentally draining being a dancer can be. The energy to perform amazing routines was hard to keep up with while eating garbage after late nights of liquor and drugs. Flirting all night with men and women who had no interest in me or anything at all. I entered into a world of underground parties with horny men and women, and creative sexual fantasies. The constant arguing back and forth between other dancers and the lifestyle in general only gave me energy when I received the money. The night’s where men and women barely threw anything after exerting a long hard twerk session drained me.
Overall I would own a strip club and run it differently being that I used to dance, however, I would only be a dancer again if on my terms; pole dance classes, more professional. For the want of money, women are doing some unquestionable things. The experience has taught me to embrace my self-image and understand how important it is to put my energy into things that are replenishing it back. For females still in the hustle, I hope I shined some light on how unglamorous the job is and how much more respect dancers should get because it’s not easy.
I would like to say that my experiences and lessons learned during my dancing days were all impactful. In the vividness and excitement that it brought, I promised I wouldn’t get distracted from the main reason for being there in the first place; The money.
…but, I hope my daughter never sees the inside of a strip club unless she is a customer.