November Slut of the Month: Jacq The Stripper

Our first introduction to Jacq The Stripper was through her stark, captivating drawings depicting nightly strip club scenes where dancers dispense wisdom in six-inch heels. “Money rules the world,” reads one memorable installment posted on Instagram. “But you know what rules money? Pussy.” This quote is attributed to “Selena, 29, Kazakhstan,” and shows a curvy brunette with a hard mouth sporting a blue bodycon. Another recent favorite? “I used to love Halloween, until I realized I could dress like a slut all the time and get paid for it.” This one is straight from Jacq’s mouth, hanging off the pole in fishnet thigh highs as she drops another witticism in our eager laps.

After delving deeper into this writer/artist/comedian/stripper’s slutty oeuvre, we discovered and soon devoured her new book, The Beaver Show. As in her drawings, salty one liners abound, but Jacq The Stripper (real name Jacqueline Frances) goes far deeper in her story of sex work and survival. This funny, feminist memoir resists the “sad sex worker” trope, yet fearlessly describes the harsh realities of navigating the particular brand of misogyny that thrives in strip clubs (and the world over). With a flair for self-analysis and self-deprecation that makes her an irresistible protagonist, Jacq transports her readers from dance floors in Sydney and Melbourne to Santa Fe, New York City and the backwoods of Alberta. This slut positive polymath’s book is both relatable and radical — an important and consistently entertaining read.

You can buy The Beaver Show for the price of a lap dance, and, if you’re so inclined, help Jacq take her show on the road to share her sex positive story.

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It really feels like you didn’t push a political agenda with this book, and yet I loved how you nailed this super anti-patriarchy mic drop at the end. Some narratives about sex work or stripping are all “I’m gonna prove to you why this is feminist and empowering,” but you’re like “these are some horrible things, these are some good things” just like any other fucking job. You did it a service by not having an agenda. Is that a correct read?

That’s just who I was when I was 23. I didn’t have a brand of feminism then. I just graduated from university, and I was naive to think I was going to be an ad exec within the year. But I graduated in May 2009. There was nothing out there. I had a job for three months in advertising and I hated it. So I started traveling, then became a stripper, and once I realized how fun and lucrative it was, saw no reason to do anything else. It took me a year to come out of the stripper closet, to tell my family, my friends that that’s was what I was doing, because it took me a year to even start to understand what it meant to be a sex worker in the grand scheme of slut-shamey patriarchy.

And you were on the other side of the world…

Yeah, I was in Australia, which made it easy to keep secret. It was just me screwing off, doing something “naughty,” which we all do when we think no one’s watching. But then I thought to myself, “I like this, and I want to keep doing it, so why should I be ashamed of it?” When I do tell other women about my job, a common response is, “This one time…” and they proceed to tell me about that one time they did something whorey. It’s amazing! Once we start talking about it, it’s hard to stop talking about it. When other closeted sex workers come up to me, it’s like a torrent of thrilling personal sexcapades and they just won’t stop until I’m like “Ok we are now way too drunk, the bartender appreciates our generous tip but it’s so far past last call that we really need to get out of here… but let’s hang out again soon!”

What was your experience publishing The Beaver Show?

In 2012, I wrote a New Year’s resolution that said “this year I will earn at least one dollar as a writer.” I earned my first dollar as a writer two weeks ago. It took three and a half years to make a cent as a writer. I’m really proud to have published and financed The Beaver Show by myself. It’s a huge undertaking, and I’ve learned a lot. I’m really excited to take it on tour, which I plan on doing with the help of Kickstarter.

Now, my mission is to humanize sex work and spread the gospel of happy sluts. A lot of strippers are happy doing this job. That doesn’t mean that the job is awesome 100% of the time, but no one’s job is. The book isn’t a glossed-over, bubble-gum version of my life; it’s real and there are demons that I confront. But I’m happy about who I am and what I do. My biggest fear is that sex workers are going to hate it. If civilians don’t dig it, that’s fine. But disdain from my ripper sisterhood? I’d rather die and be buried wearing kitten heels.

When did you start doing standup?

A year ago.

Was that always a goal?

Everything that has happened in my career has been really organic. I initially took a comedy class to help with my storytelling. Stand up comedy is kind of like public flogging. You get on stage and try to make people laugh. It sounds easy, but the reality is that you’re probably going to suck for a really long time. Comedy is very unforgiving. It turns people into these crazy egomaniacs, but I’m already there so who knows to what fresh hell these laughs are going to take me. I like making people uncomfortable. So when I grab the mic and start riffing about some old dude staring into my snatch… it’s wondrously exhilarating.

Jacq by Lorenzo Fareillo copy

Your topic puts you in control, in a way.

Yes, it does. And this is really important, because the whole narrative of strippers is driven by patriarchy. We’re all just chopped up on Law & Order. And who writes those stories? Men write those stories. Which is why everyone thinks we’re all sad, and depressed, and hate our lives. By taking the stage to tell my story, I’m flipping the shitty stereotype on its head.

