An Interview with Kerri Walker, a Stripper-Turned-Author
The book, Fearless!, is Kerri’s bold memoir about her journey to reach financial, and also otherwise, independence through exotic dancing. The book is a complete guide to personal and professional success as she walks one through some tips and tricks as to how to keep one’s head straight and body healthy in a bar joint that is a hub for alcohol, drugs and a whole lot of freaky minds.
Monika – Hello, Kerri. I want to congratulate you on your book, ‘Fearless! – A Jersey Girl’s Bold Memoir On The Journey To Reach Your Dream Through Exotic Dancing’. It is an excellent book. It is not only about dancing but it’s about life, health and relationships. It’s got everything a girl could want in a book. It is a wonderful book.
You started dancing in the middle of your Master’s degree in French in your late twenties. What triggered that? How did you get over your mind block from academia to dancing in bars?
Also read: A Book Review – Fearless! An Exotic Dancer’s Guide to Personal and Professional Success
Also read: An Interview with Kerri Walker, a Stripper-Turned-Author
Kerri Walker – I was trying to think outside of the box. I was thinking that my Masters in French was going to leave in debt and back to square one. Anytime I lost the job in my twenties, I would end up living with my parents. We don’t have a good relationship. I went to boarding school when I was young and I didn’t want to be home for the summer. There was a lot of turmoil. There was a lot of pressure to get a job. Once at a job, there was a lot of pressure to keep that job. There was no family support. I needed a solution. My degree was getting me into debt without the guarantee of a job afterwards to get out of that debt. I needed financial independence. I know that money is not the answer to everything. But at that point in my life, I needed to push for money.
Monika – Money is not the answer but it is important.
Kerri Walker – In this life, it is undeniably important. My brothers are in finances. I texted them sneakily to find out where I should invest. They told me I am really good at saving. I told them I was an editor. I was sneaky.
Monika – But it worked out.
Kerri Walker – Yes, it worked out for me.
Monika – Do you think that a healthier relationship with your family might have given a different turn to this? With the moral and financial support of your family, would you still have considered dancing in the bars.
Kerri Walker – There were just way too many variables for me. I don’t know.
Monika – You definitely took a very bold step. You mentioned on page 24 of your book that ‘Your self-esteem and health are more important.’ Usually, people don’t associate ‘self-esteem’ and health with bar workers. So, how did you maintain your self-esteem and health while working in a bar.
Kerri Walker – When you are in a place with alcohol all around, you have to make a promise to yourself that you are not going to drink every night. My body is good with one drink in a month. And there are so many reasons not to do it. It retains your looks. I just drink water at work. Even when someone pushes, I tell them I am just drinking water. It’s all the peer pressure. I don’t need peer pressure as an adult to drink. Just say no and put your foot down.
Monika – That’s being strong willed toward your goal and your health.
Kerri Walker – In bars, a lot of people are looking for drinking buddies. It doesn’t mean that you are going to make more money just because you are drinking with them. It’s just not worth it.
Monika – On page 27 of your book, you also say that ‘Prestige does exist in stripping.’ Do you want to explain that please.
Kerri Walker – Well, there is ‘day shift’ and ‘night shift’. Some girls work during the day because they might have kids or another job. The girls working at night are kind of high lights whom everyone wants to see. ….
Monika – Tell us about the loneliness that you felt while you were working in the bars.
Kerri Walker – It’s really an isolating job. You finish late at night and sleep till 12 or 1 O’clock. And then you are back at work by 6:30pm. During that part of the day, everybody is at work. It’s hard to maintain a relationship. You are mostly around people who are at that bar where you work.
Monika – One would think that you are working at a bar where you are surrounded with people, so you wouldn’t be that lonely.
Kerri Walker – It is lonely though. The girls I work with are not my friends. They are just people I work with. I don’t want to talk to them. Sometimes, there is friendship but I found it rare.
Monika – I liked that part where you explain how to fake taking drinks and doing coke. It is simply ingenious. Did you do that often?
Kerri Walker – I never did it with coke. My friend has done it. She taught me how to do it. I just didn’t want to go to the rooms with the guys doing that.
There is another trick to fake drinking. (read the book)
Monika – Why did you write this book? Was it to help other strippers or just memoirs or to share with others.
Kerri Walker – It is to help out girls who are starting out with small crappy jobs. It is also a memoir that started out as a journal.
Monika – It is an easy read book. Again congratulations on a wonderful book.
Dr. Monika Spolia
Editor, Bharat Times