Danielle Henderson, first ever guest on Yes, a Stripper Podcast. She tells the story of coming out to her family and about stripping in LA.

AMD: So on December 18th of 2018, I was hit by a car while driving my motor scooter and my left foot was crushed between a And the car’s bumper and my motor scooter and it’s on impact amputated half of my foot, all five of my toes and the ball of my foot. Now at the time I was dancing full time, I was dancing three nights a week. I was teaching regularly. I was traveling teaching workshops and I was probably at the peak and height of my career. I had finally figured out as a stripper how to save for retirement and how to save my money. put it aside for taxes. So I was being like a proper, you know, uh, functioning adult in society and really making sure I was looking out for my future. And, and all of a sudden I lost half my foot and my completely, my life was just completely changed in a matter of seconds. And, um, You know, I’ve been thinking a lot. I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last year and where I am now compared to where I was last year and the transformation that has brought me  where I am now is completely different and something that’s been ringing through my head is something my uncle said to me really recently, which is a leopard can’t change its spots. And I was just looking at him from across the table thinking, yeah,  Yeah, they fucking sure can, you know, um, I was, so when I, when I got to the hospital the next day, I had a, a, um, a psychiatrist come into my room and proceeded to tell me all of the different substances that were in my system  and asked me if I was okay. Um, it’s not to say that I had a serious substance abuse problem, but I definitely was operating on a different level. I was partying a lot more, um, and even though I was in control of my life, I was still kind of floating around without any real control.  strong purpose. And right now I can tell you my purpose is extremely clear and extremely defined. And I feel like because of that transformation, because my foot got crushed, like I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for that moment and for the transformation that it’s, it’s led to and the person I am today. And it’s only been a year. And, um, you know, I say all of that to say that. Even what may seem to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, it, the most beautiful things can come out of it and it all depends on your mind frame and your mindset. And I think that a lot of like cliche things that people say, I just want to remind you that that’s all fucking bullshit. Money does grow on trees. Leopards can change their spots and you can lose weight and keep it off forever. So, like, I mean, that’s just an example. Those are just examples. But all I can think about is transformation. And so, you know, just words of encouragement. If you’ve been wanting to transform your life, um, there’s no better time than the present. And fuck January 1st. Do whatever you want on whatever date. that you want. Um, and transformation can lead to amazing and beautiful things. Um, so like I said, it all depends on how you look at it. So those are my stripper thoughts for this week. I would like to now move on to a very dear friend of mine and our guest who I also believe might have experience some transformation in this beautiful year of 2019. Today with me, I have Danielle Henderson.  What’s up, queen?

DH: I’m just chilling here.

AMD: Girl, you’re going to have to get that big round thing closer to your face.

DH: Yes. All right. Yeah. How is this? How’s this?

AMD: Much better. Um, how are you today? Thank you so much for being here, first of all.

DH: Thank you. Yeah. Um, I’m glad to be here. Thank you for having me. Yes. And, um, today is amazing. I’m feeling awesome. Yeah.

AMD: So what do you, what are your quick thoughts on transformation and what maybe your own personal transformation has been this year? 

DH: Um, quick thoughts on transformation. I totally agree with you. Uh, You can transform right now. You don’t have to wait till tomorrow or like you said January 1st I feel like that’s just an excuse for us to put off things right do it today. Do it right now, right? And as far as my own transformations, uh, where do I start?  I have learned to become a better listener. Mm hmm. I have Renewed my relationships with my parents. Wonderful. It was a big deal. I was keen. I was very honest with them and told them what I do. I told them my dance.

AMD: Oh, snap.

DH: Yeah. They did not have a positive reaction, but that’s okay. Because now we have an open and honest relationship.

AMD: We’re definitely going to circle back to that story in a little bit. But, you know, finish your thoughts on transformation.

DH: And also just my how I react to things. I’m not like, I’m not hot headed anymore with things like I don’t need to like snap right away on people I can take a second and be like, okay, right? What are their true intentions? Are they good? Or are they bad? Right? It also helps me not care about certain things when people say bad things to me or things like that. It helps me not care. I feel like it’s all how I take things and how I react to things. I’ve just kind of just changed my, what’s transformed I feel like is my view, honestly. My viewpoint of life.

AMD: Amazing. You think that came with age, experience?

DH: Um,  I won’t even say age. Maybe experience, yeah.

AMD: Okay. 

DH: Definitely experience. The experiences I’ve been through, I’m definitely, I used to be a lot more naive. I still consider myself like a little naive, but I look at it as more positive trait now.

AMD: Okay. And yeah, like you, there’s so many new possibilities. Yeah.

DH: There’s so many fun things to learn and know about.  Um, and I, it’s awesome because I can look back and I see how much I’ve come and how much I’ve grown.

AMD: Yes.

DH: And, I mean, we’ve been friends for a while. Yes. You’ve definitely seen me grow.

AMD: Yes. I, yeah.

DH: Seen a lot. Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing. So. Yeah. That’s me. My transformation. You just like. so much. Like, there’s so many cans of worms in my brain right now, um, with so many things that you just said.

AMD: So, tell me the story about, well, first of all, let’s make it very clear, Danielle is a stripper here in Los Angeles, right?  Now, do you identify as a stripper? where you work and would you, do you feel comfortable talking about where you work?

