On this episode, AM talks with long time friend and fellow stripper, Natalie Clark, aka NatsHoney. Natalie, like AM, has stripped in Los Angeles for 18 years. The two veterans discuss the current labor conditions for strippers all around the country. This was a specific conversation around what happened at the Super Bowl this year (2020) at the after party, where strippers were under heavy control by the event producers. Then later that same week, a stripper fell 15 feet from the top of a pole and has to live with injuries without access to disability or workers comp. These two events bring to light tons of labor issues that strippers are dealing with everywhere. UPDATE: The club that Genea Sky worked at did agree to give financial assistance to her. We do not know to what extent, but they did say they would help.

AMD: Hey guys, we’re back in another episode Yes, a Stripper Podcast, and, um, this is going to be a really interesting episode. So really excited to have this conversation with you, but something that I wanted to make sure that everyone out there that’s listening to this show and like listening to my voice is aware of, and you know, You know, I just, today’s message is about unity and unionization and being united. And that’s why I’m wearing my United by Pole shirt today. So a little background on me, if you don’t know me very well, is back in 2009, I created a company called United Pole Artists, and it was all about combining the love of pole, um, with people around the world, regardless of how you’re doing pole dancing and to accept each other for how you’re doing pole dancing. And my, the main mission in that was to educate the population on the difference between pole dancing, pole dance fitness and stripping. Um, and that pole dancing derives from strippers. That was always the message to really make sure that as pole dancing grew, that that- everybody understood that A, there’s a difference and B, that pole dancing derives from strippers and stripping. 

And so now the work that I’m getting into is actually unionizing strippers here in California and all across the country. Um, and you know, it’s taken me several years to finally figure out that that’s pretty much my life’s purpose is to unify and, um, unite people. And so, um, through the work that I’m doing with a team of people, it’s been very empowering. Um, it’s been life changing and it’s actually, I feel like I’ve been given a true purpose. And so today’s conversation is going to be around why strippers should be unionizing across the country. And what’s happening to different types of dancers all across the country and furthermore the world actually. But since, you know, we’re, we’re going to try to discuss that. keep it into one area for now, because, you know, we don’t know as much about what’s happening in Europe. So, um, but I would like to introduce you to my, my beautiful, amazing guests. And this is Natalie Clark, and we’ve been working together. Um, Natalie was with me at the very beginning of UPA before it was anything.

NC: Yes. When you were asking what should the name be. 

AMD:Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So I had friends and family help vote on what the name of United Pole Artists should be.

NC: I strongly suggested that the N be Artist because we are artists before we are athletes in my opinion. 

AMD: Exactly. Yeah. Beautiful. Beautiful. And so, and then furthermore, Natalie also works with Soldiers of Pole.

NC: Yes. 

Which is also an organization that I’m on the board of directors on. She’s on the board of directors. We’re both on the board of directors.  And um, Soldiers of Hole is an organization that is trying to unionize, well is unionizing dancers. 

NC: Thank you. Yes. 

AMD: Yes. Strippers.

NC: That is an action. 

AMD: It is absolutely an action. We’re already in process of unionizing strippers in various clubs here in Los Angeles and we have, um,  meetings coming up in other parts of the state, um, and we won’t give you the details on who’s unionizing or who’s doing what. That top secret information. In order to get that info, you need to go down into a tunnel on a secret island that you can’t find on a map and you go into a white room and wear robes and sit on glass chairs.

It’s very secretive. 

NC: You jump head first into the tunnel. 

AMD: That’s basically the Illuminati’s message. I read their book recently.  Anyway, hello, how are you? Let’s talk about you and your background and why you are an expert in not only stripping and pole dancing, but the current divide that we experience. So, how long have you been dancing? 

NC: Uh, I started dancing in the San Fernando Valley in the year of 2002.  

AMD: Okay. Like ages ago. 

NC: Yes, um. 

AMD: Like hella long time ago. 

NC: Yes. Uh, flying around on the pole. I, I spent the first three years of my career working day and night shift. Yeah. 

AMD: Oh, like doubles. 

NC: Doubles. No time off. Uh, no drugs, no alcohol. Just to get a A better understanding of the job as a whole. Yeah, I loved it. 

AMD: Or to make a lot of money.

NC: No.

AMD: No?

NC: Uh. I’m not a, a dancer that makes a lot of money. My portfolio has always been diverse. Okay. No choice, no matter. Girl, I did those doubles for money. Yeah, no. Um, I wanted to travel. Uh, it, it, to me, it was always a benefit that I was able to take care of myself and my family. So the money was definitely a bonus. But it was more about the experience. Yeah, that’s when I started working at, uh, can we say?…. I started working at, uh, the Rhino and Oxnard, I tried out at the Van Nuys, yeah, 

AMD: yeah, I did the Oxnard too. So we didn’t cross paths at Spearman Rhino Oxnard, I did that so briefly, no, so far, and then we didn’t cross paths in Van Nuys Spearman Rhino, no. But we did cross paths at Rouge, which is Spearmint Rhino owned, used to be called Bob’s Classy Lady. Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. With the Fantasy Rooms. Getting a history lesson. The Fantasy Rooms. 

