Liz: “What got you interested in exotic dancing? How long have you been doing it?”
Kendall Jade: “I have been dancing for a little over 3 years now! I was going to school at SVSU in 2013, and was working at an apple orchard; they kept scheduling me on hours I had classes, so I quit. One of my friends waitressed at the club and was about to start dancing, so she told me they needed to hire waitresses. A couple weeks later when I turned 18, I applied and was hired on the spot. I was dating a guy in the army who talked me into dancing about a month later because he wanted me to pay for him to visit me when he was able to take leave. Being naive, I listened to him. Come to find out it was due to a guilty conscience from cheating on me, so that was his way of “making himself feel better.” I broke up with him and kept dancing. Weirdest way to become a dancer, I know, but I’m glad it happened.”
Liz: “I heard you landed a radio gig! That’s super cool, what do you discuss? Do you have callers who ask questions?”
KJ: “Yup! I co-host a segment on The Rock Station Z93, every Thursday morning at 7am called “Unqualified Love Advice.” I promote my job a lot on social media, so we have followers send me questions, or people will send their questions to Z93’s profiles. Either way, we gather them up and answer them every week. They all range from questions such as “how do I talk my girlfriend into doing a three-some,” to “my boyfriend cheated on me, what do I do?!” It’s a great time, and the guys I do it with- Matt and Adam- are so much fun to be around.”
Liz: “What’s the biggest myth/misunderstanding about exotic dancers?”
KJ: “I feel like the biggest misconception about dancers is that we “lack self respect.” If anything, it’s given us more respect for ourselves. It teaches us confidence, how to defend ourselves, and that we are in control of our bodies.”
Liz: “You grew up in a small town. How do you think that has influenced you now?”
KJ: “I would like to think that growing up in a small town has made me more open to new experiences. My hometown is gorgeous, but staying sheltered is just going to keep me from enjoying life. You kinda get used to seeing the same people or activities going on everyday, I have too many plans for my future to live in the same town all of my life. Maybe one day when I’m settled down I would move back though.”
Liz: “I agree, small towns can be too isolating. What is the biggest pro and biggest con of exotic dancing?”
KJ: “The biggest pro of dancing, in my own experience, is the opportunities it has provided for me. Such as: learning pole tricks has given me the body I’ve always dreamed of. Modeling and photoshoot fun, the radio show, and so much more. The biggest con is having to explain to people I’m not a prostitute. I understand the bad stigma, but I believe when somebody asks me about “extras,” it reflects more negatively on who they are as a person, and not my job.”
Liz: “Have you had to deal with any judgment or ostracizing from family or friends?”
KJ: “Yes! Most of my family and friends were very supportive and understanding of my job. The people closest to me know that I would never go down the wrong path with dancing, or the “stereotypes” of drug use and prostitution. I hate to be known as the dancer with “daddy issues,” because unfortunately it’s true in my case. My father stopped talking to me when I told him where I worked. It was very hard at first, I felt like a horrible excuse of a daughter. After a couple weeks I woke up one day and said to myself, and excuse my language, ‘fuck that shit. I was honest with him about what I do, and this is just something I need to deal with.’ I didn’t know him well growing up, and when I ended up living with him in my high school years, we didn’t spend much time truly bonding. I will always love my father, and was upset with myself that I had disappointed him, but his biggest issue is assuming that I was involved with drugs or prostitution. I was almost disappointed in him that he didn’t give me time to prove myself, but then again, I shouldn’t have to prove myself to anyone who doesn’t want to believe in me or at least accept my choices. Anyone else who hasn’t liked me dancing, in due time has realized how serious I take this job. He now believes that I didn’t have to dance to receive the opportunities I’ve gotten from it, such as the radio show. I understand and respect why he is upset, and don’t try to get in contact with him as he wished. Hopefully one day he will also understand and respect me, though. I don’t want to sit here and talk badly about him, because my Dad truly is a wonderful man, very talented, knowledgeable, and hard working. I just wonder if we had more in common to bond over when I lived with him, if that would’ve changed his view? Will he talk to me again only when I’m done dancing? How will that conversation go? I have no idea, but I always hope the best for him and hope he is healthy, happy, and just knows that I am as well.”
