McGinnis: Meet MirandaWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a lot of people who think that they know what happens in a strip club. And because it’s given such a mystique, and it’s always been kind of an insider industry, people don’t really know what goes on inside a strip club. And so they make assumptions that aren’t true,” Miranda said.
She smiled and added, “If every strip club were a whorehouse, if every strip club were to have prostitutes, if that were actually true — the numbers would be so much higher! And, frankly, they would have been shut down by the board of health a long time ago!”
Miranda is her stage name. She’s performed as a dancer for five and a half years at the Déjà Vu on South Byrne Road. She’s quick with a laugh, has an infectious smile, and is passionate and enthusiastic about most everything — including her work.
“The biggest thing about being a dancer is, it’s not about how well you dance, it’s not about how well you look, because that has almost nothing to do with it, as weird as that sounds,” Miranda said. “It really has a lot to do with personality. If you can’t talk to a customer, you can’t make money.”
She was going to college, majoring in theater, when she got her start.
“I won amateur night against a girl from Scarlett’s, believe it or not. I won, and the general manager went to me, and he was like, ‘So, you seem to have a pretty sparkling personality. You want a job?’ And I said, ‘How much can I make a night?’ And he said, ‘Oh, in a bad night, you’re gonna make about 200.’ And I said, ‘That’s more than I make in a paycheck!’” Miranda said.
She’s worked at the Déjà Vu ever since, although she is not really an employee there — in fact, she technically pays them to dance.
“As a dancer, I am an independent contractor,” Miranda said. “Which means that basically, I pay for a rental space.
“It affords me a lot of opportunity. If, for example, I can’t make it into work, I’m not gonna get fired for not going in, you just have to call. There’s a lot of leeway. I make my own schedule.”
Dancers make their income through their performances, whether it be onstage or through personal dances with customers. But no two customers’ tastes are ever the same.
“Customers come in for a lot of different things. Some guys come in for dances, some guys come in for company. And so you kinda have to balance the two of them out.”
And when it comes to looking out for each other, Miranda said she knows that people she loves will always have her back.
“A strip club is a family, by far. It is as close as you will ever be to any of your co-workers. Because we exist on the outside of society like we do, you become this family.”
That level of camaraderie led Miranda and her co-workers to vehemently protest Ohio Senate Bill 16 — a bill spearheaded by the group Citizens for Community Values, which mandated dancers remain six-feet away from patrons at all times, even when off duty and fully clothed.
“Honestly, I can tell you, I went to every one of those hearings for Senate Bill 16, and I watched as the CCV told lie after lie after lie. And they kept getting caught in those lies! And they still got passed. And it’s like anything in politics — everything is paid for. And that’s what it really
came down to.”
The bill is currently in sixth-circuit purgatory, and Miranda is confident that it’ll eventually be thrown out for being unconstitutional. But by the time the issue is resolved, her dancing gig may be long over, anyway.
“I have only a couple of years left. I’ll be 28 soon,” Miranda said. “It’s not, for me, a career, although you can make a career out of this industry. I mean, a lot of people go from dancing, to working at the club, to management. And there is a lot of upward mobility there. I just, personally, don’t want to pursue it.”
But Miranda said she’ll always look back fondly on her days with Déjà Vu, a job she clearly enjoys.
“A lot of people think that dancers dance because it’s the only thing they can do. No,” she said. “They choose to do it. There are plenty of ways to make a buck. If you don’t like what you do, you might as well go out and get a job at McDonald’s. You make more money by enjoying what you do, and having fun with what you do. If you’re not having fun, there’s really no point in doing it.”
E-mail Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.