NC: The Fantasy Rooms. Yeah. 

AMD: That club was actually really beautiful and unique. 

NC: They went, um, they went into a deep design that was not available anywhere else.

AMD: Yeah, it was really cool. So do you, you, what I feel like you never remember the story of like the day we actually met and like I’ve always been the one to remember that. Which is funny because the opposite happened recently. 

NC: Yes. 

AMD: With a story that you remembered and I forgot.  And I know you know the story because I’ve told it to her a few times but I’ll tell you guys like this is how it used to be. To be back in the day, like there was a really tall pole at Rouge and I had just won Entertainer of the Year for 2006. So I was being treated a little differently at that point by various people. 

NC: She was the feature of the night and she was a dancer. She wasn’t a, uh, a professional porn star because Supermarino has those features comes in quite often, but you were not, you were around for Supermarino Entertainer of the Year.

AMD: So it was just. a little bit after I won, which is, you know, whatever, I get it. Um, and so Natalie was on the pole killing it. And I, when she came down off the pole, I said to her,  “Oh my God, how did you do all of that?” And her response was, I don’t know. I guess it was. “God just made me this way.”

NC: I swear I said I was born to do this. 

AMD: No, no, no, no, no, no. God made her that way. But she said it like, you didn’t really look at me.

NC: I don’t even use the word God. 

AMD: Girl, you did it that day, I will not forget. And you brushed me off and my response was, Oh, okay. I see how it is. Got you. I see you. Got you. Yeah. But then I don’t know what happened magically. We became friends. Yeah. I don’t remember exactly how that happened. 

NC: I mean, at that time period, uh, when I met you, I had already been dissed by another dancer that I wanted to, uh, befriend, cause I, uh, I saw her, I thought she was fantastic on the pole, and I was like, “Hey, you want to do some stuff?” And the way she responded to me, made me respond that way to others. So even though I was still at that stage where I was looking for individuals like yourself, peers, and, uh, love for what I was doing, I did not, embrace you  with that thought process. 

AMD: Yeah, I mean it was different back then. Like, we weren’t teaching each other tricks. In fact, we were trying to keep our content to ourselves. 

NC: Not at my spot. At Frisky Kitty, I taught most of the girls. 

AMD: That’s amazing. 

NC: Yeah, totally. Uh, we would have dead slots. That’s when I learned to stand on the ceiling. Um, Pantera came in, I like wiped off the stage for her, she actually performed. 

AMD: So Pantera is a stripper that’s been around for a very long time, and she created the first ever instructional DVD, or maybe even a VHS. And she also created the Jade Split move. Um, for pole dancers, the inventor of the Jade split. 

NC: I thought that was Jamila Deville. 

AMD: No, Jamila Deville saw it on a video and then did it at Miss Pole Dance Australia in 2005. And because, and Jamila admits this, and I have this on film. So, and she did not invent the Jade split. She saw Pantera did it and then she did it. And that was like the Jade split heard around the world was the one at Miss Pole Dance Australia. Okay. She did not invent it, but she was the first one to do it at a competition on film that got viral. 

NC: I’m so happy that you said that last sentence that you said, because the first person I saw do a move that was not identified by the Jade split was a dancer named Red at the Frisky Kitty who was wild, crazy and amazing. And she flowed into that trick, like,  

AMD: What year was that?  

NC: Like I said, I was dancing at the Kitty in 2002. That was probably 2004.  Okay. Well, I mean, Yeah, that means Jamila wasn’t the first one, you know what I mean, but that’s just pole tricks 

AMD: Well, she launched that Jade split at miss pole dance Australia 2005. She learned it for that competition. So but she she admits that she saw someone else do it 

NC: I think that’s the best thing that we can possibly do is share the inspiration that we get because they’re all just dance moves. And if we all throw our heart arms up, it’ll be great 

AMD: Well, these days we’re not necessarily sharing our dance moves on the internet amongst strippers. We’re sharing our stories of distress and labor law violations and abuse tactics being practiced by strip club owners and singers. 

NC: So, I’m going to be talking about the staff members around the country. Okay, so what do we want to get into first? Do we want to talk about the wage or do we want to go straight to the last event?

