‘I’ve been fired from every strip club because I was too fat’: What it’s really like being a plus-size stripper
It’s not entirely what you’d expect
Now that we've recognized that the fat hoe revolution is upon us and it's here to stay, curvy women have the opportunity to publicly free ourselves from the clothes that once hid our cute tummies and cellulite.
For a 22-year-old exotic dancer who goes by the stage name Shauna Silver, there's some serious money to be made as a plus-size exotic dancer.
Shauna's everyday life in the club consists of stripping down song by song
The club she currently works at services its customers with stage shows and lap dances. But because there's no Canadian version of the $1 bill, she isn't making it rain on stage. "You don’t normally make money on stage unless a customer wants to put a $5 bill in their mouth, lie on their back, that kind of deal," said Shauna, who is not pictured above to protect her identity. "We do lap dancing in the back for $20 a song."
The first song that plays is when dancers come to stage fully dressed in lingerie, the second is when dancers will remove their bras, the third song means it's typically time to get fully naked.
Shauna's been dancing only a little over a year and works at a fully nude club in Canada. "I was just kind of sick of my call center job, it wasn’t making that much money, so I just sort of walked in to the club, showed them my I.D. and they said yeah."
Technically, Shauna is not all that plus-size
In the everyday world, Shauna wouldn't be considered plus-size at all. But in the club, she's the biggest girl there. "It’s kind of like plus-size modeling. Like in normal day-to-day life, I’m not considered plus-size. I’m like a size 6-8. But in the club, I am considered plus-size."
Speaking to Babe, she admitted that most of the girls in the club are between a double zero and a size two, and any size beyond that is either considered plus or curvy. However, despite the overwhelming amount of straight size dancers, the managers will limit the bigger girls based in the number of skinny girls so that the club is proportional.
"A lot of clubs will limit the amount of girls of that body type who can work per shift. Like at some clubs, it's like maybe 3 straight-size girls per shift, maybe 5 girls per shift. It just depends on the number of skinny girls they have in."
Despite changing attitudes, Shauna says she still faces discrimination.
"I’ve been fired from every club in my area just because I’ve been too fat," she said, mentioning that managers told her to come back once she'd lost weight. Additionally, there are inconsistencies with management. "Within a few shifts it’s like, 'The owner came in and like the owner wasn’t happy seeing you, so come back if you lose weight.'"
Some days in the club can be really trying, even for her. "It feels super frustrating when customers are only going after the skinny girls or the blonde girls or whatever. But at the end of the day I know that I’m still making money."
She explained that her job flipped out because she wore nothing on stage save for a garter belt. "Just last week, I wore a garter belt on stage and like at pretty much every club it's fine," she said. "As long as you take off your panties and bra it's whatever, but the manager just lost it at me because I kept my garter belt on because that’s not getting completely naked."
On the flip side, Shauna said higher-end clubs are where she's brought home the most bacon thanks to her size. "I was the only girl who was bigger than like a size two and I was making so much money. If they wanted a skinny girl with like long blonde hair and fake tits, they had like 40 girls to choose from" but I was the only one like me, she said.
There was also plenty of fat-shaming to go around by her straight size colleagues
Shauna said she'd never felt self-conscious, but that she did encounter a lot of fat phobia by the straight size dancers.
"That kind of thing came later on when all the girls were like taking shit, telling me that I’m too fat and ‘you don’t look like a stripper’ and things like that. Once you have all those people telling you that, then that's when you're kind of like 'Ugh, is it really worth it?' but then you get used to it and tell them to mind their own business. And then they do."
Even her most loyal customer discriminated against her body type — but not in the way many would think
One of Shauna's regular customers who consistently paid to come watch her dance had suddenly stopped visiting. When she asked him about it, he said it was because she wasn't big enough. "Well, you’ve been losing too much weight," he told Shauna.
Ultimately, though, getting the most money all comes down to personality
While many customers seek out the thinner dancers in the club, she said personality means more. "There are some the skinny girls with no personality who just go up to a customer and say, 'Buy me a drink, now let’s go for a dance.' And they won’t even try to talk to the customers just because they can get away with it –but the customers almost never go back to them," she said. "Body type is good for getting initial dances, but personality goes way further."
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