Candy*, 24, is a recent graduate of Stony Brook University with aspirations of graduate school and a career in communications. Friendly and ambitious, she chats happily about her friends, studying for the GRE and an internship that keeps her busy.

In many respects, she is a typical young woman on her way to achieving her goals. But unlike many of her peers, Candy does what many have stigmatized as degrading. She is a dancer at Blush, an institution commonly  referred to as a strip club. However, instead of being embarrassed, Candy says that she enjoys what she does.

Nicole Siciliano: How did you first get started?

Candy: I love dancing. I love entertaining. I got into it because my roommate and I started at the same time. I was taking classes and I had an internship, and I really needed the money.  I was supposed to be dancing for money and applying for grad school at the same time, but it turned into interning and dancing, and now I’m taking my GRE.


NS: What was your first time dancing on stage like?

Candy: I was really nervous but [dancing at Blush] wasn’t my first time. [My friends and I] went to Oasis one night, and we love to do crazy things. It was really crowded, and one of my friends was just like, “Why don’t you try it?” So I did and I had an awesome time. When I came to Blush, the new girls can get up on the stage with a more experienced girl, so I did. I felt kind of stupid at first.  It’s really about taking your top off for money, and I really want to see it as something more. It’s an art form.

NS: How often do you work and how much can you make on a good night?

Candy: I usually work three or four nights a week. On Saturdays, I usually make $400, but yesterday I only made $150, and some nights I walk away without making any money because I might get a drink or order food, and then all the girls working the night shift have to tip the DJ and the bouncer. It all depends on how the customers tip. I work with one girl who has her masters degree in comparative literature from NYU, and she just chooses to strip. She used to make a lot of money but things have been kind of slow lately.


NS: What do you love about dancing?

Candy: The money. I love dancing on the pole. I don’t necessarily like private dances. I love the girls I work with.

NS: What do you dislike about dancing?

Candy: Private dances are definitely uncomfortable. Sometimes you need to drink a little bit of alcohol to get through it. Sometimes I just close my eyes to get it over with. I once had a creepy customer pay me for two private dances, which is $150 for just 30 minutes plus he tipped well, and I could have made a lot more, but the way he was looking at me and acting, I had to get away. He ended up giving a lot of money to one of the other girls that night, and I could have made a lot more off of him but I didn’t care.

NS: Who are your favorite kinds of customers?


Candy: It’s a strip club. You’re going to have the scum of the planet there, but then you get some really cool people and I feel bad taking their money. [Blush is] extremely good about protecting you and kicking out the trash.  My favorite customers are the regulars who know the rules and are just there to watch the girls.

NS: When do you make the decision to tell people what you do? How do they react?

Candy: We’re fun-loving people. All of my friends know. I’m a very open person. And they know that I don’t characterize myself as promiscuous; I’ve only had three serious boyfriends. My family still doesn’t know.

NS: How about your boyfriend? How does he feel about it?

Candy: He loves strippers. We love fun, and he loves the fact that I’m a dancer. He’s fine with it. Not every man is fine with it but I feel like if he didn’t like what I did, he wouldn’t be my boyfriend in the first place.


*Name has  been changed.


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