AMD: No, actually I want to start with what happened at the Super Bowl actually because there’s a whole series of things that happened recently. So first we had pole dancing on stage at the Super Bowl and there was a large conversation around that. And that same night at the Super Bowl, we had abuses and severe wage theft and aggressive acts from staff members towards dancers that very same night at the Super Bowl after party. And that didn’t come apparent until like maybe 24 hours later. So there was this big blow up about JLo being on stage with the pole. Then there was a blow up about the party. And then a few days later, we have Genea falling 15 feet. And, um, breaking her jaw and then the whole conversation around that. So, I, I feel like because the, of the atrocity, atrocities that took place at the Super Bowl plus Genea falling, all of that happening in a short span of time has created a very Um, public conversation on social media, one that I’ve seen this big for the first time of people- of dancers finally being like, Oh yeah, we need to unionize 

NC: Non dancer speaking up as well saying, Hey, somebody should look up for these people.

Like that’s not cool. No one should be treated that way. Exactly. 

AMD: So I definitely want to talk about it in order of things that happened. And so, um, and then. You know… the Super Bowl performance was very interesting, um, so I had been leading up to the Super Bowl performance, I had been very irritated by the Hustler movie, um, we can get into that on a different show because that’s like a full hour long. 

NC: Neither one of us have watched it yet. 

AMD: I’ve not, I’ve not been able to bring myself to watch it. I already know how I feel about it, so it’s basically like gonna be torture for me to watch it, so. 

NC: I’m mad that the person didn’t get their money. Like they had to sue to get their money. Yeah, so we’ll get into that on a different episode. 

AMD: Maybe I’ll be so lucky to get J Lo on a podcast. Can we get J Lo in this chair? Okay. All right. So, so, you know, I’ve been thinking about celebrities and like, I know FKA twigs perform pole dancing on the Grammy stage or some big stage like that.  Some huge stage. 

NC: Okay, yes. I know the name. I know this person gets on a poll, but if I’m to be honest, I do not know who this, I don’t know who that person is.

AMD: You don’t know who F. K. Twiggs is? 

NC: No. But I know they like hella famous. 

AMD: It’s fine. Yeah, yeah. You’re gonna look her up after this. 

NC: No, no, no. I won’t.  But I know like her name, but yeah. 

AMD: Yeah. Okay. So, you know, F. K. Twiggs is on stage. J. Lo is doing Hustlers. Um, Lizzo has pulled answers at Saturday Night Live on her stage. And Snoop Dogg uses pole dancers in all of his concerts, and I love Snoop Dogg and I love all these people, but I’m tired of celebrities using pole dancing as like a shiny object, um, to enhance their stage- their stages, without speaking up about what’s happening to pole dancers. 

NC: That part, yes.

AMD:  And so, and I’m not mad, I’m just like, saying like, Hey, like, you know, Leonardo DiCaprio uses this very loud voice to talk about climate change. So if you’re going to do something that’s experiencing controversy, and, and there’s a lot of, you know, negative things happening to the people that you’re inspired by, can you please use your very loud voice to say something? I’m asking you. Will you speak up for us? That’s what I’m asking. And so I wrote this post about celebrities on Saturday. The Superbowl was on Sunday and I wrote it on Saturday with the intent of posting it on Monday. And JLo just happened to pole dance at the Superbowl on Sunday. I did not know this, but I did predict it. And so sure enough, she pole danced. Shakira makes me cry because she pussy pumped the camera about 50 times And she made me want to eat it and literally I cried the whole time and then JLo came on immediately my mood shifted and she put the poles up and immediately I was like so irritated that there was pole dancing because what it meant is pole dancing is more visible and there’s no education happening about who invented pole dancing because everyone who speaks about the history of pole dancing tries to wash it and tries to say that Indian and Chinese men invented it and pole dancing is more visible. And, like, literally they say things like the inventors of pole dancing are dead. I’ve gotten a comment like that before. I’m like, oh really? I didn’t know I was dead. I didn’t know that. Am I dead? What? 

NC:  That’s funny. That’s really funny. 

AMD: Uh, is Fania and Bobby dead? That’s funny. What the fuck? Love Bobby. Love Bobby. So, um,  so, my, my point is, is,  I made this post, Dear Celebrities, please use your voice and half of the people. We’re basically said this is the dumbest post I’ve ever seen. And then the other half of the people were like, thank you so much for your support and for being our voice. 

NC: And you have a, this is like a mixed community.You have dancers and non dance, like exotic dancers and like, what is the mix? 

AMD: So this is on United Pole Artists Instagram account, which is at UP artists and has over 180, 000 followers. And so there’s a lot of comments, right? And they’re, yes, the pole fitness people are still there. Literally said things like the inventors of pole dancing are dead. Literally. 

NC: That’s interesting. 

