DECEMBER 5, 2018
How old are you?
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Northeast Louisiana in West Carroll Parish. It’s one of two dry parishes in the state.
What brought you here?
Traveling. I was on the road for a long time. I essentially went on the road when I was like seventeen thinking I was going to find this magical place that feels like home and live there. I stayed in a lot of spots and kept coming back here for more and more time until I couldn’t be on the road anymore. I was tired of living out of a backpack and this was where I wanted to live. Or Maine, but Maine gets cold.
How long have you been here?
I’ve been here since the end of March, early April this year. The year before I was here for about four months and the year before that I was here for about six months.
What is it about New Orleans that attracts you to it?
I think it’s the drinking culture. (laughter) I don’t know, it’s like the culture of celebration. There’s always something to do and it’s always something that isn’t super formal. You can show up and be whoever you are in whatever manner that you want and it’s probably fine. Nine out of ten times, it’s gonna be fine.
You can show up in your pajamas…
Yeah! You can go to second lines in your pajamas and a swim suit top and no on questions it. Most places in the country aren’t as open or forgiving for people being a little off. Here it’s comfortable because I can be a little off and no one’s like what the fuck?
How do you refer to your work within the industry?
I consider myself a dancer. When people ask what I do, I tell them I’m a dancer and sometimes I tell them I’m a bartender. ‘Stripper’ for me has a negative connotation. Most people I talk to who don’t agree with my job, who don’t like my job, will say I’m a stripper regardless of how I identify myself. I notice that that’s more common with people who don’t like it. They have weird stigmas about it or whatever. So I usually say dancer. Plus there are a lot of times where I meet people and am not sure I am comfortable with them knowing what I do initially. “I’m a bartender at a strip club” is what I usually say but as I get to know people and get more comfortable, they usually know what’s going on.
How did you get started?
I was actually still on the road. I was super homeless and I was twenty. I had danced in Kansas City for like a week before as a joke. I was like, “I need money really fast, I’m gonna go into a strip club and apply,” and got hired immediately at one of them. So when I came down here permanently, I went to apply at a strip club. I walked into Lipstixx and the manager at the time was this big dude named Al. He just looked me up and down. I didn’t even own shoes at the time. I was living out of a backpack, didn’t have shoes, was a traveling kid. He asked me if I could dance better than the girl on stage. I didn’t know this at the time but she had been in championships and shit. This woman was in her forties and had been doing championships for like twenty years. I watched her for a second and was like, “I can dancer harder than that,” and I got on stage and I guess I didn’t do bad because when I got off he told me that if I worked all of his shifts for the first week that he would spot me the money to go get myself some shoes and whatever else I needed and that if I was able to pay him back at the end of the week, that I would be hired. So I started working with him and I worked with him for like, two years off and on. When he moved over to Scores, I moved over to Scores with him. That’s how I got started.
What has changed about your job since the passing of FOSTA and SESTA?
FOSTA and SESTA haven’t changed my job so much. I haven’t looked that deeply into to it—although I probably should—but someone told me that it’s now illegal to self-promote the club you work at on Instagram. I used to do that for my club in Denver. I had a separate Instagram and it would be to draw in customers. I would find people and add people and had a separate Tinder just to be able to find guys and flood them into my Instagram from the local area and tell them to come see me at work. No, I don’t want to go on a date with you but you can buy me food and come bring it to me at the club. A bunch of us did that and it was an easy way to keep the club busy during off season which would be tight to do down here. But there is no way I would get away with that for long. One of my managers would find out or one of the girls would find out and get butt hurt about it. The FOSTA/SESTA shit was fucked but it hasn’t hurt me that much. I quit camming a while back so I also haven’t experienced how all of that works now either. I’ve thought about going back to it though. Slow season is slow. It hurts.
All things considered, do you like your job?
I love my job. I love my job so much. It’s stressful. I’ve been considering getting another job because I can go to work whenever I want. There are days or weeks when my job is infinitely stressful and the payoff isn’t worth it and I’m not enjoying it because I’m stressed out or I’m overthinking certain aspects of my life that are over-reliant on my job or because I’ve had people that I don’t want to see come in and say that they’re a customer. When a bunch of those things happen at all once, it would be nice to have something to full back on. I love it but there are weeks where I don’t want to be there. But that’s with every job. With everything that I’ve ever done that I’ve enjoyed, there are days when I don’t want to do it.
When you were growing up, do you remember being told or taught anything about what it meant to be a girl and expectations that came along with that?
Oh my god. I was raised in a very conservative family so yes. I was also raised with this sense of fear that as a woman you can’t go out by yourself. My grandma very much instilled that. You can’t go out past dark. You can’t talk to boys. Something terrible will happen to you. I always thought she was crazy. My family taught me to handle situations like that so well but then had me scared that I had no control over my life. But other than that, my family has a lot of not very feminine women. I think my mom just started wearing dresses and heels for the first time like five years ago. I was so proud of her. She got this little award at work and she was wearing a dress and heels and she looked so good in a dress! My family has a lot of really independent women but my grandma was so weird.
Can you define sexism?
It’s one of those questions that comes up not as a question but as a circumstance. It’s easier to explain something that happened to us and why it’s sexist than it is to explain the word itself and how broadly it can be used. It can be so easily applied to so many things.