DH: Yeah, totally, totally. I work at Jumbo’s Clown Room. I definitely classify myself as a stripper. Hell yeah. I know not everyone does, but I have no qualms with the title.

AMD: Right, right. And so for anybody who doesn’t know Jumbo’s Clown Room, the reason why that’s sort of a gray area, whether or not dancers at Jumbo’s are considered strippers or not is because it’s a bikini club. So there’s full alcohol and there’s different laws in Los Angeles about, um, you know, zoning laws basically. And so in Hollywood, if you have a full bar, you have to have your nipples and, um, your pink bits, I like to say covered.

DH: Or purple. 

AMD: Thank you for that clarification.

DH: You’re welcome. Um, and so at Jumbo’s Clown Room, they’re a bikini, but, you know, we do strip things off like a shirt or a dress and we’re still pole dancing and we’re dancing very provocatively. A lot of us are twerking. Um, I, when I used to work at Jumbo’s Clown Room, I used to pussy flick. Like it’s very, it can still be very sexually suggestive. However, we’re not hustling lap dances and, um, we’re not literally getting naked. So that’s why it’s a bit of a gray area, but I, I classified myself as a stripper as well.

DH: I do too. It’s definitely not a go go bar.

AMD: We’re not like really just, yeah, but I think that the reason why some dancers do classify themselves. And you tell, you tell me your thoughts on this after I say it is because, um, they maybe feel ashamed and don’t want to be in the class as, as strippers are. What do you think about that?

DH: I definitely would agree with that. Um, I definitely have worked with girls, especially at other clubs too. I’ve worked with girls who are like, I’m not a stripper and I’m exotic dancer.

AMD: Oh God, don’t even get me started on that.

DH: I’m, Oh, I’m a dance. I’m an actual dancer. I’m an entertainer. How about that one? Oh yeah.

AMD: Yeah. Okay. I’m just, I’m just everything.

DH: I’m just like. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t care what you call yourself. We’re both still about to go on stage and take our tops off. So right, right. It is what it is. Yeah. 

AMD: Um, okay. So back to you classify yourself as tripper at Jumbos. So coming out to your parents, tell us everything.

DH: So I was doing a forum at Landmark actually. And a part of it was, um, you know, doing that, like not holding back and, um,  mending these relationships.

AMD: Sure. So for our listeners that don’t know, can you tell them just a brief synopsis of what Landmark, what that is to you?

DH: Um, Landmark to me is like, Intensive three day workshop where you transform yourself and it gives you just like a whole different perspective of looking at the world and what you, what it is possible that you can do. Right. So that’s definitely what I got from it was like, Oh wow, like I could just, I just looked at everything. It just turned me on my head. I like feel like I walked into a different dimension where I was like. Whoa. This is the world.

AMD: Yeah.

DH: It’s like waking up from like the matrix or something. I don’t know.  Um,  but, um, so I did that and I did not want to have this conversation with my parents. And I was talking to my seminar leader, Pat, and he was just like, all right, when you get go, go do it right now. Go on your break, go talk to your mom, like go call her. And I was just like, Oh, just dreading it. And I was like, okay. So I was just like, okay. I was like, mom,  I would like to be open and honest with you. I know that I’ve lied in the past, but I’m ready to have an open and honest relationship with you. And I want you to hold me accountable for that. And I want to let you know this whole time I’ve been dancing. I’m safe. I’m having a good time. I’m making money. I’m not doing anything illegal, and, um, I just want to be honest with you. And she, like, actually, I expected her to freak out. Because, normally, my parents would, like, lose their shit. Cause they did find out that I, um, danced a long time ago and I lied and said I quit. Okay. Because man, they flew out my grandparents.

AMD: Oh shit. They tried to have an intervention.

DH: Oh yes, honey. A stripper intervention.

AMD: They had a stripper intervention. 

DH: I like totally avoided the phone calls. It was like, end call, end call, end call. It was bad. I was like, I don’t want to face my grandparents.  Wow. And my mom’s like, you just need to talk to somebody. Like she thought I needed to get saved or something.

AMD: Dang.

DH: So I lied. And then finally I told her and she they I’m pretty sure they knew this whole time. I’m a terrible liar Okay, so I’m pretty sure they knew this whole time and then finally  I said, hey mom I’m doing this sure and I felt so much so much. I felt grown in that moment Okay, I’m like it’s kind of like childish of me to sit there and like  Parents are people too. Yeah, they’re just people.

AMD: You’re an adult. Yeah, I could do whatever you want with your body.

DH: Exactly. Yeah I woke up from the matrix. I was like, mom, this is what I do. I love you. I care about you. You don’t have to agree with it, but I’m doing it. And she was like, that’s chill. Yeah. She was just like, she’s like, okay, love you be safe. And I was like, whoa, that’s it. That was all I got back in the text message. And I was literally like,

AMD: Oh, so wait, she texted you?

DH: I did. I called her. I did call her and then I texted her and then just, just like go over it again.

AMD: Okay. And like, in case you didn’t hear me, right?

DH: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Cause on the phone she didn’t really have much to say. Yeah. So it’s kind of like, uh, and then I texted her and she was like, okay, love you.

AMD: Okay. So it’s almost like maybe a little slight avoidance. Maybe.