Liz: “I think it’s great that women realized what a great workout dancing with a pole is and all these pole-dancing exercise classes popped up in all the major cities! What were the physical/health benefits to your job?”
KJ: “I lightly mentioned earlier how this job has given me the body I dreamed of, and it’s all from hard work! I actually bought a pole off of Amazon, put it in my living room, and watched YouTube tutorials on how to do pole tricks. I read somewhere before that practicing the pole for 45 minutes- even if it’s just flipping upside down or something- is the equivalent to a 3 hour full body work out. I burned off a ton of fat at first then gained back weight in muscle. Because I’m so short, I always joke around and call myself “a little muscular sausage.” Hahahaha! When I give couch dances, I also move my body in certain positions that workout my core. It’s pretty insane though, I watch new dancers all of the time shed weight from dancing. Going on stage multiple times a night and giving so many dances, even walking in the heels, will definitely tone up the body.”
Liz: “What’s the craziest/funniest thing that’s happened during a shift at work?”
KJ: “Oh goodness, there are so many situations I’ve been in during work that would fit into this, I’m not even sure what to use for my answer! I’ve seen things from a girl’s wig falling off on stage, the falls we’ve taken in our heels, guys that are too drunk throwing up in couch dances, to finding customers asleep in a VIP room after the club has closed. Hahaha. You never know what to expect at this job, every night is a new adventure.”
Liz: “What is the typical personality profile of a guy who comes to your club? Are they usually cool or do they often get too drunk and try to climb onstage, lol.”
KJ: “I guess it depends on what day of the week it is! Usually Sundays- Wednesday are pretty slow nights, the calmer customers come in, mostly regulars. Thursday– Saturday is more of the “after party scene.” Either way, there are more respectful men that come in opposed to disrespectful, but we always keep our guard up. Most men don’t try to push their luck until theyre actually getting a dance. Usually the drunken customers are still pretty respectful, just want to have a good time. It’s insane to meet so many people because everyone has such different personalities.”
Liz: “Are there any unexpected ways exotic dancing has changed you or your life perspectives?”
KJ: “Dancing has changed a lot of views on things for me. Like I said before, self respect is a huge one. Also meeting so many different type of men has also taught me what I deserve in a guy. After all of this time I’ve learned what I deserve from a man when it comes to dating, even. There are men that come into my workplace and bow down to me, and others that treat me like a piece of meat. I feel like I’ve learned to detect bullshit or honesty very well which has reflected into who I will involve myself in my personal life. If I date a guy and he lacks respect or treats me like some of the men I meet at work (In a bad way) then I won’t deal with it. It’s taught me how to stick up for myself more. I also used to be a very jealous person, whether it was jealous in relationships or envious of other people. Working this job has taught me to love who I am and be okay with the fact that everyone’s beauty standards are different. I feel like the more confidence someone has, the less they want to be like everyone else. I’ve always been a really caring and non judgmental person, but from the amount of different people I meet, it’s made me care even more. You never know why someone comes into the club, and the moments when it’s just to vent about life or have a shoulder to cry on, makes you realize everyone has their own demons to fight. All of my conversations are genuine with customers, and outside of the club I try to make sure I can also be “that shoulder” to anyone who needs it- friends, family, acquaintances, etc.
I’ve also learned to be more generous, especially financially. Some people make what I make in a night, in two weeks. That’s why you will never see me flaunt my money on social media or hear my talking about it. This is actually one of the first times I’ve ever talked about it to be honest hahaha I just don’t think anything positive comes out of flaunting, but I would rather give my last $200 to someone behind on their rent, or needs groceries, or needs to pay their phone bill, knowing that I could make it back faster. I’m really not trying to brag at all, because I have struggles too when the club is slow, but it doesn’t make me feel good seeing someone struggle and walking past it. I’ve been in times like that, and it’s not fun. Also, I’ve learned how to accept rejection, and even patience. And a good work ethic in general, due to the fact the money we make is from our own “hustle.””
