Stripping for Two: How Exotic Dancers Hide Their Baby Bumps
Image via Flickr/Karolina Lubryczynska
Thanks to America's shitty short maternity leave policy, getting pregnant is always a bitch, but it's even worse if you dance naked for a living. Strippers go to great lengths to hold onto their jobs while carrying a baby. At a party, I learned of the knocked-up dancer's plight when a strip club makeup artist said she saw one girl apply liquid latex on her breasts to prevent herself from lactating on customers. Strippers worry about giving away their buns in the oven because of stories about managers firing pregnant dancers.
To learn more about how strippers cover up their pregnancies, I called my favorite porn star manicurist, Julez Zamora. Along with painting porn star's nails, Zamora has worked as a makeup artist at some of Vegas's most notorious strip clubs. Over the course of her career, she's met men with lactation fetishes, mastered using sarongs to cover women's bellies, and learned why baby wipes prevent strippers from contouring their bellies.
Broadly: What is it like working with pregnant strippers?
Julez Zamora: [Stripping while pregnant is] kind of like one of those things where they frown upon it, but they're not going to stop working. They're going to work up until they start showing or a manager calls them out. Usually they'll wear like wraps or sarongs to kind of cover their tummy—and then when they're doing the private dance, they can just kind of position themselves better to where [customers] can't really tell. But as soon as they start showing they have to get out.
Read More: The Broadly Guide to Pregnancy
Have some clients noticed girls' baby bumps?
Yeah. There was a girl who was working in the daytime, and then once she started showing, she worked at night, because she figured people wouldn't notice as much because there's more girls [working on the floor]. She had her little sarong and everything, but she was probably like five months along before anybody really noticed. Our manager was like, "You're kind of looking a little pregnant there. Did you gain a couple of pounds? I think that's a baby in there?" She was like crying: "I can't afford to stop working." He was like, "Well, I can't have you in here, the customers are not going to want to see that." No, you can't hang out, because you're hanging out. Things are that much more accentuated. There are girls who have tummies, but you can tell the difference between weight gain tummy versus a baby tummy: a very more specific location.
Do some guys fetishize pregnant dancers?
There definitely are. There's a market for it, but sometimes girls will go do cam stuff if they can't do it at a club, because the club won't allow it. They can [cam] from home, and then will just tap into the fetish market.
What makeup do strippers typically wear?
Most of them try to keep the younger look. I have a look that I do called "porn eyes" or "Stronger" eyes from the Britney Spears video, but those are the two extremes. Some girls want to look young—like really young, barely 18 kind of thing—because that's a huge thing, and other ones prefer the super slutty look. Guys in general prefer the more natural look, unless they like goth girls. Then they'll prefer more makeup, but honestly they prefer the "girl next door" look. That's actually more work [for a make up artist] than the heavy makeup, oddly enough.
Are there any makeup tricks you can do to hide a pregnancy?
Not really, it would have to be about clothing. There's no kind of contouring that can hide [a baby bump].
You can always do airbrushing or contour on a six-pack if you wanted to—that might help the illusion—but I haven't seen anybody try to do that because a lot of times between dances they wipe up with baby wipes.
Has a stripper ever asked you to apply latex to her nipples?
I've never heard of that. It makes sense because breast milk is a little more lubricating than regular cow's milk, [but] I can imagine if it did leak out, it would just remove the latex anyways. It could also be really painful, because when you have latex on the skin and you go to peel it off, it pulls your skin and any hair you might have. It's not super comfortable. If you have a little layer of oil or moisture between your skin and the latex then it's easier to peel off, but certain areas you just don't want to fuck with that.
When you're pregnant your boobs get bigger. Is that a plus?
Yeah. [Men] won't complain about that—that's a bonus. There's the lactating fetish too. I never saw anything firsthand because all their dances are private, but there were a few [strippers] who were like, "I just had a baby," and [the customer] was like, "Cool. Do you still have milk?"