DH: Yeah. Just a little bit, but I’m shocked. Yeah, definitely. I mean, even now, cause my boyfriend’s kind of this way too, where it’s like out of sight, out of mind. It’s like, I don’t really want to listen to all the details about it. I don’t necessarily agree with it. But you know, you’re grown. Do you, take care of yourself? And that’s the kind of, um, background my mom was coming from.

AMD: Yeah. I mean, that’s so interesting that he said that like, I don’t really want to know all the details of it. It’s like, well, I really don’t want to know all the details of your stupid job all day either. You know what I mean? Yeah. So it’s It’s like, even Steven, you know, I just, I love that though. It’s like, I don’t want to know the details. Like, what makes you think I want you to give me a play by play of your entire day also?

DH: Exactly. You know what I mean? Exactly. What girl you had to flirt with for whatever reason.

AMD: You know what I mean? Like, it goes both ways. It does. I call. It does.  On that. I’m going to put, let’s get them on the phone. I wish this was that kind of show. This is like Maury Povich style, which is how like people show up around the corner.

DH: Exactly. That would be amazing. Well, “oh, you’re just talking shit about your boyfriend, Gabe, come on out!” 

AMD: So what about your dad?

DH: My dad, something a lot of people don’t know is my dad, um, is kind of like narcissistic. He has, Oh, I can’t, I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t say that he’s a narcissist. He has narcissistic tendencies. So, um, the way he looks at women is a lot different. He looked, he’s more misogynistic about things. So me and my sisters were not like equals ever, to him.

AMD: Uh, so he was above you? 

DH: Yes. So when I said that, of course, he’s like, you can’t do that. Oh, he was always like that. And I had a, that’s another thing I was forced to kind of, in that moment when I told him and he already, it was just like, you can’t do that and telling me what I can and can’t do. I realized I had to accept my father for who he was. I was like, Oh, you know, you’re going to freak out and you’re always going to be this way. You’re always going to tell me what I can and can’t do because that’s you and that’s fine. I don’t have to listen to you.  And that’s what I was talking about how like changing my view on things. It’s like people can say stuff I don’t have to get mad about it, and I don’t have to  ruin my life over it I don’t have to like, you know It’s just annoying too because all these people are like stop stripping stop stripping and it’s like-

AMD: Who are all these people?

DH: My family. And it’s like You They were coming at me about this and I’m like, where were you guys when I was working three minimum wage jobs living on my friend’s couch in a studio apartment, digging through trash for recycling to pay my rent and just to eat, buy a pack of ramen noodles so I could have dinner, right? I was eating ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

AMD: I mean, it’s good, but it’s not that good.

DH: Like living in the hood, like literally the pimp knows my name on the corner. Like, I’m literally like, where were you guys then?

AMD: It’s so interesting how they, cause I had a very similar conversation with my uncles and my family. I have a big family. Both my grandparents had seven children. So I referenced my very large family often. And, um, they, they were very concerned about my safety in the clubs. And I’m like, you, and they’re like, why didn’t you go to college instead? I’m like,  Uh, that’s where girls get raped. Yeah. Um, I just listened to a song the other day, written by a millennial, sang by a millennial, who the lyrics of the song are chug, chug, chug, I love drinking, I love girls, I was just with a naked girl the other day, chug, chug, chug, and I’m like, oh, that’s what they’re doing in college. Yeah. Meanwhile, I’m in a strip club with like huge bouncers watching over me. Right. And like, conversely, you, you’re, you’re hanging out, you know, you’re There’s pimps adjacent to you and there’s probably other danger adjacent to you when you’re out on the streets.

DH: Yeah, making sure to take literally like a different way home every night.

AMD: Right, so that versus you’re in a club with a lot of people in a public place, and there are people watching you at the door, inside, walking you to your car. How is that different? It’s not any more dangerous. It’s not. It’s more, way more safe. And I told my uncle, I was like, listen, at college, like girls get pressure to take their clothes off and drink a lot of alcohol and like hang out with the boys and be, Oh, be a cool chick. Like hang out and do this and do that. No one pressure. Well, there’s pressure in the strip clubs, but there’s cameras everywhere. And the minute I say no to something, that’s like, that’s what’s happening. It’s a no. 

DH: Exactly.

AMD: So, that, that argument Especially with all eyes on you. You 100%.

DH: All eyes are always on you.

AMD: Well, hmm. You’re awesome too, ma’am.  But I mean, you know, I just find it really interesting that the, the misunderstanding of how actually safe we are and versus what people think. Right? Um, so, you know, I just want to do some like myth busting, basically, in general, and just kind of, you know, stamp out the, what’s the word I’m looking for?  When people think something that’s not true. I guess, not stigma, but like,

DH: stereotypes.

AMD: Yeah, there you go. Thank you. Words are hard.

DH: Got you. They are.

AMD: So have you talked to them again since then and things kind of like chilled out and they dropped it? Or is it like, are they still trying to save you?

DH: No, they’re not trying to save me anymore. I am a lost cause to them. I’m just kidding. Um,  they just know, I mean, my, my family knows me. I’ve always been the child that’s like, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. I am no like, okay, little insecure little girl. Like I’m definitely like, Oh, this is what I’m doing. When I moved to LA, I was like, Oh, I’m moving to LA next week. Bye. And they were like, sighhh okay…They’re like, I’m not even going to bother.

