Valerie Stunning

Purveyor of Glamorous Raunch and All Things BROAD

Stripping vs. Burlesque

My boyfriend is very supportive when it comes to me doing burlesque but Hates that I want to be a stripper. He says he doesn’t like it because he didn’t meet me as a stripper. How do I deal with him being unsupportive? I don’t want to throw away 7 years together but I’m paying my own bills and stripping is what I want to do. I even bought a pole :)
— Stripper Hopeful
photo: Sophia Phan

photo: Sophia Phan

 Hopeful,

 The following is not an amphetamine fueled tangent but rather a necessary prelude to the answer I have for you. It may help clarify where your "very supportive" boyfriend's ignorance is coming from.* Because lord knows there've been many margaritas guzzled, while attempting to intellectualize and argue whether stripping on a Burlesque stage makes you a Stripper.

* Having professionally stripped as a strip club and burlesque stripper for the past 6 years I have some knowledge on the topic.

The Australia Burlesque Festival

The Australia Burlesque Festival

On one hand,

There are a portion of new-wave Burlesquers who feel because they've put so much blood, sweat, and tears into creating elaborate costumes, sets, and story lines for their acts, that to call them a Stripper devalues said efforts. 

Such passionate disassociation, may be a result of the contemporary use of the word Stripper being bitterly associated with an entertainer who seemingly has done a fraction of the work, yet is able to sell their fantasy for (often times) a lot more dough. Perhaps if said Burlesquers knew more about the strip club industry they'd be less dismissive of a Strip Club Stripper's work?

It may also be that we've finally found a way to normalize a genre of striptease enough so that we can incorporate it into polite dinner conversation and market it to people who'd otherwise cringe at the idea of stripping. And this makes said Burlesquers want to shun a job title that comes with such negative press?

Photo: Anthony Sebastian

Photo: Anthony Sebastian

But much like the suave magician who pulls a card out of your ass without you ever feeling it and makes you wonder if it's been in there all along because of how smoothly she executed the illusion- 

There's something to be said about a good Stripper, regardless of production value, making the job look easy. 

Do we have to shun a word that started as a simple job description before it was heavily stigmatized to validate our artistic achievements? 

OR

Do we find that validation within ourselves, fully embrace the evolution of our culture and continue to collectively fight the good fight?

*This is not to say all burlesquers who haven't stripped in strip clubs are quick to disassociate themselves with Strip Club Strippers. Many performers I know proudly hybrid strip club choreography and/or incorporate raunchy elements into their shows. 

It's also not to say that all Burlesquers who don't embrace raunch disassociate themselves from the term either.

AND it's not to say that those who do disassociate themselves with the term are bitter about the pay difference. 

I am specifically talking about those who do and who are, to help illustrate the where and why your boyfriend may be fine with one and not the other. Because this has been an age old debate. 

 

photo: Sophia Phan

photo: Sophia Phan

On the other hand,

There are a portion of Strip Club Strippers who are reluctant to share the Stripper title with Burlesquers. Because, it can seem those who now embrace it are only eager to be a card carrying member due to SCS's new found street cred/burgeoning cool factor.

This may also be a result of being sanctimoniously shit on by Burlesque performers and fans (along with most of society now that I mention it), for our savvy ways of inspiring men to empty their wallets in exchange for a seductive pole dance and/or dry hump. 

Which has greatly devalued the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into honing a well executed pole trick and/or hustle.

Photo: Sophia Phan

Photo: Sophia Phan

But much like the underground band you were a loyal fan of since day fucking one, who then went on to become a house hold name- 

Do we shun the new found pride within our Burlesque sisters and brothers, just so we can boast about how back in the day we were 1 of the 6 people (aside from the other bands playing that night) going hard in the audience? 

OR

Do we live and let live, embrace our new allies and continue to collectively fight the good fight?

photo: Mondo Sleaze

photo: Mondo Sleaze

I digress.

 

In my opinion, if a bear shits in the woods, then anyone getting paid to take off their clothes while rhythmically gyrating to music is a stripper. 

INCLUDING YOU. 

BOTTOM LINE:

Tell your boyfriend that you love him but that change is crucial to your self development and the continual growth of your relationship. 

Suggest doing some fun Stripper homework together to help educate him on the history and evolution of burlesque stripping into contemporary strip club stripping. 

Read books, watch documentaries and PATRONIZE A CLUB!

And if that doesn't inspire him to change his tune & he remains unsupportive, you will have to decide if compromising mega-important things, like how you choose to earn your living is really how you want to live? 

It may be time to acknowledge that anyone who doesn't respect and honor your efforts in funding your life and dreams, is a giant waste of cock-blocking time. 

Xxo,

Val

How To Ace Your Stripper Hustle

Congratulations! You've been successfully showing up for at least 6 months and have officially reached Baby Stripper status.

Remember girls, this is pay per view, not basic cable.  Photo: Jack Odanovich

Remember girls, this is pay per view, not basic cable.

