What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of pole dancing? Seedy, dark strip clubs? Or maybe how did she just humiliate your best mate on his stag do like a total savage?
In an interview with LADbible, champion pole dancer Leah Rose Clarke, 29, spoke about the taboo associated with pole dancing but embraced its 'strip club' roots and will carry on as long as her body allows her to.
The former customer service advisor worked in a strip club herself to get a taste for the 'authentic style' but soon quit after not enjoying the lap dancing side of the industry and worrying about punters grabbing her.
Was it daunting?
Yes, it was very daunting. I pretended to be confident but having some guy tell me whether I'm hot or not and then have to chat to him, especially if they are drunk, then give a lap dance was hard work and super daunting. You have to have a different persona and be a completely different person. Props to those who do it as it's hard work.
My main worry was if the guys would try to grab me, however, I was lucky as there were strict rules in place and security were great. I think there are lots of different clubs so I did my research before going to work in one. I'm not glamourising working in a club as each club is different but my experience wasn't as bad as people make out.
And the money?
I've just given up my full-time job to pursue my dream of working as a full-time pole dancer and instructor. It's tough but pays the bills.
Credit: Leah Rose
What are the benefits of pole dancing?
Well I'm super strong! My body is the fittest it has been for years, but it also has a great social community side.
Are there any downfalls?
The obsession with getting the next trick and move and training like a beast for it. My body hurts!
What would you tell people who don't agree with pole dancing?
Strip clubs have been around for years. Strippers and polers should get a lot more credit than they get, do you know how hard it is to dance in eight-inch heels?
To be honest people are allowed their opinion, there have been huge debates about the sex worker industry, I just don't think you can have a view on it unless you fully understand the facts.
I would tell them to, one, go to a club and chat with the girls. They will probably be surprised that they are human after all. And then, two, go try a pole lesson. They will probably love it.
Do you know of any cases of sexual harassment pole dancers have ever experienced? Does it exist?
I think sexual harassment happens everywhere whether you're a pole dancer or not. I am a great supporter of the #metoo campaign as it has allowed women to voice their experiences and hopefully allow us to educate people on what is acceptable and what is not.
Featured Image Credit: Phil Darko