What’s the comedy scene like? As a rape survivor, what do you think about rape jokes?

My theory is that all men who make rape jokes are rapists. There is no other reason why they would think it’s funny unless they are trying to convince themselves that what they did wasn’t ‘legitimate rape,’ or whatever the fucks are calling it these days. By attempting to add levity to something shitty they’ve done makes it feel less shitty, and therefore more acceptable. By getting laughs, it validates their raping as ‘funny’ and therefore not an atrocity for which they should be castrated.

What about women making them?

I don’t know a lot of female comics who make rape jokes. If anything, it’s probably someone coming to terms with something that happened to her. A way to get revenge, which 99% of us never get anyway. I really need to work this point of view into my comedy…I’m ready for the backlash.

Do you have any stripper icons?

Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls. I love her. I tweet at her all the time. She never tweets back, but I’m OK with that. I just want her to feel that tweet love. Amber Rose is doing some great stuff for the anti-slut-shaming movement. Anna Nicole Smith is pretty much the patron saint of strippers. There’s a whole community of them in the sky. Jennifer Beals. Who else…He’s not a stripper but he loves strippers: John Waters. Channing Tatum? That man can dance.

Top 5 songs to strip to?

Well let’s start with the quintessential pyramid of stripperdom: Def Leppard, AC/DC and Guns ‘N Roses. Then there’s Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.” Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show.” Kid Rock’s “So Hot.” Garbage’s “#1 Crush.” And anything by Prince.

I read an interview where you said you hope some young girl will read your book and become a stripper.

Every stripper story is like, “I stripped. Here’s all the crazy terrible things that happened. Then I quit – the end.” I’m so over that. Stripping is a viable career option for a certain amount of time. I few years ago I considered doing another job — medical equipment sales. As a stripper, it’s my job to be charming and persuasive. I can sell anything. A lot of girls go into real estate, recruitment, pharmaceutical sales… So I wrote up my resume, trying to get this job that would land me a green card. Under hobbies and interests I wrote “girl power,” and the man I sent it to – my contact at the company – responded, “you might want to take that off before you officially submit your application.”

I’d think it was super charming…

How disheartening is that? That identifying as a feminist would hinder your chances at getting hired? Feminism is such a fucking F-word.

Imagine putting that on your resume?

Or imagine putting something shitty that’s socially acceptable?

Like hunting?

Yes! Exactly. Hunting. Taxidermy. You can put those things on your hobbies and interests and people would find it fascinating but Feminism is not OK.

What’s the best night of the week in New York to make money?

The most money I’ve ever made is on a Monday. In New York, weekends are awful. It’s young people being really showy and arrogant. It’s a “make it rain, make it make it make it rain” sort of crowd. I’m not into making it rain. I’m into old men being grateful for my company.

[An old man overhears our conversation. Awkwardness ensues.]

Weekdays are for business travel, lonely men looking for a friend instead of watching Netflix alone in their hotel room. People don’t realize how strong the currency of conversation can be.

I think it’s great how in your book you are able to write about some of the terrible attributes of men that you encounter as a stripper, but you don’t say men as an entire gender are completely horrible

Part of being a woman is knowing how terrible men are, and not being surprised. The reality is, men are always expecting something. ‘Something’ being sex.  A lot of girls I work with are like, “I never want to get married because I meet married men all the time who claim to be happily married… and then they’re like ‘I just wanna eat your pussy.’” They’re like, “how can I ever trust a man who is so quick to be so intimate with a stranger?” Funny how many men want to eat stripper pussy. For me, it’s immensely intimate. Imagine if I let 10 strangers every night lick my pussy?! Some women do, and that’s totally fine. But it’s not something I am personally comfortable with. Men are sooooo orally fixated but they aren’t represented in porn and mainstream media as the pussy-worshippers that they are. It’s funny because their desire is so fucking blind. They don’t think about STDs, about their wives, about all the other men who may have licked that exact pussy not ten minutes ago… man, sex work really needs to stop being illegal. Pussy power is so real.

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I am: feeling myself

By Day: drawing in bed

By Night: dry-humping for dollars

My Vices: blue cheese and attention

My Virtues: I’m pathologically optimistic

The Present: … please pledge my Kickstarter!

The Future: THANK YOU FOR PLEDGING MY KICKSTARTER! SEE YOU ON TOUR.

Favorite Flavor: rogue river blue or a perfectly stinky stilton

Favorite Feeling: making people laugh

Favorite Fabric: stretch crushed velvet, preferably in the form of a custom-made onesie

Substance is: My mum always says “be interested rather than interesting.”She is a righteous queen.

Style is: not giving a fuck about what’s in style

Slut is: power

Photo credits: Colour photos, Jessie Adler. B&W, Lorenzo Fariello

 

4 thoughts on “November Slut of the Month: Jacq The Stripper

  1. This is the most flawlessly accurate interview I have ever read . Thank you so much ladies for adding such reality to the narrative of happiness and stripping, infinite love and power to you X

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