Firstly, Congratulations on having your published memoir, The Stripper Next Door. How do you feel, now after three years, that it’s finally complete?
Thank you so much! It still feels a little surreal to be able to hold it in my hands like “OMG I wrote a book?!”. I still can’t quite believe it.
In your book you said you began stripping when you were just 17. Now, looking back, do you think you were too young?
I think that for me, it was perfect. I have no way of changing it, or anything else I have done in the past and there is a certain sense of acceptance and satisfaction that comes with looking at my past as “perfect, just the way it is”. It removes any idea that it ‘should’ have been this way or ‘should not’ have been that way, and I find that gives me a greater sense of contentment than thinking things should have been other than what they were.
I’m sure many women within the industry can relate to what you wrote. What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve endured because of your choice of career?
I think the biggest challenge has undoubtedly been trying to let others know that I am 100% ok with what I do – I willingly chose my career and I have loved pretty much every moment. It’s been a powerful lesson in my complete inability to change other people’s perceptions, I cannot force another person to change their mind about something (even if they have no personal experience of it!).
What’s the biggest misconception about strippers?
That we do what we do because we have no other choice.
What did you enjoy most about being a Stripper?
I owe my self-confidence and body confidence to working as a stripper. I am also truly thankful for the strong, powerful women I was surrounded by from day one. The change room at a strip club takes the idea of the ‘sisterhood’ to a whole new level. I have never before or since met a more powerful group of women who were funny, supportive and willing to check if my tampon string was showing!
What advice would you have for any girls in the industry?
Figure out what your boundaries are and stick to them. Never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable and never EVER be afraid to say no.
In The Stripper Next Door, you talked about the ultimatum your partner gave you: him or stripping. What impact did that have on you?
I really back my younger self for being strong enough to stand up for what was right and true for her. That was an incredibly tough thing I had to deal with and I 100% made the right choice for me. For me, stripping was more than a job, more than a career, a community and a lifestyle it was my passion. It was the thing that truly lit me up and made me feel like I was connected to a divine sense of joy.
You are now performing pole dancing with your partner! How did you meet him? What is that experience like?
I met my partner, Toby at an adult gymnastics class when I was training for Miss Pole Dance Australia. I love that I now have a partner that cannot possibly have an issue with what I do because he is up there doing it beside me. We have won three national championships together (most recently a couple of months ago at the Australian Pole Championships: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtNLfSMf-DI&t=1s
) performing and competing together adds another layer of trust and communication into our relationship.
Penthouse magazine considered publishing your ‘naked in the bush’ shoot and you briefly mention how they no longer call their models ‘pets’. How important do you feel it is for women in the industry to be seen as independent women who are respected for whatever choice she makes with her body?
I think that when a consenting adult chooses to do something, that is not harmful to herself or anyone else around her then it is no one else’s business but her own. I feel frustrated when people say stripping is degrading, they are usually commenting on something of which they have no personal first-hand experience and they are also trying to change my personal subjective reality. As I mentioned above, I have no way of forcing the general public to see strippers as independent, strong women who deserve the same amount of respect as anyone else. All we can do is continue to behave in a way that is independent and strong – it takes a lot of inner strength to choose this career path.
How difficult was it for you to tell your parents about your career?
I think it takes a huge amount of courage to turn to the people who have loved us, raised us and taught us most of what we know about the world and say “This person you want me to be? This is not who I am”. Thousands of people do this each day – refusing to follow into the family business, or saying no to their parent’s plans of higher education or who they should marry. I think younger me was brave, and I am so glad she made the choices that she did – choosing her passion and herself over who others thought she should be.
You appear to have tunnel vision focus for your dreams, goals and aspirations. When getting your degree and writing ‘The Stripper Next Door’, what do you do to maintain that drive and focus?
I am doing what I love. When you are doing what you love it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ it feels like something you want to do.
You seem to have a very busy schedule for the next upcoming months. What are you really looking forward to doing?
Sharing my story with other women, and encouraging them to share theirs.
You were just on the Morning Show on Channel 7 promoting your book. What was that experience like?
I was so nervous. I was answering their questions, but my heart was beating so loudly I could barely hear myself talk. Performing as Suzie Q I was naked, but revealed nothing. Now as Emma I am dressed, but vulnerable. You can check out the interview here: