The flashing, colored, neon lights and seductively dancing around a lit stage in sparkly outfits are what I miss the most about being a stripper. I joke around saying that I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in, during that time. I’m pretty fit nowadays, but nothing compares to the physical rigor of living a strip club life.
Between sleeping long hours during the day and walking in seven-inch heels for eight hours a night, you are bound to develop the body of an Olympic gymnast. It was an exciting time for me, filled with nostalgic memories of dancing under flurries of dollar bills to entertaining prestigious public figures in the champagne room.
When I first started at a high-end strip club called The Cheetah in Atlanta, GA, I went by the name Hailey. The house moms there gave me that name, thinking it had a welcoming ring to it and would appeal to many different customers. They were right. I progressed so much in a short amount of time.
I adapted well to the slow, seductive dancing style of a stripper from having been a ballerina during my adolescence and a competitive cheerleader in high school. Also, it was easy to talk to patrons from having been a waitress for two years prior to becoming a stripper. I thought to myself, “You were made to excel here”. After only a few weeks, I started working both day and night shifts at The Cheetah.
I remember this gradual feeling of empowerment growing inside me like bread rising in an oven. I was making more money than I had ever made before, dating lots of wealthy men and getting opportunities to travel all over the world. After a few months, I felt so fierce that I bleached and died my hair “Rihanna red“.
It wasn’t long before I got “caught up” in such a fast-paced lifestyle and started missing shifts at The Cheetah. One day, I came back from a trip to the Bahamas to find that I was no longer an employee there. That unfortunate outcome forced me to find work at a different strip club in Atlanta, which terrified me.
The Cheetah was a territory I had gotten used to, with their chandeliers, pop music, champagne rooms, garter belts and pole-less dancing style. I now found myself having to adapt to the more traditional world of Southern strip clubs: heavy-bass rap music, pole acrobatics, collecting dollar bills from the ground and competing with women who have three times the junk in their trunks. Regardless of my fears, I auditioned and began work at the strip club formerly known as Diamonds of Atlanta, going by the name Velvet.
I’ll always remember how the DJ would call my name to come to the stage in a sly and silly way that always put a smile on my face and gave me an extra boost of confidence. “Let’s get Velvet to the stage! Velvet, Oh my Gawsh! She’s about to drive us all crazy up in here!”
It was such a challenge to transform the safe, swaying dance moves I had perfected to the twerking, Cirque du Soleil performing style of DOA dancers. I was definitely humbled by the intense, competitive atmosphere entering a new and much larger club. At DOA, I learned how to apply the perfect eyebrow, and worked out muscles I never knew existed from suspending my body on a pole.
I also learned the real power of the law of attraction. Maybe I didn’t notice before, not having to compete with so many women. But, when you’re having a bad day, you won’t attract a lot of good people. As a stripper, it doesn’t matter what happened before your shift. Every time your heels touch the club floor, you are expected to be someone else’s fantasy. That reality wore me out eventually, and led me to seek adventure elsewhere.
Some months went by before I started traveling to Las Vegas where I easily found work as a stripper at the Spearmint Rhino Gentleman’s Club, where I chose the name Sharelle. If I thought there were too many girls to compete with in Atlanta, I wasn’t ready for the swarming amount of dancers who awaited me in Vegas.
Not only were there hundreds of women assigned to one shift at a time, but most patrons there seemed to be drawn to the advertised Las Vegas Look: caucasian and blonde. I had a few great nights of rare men and women who connected with me. Those nights would end with my leaving the club to entertain my patrons further on party busses, in clubs, and on rooftops in Sin City. I loved being able to branch out and utilize my strengths.
The congested environment of Las Vegas strip clubs and the dry, desert heat quickly drained me. One night, I was walking through the dim-light hallways, brushing past many expected shoulders when a man barfed right onto my chest. After running to the locker rooms in tears, I showered off, got dressed, packed my bag, walked out the door and never returned.
My drink of choice, during my time as a stripper, was a top-shelf margarita. Since I brought that life to an end, they don’t taste the same. These days when I visit a strip club, I’m electrified by the familiar atmosphere. I dream of being able to perform on stage again one day. Nevertheless, I’ll always cherish my time as a full-time stripper in a distant memory.