What It’s Really Like to Be a Stripper in NYC
One of the best nights I ever had in New York City was at a strip club.
I was sipping on some fancy vodka, and eating cheesecake, while watching some bad bitches dance. These girls had moves some of us cannot even imagine we could do.
We live in a weird time where dancing is both praised and slut-shamed. But I have the mindset that one of the only places women are paid as equally as men, is behind closed doors. Therefore, I look at dancing as a feminist act.
I also feel that every girl is lying if at one point during their adolescence, they haven’t thought to themselves “Fuck it I’m just going to be a stripper.” The question that I always wonder, is what happens when you actually take action? I interviewed a couple of girls to find out what dancing is actually like, so we talked to Vanessa and Jennette, two New York City dancers.
How much would you make per night?
V: Per night $300-1200
J: I typically make anywhere from $200-700 a night. Depending on the night and a couple other factors.
How and where did you get into dancing?
V: I got into it because I was working two jobs (Forever 21 and a movie theater) both of which were not nearly enough money to live on my own. As soon as I turned 19 I auditioned and started dancing. I danced in Scottsdale, San Diego, and Las Vegas, and did bachelor parties on the side.
J: I had my daughter and moved out at a young age. I had a friend I went out looking jobs with. Her sister danced at the time and told me I should apply as a waitress. I didn’t want to dance at that time. I went into the strip club for the first time on a Sunday to apply for a cocktail waitress. The manager pretty much begged me to dance instead. Told me how much more dancers make. So I started that night and made $400 and I’ve been dancing since.
What was the most amount of money you made?
V: My best night was $20,000 and second best was $12,000. Both of those were in Arizona.
J: The most I’ve made in a night was $3,700.
Holy shit. $20,000 is so much money, what was the scenario?
V: Those high money jobs were at the club. They were in VIP champagne rooms where it’s more private. I was not a dirty dancer meaning I didn’t have sex or anything with customers so I didn’t get paid as much as they would. I know other girls would make $50,000 sometimes because they did do that stuff. Bachelor parties were about $500 per girl, and for $1,000 every hour. We just partied and danced for them in the comfort of their home. Some girls of course are always going to do more though.
What did the money go towards?
V: That money goes as fast as it comes. Because I was new to the industry I wasn’t smart about putting away money. Most dancers don’t realize how much they waste until years later. The older women I worked with had owned Starbucks and real estate homes and had lots of investments. But my money went to my gigantic house I bought for myself in Scottsdale which I could not afford shortly after and had to sell it. Because you always think when you spend money there will always be more the next night. I don’t know where half of my money went. Lots of shopping.
J: The money normally goes towards bills, clothes, food. I’m a single mom so I’m a sole provider.
Do you have a horror story from dancing, and if so what is it?
V: The whole experience was a nightmare but the money was too good. I had customers try and follow me home and stalk me. [I became] addicted to opioids and … a huge drinker. Neither of which I do now. My boyfriend broke up with me because I was so into the lifestyle and my family was embarrassed of me. I’d never do it again.
J: There’s never really a dull moment as a stripper. I’ve had wives come in and drag their husbands out while I was giving dances. I’ve been thrown up on. Ripped off… I’ve had fights with other dancers. The worst thing I’ve been through is spending all night with a customer who’s card gets declined! 😉
Anything else you would like to share for individuals interesting in the side of the industry most don’t hear about?
V: Message to girls considering the business is if you are SMART about it meaning only be in it for 2 or 3 years, put your money away into investments or save it rather than shopping and buy unnecessary material items and NOT get mixed up in the drugs, drinking and obsession with fast money it could be very beneficial.
J: I would say that this is a very draining job. Physically and mentally. And it’s a very hard lifestyle to get out of. Although the money’s good, there’s a lot to think about before becoming an entertainer.
Do you feel that you can semi commit to the lifestyle for a little bit or do you have to go all in?
V: I know now it doesn’t have to be all in. But the people I was around made it hard not to be. I could do it again a lot smarter but now I make more money regularly than I did dancing so I don’t need to.