Photo: Jack Odanovich


There have been good nights, great nights aaaand not so great nights.



You proudly bought that (insert here: frivolous luxury item expertly marketed so that you might value yourself based on the ability to purchase it) in celebration of your first BIG girl night,
and then begrudgingly returned it to pay your rent after a month long, inexplicable drought of generous rain makers.

We've all been there. 

We've all been there. 



Your bad bitch crown, aligned with your self worth, may or may not have teetered in accordance to said nights-
So you are now obsessed with honing the ultimate B O S S attitude in order to keep your blessings bountiful.

*Cue DJ Kaled's ubiquitous, "We the best"

Manifestations, anyone?

Manifestations, anyone?

But how?!


We all have our rituals, superstitions, and life mantras that we feel lend themselves to a solid hustler's finesse, and they are as unique as they are deeply personal.

The ol' lucky garter belt.

The ol' lucky garter belt.


But that's a discussion for another day.


Wa, Wa, WAAAAAAAAA.



What doesn't contribute to a B O S S attitude is:

Callousness,
Pettiness,
Defamation,
Maliciousness,
Ignorance,
and few of you will admit this,

BUT sadly, most of us have at some point been guilty of (in varying degrees)

SLUT SHAMING.


And that's naming a few....

I get by with a little (or A LOT of) help from my friends.  Photo: Jack Odanovich

I get by with a little (or A LOT of) help from my friends.

Photo: Jack Odanovich



When civilians (usually either ignorant to how trite this question is or looking to fetishize inter-female drama) ask:

"Do y'all really get along?"

I like to take a big swig of tequila to distract from my uncontrollable eye roll before answering with an emphatic,
"DUHHHHHHH! There is nothing but camaraderie and respect between us babes because we all value a fun work environment as much as a sexy one!"

And I genuinely do believe that.

 

The Stripperverse IS often a fun work environment in addition to being a sexy one and the camaraderie between it's strippers is a main contributor to it remaining so.

LOVE MY STRIPPER SISTERS!

LOVE MY STRIPPER SISTERS!


When we are mindful of how our attitudes and actions affect one  another and translate to the club's vibe, we send a powerful message:
That we are supportive and empathetic to the unique situational issues within our industry,
AND
That although we may be "independent contractors" we are not alone.
I don't know about y'all, but feeling alone has never helped me embody that hustler finesse and I find great solace in our sisterhood.


Regardless of whether we're friends outside of work or not, our respect and solidarity within the club is everything.

Everything that's right in the world.

Everything that's right in the world.


I'd like to welcome all of the Baby Strippers to this fabulous world of pussy empowerment! 

Please remember that when it comes to your success there are many contributing factors.
I promise through trial, error and constant reinvention to your approach- YOU WILL learn what works for you and I can guarantee it will never come as a result of being shitty to a colleague.

After all, REAL QUEENS FIX EACH OTHERS CROWNS.


Happy Hustling, Xxo

Val
 

But Seriously Tho...

Sometimes I wonder WHERE THE HELL ARE THE OG STRIPPER ran strip clubs?! 

But seriously tho?! Photo: Sophia Phan

But seriously tho?! Photo: Sophia Phan



Why, in countless cities across FOUR countries, have I only danced in THREE clubs that had female managers and ZERO that were owned by them. 

If more retired strippers who enjoyed their time in lycra- and have a genuine respect and understanding of the business/women doing the job- ran strip clubs, 
What would the potential evolution of our industry look and feel like?

I would love nothing more than to workation to fun clubs owned and/or operated by former high heel hustlers! 


Can any of my stripper sisters out there please point me in their glorious neon lit direction? 

Birthday Broadisms

Nearly 6 years ago,

bout a week after my 26th birthday, on a warm summers day (yes, DAY)
I showed up to work my very first stripper shift at a full nude club.

Misogynist ageists can suck my dick. Photo: Sophia Phan 

Misogynist ageists can suck my dick. Photo: Sophia Phan 



That night I went home with a few extra dollars, the gnarliest blisters (thanks to the pair of black satin civilian stilettos I INSISTED on wearing due to their merits of "class")
AND a bubbling anticipation for how this new chapter of my life would unfold.

GIIIIIIIIIRL, I HAD NO FUCKING CLUE.

Today I turn 32. 

And as I celebrate another glorious year I like to think about the plethora of advice I'd give my baby stripper self. 


For starters, I'd tell her that "class" is overrated and that god invented Pleasers for a reason! 
I'd also tell her to stop complimenting the more experienced babes at the club with: "Omg, you look so good FOR. YOUR. AGE."

Bahahahahahaha.

But seriously tho.  #fuckingkarma

That aside, I'd also like to say cheers: 
To you, the dope ass women who've inspired me over the years,
To you, the generous patrons who've contributed to this job being so much fucking fun,
AND
To me, now being that broad who knows some things.
 

Happy Birthday to me!!! 

 ©2018 Valerie Stunning, All Rights Reserved