AMD: She’s going to do what she’s going to do. Okay. So something that you mentioned, um, which I kind of took to be one thing and then you said something and it just totally like blew my mind. So you said. That you’ve learned to sort of overcome things that people say to you and you just kind of let it roll off your back. Yeah, um in my mind. I was thinking oh, she’s talking about being in the strip club and like customers saying dumbass things And then you said You know that it was kind of in regards to you knew what your dad was going to say, and and he’s he’s going to be- He’s like that I choose him for him and therefore I’m letting this roll off my back so because initially my question was going to be to you like- How did working in the strip clubs and dealing with the bullshit that people say to us on a regular basis, like shape and form you in everyday life outside of the club It made me better.

DH: It made me so much better. Um, I feel like I, I mean, I’m a social butterfly, but I don’t always pick up on social cues. 

AMD: I know, girl, I, I’ve experienced it. 

DH: I’m the girl where you’re like, oh look, that person over there don’t look. And I’m like, who? Him? Like.  So being in a strip club kind of taught me how to pick up on those certain social cues like that. I can be like in a situation, I can be in a dangerous situation and know like, Oh, where I know where all the exits are. I’m thinking like, Oh, this person’s talking kind of crazy. I see this  probably escalating. Like I know like when I’m in an exit, Just going out with my friends, I can like understand those situations and also along the lines of people saying stuff to me, it made me desensitized to it. So now when people are like, you’re ugly and I’m like, help me.  Me? I’m ugly? Ugh. Like, you know what I mean?

AMD: It becomes funny after a while.

DH: It is hilarious now when people try to make fun of me. They’re like, wow, you’re short or you’re ashy. I remember, like, a customer was like, Oh, you need, uh, he’s like, “Your lips are ashy. You need lip gloss.” And I was like, “aw, word. Hey, um.  I’ll put some lip gloss on my lips for 10 bucks. “

AMD: You want to pay me to gloss these lips?

DH: I know you, you, you need to pay for this fantasy of me having unchapped lips.  Um, but  also I’d like gained so much like respect for myself and being like, and so much confidence. Like nobody can tell me nothing. I used to be like very nervous doing auditions for acting. I can walk in a room now. I like just turn it on. Like, it’s like how Beyonce is Sasha Fierce. I have Ruby. Like, I have my little stripper alter ego that’s like,

AMD: Oh, Ruby’s your stripper alter ego. Gotcha.

DH: I just turn her on and I walk into a room. It’s like, it’s just weird. I feel like it’s like Sucker Punch where she’s dancing.

AMD: Yeah, you know, um, my, my partner, uh, Antonia Crane and I were just talking about this this morning and I was looking at my Instagram profile and I was like, she’s cute. You know, I was looking at just like the tiles, you know, and I was like, look at me. I’m like, uh, like in every, every picture, you know, and like, that’s not who I am about. Like I’d say that’s me about 10 percent of my day and my life. The other 90 percent is like organizing and planning and writing and, you know, talking to my cats in funny voices and yeah. Um, really talking to my family, like digging deep, you know, reading books, like watching the office. Like, I’m not just sitting at home naked, squeezing my tits all day. But if you look at my Instagram account, that’s for sure what you think I’m doing. There’s mad content to back that up. 

DH: Every time I talk to you, I just imagine that you’re in a pile of sticky notes.

AMD: Like I probably am. Yeah. So you should see the list. on my desk. Anyway, so I think that’s really interesting that you’re saying it’s like, because I was talking to Antonia about it today, how it’s just like, it’s like this character. I just, it’s like stepping into another world.

DH: I was literally talking to someone last night and he was like, Oh, I get that. You guys like have your personalizing as a defense mechanism. And I’m like, No, not at all.

AMD: That’s so off base. DH: Yeah, I just like laughed at him though. That’s like, that’s the kind of stuff when someone says something to me and I just laugh. AMD: Yeah, you have to.

DH: I’m like, no, it’s just a splinter of myself actually. I am literally this confident in real life. It’s just that I’m not half naked all the time.

AMD: Yeah. Gosh, I have so much to say about that. They literally just think that that’s all that’s all we are is that one dimension of that person cut to who are they at work versus who are they at home-

DH: Or even who they are in a strip club? I’m like, well, you’re an asshole here 100 are you an asshole in real life? Yeah

AMD: Exactly. Wow, that’s fascinating. So what is like the craziest thing you think someone’s ever said to you?

DH: Um, Hmm, what do I choose with my long list? I know I  Probably. Oh, you’re really beautiful for a black girl girl.

AMD: That’s right. I’ve heard you tell me that one before. Yeah, that is the absolute most  That’s just so like what are you thinking type of thing?

DH: Yeah, I make everything a joke I always have like some form of a clapback every single time.

AMD: So what was your clapback to that one?

DH: Oh, my clapback is like, oh, well, you’re white. So do you have a little dick? What and then he was like, oh, I didn’t mean it that way I meant it as a compliment, but he like realized when I said that how dumb he sounded.

AMD: Yeah, I think it’s really important to like, it’s to let people know like how ridiculous you’re, you’re sounding because then they’re just going to keep saying that and keep repeating that to other people and think it’s okay to get away with, um-

DH: And I always make it a joke too, So it’s like kind of hilarious, but kind of serious at the same time. Right?

AMD: Right. So they don’t feel like specifically attacked.

DH: Yeah. Cause I know like, I’ve also learned through my transformation that, uh, fighting fire, if you come at someone with fire, you better expect a huge fireball back cause that’s exactly what happens. But I learned that if I joke around, if I joke to someone, usually they’ll joke back and I still can get my point across without totally lighting up the place. You know what I mean?

