After selling-out Perth Fringe Festival, hilarious Chase Paradise is performing ‘Ho Life or No Life’ at Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Chase is a sex positive artist, stripper comedian who’s bringing tales from the lap dance room, songs such as ‘Butt Stuff’ and ‘Fuck You, Pay Me’ and fart jokes to theatre. She’ll give you a new appreciation for finding stripper relatable comedy (not shit jokes at the expense of Sex Workers!).
With 13k plus followers, Chase has consistently been putting out new content on Instagram and Patreon. Handpicked to MC sell-out, Baby Got Back at Fringe World Festival and constantly performing stand up gigs around Australia, amazingly, this hustler found time to answer our questions.
Firstly, congratulations on your completely sold out tour to Perth Fringe Festival! You added more shows and they sold out too! How was it for you?
It was absolutely exhausting but the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Doing 7 one hour shows in 4 days is insane and I don’t recommend it to any human person! BUT it was so worth it. I was totally blown away by the support of everyone in Perth. I can’t wait to go back.
Most of your show, Ho Life or No Life, that’s featured in Melbourne International Comedy Festival is stripper focused. Without giving anything away what can we expect?
It’s less about being a stripper, as such, and more about anyone who can identify as a “ho”. Sex workers, porn stars, cam girls, exhibitionists, sluts or whoever feels an affinity with that. #HoLifeOrNoLife is my love letter to every drunk girl in a bathroom that ever lent me a hair-tie or told me I was beautiful. It’s also my big FUCK YOU to every unsolicited apology text I ever sent after a party for being “too loud”. It’s unapologetic sex positivity. From social commentary to fart jokes, there’s something in it for everyone.
It seems like this is your year! How has the last few years help shaped you for 2018?
Thank you! I really appreciate that because it’s been a long road. As my followers know I suffer from anxiety, depression and I got divorced last year. That caused me to lose my US visa. I had to move home, totally broke, with nothing but a suitcase. I was so low that I seriously considered shutting @strippercomic down and quitting comedy altogether. I even got a corporate job for a bit. I lasted about 2 months! I thought about killing myself a lot but I didn’t have the gumption to go through with it. So I figured if I wasn’t going to kill myself I might as well make this fucking show. This show is the product of the fearlessness that grew after losing everything. I know it sounds cliche, but I truly don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks anymore. I hope this show will inspire more women and LGBTQ+ to express themselves the same way.
You’ve been a major advocated for self care on your instagram, why do you stress that it is important for strippers to look after themselves?
For two reasons, the first is sex workers often forget that their body is their livelihood. The stigma of being a sex worker tends to make girls not take their careers seriously. They don’t prioritise their health to maximise the longevity of their money-making years. Self-care is more than hair, nails, waxing, and tanning. Aesthetic upkeep is nice but if you’re not working on your inner health, your body will start to break down.
The second is that the sex industry is inundated with mental illness and one of the easiest ways to keep your mental health in check is by looking after your body. I had to learn that shit the hard way. I’d like to teach Baby Strippers that when it comes to your mental state, prevention is better than a cure. If you consistently do the work: eat right, exercise, sunlight, water, vitamins, moisturise etc, you won’t come undone so easily when shit gets heavy. There are alternatives to numbing yourself with drugs and booze… As fun as that is.
What do you do to practice self-care?
One of the easiest ways you can do is by saying “no” to things that don’t nourish your body. Sometimes it’s declining an invitation to a party or concert so you have the money to see a therapist instead. Sometimes it’s spending a night at home to avoid a situation in which you’d be tempted to drink or do drugs. Sometimes it’s having alone time, so you can recharge and get an early night sleep. It’s all about what’s within your means.
Personally I have talked to a therapist at least every 4-6 weeks. I also do a yearly full medical: blood tests, STI swabs, and pap smears. If you’re sexually active, get an STI check once every 3 months. I see a doctor every 1-2 months to stay on top of the medication that I take for anxiety and depression. Medication is not for everyone but it’s definitely an option. If you have tried alternatives and you’re still struggling, you do not have to suffer. It may take you some time to find the right one – it took me 3 years – but it was worth the fight.
Some simple things that I do which you can add to your day over time:
Drink 2Ls of water and take vitamins daily. I put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in my water bottle, it really helps with stomach acid and preventing UTI’s. I pee after sex religiously. SUNSCREEN. Take a probiotic every day or eat natural greek yogurt on your cereal. I’m not a big fruit eater so I just chuck it all in a smoothie and gulp it down. I absolutely hate every second that I’m swallowing it, but, let’s be honest: I’ve swallowed worse.
Meal prep can really help with eating. Brown rice & veggies with chicken, egg or tofu for protein. Magnesium and glucosamine is a must for strippers with sore muscles and joints. I get acupuncture on my wrists which get sore from the pole. I get physiotherapy if I start to feel an injury coming on. Slow cookers are the best invention ever for lazy people! Chop vegetables up, chuck ‘em in, turn it on. Done.
How have you felt the stripping industry change over the last seven years?
It’s changed a lot! I started stripping in 2010, the GFC hadn’t quite hit Australia yet. Then slowly over time, people had less disposable income and free porn on your iPhone became the new norm. After that, Tinder was invented, drastically changing the sex industry.
Clubs closed down, house fees increased, while the price of lap dances have remained the same. Strip clubs, particularly in Victoria don’t charge a percentage of very dance and as such, rely on house fees and fining dancers for revenue. The clubs here are not invested in you making money, they’re investing in maximising the number of girls on their roster. As a result, stripping became more competitive. It’s all about hustling not performing. The art of the tease or being a showgirl – popular in the 80’s and 90’s – is gone. Strippers now have to fight tooth and nail to make a decent living. People think because there are nights when you make $1k that there aren’t many nights when you go home empty handed or owing money to the club.
What would you like to see change in the future?
To be honest, I’d like to see an entire shakeup of the industry in Victoria. I’d like them to start charging a percentage instead of taking house fees. I know many strippers are against that, especially the top earners, but it shouldn’t cost you money to work. Taking a percentage of every dance sold means that when you make money, the club makes money. The dynamic completely changes. It makes them invested in you doing well. Right now the clubs in Victoria cater to the men, with no care for the dancers.
I’d also like to see safety regulations for the dancers instead of police walking through looking for people on recreational drugs. I’d like to see a legal limit to the number of hours you can force a dancer to work and the number of dancers per shift. 10-12+hr mandatory shifts are ridiculous. Fines are not legal. Clubs forcing you to purchase compulsory outfits instead of supplying them is not legal. Flooding stages with 5-10 girls at a time means more stages, more exhaustion, and injuries, and less time making money. Security guards do nothing. Assaults go unreported. The clubs charge $80-$150 in house fees. That money, over years of a dancers career, is tens of thousands of dollars and dancers see nothing in return. The conditions are totally exploitative. Yet, whenever there is a club raid, it’s always about dancers touching their own genitals. It’s a fucking joke.
Getting into comedy advice:
I know women think they have to be the best of the best to even dare walk into an open mic but failure is part of becoming a good comic. It’s all about perseverance. Your art has value! Write jokes that you like, not what you think people want to hear. Get on stage. Do it again. Repeat forever!
Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer these questions! By sharing your struggles with us, it empowers others within the sex industry who are/have been affected by mental illness. It’s usually a topic that is typically hushed but it’s great you are speaking up and advocating for mental health awareness.
Buy tickets to ‘Ho Life or No Life’ here – https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/ho-life-or-no-life
Follow Chase on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/strippercomic/?hl=en
Follow Chase on Twitter – https://twitter.com/strippercomic?lang=en