Pink Bedding in Her Mother’s Home, Louis Vuitton Bags Full of Cash and a Gun in Her Car
Twenty-year-old Gigi walks up the stairs to her bedroom at her mother’s home in a Reno, middle-class, suburban neighborhood. The room is decorated with pink bedding and perfume bottles, tropical beach scenes and a throw pillow with the quote “wake me up when I’m famous.”
Gigi said she was followed to her previous apartment by customers from the strip club, Fantasy Girls, where she works in downtown Reno. Back to living with her family for now, she feels safer and she also helps out.
“I bought my brother a car because his car was f***** up. My dad is the only one who really doesn’t like it but I don’t live with him,” Gigi says.
Generous Customers Give Gigi Thousands of Dollars
Gigi sits on the end of her bed taking puffs from her Juul as she explains the financial aspect of stripping. In Reno, Gigi says she can make up to $2,000 a night. When she flies to Los Angles twice a month, she says she can make up to $5,000 a night.
“When I made a certain amount of money in Los Angles I got cocky. I was like, ‘I’m so lit, oh my god.’ I have customers that come in. Good customers,” she said explaining why she likes to go to Los Angeles.
Gigi says she has few regular customers that she knows on a personal level. One customer that she is particularly fond of is a man who has a lot of money to spend and has paid her to go to the beach in Southern California with him.
“I mean, obviously you want to know a millionaire on a personal note,” she said.
Trying a Brothel, Preferring to be Her Own Boss and Avoiding Drug Dealers and Pimps
The flexibility the job offers is why this lifestyle appeals to Gigi. Because strippers in Nevada need their own business license, they are independent contractors. She says she has the freedom to go in to Fantasy Girls any day and time that she chooses. She knew back in her junior year of high school that it was something she wanted to do.
“One really bad thing I did was I started working when I was 17. Only because my mom would be like ‘oh you have to pay your car insurance and you have to pay these bills.’ And I’m like ‘oh well I could just go to the strip club.’ I went in there with a fake I.D. but I didn’t know you had to have a business license,” Gigi said. “I just didn’t want to live a normal life.”
Gigi also says she worked at a brothel, the Mustang Ranch, on the outskirts of Reno for three days before she realized it wasn’t for her.
“I made money but it was not really worth it,” she said. “It’s just kind of whack. Like there’s no Wi-Fi. You’re far in the middle of the dessert.”
The lifestyles that comes with these professions involves a lot of partying, Gigi said, and people that should be avoided. She regularly encounters heroin dealers and men who attempt to be a pimp to her and her co-workers.
“Well you just should be smart enough to not hang around them,” she said.
Not Concerned with Community Backlash
Recently, Reno strip clubs have faced some backlash from prominent local politicians and groups like Awaken, a faith-based non-profit, who have campaigned against strip clubs in downtown Reno in an effort to end human trafficking in the area. But Gigi says her clientele and cash flow have not been affected by these efforts.
“People come from everywhere,” she said. “I don’t know, it’s the weirdest place.” She says she has customers from surrounding states who visit the strip club, and as far away as from Dubai.
Gigi says her future plans are mostly financially motivated. In the next year, she plans to buy her first rental property in Los Angeles. She also is planning to study yoga in order to become a yoga instructor.
As her plans go for the rest of the day when we interviewed her- she was getting her nails done.
“Maybe I’ll go in [to work] today. I might be in the mood to have some fun,” she said.