By Travis Clemmons
In the not too distant past, I satirically described Serenna Starr as the “Love Child of Jane Mansfield and a can of Minwax China Red. The people who know her well did not even think of trying to disagree with me.
The Hair The Face The Curves The Personality
Travis: How did you come up with the name “Serenna Starr”?
Serenna Starr: Ha! I’m a sucker for alliteration, and I wanted something that would put a smile on my face. So Serenna comes from the “serenity now!” Episode of Seinfeld.Starr comes from the burlesque performer Blaze Starr (another fiery redhead) and Hedy Jo Starr (who happened to be a trans burlesque sensation, but more applicably was an incredible costumer). Since I’m a fiery redhead, an awesome seamstress, and it all fit alliteratively … I thought it fitting! So basically no matter how the dj or emcee says my name when I’m announced for stage, I always hear George Costanza’s dad yelling “serenity now!”
Travis: (snicker) Getting the “Girl Watcher” questions out of the way …How tall are you?
Serenna Starr: 5’6″ of awesome
Travis: And so darn modest about it (wink) And what is the shoe size?
Serenna Starr: 9
Travis: Eye Color?
Serenna Starr: Greenish Hazely
Travis: Is the hair usually kept that rich deep red with the burgundy tones? Or do you jump around a bit while still staying in the Red Zone?
Serenna Starr: I jump around a bit.I’ll go from strawberry blonde to something richer based on season and whim. I went brunette earlier this year.I don’t know what I was thinking.
Travis: So … Red does seem to be your True Faith?
Serenna Starr: I was born a strawberry head.
Travis: My wife and I have the opinion that certain women look sexier on the “Slightly Robust” side of the equation. You fall into that category for us.But how do you personally define when your body looks “Right”?
Serenna Starr: I look fondly back to the days when I was a size 6 and mostly wish I was that size again (35 lbs ago). I like myself a lot though, and I don’t have to be held to any standard other than just what makes me happy. I do think about being a touring feature again, but I know it would take a ridiculous amount of work. Being that this can be such a short lived profession, I don’t feel particularly motivated. For the most part, I get very positive responses about my look (I adore being compared to Christina Hendricks).
Travis: You’ll remember that I’d commented on how you could do a wicked interpretation of Saffron … The character Christina had played on Firefly (wink).
Serenna Starr: And you weren’t the first person to tell me that (smile).
Travis: Which evolved first in your life … The performing or the costume creation?
Serenna Starr: The costuming completely came first. I’ve been sewing the majority of my life. I was a timid creature. I was doing some costuming for some girls at a local Club. A Featured Dancer came along and commissioned a few pieces from me. Paid me with rubber checks. The check was large and I had written against it already, so I was basically double in the hole. So I started dancing to pay the bills.
Travis: When you first began dancing for money … How did you establish the nature of your routine?
Serenna Starr: It kinda came about organically. Just enjoying the music and learning how to move. Later, I started developing shows. They were rough but they were enough to get me started traveling. One day, things just kinda clicked, my feet started moving me in different ways, and voila! An actual dancer was born! I will say that what made the biggest difference for me was exchanging my stripper platforms for regular 5″ pumps. Once I could feel the ground beneath my feet better, I was off and running!
Travis: Did you ever manage to get any resolution on the Kangaroo Check?
Serenna Starr: Yes. I turned Ms. Bouncing Check and her agent (who was covering her tracks) into the States attorney. It took almost a year but I finally got paid
Travis: Nice to hear. Which would be the better Birthday Gift … Wicked High Heels, Exotic Ear Rings or a Gift Certificate to a Fabric Shop?
Serenna Starr: All of the above
Travis: But if you had to make a choice?
Serenna Starr: All of those things are equivalent to gifting me with porn. I suppose, since I’m working on a new collection of sample gowns, the fabric store would be the better of the options.
Travis: But the same question could get a different response in a few months?
Serenna Starr: Yes. It all depends on where my mind is at each moment. Right now, the work and career side of my brain is engaged
Travis: Being a costumer … And having to work with the intricacies of the human body … What do you find most challenging about designing for women?
Serenna Starr: Getting the cut of a short just right. Pants are harder anyway but every lady’s posterior varies. So there isn’t one perfect way to do it so it’s the most flattering universally. I’ve managed to succeed more often than not though!
Travis: And men?
Serenna Starr: I don’t get to do a lot of design for fellas, but they are tons easier. Less curves and all of that.
Travis: When we first met … You were one of the Judges for Grand Prix of Exotic Dance. How did this evolve?
Serenna Starr: I used to get booked as a feature entertainer into On The Border. They used to book much more frequently than they do now. Back then … I was at that club around twice a year for three or four years in a row. The crew and I became friends and even after my retirement we still keep in touch. So they think of me when it comes to judging as their non-biased, non-involved in the industry, ex feature with a Keen and honest eye.
Travis: At such a competition … You’re being called on to judge Stripper Style Stage Performing. How is that similar to a Burlesque Performance? How is it different?
Serenna Starr: For me personally … My strip show was the same as my burlesque show. What you saw at the Belmont Burlesque Halloween Show was actually one of my past feature shows… and costumes. For me, there’s nothing different. I know that’s not how a majority of performers feel tho. In my mind … The difference between “stripper” and “burlesque performer” is the intent, and the frequent spreading of the legs. A lot of Strippers kind of have those dead eyes and hate being on stage. Performers, me in particular, hate the hustle and love to dance and entertain.