AMD: Yes, and then other People were saying you have no idea like what we’re dealing with like you stand by us like please support us and like talking talking to them not to me and then like thanking you PA like for being our voice and So it was a huge divide and then one person wrote having pulled Jenyne butterfly. I don’t give a fuck Shit. I don’t give a fuck. I’m calling you out. Okay. I love you, Jenyne, but come on, we got to talk about this. She literally said, this is a win for pole dancing. Well, tell me what happened that night with the other pole dancers. If it was a win for them, listen to their story and tell me if it was a win for them. And so this is the whole point was made. So eloquently, I didn’t even have to try the very next day after the Super Bowl videos are coming out of women being choked and pushed by their throat while security guards are stealing their bags of money out of their hands. I saw one video where two security guards are holding a  woman’s arms and her legs, and tossed her out, you know that game we used to play you rock your body back and forth? 

NC: No fucking way. 

AMD: And tossed her onto the street. So tell me now, are we winning?  So you saw these videos, I have to stop watching these videos, tell me what you saw. 

NC: Okay, so, um,  My friend didn’t send me the, uh, violin stuff, so I haven’t, I haven’t seen the violin stuff, but I have read about it. Um, what I watched was the actual dancers recount of the evening. 

AMD: Tell me about it. 

NC: One video was 13 minutes, one video was 38 minutes. Okay, so,  these are some of the things that I learned. Mm hmm. Okay, let’s share it that way. Uh, there were, um, at this, uh, It’s called a stripper bowl, right? At the stripper bowl. 

AMD: I didn’t know that’s what they were calling it. That makes sense. 

NC: Check this out.  Okay, second time it was hosted in Miami at a place that they built called The Dome. Uh, they had about, uh, anywhere between, I’d say, two hundred to three fifty in terms of dancers. Uh, they paid anywhere between three hundred and fifty to six hundred in order to work for that night. 

AMD: Yes, I heard that. 

NC: Okay. So, uh, that’s three fifty to six hundred dollars to work. So that’s already negative. Let’s just make that point. Mm hmm. Clear.  Color coded wristbands? Did you know about that?

AMD: No. I didn’t, I didn’t, yeah.

NC: I wanted to see what your eyebrows did when I told you that. So they had color They went up very high. They had color coded wristbands, um, and the dancers weren’t quite sure what that meant. At one point, um, one girl said that she thought that It was, uh, like some people were saying it was a matter of if you were pretty or not or you know Maybe you had access to where the super celebrities were so I’m not too sure how that works out But they did have color coded wristbands. They were not compensated for things like flight, travel, or food, I believe. Maybe they had food at the beginning, but one recount was saying that they had a small sandwich that was given to them in some like small container and they had to pay like 20 for it.. And they made it seem like that was, it was like later on. So as if they ran out of food. So I’m not, I’m not sure, but let’s just go and say they didn’t get fed enough. Um, the girls were charged extra that had hotels. Because they were kept until 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Club closed at 5 a. m. But they didn’t release them till 1. Think about that. So you probably have, let’s say you get to your hotel within 30 minutes, that’s still 1:30. If you haven’t contacted your hotel, that’s considered a late checkout. For some hotels, you’re paying a whole extra day. Just because. We talked about the professional disrespect, uh, one girl was telling me that there was like guns and shooting.  Okay. Well, not telling me, me listening. There was guns and shootings and they actually filed, uh, like they had, they called out the police and the police came out. I didn’t have a chance to pull up the police report.

AMD: I also heard that the fire marshal was trying to shut them down because they were shoulder to shoulder and they couldn’t see. And if you look at the videos, there’s like no dancers on stage and there didn’t even look like there was a stage. 

NC: Yeah, it didn’t look like there was a stage. 

AMD: It looked like a concert. There was no space to move.  

NC:But I think some people are used to that type of, uh, scenery. In terms of a strip club, like  no, I  mean, that, that reminds me of, um, of an Atlanta vibe, um, like that real urban thing that they’re selling right now. Like, that’s what that reminds me of, um, not like stages. I, you didn’t see any stages or dancers. They could have easily had like a, uh, remember this place was built for this very purpose. So they probably had a platinum state or, you know, one of those portable stages. Yeah, well, Sasha Floyd, Sasha Floyd, our girl who I sent you the video of her on Instagram, who’s amazing.

AMD: Yes. Thank you, Sasha, for making that video. I love Cannabis too. Um, I know she’s  so amazing. It was amazing. 

NC: She gave it so real. 

AMD: Um, she said they couldn’t even dance. That there was nowhere to dance and they couldn’t dance, there was no room to do anything, and there was so much money on the floor. One of the things that she said too is they were told they weren’t allowed to pick up any of the money.

NC: That was written in the first contract that they received when they arrived. 

AMD: And so, hear what she said? First contract because that’s right. They had to sign two different contracts within about 12 hours of each other. So who knows, you know, what it makes me think is like, there’s just someone in this like back office somewhere, like typing away furiously to make a second contract,  like while the event is going on, like what the fuck. Are you doing with all these random contracts? And if you look at the videos of the money, like a lot of times when we, when we talk about how much money is on the floor, we’ll say things like there was so much money on the floor you couldn’t even see the floor. Well, this there was so much money on the floor. It was like walking through about six inches of snow. 