AMD: Yeah. I definitely feel you on that. I feel you. I don’t go after things with anger anymore. I’m definitely like, when you say something to me that’s like, really annoying or shitty, a lot of times my reaction now is,  and then I, you know, I literally am like shrugging. And um, and, and then I think of, Just a normal response not a like “fuck you then” which is what you know I used to tell people like “I will fucking kill you.” I literally used to threaten Wow on people Yeah, I was a little I had a little anger inside me  Yeah that had nothing to do with stripping by the way  But yeah, I think that’s great It’s just like yeah ease into it and be a little like kinder because I think a lot of people say that stuff, because I think No one’s ever checked them and also a lot of people have a hard time seeing beyond their own nose. So, especially if he’s a white man saying that to you. He has no idea what it’s like to be in your shoes. I’m not defending him by any means. Um, but they, when they’re checked, like how you did that. Yeah. It really, I, I hope that that made him think.

DH: I think I like learned from that just growing up in a white neighborhood, like that being a black girl in a white neighborhood and growing up with that, I learned not to get angry because I started realizing that some people are just ignorant about certain cultures. Especially when it comes to stripper culture because everyone just assumes we’re some kind of way. So when people say shit to me, I like, it goes back to the intention thing. Not saying I’m perfect, because I do mess up sometimes and I snap, but I have been learning to like, be like, what is their true intention? Are they truly trying to cause me harm? Like do I need to like puff up my chest right now? Because this person may be harmful? Or are they just doing- is there a miscommunication or just some knowledge that they aren’t aware of? And nine times out of ten It’s just like people are just ignorant of the culture.

AMD: So yeah, so that that’s actually a perfect segue into a topic that you and I have talked about in the past which is you being um, um a black girl growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and how that sort of shaped you and you know, you have talked to me in the past about how you were guilty of cultural misappropriation. Do you remember that conversation that we had?

DH: A little bit.

AMD: Yeah, it was like about like braiding hair and like how you would Braid the white girls hair. Yeah. And then can you, can you talk a little bit about like what that was like learning that for you and like how it’s kind of shaped your mentality, um, on that subject now?

DH: Yeah. So when I first heard about like cultural appropriation with like white girls wearing braids, I didn’t get it honestly. Because I used to braid my girl’s hair for money when I was little so I was like whatever like that’s why even today I’ll braid like all my friends hair for money. You know?

AMD: Yes, I know Queen you’ve braided mine  So I never looked at it that way.

DH: I’m just like whatever but  I definitely looked into it because I was going to an event was going to Babetown Fest. I was gonna be-

AMD: Can you say that again? You’re going where?

DH: BabeTown Fest. And I needed to,  I needed to um,  be a little aware of that. Okay. Not a little. I needed to be aware of it.  And I needed to be aware of like, you know, I didn’t want any of my friends to get like, you know,  pounded. On social media for this. Okay. So, um, I learned that, you know, it’s more of like the fact that black women can’t really, and this makes sense ’cause this is true in the stripper industry too. As a black woman, I usually have to look like a Barbie doll when I go audition for clubs to get in, right? Like, I won’t get hired if I’m just wearing, like my little fro thing times are changing. But when I first started it was not like that. Like I couldn’t get right. They wouldn’t hire me if I was wearing. Or if, like, I didn’t have a weave in my hair. I used to work at Hooters, and I took my weave out, and like a month later, they were like, you don’t meet the Hooters, like, you know, standards, so you have to go.

AMD: No way, they fired you for taking your weave out?

DH: Yes. Yes. So, I, because they kept asking me, like, oh, are you going to put your hair back in? And I’m like, nah. And I had a relaxed, like, hair or whatever, I didn’t care, but, um, Society just has pressure on black women to, like, look a certain way, and I know certain companies have changed that, like, I mean, I have dreads in my hair right now, and if I wanted to go get hired somewhere. Like if there was another black girl next to me and her hair was pressed and buttered, they would like probably hire her over me because I like don’t fit a certain image because my hair is in its natural like state. So I understood that’s what I got from it. Um, and that’s why I understand why it’s like such a big deal when like white girls wear braids because it’s a privilege for them to wear the braids because they look cool. They look hot. And then when we wear them, we’re ghetto. And, you know, we’re loud and we just get this huge stereotype pushed on us and once I saw that, and especially because I can relate to it, I realized like, but, um, I still feel like, you know, it’s a part of my culture that I wanted to share. That’s what I was, my contribution to that festival was, was, you know, I wanted to share my culture and it was a- We were all exchanging our gifts in our cultures between each other, so I feel like that’s different when the exchange is equal, but when people do things and the exchange is not or you’re not just aware of what’s going on, I think that’s when it becomes an issue.

AMD: Okay, like when they’re not aware of how they’re maybe disrespecting the culture by dressing that way or

DH: It’s like walking around like a geisha and knowing nothing about the history. All right, you know, yeah, that’s a great example We’re like wearing what’s it called a yarmulke just as a fashion statement. You know what I mean? Like like oh this looks cute. Look at me and my yarmulke and me and my friends

AMD: I don’t think anyone’s ever  wearing a yarmulke to look cute.

DH: You never know. It’s true.  You don’t ever know. Yeah. Exactly.

