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What are the startup costs of becoming a stripper?

Anne-Marie Kot performs in the 2013 German Pole Dancing Championships on August 3, 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany. (Of course this type of pole dancer is not a stripper.)
Anne-Marie Kot performs in the 2013 German Pole Dancing Championships on August 3, 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany. (Of course this type of pole dancer is not a stripper.)
Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

The Examiner investigated how much strippers make by visiting several Chicago land strip clubs. All had female “dancers”. Out of that article came additional interesting information about the exotic dance industry.

It is a little known fact that strippers are not hourly employees. They are contractors of the particular clubs they work for. They take the money from the clients and give a percentage of it back to the club or “house” and give another percentage and specific amount to the DJ.

“It’s ridiculous how much I’m paying just to be here,” said a stripper who calls herself Kitty. “But don’t tell my boss.”

Kitty refused to give her true name. She even said that the club has specific rules about giving any personal information away when in character.

When the strippers are working, they are to be referred to only by a “stage name”, and to never tell customers of the gentleman’s club who they are, where they live, what their phone number is, or any information that could lead their customers to find out who they are.

“It’s really for our own safety,” Kitty said.

A gentleman’s club also has bouncers, like a regular bar, and strippers confirm that bouncers walk them to their cars after their shifts are over.

Without further ado, the costs of becoming a stripper are:

1 Gym membership: $15 to $65 a month
2 Fakes eyelashes: $3 to $7 per set
3 Make-up: $20 to $200
4 Waxing: about $30
5 Tanning: about $20 per month
6 Acrylic French manicures: about $35
7 Taxes: about 15 to 18 percent of everything you make
8 Stage fee: $20 to $100 depending on the night
9 DJ tip: $5 to $20
10 Costumes: $5 to $500

“They have a vendor that comes in on some nights and sells us new outfits,” said a stripper who calls herself Sparkle.

No dancer has heard of a club taking out healthcare for their strippers, and most strippers work part time anyway. So, private contractor healthcare must be purchased on the side.

Strippers said that working is really as expensive “as you want it to be”.

There are stories of strippers buying old clothes from the thrift shop and sewing them to create a cheap new look for themselves, but these dancers were unwilling to talk to the Examiner.