NC: Yeah, I was gonna say about a half an inch of dollars was on the floor. 

AMD: Yeah, literally the dollars are bunching up around their feet as they’re walking. That’s how much money was on the floor and they weren’t allowed to pick it up or touch it. 

NC: But yet customers were taking it from them. How about that part? 

AMD: And the security, yeah, customers were picking up and walking. And then did you see the video of the security guard? Cause the link you sent me took me to all these crazy videos. And there was one video of a dancer fighting for her bag of money, yelling,” I need this.

I need this. That’s my money. I need this.” He was pushing her by her throat and ripping the bag out of her hand. 

NC: One of the girls referred to that very situation in her video, and she says that they actually went into their own personal bags and told them they were going to confiscate any ones that they had on them because apparently if they had ones inside their bag, uh, they must have picked them up and took them from that night. So as a dancer, you might have some bills in your bag. 

AMD: Right. So that explains why they took the ones from Sasha that P Diddy gave her. P Diddy gave her 200 in ones and they like, he just handed her bricks and they like took that from her.  Yeah. And so they, they ended up leaving with less than 2,000. That day and any event like that, you should expect to make at least 10,000. That’s why they fly from all over the continent. There were dancers there from Canada. 

NC: The profit is real. Yeah. 

AMD: When you go to events like that, you should expect to make at least 10,000. So she left with under two. 

NC: Some left with 1,100.

AMD: Well, she also Sasha said that they were trying to only pay them each 400 that part, which means you’re breaking even or losing money when you’re 

NC: Negative 200. If you ask me, paying six to work only getting paid for to be there, not to mention clothes, makeup, flight, hotel, like what kind of shit is that?

AMD: Yeah. And she said everyone like bought new clothes, did their hair, did their makeup. You got special for that event. 

NC: You gotta, you gotta look your best.

AMD: So you know what it makes. me think about is that these contracts that they’re signing here in Los Angeles, which is “I certify that I am a customer,”

NC: bullshit.

AMD: These dancers walk into these clubs here in Los Angeles and they’re signing contracts that say I certify I am a customer and this story over in Miami at the Super Bowl Stripper Bowl Dome.  I mean, it looks to me like they’re treating the dancers also as customers. 

NC: I think that there’s a loophole that somebody has attached themselves to. And if we don’t unite as dancers across the fucking nation, we will get swept underneath the rug and it’s going to be really, really ugly for us.  

AMD: That’s why I’m grateful that we’re, I think, more people are starting to have this conversation right now. Um, and I’m so grateful that people like Sasha did make, they’re making videos like this and telling their story, and she made it right as soon as she got home, so everything was fresh in her head.

NC: Um, I mean, that was just sheer expression, like she had to get that off her chest. Like, that was like, perfect. therapy for her because she was that pissed off. I think a lot of them approached it that way. 

AMD: Do you, before we move on, do you have any more notes on like the Super Bowl thing in particular? Because one of the things that I want to hear from you a little bit about is like, is about the pole dance community, pole dance fitness community specifically.  Doing this we’re not stripper thing. Also pole dancing doesn’t come from stripping. Also pole dancing is winning. And we’re amazing. So what do you think about that?

NC: Um,  I think that, um, it’s time for all exotic dancers. past, present, and future to stand together and say, we are awesome. We can do magical things. Let’s start  unionizing. Let’s do all of those things. That’s what, that’s what I feel. If we, Don’t do that.  Individuals from the pole fitness community can continue to downplay us. And because pole dancing has the popularity that it does, and they did it not while holding exotic dance accountable for the beauty of it, because that happened, if we don’t stand up, if all of us don’t stand up, we will get ran over. Like. 

AMD: Yeah, I think we are though. I see a lot because I run the United Polar it’s the count 

NC: I mean you run a lot of shit 

AMD: Well, yeah but I run the account and I see the strippers coming out and I see them saying like you need to recognize us and then I see so I 

NC: speaking up in defense 

AMD: every single day Every single day on social media, I see a divide in my message. Me personally, this whole time has been united by poll. We all do poll. We all do it for different reasons. Also, here’s the true history. Um, and respect that you don’t need to be a stripper. You don’t need to, you know, tell people you can tell people- “No, I’m not a stripper, but aren’t they amazing?” You don’t need to put strippers down in the process. And my personal opinion, because I’m trying to drag it out of you right now. My personal opinion is that, um, because strippers haven’t been revered as they should have been from the inception of pole dance fitness that the education process of where pole dancing came from and that stripping is not bad as well I’ll scream on that has been lost and the more Visible pole dancing becomes as pole dance fitness and done barefoot and done poetically to contemporary music the less- the further away from We get from the truth and the history and the more we, and then we’re classifying each other stripper, not stripper, classified as bad, classified as good. And for the way I see that is that’s bad for women in general. It’s bad for workers. It’s bad for society when you’re like, they’re not good because they’re sex workers and I’m good because I’m not. What are you going to say about that? 