It’s not something you can define on paper but you know it when you see it.
Yeah. Like when you see it happening and you’re just like, I can’t believe I just experienced that. But trying to define it as a singularity is kind of perplexing. My brain stopped for a second like, can you define sexism? I guess it’s a hard thing to actually define. Especially when you work in this industry, there is casual sexism on an everyday basis and there is so much shit that happens at work that you stop viewing it as sexism and start viewing it as an in to someone’s wallet.
How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?
Really fucking angry when I’m not at work. Before I started doing this and after I haven’t danced for a while, it is easier to brush off when it happens day to day. But if I have been at work for like four days straight and I am just trying to ride my bike to get some fucking food and I’m super hungover and someone says something to me, I am so quick to stop my bike and be like, Fucking excuse you? Are you serious right now? Has that ever fucking worked for you? Does that fucking work? Do you say shit to girls on bikes and they just stop and get in your car and suck your dick? I get like really mad about it now. I deal with it and I keep my mouth shut so much at work because it’s more beneficial to keep my mouth shut at work whereas outside of work, I am so ready to tear someone down. I have waited all weekend for this, please say some stupid shit right now.
What’s the best part about being a stripper?
I love doing pole. I really do. I love performing and having someone tell me, Oh that thing you just did was really cool and I don’t understand how you just did that with your body. I also like that I can drink at work. I also like that I have the freedom to go to work whenever I please. I like that I have the freedom to leave if I need to leave. I like that I can create my own schedule and I can create the dynamic of how I make my money. I can be any kind of person that I want and still be able to make money doing it and be able to perform and be active. I also have serious anxiety so being able to drink and talk to people is very nice. It’s a nice practice in being able to talk to people in a public setting and how to do that appropriately. I guess it is easier when you’re in nine inch heels and your panties and your tits are kind of out because then people start listening to you a lot more closely. (laughter) In regular social settings I am this small, kind of socially awkward person so it’s definitely helped with that a lot. In general, it’s about being able to control the settings of my finances and knowing that it’s all independently on me. Being able to do that gives you so much confidence. Having no money and then turning out to make a couple racks in a week is fucking nice.
And what’s the hardest part?
Super, super douchey guys who don’t understand that it’s not a brothel. That really fucking kills me. I’ve been hanging out with you for an hour and you’ve asked me how much it’s going to cost for me to suck your dick three times and I’ve already told you it’s not fucking happening. I’m about to drop a drink on you “on accident” and then I’m going to walk the fuck away. I hate that. There’s such a level of disrespect that you get from certain customers. They genuinely don’t listen to words coming out of your mouth and even that you’re a person. They think you’re this meat sack with titties. That’s not what we’re doing here. You missed the whole point. You want a brothel, they have those in Nevada but you’re probably going to have to treat those ladies just as well as we expect to be treated so you need to chill the fuck out. We even have regulars who come in who pull that shit who have never been checked and it’s really hard to sit there and watch them.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the industry?
That most sex workers are down to go as far as they need to go for any amount of dollar—the higher the dollar amount, the looser someone’s level of comfortability will become. And I do know people for whom that’s true but those are usually people who from the beginning knew that they would want to go into different types of sex work from where they began. But I think people assume that everyone who gets into this industry is eventually going to go all the way through it and that’s super unrealistic to me. I am very comfortable with my sexuality and where I stand with it but outside of work, I am very shy and am even uncomfortable with texting my boyfriend to tell him I want to sleep with him. I got drunk the other day and texted him and said, “I want to put your dick in my face,” and then immediately apologized. He was like, “Did you mean to send that to someone else?” (laughter) Talking dirty is not a thing for me. Please don’t talk about my pussy. I’m not into that. (laughter)
Is there anything else you like to add?
You made a previous post about the independent industry and strip club burlesque. That’s at Poor Boys and one of the girls I know runs it. She is trying to get it off the ground but there are a lot of girls I have talked to who are hesitant to go because when strip club burlesque started happening, they ended up losing contracts with certain clubs because it’s considered competition. I feel like that’s a thing in the industry that people need to be aware of. I went in [to work] and asked my manager to see my contract so that I could make sure I wouldn’t get fired if I went to this event. That’s such a shitty thing. The industry down here is so volatile right now with things getting slow and girls trying to reach out to make more money and things becoming more and more illegal outside of the club. Girls can’t make extra money as well as continue to keep their jobs as dancers at clubs—that aren’t even letting them come in and work because they’re being pushed on so hard by the city. It’s this really fucked up self-perpetuating problem. They’re going to start losing girls to other industries. Girls are going to have to find something else to do. I know a lot of girls who are moving to other cities that have been in New Orleans for years because they can’t work here anymore. It sucks.
Are you optimistic for a future where sex work is either legal or decriminalized?
I would love that. I think in order for that to happen, there’s going to need to be a very big movement. I think as far as the government as whole goes and getting any level of sex work fully decriminalized, it’s not something that I think is coming soon. I think it’s something that we’re working towards. I think we’re going the right way but I don’t’ see it happening in the next year or two. It’s gonna be a long haul. I’m probably not going to be in the industry at that point.