Travis: I’ve noticed some gals who seem to love the hustle. Almost seem to thrive on it. Have you crossed the path of many like these?
Serenna Starr: Oh sure! And a part of me always wanted to be a little more like them. I just can’t stand being told no. I mean, we are all in it for the moolah, right? I admired the girls who could separate out a bit, make $1000+ a night and not sweat the rejection and the handful of people who were jerks.
Travis: What were the situations that caused you to say … I can no longer be a dancer full time?
Serenna Starr: I honestly caved under pressure to “grow up” and “establish my career before it’s too late” etc. I also had met what I believed at the time to be the love of my life, bought a house, and was really enjoying being at home. I started taking fewer bookings, then got offered less bookings too because I was calling my agents less. There were sooooo many girls on the circuit at the time, and soooo many clubs not booking like they used to. So, all of us were fighting for the same jobs, new girls would get booked for cheaper. I just didn’t have the fight in me anymore. I worked a couple of local clubs, but the clientele just didn’t buy into the kind of dancing I was doing. Or they weren’t spending, or appreciative, or nice even. So I took to managing clubs for a while. Being on the other side of things was actually really nice for a while.So, I can honestly say that I have worked in every aspect of a Gentleman’s Club. I have worked the door, bartended, waitressed, been the janitor, managed. I have even bounced people out before. I didn’t feel I could be an effective manager unless I was good at each position that I was managing.
Travis: So … If I were a promoter and I wanted to send you on a 3 month tour of several areas in the US and Canada. What type of package would I need to offer? Or would you simply say “No” unless it was a mass of diamonds on a plate?
Serenna Starr: LOL! The rate is generally dependent upon how many days and how many shows. A typical booking for me was a 4 day run that included 12 shows. Then I’d need a couple of days off to recover. In order to give you an exact amount, I’d need to consult with a few girlfriends who are currently featured dancers. But I can tell you that it would be several hundred for the week. Plus you’d pay for the hotel and you’d provide me with reasonable travel expenses.
Travis: If you watched your expenses … What could you hope to pocket from that situation?
Serenna Starr: Well, I would get to keep my tips and sell merchandise after the shows. Depending upon the busy-ness of the club, sometimes that could bring in a few extra hundred an evening. Sometimes you just break even and come out with your paycheck intact. Out of courtesy, I should be tipping your DJs, bar staff and floor staff. Then I have to pay a commission to the agent that got me the gig in the first place. I’ve been in a few places where I walked away with something like $4000 in a week, and others where I’ve come out of it close to empty handed. There was the time when someone on staff stole my purse after the club had cashed my paycheck. That left me mad at humanity, since it was an inside job, and I was nearly stranded about 500 miles from home on Christmas Eve.
Travis: Bummer! OK … For an upcoming Saturday Evening … You have 2 opportunities to attend an elegant cocktail party. The first party involves you being invited because you are known as a Costumer and Performer. Numerous people will want to talk to you and get to know you better. The second event involves you essentially being a businessman’s arm candy for the evening. Your reason for being there would be to help him look good. And you’ll have the opportunity to meet some very interesting people who are not in the entertainment industry.Being able to choose only one invitation … What would you consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of each opportunity?
Serenna Starr: My tendency would be to go to the first. I prefer people to get to know me. And although I have played the arm candy role in the past (and had fun with it) I am in a place in my life where I really love what I do, and love having opportunities to talk about it. There is always that certain curiosity about opportunity #2. Which celebrity or other person of note might I miss out on seeing. But given the circumstances of our meeting, those people would likely only see me as cotton candy anyways. And I hate being treated like fluff!
Travis: And for the party that you’ve chosen … How are you going to be done up, in order to be really eye catching?
Serenna Starr: In typical fashion…Perfect hair, perfect makeup, perfect presentation, well put together. I’ve been very into the dresses they sell at the Betty Page store, and what they do for my figure. My wardrobe is nearly full of them. A cleavagey wiggle dress and a pair of sassy heels that would go for the win!
Travis: Where would the hem be in relation to the knees?
Serenna Starr: Just at or a tiny bit below. Like the dresses I had on at the last Stripperfest.
Travis: Bare leg? Hose? Full Fashion stockings?
Serenna Starr: Nearly always a bare leg. I loooove back seam thigh high stockings with a Cuban heel, but a lot of my shoes don’t jive with the Cuban. And the stocking and garter belt combo doesn’t always mix well with figure hugging outfits.
Travis: So … Your Gentleman would have to buy you shoes for the evening? (wink)
Serenna Starr: Meeeow!
Travis: You and the wife and I need to go shopping sometime
Serenna Starr: LOL! I’ve seen how your wife dresses. Are you sure your wallet is ready for the two of us?
Travis: Since the answer to that question is probably “No”, I think I’ll just hug you good bye and declare this interview completed.
Serenna Starr: Smart man (wink).
Any photo holding a notation of Striptaculous has been supplied by Curtis Isom. All other pictures were supplied by Serenna Star. All rights belong to the individuals listed or to other photographers who have taken the photos.
Sincere thanks to Serenna and to Curtis.