NC: I am  pretty angry. And upset. Um,  you know, I only sponsored the pole competitions that we put on earlier because I literally stepped into this community before it was an industry and I mean, pole dance, pole fitness, whatever. I stepped into it before it got large and I thought that it was going to have the backing of exotic dancers.

Um, that’s why I jumped into it head first. That’s why I paid my friend to drive me to Las Vegas to meet Fawnia. I had already advertised out here in L.A. in a magazine about pole dance lessons. So it wasn’t nothing new that I went to go seek. I thought that it was time for exotic dancers to come together and there was a movement and we were going forward. I thought I found those peers and as time went on, I realized that that was not the case within that, uh, community. Um, I think that they felt that at that time they had to separate to some, at least when it comes to America, they had to separate, uh, themselves from being too, uh, sexualized in order to be accepted. When I realized that that was the move that was happening,  I pulled back. The only thing that I like, I stopped attending the expos. I stopped introducing myself. I pulled back. The only thing I was willing to do was put the money forward so we can keep having those competitions so that dancers could keep coming, having, having a place to express themselves.

Uh,  but it just kept going. The divide kept happening. And then the, the not a stripper came out and I was like, wow. And it was during this time where the producer of the competition was deciding like well, you know what I want to do I wanted to keep it going right then they fucked with you  and I was like, no, I’m gonna put my money into it anymore 

AMD: Are you talking about when USPDF like basically turned me out when they like denied me? As media yeah, it’s the whole story.

NC: No, I’m referring to how you had a post recently and- 

AMD: Oh when they called me fat When they, 

NC: yeah, when they were just like totally fucking like, you know, they had no respect  With the words that were coming out of their mouth. 

AMD: It was word vomits. So many throw up emojis on this post that I did. I very rarely post myself on the UPA account and I posted myself dancing at Jumbo’s clown room and I was standing and twerking on the ceiling and and  people’s comments were Oh, damn, that’s a big girl twerking. Um, another, other comments were various throw up emojis.  The ones with the vomit coming out and the green face. With the, you know, the blow up cheeks. Yeah, and I was just like, wow. And there was several very hateful, um, Um, comments towards me and I’m like, uh, hello. 

NC: Yeah. And as you’ve spoken for exotic dancing, uh, more of those, uh, individuals that wanted to have that divide and separate themselves from me and sexualized have seemed to separate themselves from you as well. And I just, I, I can’t, I can’t endorse an industry that wants to divide on any level. 

AMD: Yeah, I mean, they kind of did that in the very beginning, and I feel like it’s gotten better. It has gotten better because there was a time where we weren’t, strippers weren’t even allowed to compete in a lot of competitions, and that whole thing was going down. Not every. competition, but there was

NC: no, we were putting on ones where they were happily expected. 

AMD: There was a lot. Yeah. The US PDF, one of the first us PDFs, I think it was the second one. The story around that is, um, I, I wanted to be media for UPA and they were like, okay, totally. Like, yeah. And I got a media pass and everything. And then like right before the show, like I had bought my tickets and everything. They were like, no, we have too much media here. You can’t come now as media. And then I was like, well, Like, what about my media pass? Like, I don’t have a ticket. I think they were sold out and Mina and Nadia were trying to give me their extra ticket and USPF was trying to tell them that they couldn’t for whatever reason. So I really felt, and in the end I ended up using their ticket, but I felt like they didn’t even want me there. 

NC: Okay, so, so, so my question is, um, what media? could have been there that could have been more important than United Pole artists at the time. That’s not more important than United Pole artists.

AMD: Oh, NBC

NC: That’s not more important than UPA

AMD: According to them it is. You know what I mean? They don’t have the beautiful artistic outside of the box brain like you do. You know, so to them it was they wanted mainstream. They wanted to be visible. They wanted to make a lot of money. And having me there, I just took up space. And I think I look back on, you know, at the time I thought it’s because they know I was a stripper because I was very vocal. I’ve always been very vocal. 

NC: All of us LA people. Yeah, always from Jump Street.

AMD: And that’s just me making up a story in my head. Listen, I don’t know the real story. This is what I’ve made up in my head. I’ve never, they never said to me, we don’t want you here because you’re a stripper. But at the time that was the common theme. And we were all. All going through that. Okay. And if you ask Josiah, he says, “we were shunned. We were shunned to the black hole.” And that’s absolutely true. What happened back then. Absolutely true. So I want to make sure that we now talk about, um,  uh, Genea. I don’t want to talk too much about her story because, you know, Um, my whole thing is that is her story and I don’t want to talk about how she’s doing or I just want to talk about what happened and what that means for the industry. Um, she’s an amazing, beautiful human being. So courageous, has so much strength and was so much love to her and for what she’s going through. Um, but she fell about 15 feet off the pole and if you watch the video, she free fell off that pole. 