AMD: There were a lot of weird trends in the 90s, so.

DH: Yeah. And braids aren’t necessarily like a black girl thing. It’s an everybody thing, but I mean, you know, like.

AMD: Sure, but there’s a certain way, right? Yeah. With your braids, your hair. Yeah. So like white girls, it’s like okay to have French braids. Yeah. But not like the cornrows.

DH: But like cornrows with crazy things and stuff like that. Or I personally, again, I personally. Don’t mind sharing that bit of my culture, but I also remind people of is  you can’t base like an opinion of a culture off of one person. A culture is not one person. It’s a whole bunch of people, right? So I’m like, although I don’t care, other people might care. One person might not care if you wear a yarmulke as a fashion statement, but other people might care. The other part of the culture might care, right? 

AMD: And that kind of goes back to people are going to say what they’re going to say based on their own mentality and experiences and situations. Yeah. And you can’t please everybody.

DH: Right. I feel like it kind of goes back to that viewpoint of like, I just look at things so differently now. I’m just like, I rather look at the bigger picture and I see bigger goals. Like I would love to. Share our culture more with people. I think it helps people become more educated about it I’m like I rather share braids with people and then be like, oh, yeah back in the day. This is what they used to do and I’d rather do that and share my culture.

AMD: And talk about like why they started braiding their hair and like how yeah  What it means it doesn’t and I don’t know like does it mean something to them? Was it out of functionality was it as a style?

DH: It was more like a style just because like Your hair, like, just being out. We’re so socialized. I feel like it’s not as bad as it used to be, but when I was younger, definitely. Like, if you walked around with an afro, your hair was nappy. And that’s not cute. Your edges couldn’t be laid. Or anything. Not like this. Like, how my hair looks right now. With these dreads and my edges are, like, laid down.

AMD: Queen, I think you look beautiful just the way you are.

DH: Thank you. I’m rockin it. Uh, but, yeah.

AMD: Yeah, well, speaking of goals, you are, besides being a stripper, you have been working on some other things in your life, and I want to know all about it. I want you to tell me everything. I know that you’re writing screenplays, you’re a singer,  you’re an actor,  um, so yeah, just like free ball it, man. Like tell me everything.

DH: Well, I just started screenwriting. I’ve been writing my entire life, and I wrote a TV pilot about, that was a stripper mockumentary, it’s basically the office in a strip club.

AMD: That’s like, okay, like my wet dream. Like literally I might be wet right now. I can’t tell if it’s my period or I’m actually wet. But yeah, like the office is my all time favorite show, and stripping is my all time favorite job.  Um. Like, can I get like a consulting role on this show?

DH: Of course. Yes, you’re in.

AMD: Fuck yeah. Alright, keep going. Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. Oh, no, it’s good.

DH: I love hearing about it. You know, sharing all your compliments. Um, it’s called The Day Shift Show and um, I plan on turning that into a web series, but what came out of it was an opportunity for me to learn more about screenwriting. I now have a mentor and she’s teaching me how to write my first TV pilot and we’re going to pitch it and we’re going to do everything. So I’m very excited.

AMD: What do you mean we’re going to do everything? What does that mean?

DH: That means that we are going to write, she’s going to help me write it and edit, and we’re And then we’re going to film it or make a short film of it. A

MD: Oh, so you’re literally doing all the work yourself.

DH: Yes, she’s teaching, we’re going through the whole routine of it. And I’m so excited to be there to like pitch it and like just see this process through. And I’m also trying to write as many movies as I can and submitting them to a lot of fellowships for different entertainment companies.

AMD: How many movies have you written so far?

DH: Just one. We’re just gonna say, and that one I can’t even use. It’s like based off of Mortal Combat and it’s called Scorpions Revenge. , the origins of Scorpion.

AMD: Are you serious?

DH: I’m dead serious.  . . Okay. So, all right. And also I had like an idea for a live action Sailor Moon, but that’s a whole another conversation. So I’m working on that and I also, my boyfriend’s a music producer, so I, him and I, we’ve been working together. He’s been teaching me a lot about production and I’ve been learning how to sample music, which is where I like, I’ll sing gospel chords and then he’ll take the gospel chords and he’ll like pitch them up or speed them up or slow them down or do some cool stuff to it. I’ll take a piece of it and turn that into an entire beat.  So I’m also learning how to do that. Lots of production. Yeah, as far as like editing, production. Yeah. Music production. And last but not least, wait, I covered everything. So singing, acting, oh, acting, along with my screenwriting. And there was one. Oh, I am also a committed committee member of Babe Town Fest. Yes, you are. It’s a wonderful female empowerment retreat that we do every single year.  It’s amazing. Talk about transformation. That’s like the most amazing retreat you can possibly go to just around women. And they’re all like, not just like any woman, they’re all bosses and they’re all strong and powerful. And we literally just feel so comfortable. It feels like a family. Like you walk away with like a new family. I’m still friends with a lot of the girls from the festival. I’m just really excited for 2020. So excited for this.

AMD: That sounds awesome. I’m also excited to know more about that event. Psych, I’m on the committed committee. But amazing. Yes. Yeah, you’re right. That is trans transformative. It’s like,  it’s such an amazing experience. Every time it’s refreshing.

DH: It’s like a BAP. It’s like a feminine baptizing.

