How did you end up going from Williams to stripping?
I often say that it’s because of Williams that I became a stripper because I was so frustrated with the climate there regarding class partly and at the way my peers looked at sex work. I was the shyest person ever. I didn’t wear a swimsuit between age ten and age 20.
I was an anthropology major and took some sociology classes senior year. There was a class called body, self, and culture and one called sex, gender, and sexuality, and we looked at prostitutes in East Africa. I studied in Tanzania my junior year so I’d been to East Africa and am very fond of it. It opened my eyes to the idea that the second poorest nation in the world seemed to have wealth in ways that we didn’t. The professor brought up the idea through the books we were reading that prostitution could be liberating for women especially in these really strident male dominated cultures. In some of these places where men have forty wives, some of the wives would escape and go to brothels in the cities. While they were there, they could work, earn money, and get an education. Money is power, so by making money they could earn their independence from a tribal society where you couldn’t do anything other than be one of forty wives. That blew my mind – you could use your body through sex work to achieve independence. It’s not how we look at it in our culture, and it certainly didn’t agree with the women’s studies majors who said that sex work was unequivocally bad. But men use their bodies in all sorts of labor intensive jobs. Are women to precious to use their bodies? I felt like it was anti-feminist to say that a women couldn’t use her body for sex work when obviously it made dollars and cents sense.
My best friends and I went down to New Orleans for spring break senior year, and I went to my first strip club. I had training in acting and dance, and the dancer was mesmerizing. There were couples in the audience, it wasn’t just dudes, it was a dance performance. Afterwards, she came down and talked to us and broke down that fourth wall, and we got to know about her as a rounded person. I found the whole thing fascinating. There’s a sociological thing happening, there’s economics, there’s feminism. It seemed to take all of my interests including performing and put it in one career.