NC: That part. That part. That’s the craziest part. That, that, that’s, yes. And the, those, and now that we can go right back to pole fitness though, like, uh, where are these dancers, uh, learning these moves, you know, like where are they getting this training from?  I think it all plays into effect. All of it. Right. All of it. Yeah. 

AMD: So she, she basically bounced off the floor and went right into twerking and walked away from that accident. She’s extremely fortunate. Some people have fallen from a much shorter height and are no longer walking. Um, like that woman, I can’t recall her name, but years, years ago, like over a decade, she fell two feet on her head and now she’s paralyzed from the neck down. Yeah. So what happened to Genea, she’s very, very lucky, but what she’s not lucky, and this also pertains to me. Right? And I believe me. And you and a lot of other people. And so let’s, let’s get into that. So Geneas’s injuries, she broke her jaw, broke her ankles. She could go back to work if she wants. Yeah. 

NC: We usually do. Maybe. We usually do. 

AMD: We usually do. 

NC: We’ll show up in a cast if we need to. 

AMD: Yeah. Um, but what she’s not able to do is get disability and workers comp, um, at least unless she goes through extra steps, which I don’t know her business and I don’t know what she’s doing. But if it were, let’s say if it were me and I fell like that, I would be suing them for so much fucking money. I would be like hiring, uh, I personally would be doing, um, like class action lawsuits and suing them for like a shit ton of money because they’re not taking any responsibility. And she’s, she doesn’t have access to what none of us do to disability or workers comp if you get injured on the job. And like what Natalie’s saying, talk about your injuries and how it’s affecting you. chronic and how it’s over time, right? 

NC: The pain is radiating right now. Like, yeah, the pain is radiating right now. As I sit down and talk to you. Um, I stopped dancing for a period of years, uh, from 2006 to let’s say 2016.  Uh, I had a cannabis collective out here in LA. One of the first, uh, had a couple of them, blah, blah, blah, blah. Long story. Uh, nonetheless. Went to go work at my favorite spot, a place that I said if I ever come back in that’s where I’m going I love it. It’s it’s local. It’s a topless bar. It’s everything that I like. I like how they have different poles everywhere. So I have a very strong love For the idea of the candy cat, which is the place that I work at um one shift About a year and a half after I’ve been back. I was doing a trick mind you our pole was only about  nine feet. It was short. Uh, I was doing, um, they call it the double knee hang, I believe, in the pole fitness industry.

I refer to it as the birdcage, um, because I was doing it before it was called the double knee hang. My friend Francis said, it looks like you’re a bird perched on a tree and I said, all right, birdcage it is. So nonetheless, I was doing the birdcage. So a move that I’ve done. Throughout my career. Um, and I really stretched that day before I came in. So I was feeling really amped. Nine Inch Nails was on. The people were throwing the money. I was feeling it. They were feeling it. Hit the birdcage. Reached over and, um,  I’m not sure whether or not I slightly slipped on the pole because the pole was slippery or chipped or if I was just feeling fantastic and wanted to reach for the ground,  but I ruptured the disc in my, the lower disc in my spine. Um, it hurts pretty much instantly I got down, you know, you twerk it off. Yeah, you’re a professional whatever it is You know, I mean you gotta you you leave the stage you walk into the dressing room Your head is high You still got your heels on like there’s a way that you have to carry and present yourself all the way in so Made it to the dressing room. Luckily. My best friend was there with me that night, Kendall. She was waitressing. Um, I  Could not do anything. The jelly from the disc that ruptured was wrapping around to the front of my nerves underneath my lower pelvis and the back of me it was It was traumatic, but nonetheless, um,  I was an independent contractor.

Um, I drove myself to the hospital cause I didn’t want to have to think about a hospital bill. You know, I didn’t want, I should have been taken in an ambulance for sure.  

AMD: They’re Expensive and we don’t have insurance. 

NC: That part. So,  so I took myself to the hospital, uh, called the necessary, necessary family members. And, um, you know, it was the week of my birthday.  And I was gonna go see a Doodle Melon concert, I love him. Uh, nonetheless, the doctor told me that, you know, I should probably, uh, not dance anymore. 

AMD: Yeah, right. That’s what I told him! That’s my job, my career, my life. Go fuck yourself. 

NC: That’s exactly what I said, Ann.

AMD: Not happening. 

