YOUR LIFE: Every human being has a story to tell. In this series, Your Life features personal accounts by Singaporeans detailing their respective trials in life and their courage to face them.
I’m 26 years old, and I’ve been a stripper in Singapore for about three years.
When I strip, anything is possible. I am here to entertain and I’m happy as long as my clients have a good time.
I can tell that they’re having a good time when I see them screaming and looking liberated after watching my performance. I like to think of it this way: They are hiring someone for just 30 minutes, and I’m going to give them the power to do whatever they like during that brief period of time. When they scream or laugh, I know I’m on the right track.
I always feel that my clients have a hidden part to them waiting to be unleashed. When I approach clients who are shy, I always try to bring out their wild side.
While I do encourage clients to let me know if they have any special requests prior to my performance, I rarely receive them. But, of the few requests I have received recently, the most popular has to be role-playing as Song Joong-Ki’s character from that popular Korean drama series “Descendants of the Sun”. I’ve played that character at least 10 times since the series ended.
A means to earn extra pocket money
I decided to become a stripper at a time when I needed extra pocket money. I was pursuing a degree at one of Singapore’s private art schools and was trying to think out of the box to figure out how I could earn money.
It was during a short holiday in Beijing when someone suggested I give it a go. I stripped for the first time there and received good response. It was then that I realised my knack for entertaining people.
When I returned, I reached out to a local company that offers such entertainment in Singapore and officially became a professional male stripper after one audition.
Besides stripping, I also model and act on a freelance basis.
Stripping definitely pays me the best. I get paid several hundred dollars for every 30-minute performance that I do, and I typically perform two to three times a week. There are times when I perform up to three times a night.
On top of my flat performance fee, clients would also give me tips by slipping cash into my underwear while I dance. The tips, when accumulated, can amount to more than the performance fee itself.
Only a handful of my friends are aware that I’m a stripper, and I’m very thankful that they are supportive of my choice. My family doesn’t know – and I don’t know how they would react if I had told them. However, I’m not too worried about them finding out because, at the end of the day, it’s about making a living.
I haven’t performed for anyone I know yet, but I’m not discounting the possibility of it happening – Singapore is so small. It’s just a matter of time before I strip for someone I know. If that happens, the show still has to go on.
Nothing is off-limits as long as there’s respect
I’ve met clients who try to take things further. I’m okay with that – I always give them an after-show option – but I do this solely in my personal capacity and not as someone representing my agency. If a client wants to have more “add-ons” besides the 30-minute stripping performance, then they can choose them. These “add-ons” refer to after show drinks.
Let’s put it this way: If you opened a store and a client wants to buy more clothes than what is on display, she has the right to buy more clothes. As long as she pays at the register, I don’t see a problem.
Having said that, many people think that stripping is entirely sexual but it’s not. The general goal is to entertain the clients, to make them laugh – I use slapstick humour when performing, so the sexual aspect is really just a small sprinkle here and there.
Some clients might not be comfortable if it’s too sexual. I normally check with the point of contact to check what the client is comfortable with. On top of that, you also need to be able to read body language and play it by ear – you need to be able to balance between being sexy and invading a client’s personal space.
Many people think that having a good body is the most important requirement, but I don’t agree. Yes, you do need to have a decent body but to be a good stripper, you need to be good at entertaining. You need to know what makes people tick and how to entertain them.
As a performer, you have the power to comfort people and let them know that they’re in a safe environment where they can enjoy themselves.
I don’t think there’s really a shelf life for stripping. You might be a 50-year-old man, but if you know how to entertain, there will still be a huge market for that. Having said that, I’m not sure if I will still be a stripper when I’m older. I will probably stop stripping when my acting career takes off.
-Interview conducted by Audrey Kang.
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