Saturday, July 22, 2017

Interview with Exotic Dancer Kerri Walker

A Jersey girl with a dream, Kerri Walker spent a year in Europe after graduating from college and fell in love with the Rhône-Alpes region in France. Determined to earn enough money to one day return to the region for good, she set her sights on landing a high-paying job.

After a series of traditional jobs fell short of her expectations, Walker turned to exotic dancing, and along the way she learned valuable lessons that she now shares in Fearless! An Exotic Dancer’s Guide to Personal and Professional Success.

I had a chance to interview her to learn more about her profession.

What are some common misconceptions of being an exotic dancer? 
People that don't personally know strippers  can seriously oversimplify us into party girls based on movies and tv shows that portray us that way. Many people think that because we work at a club we love going to clubs when we aren't at work or that we are all the life of the party type girls and all about the glitz and glam. That we wear a lot of makeup and are really materialistic.  Some even think that most dancers support a bad habit. 
Of course I've worked with all types of girls, ones that partied too much, they are there too, but then there are really just girl next door types who you wouldn't guess they were dancers if you saw them outside of the club. Those were my friends, the down to earth ones. Strippers are some of the most intelligent women I've ever met, they think outside the box. I took the subway after work with a friend from Russia who spoke five languages. Another girl was studying in NYC to be an actress. Stripping was perfect for her and she made a lot of money using her acting skills. I used to hold misconceptions of strippers as truths even when I was a dancer. After my first couple of months dancing was when my nerves were calmer, I was more tuned into my surroundings, and I started noticing how incredibly smart some of he girls I worked with were. 

What is it like actually having a career as an exotic dancer?
It's hard. It can be lonely. I work until 4 am get home and fall asleep by 530am and wake up by 1pm. I just get to work at 7pm when most people in NYC are getting out of work and going to grab drinks or meet up for a club event or some sort of social engagement. There is a huge feeling of missing out socially. 
When I was on tinder, I encountered the challenge of telling a date what I do for a living. I find it hard to tell new people I meet what I do. I've gotten so much better at it, but at first I couldn't stand answering an endless number of questions about my job every time I met new people who were really just curious for the sake of being curious. 
But for all the negatives to it there are the positives. Otherwise I wouldn't still be doing it. I pick the days I work. It's great. Some weeks I works four or five nights and some weeks I only work 2 or three nights. I love that freedom. It lets me travel when I want to. If I spontaneously and hypothetically wanted  to take a month off to go on vacation in Italy, I could actually do that and go back to working at my club. I don't have a set number of vacation days. 

How can being an exotic dancer be a positive experience? 
If exotic dancing can bring you closer to your dreams, while you learn through the process of doing it, than that is how it can be a positive experience. In Fearless! An Exotic Dancer's Guide to Personal and Professional Success, I write about my dream of going to live abroad in France. That is the main reason why I took up dancing. I was able to earn a lot of money quickly, 100,000 dollars in one year. Besides Saving money, exotic dancing has been  a positive experience for me Because I have met really strong women that I admire. A lot of the girls  I worked with at my previous club were from All over the world and making a new life for themselves in the United States. Especially a group of Russian girls that I danced with, I was really impressed with their work ethic. I learned an incredible amount from them about attitude. One day Dina, part of the group of Russian girls explained to me, "if a guy has money and he wants a dance why shouldn't it be with you? Otherwise he will give it to another girl instead. This is why you must be aggressive" they taught me to value myself. They truly made the best of their every situation and this to me was the definition of a successful dancer. I'm glad I met such strong women.

If someone is interested in becoming an Exotic Dancer what should they know ?
Exotic dancing is just like any other job. You have to work hard and put in a serious effort in order to progress. Makeup, nails, hair, dress, appearance should always be maintained. Dancing sexy on stage comes over time if you are not a natural. A lot of girls don't make 1000 dollars their first night of working, it takes time to learn all the little tricks. Fearless! An Exotic Dancer's Guide to Personal and Professional Success gives some of the tricks away! How to get tipped before you even set foot in the private room, how to steal a customer from another dancer, how to fake taking a shot so you don't have to drink but your customer thinks you are. Finally, exotic dancing has a lifespan, be working on other parts of your life while you are dancing; don't become a money-hungry zombie. Get outside often! 

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