AMD: You know what Daniel’s not actually saying is that she runs a social media account and I love the quotes that you find for every post. It’s on the Babetownfest Instagram account, which is at Babetownfest, by the way, if you want to follow that. Um, and you just find these really female empowering type quotes, um, and I think that they’re just so well suited to everything you choose. And I’m always like in awe of, of how well you choose the things to write and like express that event. It’s really, it’s really amazing.

DH: Thank you, very much. See, that’s why I’m writing. 

AMD: Oh yeah. Duh. That makes so much sense. Get You’re a writer! Oh my god. Um, is, is there anything else that you, because I want to talk about Um, what tips, stripper tips you have for audience, but, um, you know, is, is before we do that, though, I do want to really quickly circle back to like the climate in the strip clubs and like what you’ve been feeling on a personal level, like from your own perspective because. Listen, I could talk for like five hours on my own perspective of the climate inside the strip clubs, but, um, I’m immersed in what’s going on in the strip clubs in Los Angeles. And, um, the, the climate currently is deplorable from owner, owners and managers to strippers and how they’re treating their workers. Um, but you, you’re not learning as much about it, but you still feel it. You still see and know what’s going on. So I’m really interested in like from a. fresh perspective, what you’re seeing and feeling about the current climate.

DH: Well, what I’m definitely seeing is mandatory tips and it’s kind of always like been that way and it shouldn’t be. Um, uh, it’s very frustrating and, um, I feel like they shouldn’t be allowed to even like, and they’re not allowed, to even tell us what to tip or how to tip or who we should tip. Because at the end of the day, it’s like you’re on- you should be getting paid like by the hour or have some kind of salary. And it’s not fair that I’m up here. Dancing that’s like literally what if a ballerina had to tip out everybody in the fucking theater.

AMD: Right? So just for our audience that like might not know what mandatory tipping is Can you just explain that to someone who’s like it’s their first time?

DH: Okay, so you work a shift at the club and at the end of the night you go to the back and you tip out multiple people such as bartenders security guards at some clubs, the manager,  the doorman, the valet, and, um, they expect a hefty tip or else they do not function properly within their jobs. So, um, that’s what we’re dealing with.

AMD: Yeah. So why do you think? Um, why are we tipping these people if somebody like, I know, listen, I know all the answers, but for somebody who has no clue, why do you have to tip the bartender and the bouncer and the manager and everybody else?

DH: Honestly? Oh, because if you don’t, you are cut, you will find yourself jobless and on the streets and eating ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner for sure. I know so many ramen recipes. It’s ridiculous. But, um, definitely, definitely I’ve seen girls go who don’t, or don’t get shifts, get their shifts cut if they’re not tipping.

AMD: Yeah, but that’s not, like, that’s not a real reason. And I’m all, and I’m playing devil’s advocate right now. Why do the strippers need to tip the bartenders? Why is that mandatory? Besides you get cut or you get hassled. Why, why do you have to tip the bartenders and the bouncers?

DH: I don’t think I should have to tip them at all to be quite honest, but  They claim like they they’re looking out for us. They’re watching out for us. I feel like it’s so they can do their jobs Like if you tip a certain security guard a certain amount of money, they’re gonna look out for you extra. They’re gonna do their job. Yeah, instead of look the other way like some of them do, a lot of them do.  Bartenders, I don’t even know why we’re tipping bartenders. I don’t get it.

AMD: They make so much money.

DH: They make so much money as it is. You’re getting paid usually above minimum wage. And then on top of that, you’re making tips. They make tips too, yeah. If anything, it makes sense if you tip us.

AMD: Yeah, because we’re the reason people are coming here. Exactly. Right. Girl, you’re right. Yes. Why isn’t it? They should be tipping us. We do more work for them than the barbacks do.

DH: I got into an argument with a bartender once because of this and I was kind of drunk and I meant not to.

AMD: Were you?

DH: I wasn’t trying to start a fire, but I kind of did and then I went back and just like my bad I didn’t mean to come at you heavy. Those are my feelings sure do with them what you will right?  But I got an argument with her because I was like this bar would be nothing without the dancers and she’s like yes It would I mean, it’s Jumbos Clown Room. I’m like, but what is jumbos clown room? It’s a bikini bar and I’m like Literally like I’m like you guys don’t even have like a all the good ass liquor here. You guys would be actually a shitty bar Yeah, you know what I mean? You’d have to lower your prices. You’d be expensive shitty bar, right? So I’m like I started arguing with her being like I don’t get why I have to tip you guys out when, one you don’t Like they’re not doing their jobs as properly is Any other bar does it? It’s very frustrating. It’s just annoying. And a lot of times you may- I feel sorry for people who aren’t like as strong of a backbone as me because I can only imagine how they’re being treated.

AMD: The other dancers you mean?

DH: Yeah, the other dancers. I can only imagine how those dancers are being treated. I’m like, I’m more of like a aggressive person, so if I don’t like something, I literally live my life like I have nothing to lose.

AMD: Yeah. I mean, as far as I know, what’s happening in the strip clubs in Los Angeles is they’re being treated horribly, horribly. And you know, if anyone’s listening to this, that feels like if they’re, you’re dancing in LA and you feel like you’re being treated very fairly. I’d really like to hear that story, um, because I just hear the opposite everywhere and it would just warm my heart to know that someone’s being treated fairly, especially in the city of Los Angeles. Um, so yeah, if anyone’s listening, like give me a holler because I want to know.

