I started working at a club in Philadelphia during the pandemic for some extra cash along with school, running two businesses, nannying, working as a security guard for various major league sports teams, and whatever else a 19 year old can fit into an extremely tight schedule for some extra cash. Originally, I applied to be a bottle girl. During my interview with the manager (whom I found out later is allegedly Cardi B’s former boss), he asked me various questions about alcohol. He asked “What is your favorite alcohol to drink?”
Of course my classy ass replied, “Perhaps Pinot Grigio, or a sweet red wine.” He told me that I had already failed the interview, and he was not going to hire me as a bottle girl at 19, especially if I liked to drink underage. However, he was hiring strippers and needed extra girls that night. It was the first opening night since they closed in March 2020 due to Covid, and it was now November. I really needed the money so I let him give me a little tour of the club. It was just him and I, so he took me back to the champagne room and asked me to dance on him as if he was one of the customers! Gross. This man is bald, white, and old, and I wanted no part in that. Mind you, This was my first time at a strip club. I had never touched a pole in my entire life. The empty club was still pretty intimidating with all the flashy lights, big tv screen, and huge bar. After he gave me a tour, he entered all my information into a computer and I had to decide on my stripper name. I went with "Pesos." I left the club feeling great because I had secured a job, but not exactly the job I had in mind.
I went straight to South Street because I only had a few hours to get ready. I needed shoes, an outfit, and a bag. I spent about $100 on all my gear and headed straight back to the club to dance my little ass off. It was my first night ever so my cover charge was free. The girls at the club seemed really nice (at first) and we got along really well (not for long). I put my new clothes on in the locker room. I had never worn so little clothes in public in my entire life. However, I was totally comfortable with the skimpy outfit and the blister-buster clear six inch heels. I wore an orange micro bikini and I can't lie, I looked damn cute and my titties were sitting pretty.
At this point, I was still kind of in shock. I definitely couldn't tell my boyfriend what was going on. I made sure to send my best friends my location at all times and even my mother, but I truly did not (and still don’t) feel comfortable telling my boyfriend I was a stripping. I remember going to family parties and his sisters would make fun of strippers. I always respected sex workers because I had met dancers who were mothers and saw them as real people, with children to feed and rent to pay like everyone else. The club was not very different from any other 9-5 job.
After I had my work outfit on, I gathered all my belongings and shoved it into my coral pink Victoria Secret duffle bag and locked my things up securely. I checked in with the DJ and let him know that I was headed downstairs ready to dance. The DJ did not play very good music, but apparently the club was struggling to keep DJ’s there because they were grossly underpaid (like myself). The staircase was fairly long so getting down there was a doozy and my legs were in a lot of pain. When I got to the main floor there were 3 stages for dancing; the main stage and two side stages. I was excited for the spinning poles because I thought it would make dancing a whole lot easier, especially as a beginner.
The night started off very slow. From 5pm-8pm it was absolutely dead in that bitch. I thought this was a poppin' club, but I was very wrong. I started stressing, thinking "How was I supposed to make money?" I have to make rent, pay my community college tuition in full, and run my businesses. Thank God, I’m on food stamps, sheesh. Thankfully around 8:30 some customers started to come in. This was my time to shine! I can’t even imagine what my first stage set looked like, it was probably a shit show featuring a whole lotta ass. I started to approach some people, but a lot of them impolitely shooed me away or gave me dirty looks. My small piece of advice to any baby strippers out there is, YOU GOTTA GO FOR IT BABE! Don’t even ask, just do it. A lot of the people at the club loved my dominant motives and that I would claim them as my own. There were all types of people at the club. I danced on quite a few couples. During my time working there I only ran into one person I knew. She was really sweet but I was disappointed that she was not throwing any money - lame. If you are in the club and you aren’t throwing money, get the fuck out!
Anyways, let's keep it moving. I was talking about how it was my time to shine, remember? As I was finishing up my stage set I was absolutely exhausted. So pooped, never in my life have I moved that many muscles in my body, not even in Field Hockey! I didn't even make any money off my set. That club was so corny when it came to people throwing money, and a lot of dancers left this club because fuck all that.
I then saw this middle-aged guy sitting by himself watching the game. I'm a huge sports fan so started making friendly conversation. Right off the bat I started dancing wild and he was throwing tons of money. His son, Pepe, then shows up. He tells me he owns a salon and all that good stuff. He starts throwing money as I danced on the both of them. Friends of theirs joined in, and I am literally dancing on all of them making hella bread. Girls started trying to pick up my money that I worked hard for, and I had to bark at them like a fucking dog. That was my section and I owned that shit. Pepe told me about how he and his dad and grandfather owned the casino nearby. He begged me for my number (as soon as I got into the parking lot that night I blocked him) and was of course trying to check if his texts came through. I hate how persistent men are, especially when they're drunk.
However, between Pepe, his dad, grandpa, and two friends, I went home with three times my rent and I was so thankful. I prayed that I would make some type of money because I was really tight for cash. Little did they know, Pepe and the casino boys had just made a poor little girls next three months, I could not have been more grateful, as annoying as they were. Pepe made me get a champagne room with him, I made a good $100 for 15 minutes haha I thought that was funny because I didn’t really even do shit. They were horny as hell but I told them to leave me alone, I am not for the streets! I learned very quickly how easy it was for people to take advantage. I wanted to stay loyal to my man, so doing all this was far out of my comfort zone as it is. You can be in a relationship and work in the industry, you just have to tell a lot of people no, and firmly stand your ground.
I went home that night sore as hell. I even sat in my car for at least 15 minutes in pain before I drove off. My 20 minute drive home I was singing and crying, so happy with the amount of money I was taking home. My boyfriend was asleep, so I showered and cuddled up in bed with him. I wore pants and long sleeves for days straight trying to hide my battle scars. I went to the bank the very next day looking like I got my ass kicked from all the dancing and commotion.
I thought that would be the last I saw of Pepe, but oh Lord, was I wrong. After I hadn't seen him since that night at the club in November 2020, I hardly recognized him when he came into my new job in June of 2021. Philadelphia is a lot smaller than you may think. The dude literally was ripped, the pandemic really did a number on some people. Hilarious take: I now teach yoga and make protein smoothies for Pepe and the Casino Boys on a regular basis.
I used to pray before and after I left the club every night for my safety and to keep my relationship with my boyfriend and loved ones strong. I did not want people to judge me for working at the strip club so I hid it from the vast majority of my inner circle, which I did a phenomenal job at. Now, I’ve become much more confident in myself to the point where I really don’t care what people think of me. I hope that my baby stripper story can provide you with some comic relief, clarity, inspiration, and all that good stuff.