NC: That’s exactly what I said.  I said, yeah, I hear you. But that’s not necessarily what’s going to happen. So we need to have a conversation about me actually being active because there’s no way that I’m going to just automatically limit myself if I feel like I have mobility.  So, um, long story short, uh, he said, you know,  it would just be pain for me on and off. I really wouldn’t be able to tell when it’s coming, but, you know, he gave me a prescription for, uh, Tramadol and pretty much wished me the best.  Yeah.  Right now, uh, I can feel the nerves in my spine,  uh, tingling up. Um, some days, uh, in this last five days, I haven’t been able to walk. We had that SOP meeting on Friday.

NC: I tried to walk. I tried to help. Just because it’s, I, I don’t, I’m so busy right now in my life professionally. I can’t let something like, you know, My back and not being able to walk slow me down.

AMD: You’re still dancing though, yes?

NC: Yes, I worked on Thursday so that Yeah, oh my god, I am gonna totally share something right now I  haven’t been able to walk for five days. Mm hmm last Thursday I was at work. Um, and now the day before I was scheduled, but I didn’t go in because I couldn’t walk. In the name of team spirit playing along, I went in on Thursday. I didn’t think that it was, I felt like I could make it better. I can stretch it out. I’ll be okay. Uh, like I said, we’ll go to work with a casket on. So nonetheless,  it’s true though. I’ve been at work with it with like my arm in a sling. Um, So I’m there, uh, working, put in my four and a half hours. It was fairly slow. There were a lot of dancers. Uh, so there wasn’t a lot of money and  I’m just going to be completely honest with you guys. Just completely honest. I worked four and a half hours.  I made a total $38.  I mean, I have boobs. 

AMD: Well, not really. Oh, yeah. 

NC: Oh, yes. Because we’re not done yet. Yeah, that’s what I, that’s what I generated. That’s what myself generated on this stage. Now, what I walked with what my net profit was 22  from four hours of work.  I’d say four and a half hours on average. In those heels,  uh, and you know, I am a performer, so I perform, you know, uh, I sure, I try not to hurt myself because nothing is worth, you know, hurting yourself more, but I know how to kind of work around it. Um, I had to give ten dollars as a house fee for me to work that night. Now, with all the laws that’s passed and everything within the last year with AB5 and  Dynamics. With everything that’s happened with that case,  all of these clubs know that we’re classified as employees. And we should be paid per hour to work. So, uh, no longer should I even be paying to work.

I should be paid to work. Now, and if you factor in, if I was actually paid for that shift and made my 38 money, it got down to 22. Because, uh, I am generous, so I did give 2 to the DJ, and I did give 2 to the guy that carries my bags. Now, mind you, both of those guys got paid hourly.  But I’m so conditioned to share what I make, even though it’s not, it’s not in my best action. Uh, it’s not the, legally, it’s not what’s supposed to be happening. That is- That’s the norm. 

AMD: Well, because if you don’t, you get punished in various ways. 

NC: This is also very true. 

AMD: You get the cold shoulder, you get attitude, you get less shifts. Yeah, you get skipped over. You have to ship out. 

NC: Sometimes a DJ, I mean, a DJ pretty much controls the stage. If you’re working with a DJ. Yeah. I mean, I like the Candy Cat because there was no DJ. New owner.. 

AMD: So twenty, twenty two dollars. 

NC: Twenty two dollars. 

AMD: For four hours of work. And that’s what we’re up against a lot. And I see comments by people, like, when we’re getting injured or, or something’s happening where we need money.

And the, the, a common theme is, you’re strippers, you have so much money. Shut the fuck up. Like, you have so much money. It’s like, you have no idea. We’re paying out anywhere from 40-70% of the money we bring in.  There are some instances where strippers are leaving with negative money.  I read a comment the other day about “Oh, who’s getting injured out there? What are you dealing with? And like, how do you have no backup?

Like, tell your storya and one of the girls said, “Oh, my manager said, I could, I could text 10 bitches right now, and they would all be here ready to work if you don’t like it. Go home.“ You know, uh, honestly, um,  

NC: As dancers, we have to realize that there is truth in that man’s statement. We have to unite.

All of us. Period, point blank. Because he’s right. 

AMD: He’s right to a certain degree, but also that’s a scare tactic. 

NC: For sure. Without a doubt. He should have kept his fucking mouth shut. He shouldn’t have said shit like that. 

AMD: Yes, but that is why we need to unite because there are plenty of women turning 18 every day looking for money and because it’s, it’s become cute to wear your underwear and model 

NC: And now we’re, we’re back to the whole pole fitness, pole dance introduction into America and the mainstream of it all. So, you know, we’re all on this road together.  

AMD: So the main theme of today’s podcast is, um, write to us, tell us your stories about what’s happening at your work and how you feel like your rights are being violated and what you want to do about it. Um, ask us questions, send in comments about what we’ve talked about today.

You can send all of these inquiries to yesastripperpodcasts at gmail. com so that we can continue having this conversation. But the main thread of today is we need to unite. We need to unionize and we should all be having this conversation around the country. 100%. 

NC: Definitely