DH: I mean, there was a point where I thought I was being treated fairly, but I feel like it was because I was brainwashed and they were making me feel, and this is not, I’m sorry, not all of these comments are towards Jumbo’s Clown Room. These are like any strip club that I’ve worked at. This is general comments. General comments. Thank you. Um, but I, they make me feel like, you should be grateful that we’re paying you by the hour.  You should be grateful that we gave you a job. And I’m like, I can go apply for a job on Craigslist and go work somewhere else. I’m like 

AMD: Good luck.  But you’re right, I hear you.

DH: Like, I can go find a job. I’m like, it’s not the job, it’s the tips. And if you’re taking my tips, I’ve got a problem with you. I’ve got a problem with you. So, that’s my thing.

AMD: I want a digital meter, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being really really really bad to really really really good, what do you think the climate of strip clubs are in Los Angeles.

DH: I would give it a solid three a three cuz that’s over here Yeah Cuz at the very least people are still making money But people are being taken advantage of ever since these laws came into place I don’t ever get what doesn’t make sense to me is when people make laws about the sex industry I’m like, why aren’t there sex- why aren’t they interviewing sex industry people? Why aren’t they asking? Like asking us how we want to be protected.

AMD: Yeah, to clarify the AB5 law that just got passed, um, it,  So, the AB5 is different from the laws that changed, um, so the law never changed, actually. Um, the laws was just rewritten.

DH: Oh, like reinforced.

AMD: Well, yeah. So, the original, the original way that they used to classify workers with the way the law was written, it was a very gray area. It was a 20 long questionnaire. Yeah, it was 20 questions and if you, and then the statement was, and this is written by the government originally, if you say yes to the first 10, to the majority of the first 10 questions, then you classify your workers as such. If you say no to the majority of the second, the last 10 questions, then you classify your workers as such. So it was a very, very gray area because especially for strippers, we. Like, we were like even, so it’s like, which one are we? And so they rewrote the law to make it very clear, and now it’s just three questions.

DH: And it not only applies to strippers, right? It’s like makeup artists,

AMD: Uber drivers, makeup artists, translators, like linguistic translators and um, and hairstylists and strippers. And so they weren’t writing the law with sex workers in mind. Yeah. They weren’t writing the law with any one particular industry in mind, actually, they were writing the law with their payroll taxes that they’ve not been able to collect in mind, because all of these employers had been classified, misclassifying their workers in order to save themselves the payroll tax.  And so that that’s why the law was rewritten. It was never changed. We were always meant to be employees technically and I read the law before and after and I did determine even though it was gray, there’s loopholes. We still ultimately should have been classified as employees this entire time Yeah, and the AB5 law is just what solidified it and made it recognizable on a federal level. Yeah, so no, they did not have us in mind. They usually don’t.

DH: Okay, got it.

AMD: But girl we’re getting louder and louder. So yeah, yeah, the Winds are in are changing  

AMD:I  know you have good stripper tips. 

DH: I want at least two. These are things that either strippers can utilize or civilian, civilians can utilize in their everyday life as well, so go for it. So stripper tips Number one, how to lazily maintain the bush area. Lazily. I don’t, you know, I like to clean up every now and again down there, but I get lazy and you know, sometimes I just don’t want to wax. Maybe I do want to grow out my bush. Okay. So, what I’ve learned to do is, do is to one, wear two layers of underwear to pat that bush down and  also, um, wearing high waisted shorts with a revealing top really works.  It really works. It depends on the, um, definitely how vast your forest is,  but, um,  Mine’s very thick. So I usually wear like high waisted shorts to cover it and nobody ever nobody notices It’s like go into the back room and everyone’s like whoa girl. Got a little village living in there. And also I like to bring like a I’ll bring wax strips with me to the club. So sometimes I’m like, if I’m like, I could clean up a little bit.

AMD: You just wax in the dressing room? Y

DH: Yeah, girl. I’ll just like smack it on, rip it off. Yeah. Okay. It’s a real woman. 

AMD: What’s your,  Oh my God. What’s your next stripper tip?

DH: My next stripper tip.  Hmm. I’m gonna say body odor. Okay. There’s nothing worse than being hungover and waking up and you just smell like straight, like you just dove into a pool of perfume. Like, so what I’ve started doing is baby wipes are your go to. My mom always told me this when I was little because when I was going through puberty. You know, you sweat a lot.  So instead of just piling on deodorant and piling on deodorant, wipe your body down with a baby wipe first. Okay, I usually do that actually after every set I’ll wipe myself down with a baby wipe.

AMD: Oh, it’s like refreshing for your skin.

DH: Yeah before reapplying Okay, especially before reapplying cuz if you’re just packing it on you’re just gonna walk around like a human body 

AMD: Yeah, it gets gross after a while.

DH: Yeah, it definitely does.

AMD: Well, you know, I want to kind of wrap up. I think this was like a really excellent session. I feel like I learned a lot from you and a lot about you today. Is there anything else that you want to, that you feel like you want to add or talk about before we close out? Is there any messages? That you have.

DH: The only message I’m gonna se  Send out there is you can transform your life. You can be whoever you want to be You can do whatever the fuck you want to do no matter what your mom dad sister cousin or Oprah says So go out there kick ass and become the person that you want to be. 

AMD: Rad. Well, this has been our first episode of Yes, a stripper podcast.