“Do you see your work as a type of acting? (like an actress going onto a stage and performing a certain identity, pretending to be a different person)”
Most of the burlesque classes start with the lesson how to build up your persona. In strip clubs there are no such a class, but it all starts with choosing your dancer name. I used to work using my short form of my real name, but in non-English speaker countries doesn't sound sexy at all. Girls choose a dancer name to hide their real identity. Before you ask yourself, no, it's not my real name. And I'm not named after Lindsay Lohan. I'm less trouble than she is. :) But it has been told I look like the Victoria's Secret model Lindsay Ellingson (I used to be blonde that time) and I'm proud of having that name. When one of my manager told me I will be called Lindsay, I immediately felt confident with this name, and since then I use it everywhere I go. It's easy because not so common. If I choose a name like Maria, I could be asked in every club to change it because there is a Maria already there. When they make our weekly rota or the payments documents, they use only the dancer name. Can you imagine if is more than one Lindsay there? Or when the DJ call the next girl to the stage in the mike? They don't even like when there are lots of similar names like Nelly, Kelly, Sally, Terry for the same reason.
But with Lindsay I always have lots of fun as no one can write it down properly. When I see a Lizi or Lindi on the rota I smile and I know it's me. In some countries I can't use it. In Japanese it's difficult to pronounce as they don't have the letter “L” and they would call me Rindsay. So Mama san gave me a name and I was Chanel. Not sure if it was better than Rindsay.
“Hello, I'm Chanel.”
“Hi Chanel, I'm Cartier.” or “Hello, I'm Hugo. Hugo Boss.”
I hated it!
But some girls having fun to change their names in every club. My friend Giselle used maybe 4 or 5 names during our work period together. And than I had to be cautious on which name should I call her in the recent club or front of the recent customer. She didn't make it easy for me.
Talking about the persona or a different personality when I work, I don't know. For me there is not such a big difference. But maybe I'm just too honest and I don't want to wear a mask at work. For me actually is the opposite. During this job I learned a lot about myself and I became more ME than to develop a persona and play a role. I feel very lucky that I'm not one of the girls who is able to work only under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That changes the personality a lot. Sometimes I wonder on girls that they so quiet in the apartment and at work they are totally behave like superstars. Sometimes I make a joke that maybe I need to take the same drug to feel more confident and be more effective at work.. but it's only a matter of time when the effect is gone – together with their self-confidence.
So for me after several years spent in this business, there is a very thin line between my work personality and my real one. I don't want to act at work and play a persona which is not me just to make more money and please the customer. (Here I'm not talking about being smiley and bubbly and funny. I can be that naturally without acting. And I also know every customer is different so I need to adopt different behaviour to work with them. I just don't have a role at work to play.) It works like a filter. If they want a girl with certain behaviour, they don't choose me and I can happily work with the customer who appreciate my personality without wearing a mask. But in the same time my work has effected my personality and thanks for all those years of experiences and situations, I became a stronger person in my private life.