Stripper Tales: Brooklyn Ford Reveals The Life Of An NYC Dancer

While our society as a whole has warmed up to the sex industry and figuring out what really goes on behind closed doors, much of what happens in porn, strip clubs, and the like remains a mystery to the average American. Movies such as Magic Mike and Show Girls attempt at explaining the whirlwind behind the pole, but to really understand the daily life of a stripper you need to go directly to the source.

Brooklyn Ford is a dancer at Rick’s Cabaret in NYC who goes by the name of ‘Presley.’ She also keeps a daily journal of the wild times that she has working at a strip club. From her initial decision to quit her day job to navigating the dating world as an exotic dancer, she tells us everything we’ve ever wanted to know (but were too afraid to ask) about being a stripper.

What are 5 things that most girls/people don’t understand about strippers/strip clubs?

Pretty much EVERYTHING. Nonetheless, my top 5 include:

1. We are not intelligent and we are finding an easy way out: Apparently, we are all uneducated and began stripping in order to obtain an easy and lucrative income. That is false, I have worked with teachers, designers, writers, and nurses who have all gone to school and use stripping as a temporary means of survival.

2. We are all gold-diggers or drug addicts: While drugs are always present in any profession, surprisingly many strippers have NOT taken drugs. If a gold digger is someone who makes her own money, pays her own bills and supports herself and others around her, then maybe so…

3. We all have daddy issues: Surprisingly, no, we don’t all have daddy-issues. I have actually met MANY dancers who come from great traditional families but have found a safe haven within stripping and a sense of independence.

4. We don’t have goals outside of stripping: False! Believe it or not, many women dance in order to fund their many goals or aspirations in a way that a 9-5 never could.We are not objects you could fondle and speak to in any manner that you please. Still being humans just like you, we do expect the same respect you give to someone that you truly care for.

You made the decision to say goodbye to your day job and strip full time, what inspired you to make this decision? How did you combat the negative stigma surrounding stripping as a profession?
Let’s put it this way, I’ve studied for years and held multiple marketing positions for pretty good companies. It was stripping that granted me a better income and true happiness. Consequently, the decision was not very difficult to make. In terms of negative stigma, I tend not to care at all. Stripping will always be placed in a negative light due to the many misconceptions. Yet, knowing deep inside that I have a job that I love going to every other day and I smile far more than I have in past jobs is enough to block out all the negativity.

You mentioned that in becoming a stripper, you tarnished your two year relationship. In your experience, can men handle dating a stripper? Or does it conflict with many men who have a subtle “madonna whore complex” going on in their minds?
Yes, it does depend on the man. Though, it does go both ways. It is not only the factor of if the man could handle dating a stripper but could the stripper date this man? As dancers we develop this strong sense of independence and increased self worth and overtime we all begin to wonder ‘Is there a man out there on our level?’ From income to self-awareness, we do tend to do well for ourselves and I would be lying if I said it did not go to our heads. As for the madonna whore complex, yes indeed it does conflict for we live in a society were we will forever be labeled as the whore & NOT the madonna and there are men that feed into that. Nonetheless, little do they know a lot of us can easily be both.

When dating, do you wait to tell guys about your profession? Or do you tell them right away?
Honestly, it does not stop at dating. Most people I meet for the first time have a clear idea of what I do. As time passes I am becoming more appreciative of my profession and I am so thrilled to always share.

Does your family know about your profession? Do they approve?
Not at all. I am sure if I explained everything accurately they would comprehend. However, there is the idea of me possessing a degree and dancing that may not settle properly. So in order for me to approach them about it, it must be the correct place and time.

What initially led you to your career as a stripper? How does the interview process work? Can you walk us through it?
Well, I danced at a bikini bar when I was 21 years old in Hollywood, California. It was the most mind-blowing time in my life. While working at my previous office job this past summer I realized how uninspired, broke, and miserable I truly was. So two weeks after my revelation I took the plunge and prepared for auditioning. Lucky for me, the club where I am currently employed pretty much hired me on the spot, so auditioning anywhere else was not a concern. Once I walked in the head manager checked both my social and ID card. Afterwards, I was given a gown to audition in. I was taken to the second floor balcony (during business hours), told to dance to two songs and to remove my top during the second song. There are two types of clubs; ‘stage clubs’ (most money is made onstage) and ‘hustle clubs’ (most money is made on the floor, lap dances and V.I.P rooms) this particular club is a ‘hustle club’ therefore there is not a a pole on the main stage or any floor work at all. For this reason the audition process was strange. Though, I must have been impressive in some manner because I was hired and quickly taken to the locker room to fill out paper work. Informed that I was an independent contractor, I was walked through the club fees, taxes and the cost of lap dances, V.I.P Room, etc. Lastly, I was able to choose my name (Presley) and I began the next day.

Are there certain dangers that come with stripping, such as stalkers or unruly clientele?
Of course there are dangers when day after day you are dealing with complete strangers on such an intimate level. It is usually frowned upon for dancers to hand out personal information. All the same, when it does happen it has to be approached with caution. In terms of unruly clientele, being that we are constantly surrounded by security and hosts we are fairly safe in that sense. If something escalates it is quickly diminished before it gets out of control.

Have you ever made friends or business connections through clients at the strip club?
In the beginning I did, which lead to some attachment issues on their end. So, I am a bit more cautious. If I usually make a new client I try to keep it within the club walls by merely giving them my schedule.

I’m sure you get many men saying things like, “you’re so smart, what are you doing in a place like this?” Yet, you are smart and that’s why you’re making so much money. Why don’t you think our society can accept this?
There will ALWAYS be a stigma against strippers and any profession pertaining to the sex industry, this goes back to the madonna whore complex. Most men view ‘smart girls’ as women that stay out of situations such as working at a gentlemen’s club. They generally don’t associate a person who can provocatively dance for cash with one who is respectable. It is all based on old beliefs, but it is refreshing to sit and chat with men and help them realize that being ‘smart’ does not always equal a 9-5 office job.

What do you make in an average night of stripping? 
Every night is a gamble and there are horrible nights where I can walk out with 20 dollars. At any rate, on an average night I can rack up $200-700 and on stellar nights I am able to walk away with $1000.

Do you hope to combat the negative stigma associated with stripping through your writing?
YES! that is surely my goal. I would love to demonstrate how normal us strippers truly are and how we definitely are a functioning part of society though we live an unconventional lifestyle.

You keep a journal of your daily experiences, can you tell us a crazy story?
Well, when I first began dancing I was not very confident in approaching men. However, it was my first night that I made over $1,000 that I realized that a little persistence can sometimes go a long way. As I entered my first Friday night shift I rapidly noticed how slow the night was. I began to worry that this Friday would not be rewarding at all. Eventually, I was called up on stage where I did my usual rock and roll routine and I was ready to make my rounds. A couple of lap dances here and there elated my spirits. Though, it was one very short man that would change my night. Nonchalantly sipping his beer while seated by the stage he looked feeble and unassuming, so much that no other girl approached him. I took my chances and strolled over. Feeding compliment after compliment about his gelled hair (which reminded me of Elvis) I was able to break him down. Beer after beer he insisted that he will not be spending too much money tonight because he has a history of spending a small fortune at strip clubs…Fucking Jackpot. Six beers and two cocktails in, he was ready to party. His celebratory state truly skyrocketed when he finally ordered a bottle of champagne for us to share. As my sense of accomplishment sunk in, I was called up to the stage which I feared would ruin my changes of making more money with this man. While my three song set ended I spotted another young dancer sitting on his lap drinking the champagne that I convinced him to buy. Not sure what came over me, but I hastily dressed and shimmied over and joined them. Best decision I made all week because this quickly became a happy threesome who enviably took the party up to a 3 HOUR VIP session where the other dancer and I constantly performed double dances which turned into us pretending to scissor one another. The more simulated and make believe sexual positions we performed while dancing, the more money he spent. Eventually the multiple bottles of champagne hit him like a truck and he completely passed out during the last hour which was a relief to the other dancer and I because our legs ached from grinding on one another. This night marked my 1st $1,000 made in a couple of hours.

Follow Brooklyn on Instagram and Snapchat @thebrooklynford

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