So You Want to Become a Stripper?
How to Become an Exotic Dancer
Most people have preconceived notions of what it's like to be an exotic dancer. Despite the rumors, both negative and positive, the job is ultimately neutral and dependent on the stripper in question. It's a high-income, unskilled (but demanding), and unreliable job that can be at times both exhilarating and exhausting. I've been an in-club exotic dancer for about 4 years now, and hopefully this article can shed some light on a misunderstood industry so that you may first decide whether stripping is right for you, and then perhaps what steps you should take to get going and make the job work in your favor.
Is Dancing Right for You?
Consider the following before you decide to work as an exotic dancer:
- Are you prepared for a heavy stigma that may affect your personal relationships? Are you willing to cope with that stigma, or alternatively, do you feel comfortable lying to friends and family about your job?
- Are you a self-starter? Can you stay on-task? Many clubs do not schedule girls and do not pay a base wage, so your income is completely in your hands.
- Do you have any issues with drug or alcohol addiction? The club environment is not friendly to those trying to stay sober, and getting messed up on the job can cause all sorts of problems which can affect both your money and your personal well-being.
- Do you have a thick "salesperson skin"? You will have to learn to face rejection. Awkward or unfriendly moments are par for the course with any sales job, which is only intensified by the fact that you will be "selling" your personal image. Additionally, you are in direct competition with co-workers, and sometimes they may be cutthroat. You have to have a strong backbone and sense of self to cope mentally.
So Far, So Good. What Can I Expect From the Job?
- Money: As mentioned previously, most strip clubs do not pay dancers any base wage. As a stripper, you are considered an independent contractor, which means you also have to be responsible for filing your yearly income taxes accordingly. You will usually have to pay a "house fee" to the club each night you work, and that may range anywhere from $10-$200, depending on the club or shift. Typically, the higher the house fee, the greater the earning potential, but this is not always the case. Additionally, you will probably be required to tip your bouncers, DJ, manager, VIP host, etc. You can earn as little as zero dollars, or up to multiple thousands with the right customers. The money fluctuates constantly and may be stressful, but it's safe to say you can rely on $100-$700 per 6 hour shift after tips and fees.
- Appearance: Many girls are worried that they are too fat, too old, too flat, too tall, too ugly, too tatted, etc to dance. This is not the case. While this IS a job dependent largely on looks, you'll learn that men have all sorts of tastes you never realized. Your attitude and your grooming are the main things to work on. Work with your appearance, don't fight it. Flat-chested? Play up your springy youthful look. Heavy? Wear glamorous hairstyles and curve-flattering outfits. Overall plain-ish? Fun hair color, heavy makeup, sparkly jewelry, fancy lingerie, dark club lights, and sexy heels will fix that. Regardless, you must project confidence and sensuality, and your sales skills must shine, but you can figure a lot of that out as you go. Even though men like all types, do take care to be healthy and take care of yourself; maximize what you've got already.
- Job Expectations: The days of stage-only clubs are long over. While you will be expected to get on stage and perform several times per night, most of your income will come from private dances. What is allowed vs. expected as far as contact goes will range wildly from club to club and from girl to girl. If you feel uncomfortable in a club, try a different one until you feel better. Don't settle and don't cross your personal boundaries. Generally speaking, the minimum expected these days, as a US national average, seems to be lap grinding. In some areas and some clubs, your co-workers may allow groping and more. Again, figure out what you're okay with and don't ever feel ashamed for sticking to that. This is not a customer service job; you have the right to refuse service (and slap hands away) at any time.
Things You'll Need to Get Started
- Adult entertainer license: This varies by area, so you'll have to do a bit of research on your own, but some areas require dancers to obtain a license before they start working. It will probably run you up to a couple of hundred dollars, but most clubs won't even talk to you until you've gotten licensed, and you can expect to make the money back within a reasonable amount of time.
- Shoes: You will need a pair of heels. Not nice, civilian heels you can wear out to a nightclub, but those big, gaudy, hollow-platformed ankle-challengers you see in porn movies. Search online for "exotic clubwear/footwear" or something along those lines and make your pick. Don't be afraid of a high heel, even if you're tall. I'm 5'9" and wear 7" heels at work and I've had overwhelmingly more customers salivate over my stature than reject me because of it. Get at least a 4" heel, because it will make your booty pop, lengthen your legs, and flatten your stomach. Instant body makeover! Plus you'll look more "professional" with the proper footwear.
- An outfit: The kind of outfit you'll want to buy will depend on the kind of club you want to work at. "Gown" clubs are upscale and may have high fees and high earning potential, but can also be high-stress and require a sort of gaudy, revealing evening gown to work. In more down-to-earth nudie bars, you can pull off anything from a cute lingerie set to a stripper bikini. Look up local laws first. When you know what the club norms and local laws are, go to the website where you found your shoes and buy an inexpensive outfit. Don't spend a lot of money; you'll be making more soon and you can buy nicer stuff then.
- Accessories: You'll want either a garter or a little purse to carry your money in, and lots of sparkly jewelry to look expensive and showy. I also recommend baby wipes for trips to the bathroom, a lock for your work locker, and some hand sanitizer. Money is gross and hopefully you'll be handling lots of it.
- An Audition!: Call the club(s) you had in mind after you have all your stuff together and ready and ask them when would be a good time to drop by for an audition. Show up on-time, and they'll probably have you change and do a stage set and then tell you on the spot whether or not you can work. Many places will let you start work that same night, but others may want to put you on a schedule first. Try not to be nervous, every girl looks pretty ridiculous her first few times on stage, but that's what makes new girls so endearing. Just move SLOOOOOW, run your hands over your body, wink at people watching, writhe around on the floor, etc. It's not like club dancing at all. You just have to writhe around like you have an itch that only a man can scratch. No need for pole tricks, you can pick those up as you go along. ***If you don't get hired at the first club, try another, and then another! If you still don't get hired, work on your fitness and grooming a bit and try again!***
Once you get the job, you have to remember to focus on your money. Stay on a schedule, SAVE, pay your taxes, track your earnings, stay sober, read sales books, and enjoy the lifestyle that you are providing for yourself.
Good luck and happy hustling!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.