Liz: “What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?”
KJ: “I would like to consider myself a “normal girl” when I’m not working. Some friends of mine still call me “Kendall” outside of work, which I look at as a nickname. Actually, it comes in handy when I’m at a bar or something and don’t want to give out my real name, haha. But anyway, I try my best to catch up on sleep. I go into each work weekend knowing I won’t be able to sleep well, due to long hours at night and having to wake up early to do it all over again. I also like to work on art, or make cover songs on my ukulele.
When I’m not at work, I still need to keep up on my social media, so I still try to post on those. Everyone always wants to see our “crazy lives” but we really are just your average person. Run errands, cure boredom with hobbies, binge watch Netflix, spend time with friends; just like anyone else.”
Liz: “What advice would you give a woman considering becoming an exotic dancer?”
KJ: “There’s quite a few pieces of advice I give to dancers when they first start out or are thinking of starting out, so buckle your seat belt.
– You’re not ugly, and you’re not “too fat.” Every guy has a different preference in women. I’ve even been told I’m “too muscular” or “too intimidating” because of my body. That’s just part of the job though, rejection.
– Keep pushing, no matter how bad your feet hurt. The biggest pain (pun intended) of starting to dance is breaking in heels and your body getting bruised as easy as a bad banana. From purple knees due to floor work on stage, to literall blistering and blood on your feet, you need to keep going. Any minute you take your heels off as relief, or miss work to let your body heal, makes the healing process longer. It’s a long 3-4 weeks of pain and bruising. My feet are scarred up and ugly, but hey, so are ballerinas!
– this job is not only physically tolling, but also emotionally and mentally. Like I said, you’re going to be rejected, you’re going to deal with rude customers, pushy customers, long nights, and sometimes nights where you don’t leave with more than $50. It’s not your fault. You just need to pick yourself up, come back into work the next day, and never stop the hustle.
– Nobody started out perfect. It took me a year and a half to do the pole tricks I do today, and over two years to get the body I have. Just from giving dances a girl will lose weight very fast, so if you are self conscious, I promise you will lose weight. But mostly, we didn’t all start out knowing how to dance on stage, in the couches, or even how to talk to customers! You pick it up as you go, just have faith in yourself and pay attention to what the other girls are doing (as far as how they approach customers and ask for dances.)
– you’re not here to make friends. Now, there definitely is room to make friendships at a club, for example my best friend is my coworker haha. But remember everyone is there to work. A lot of dancers forget they were a new girl once too, and now feel they have “seniority.” Screw that, ignore anything negative they may say about you. You’ll be respected faster and more respected in the long run by doing your own thing and not giving into drama.
– KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Know your rights as a dancer, in the contract, and know your prostitution laws. Some customers try to say things like “it’s okay if I touch you here,” and if you don’t want them to or know it’s illegal, you are under NO obligation to let them do so.
– I can promise you, you don’t need to give into any sort of prostitution to make good money. I don’t care what anyone says. It’s all about the way you carry yourself, talk, your charm, and the impression you leave.
-Never give out your real name and personal information, and NEVER leave the club with a customer, no matter how much money they offer to “hangout at their house, it won’t be weird I promise,” or “let me pick you up for dinner, what’s your address?” NEVER EVER EVER.
-Always carry around a handbag for your money. There’s some sketchy people out there.
-Leave your problems at the door. Customers can tell when you’re upset or in a bad mood. They don’t want to dance with a girl who’s obviously angry or frustrated, and don’t want to hear about any drama or problems. You have to remember that we are fantasies to them and it’s an important thing to uphold.
All In all, this job really is a lot of fun. It seems like a lot to keep in mind, but it comes naturally after you get used to everything. I have plans for a future career, but I know that leaving dancing will be the hardest thing I’ll ever do. I’ve made such amazing relationships with so many people, I’ve learned so many things, and I know one day I’ll look back at it all and have so many memories to be thankful for. I guess the craziest thing is, I never thought I would be where I am today because of this job. Take chances, put yourself out there, and most of all, do what makes YOU happy; that’s the biggest piece of advice I could ever give… to anyone.”