By Travis Clemmons
On the weekend of September 28 & 29, I had the pleasure of attending Stripperfest 12 and meeting several very attractive and talented performers. Among them was the lovely Dancer and Costume Designer Phoenix Phires, who won the competition for Princess of the Stage.
After reading my article on the Princess portion of the competition, Phoenix agreed to have an in depth chat session with me. So we set aside an afternoon when we’d both be available and then we spent a couple of hours typing till our fingers were sore.
Travis: Where did the name Phoenix Phires come from?
Phoenix Phires: I’m a big comic book fan. So I wanted a name to display that side of me. After a few different ideas I finally settled on Phoenix as in Jean Gray from the x-men. Phires came later. Fire was the concept but I thought the ph put a nice touch on it as comic book characters often have names that way. IE. Peter Parker
Travis: Delightful idea for a name! Let’s move on to the basic “Girl Watcher” questions. How tall are you?
Phoenix Phires: Haha. 5’3″ out of heels.
Phoenix Phires: 32 DD – 26 – 36
Travis: Eye Color?
Phoenix Phires: Brown
Travis: Is the eye catching red hair an everyday thing? Or do you look a bit more subdued at the mall or the grocery store?
Phoenix Phires: The Intense Hair is definitely an everyday thing. I get strange looks everywhere I go. Always starting a riot. Turns out even in jeans, a t-shirt and sun glasses I still don’t blend well.
Travis: If I asked you to be ready for a casual dinner (pizza / burgers / wings / or whatever) and a movie. What style should I expect to see when you open your front door and say hello?
Phoenix Phires: Hot! (he he) Actually, probably a little less wild than my stage personality. I like simple and elegant. Id probably wear a little black dress and some pearls.
Travis: And if it was a dress up date … Fancy dinner and then a cabaret show?
Phoenix Phires: Still elegant. Longer dress. Lots of shiny to it. You know girls love shiny things.
Travis: Speaking of shiny things … If a gentleman were to surprise you with a gift of a delightfully wicked pair of high heels … How high should they be? And what color?
Phoenix Phires: I like all heights. I wear lower heels mostly (like 4 inch) but I love higher heels especially if they are boot style heels. Any color except pink! And I’m a size 7 btw.
Travis: Okay … So boots … Any color but pink. And would that 4″ include a platform? Or would you start with a 4″ ankle twist and then allow a platform to jack the total height up to something like 5.5 or 6?
Phoenix Phires: 4 inch – very small platform. Red bottom shoes are one of my favorites too. Just saying.
Travis: I love a girl who knows how to lay her cards on the table (wink). So … I’m 5’11”. To come close to looking me in the eyes, you’d need a 6 to 8 inch pair of Bitch Queen Spikes. Could you do that for an evening?
Phoenix Phires: I’ve worn 8″ heels.
Travis: And I’d love to see you in them sometime. Should pantyhose be outlawed as a form of cruel and unusual punishment? Or do you feel they have their place in the fashion world?
Phoenix Phires: I feel that pantyhose are appropriate at the right times. Nice blazer and skirt. That sort of outfit.
Travis: And how are you when it comes to stockings and garter belts? Or thigh Highs?
Phoenix Phires: I love them! But never really have much of a reason to wear them!
Travis: Never been one to use them to spice up a date a bit?
Phoenix Phires: Nah. If I wanna do that, I just tell him I’m not wearing panties
Travis: (snickering) And are you one of the girls who really likes to be corseted from time to time?
Phoenix Phires: Do I like wearing corsets? (lol) Did you check out my pictures from Stripperfest
Travis: I saw you looking all tight waisted. I just wasn’t sure if that was the real you or the stage persona. On to the professional questions. When did the idea of Professional Stage Performing pop into your brain?
Phoenix Phires: I started as a Belly Dancer with a local troupe in the Lafayette area. I LOVED performing, dancing, just being on the stage. I was also a waitress and going to school at the time. I’d had enough of the restaurant I was in and moved on to cocktail waitressing at Michaels Mens Club. A manager at that club figured that if I could belly dance I should try being a dancer. My first night was pretty rough. Dancing in those 8 inch heels we were talking about, trying out the pole, lots of new things. After a couple of weeks I got pretty good at what I was doing and turned in my waitressing tray for some stilettos. 6 months into dancing, Christina Aguchi walked through our doors at Michaels and blew the roof off the place with her Ninja show. I had never seen anything like it but with as much energy as I put into being on stage when I was at work, I knew that THIS was what I wanted to do. Over the next several months I started asking her for advice and help. I also took classes and did everything I could to constantly improve. Finally, with Christina’s guidance, I entered my first competition in the Industry (Miss Nude Wisconsin) in which I placed second. And well, you know where it goes from there.
Travis: Had you done any sort of dancing as a child?
Phoenix Phires: Not at all. I had never dreamed I would be a dancer but I was always a crafty child. I have had a paintbrush in my hand since before I could walk. I was always making things. Clothes for dolls, props, toys, anything and everything. I studied art through school and thats where my first draw into Belly dance got started. I had a friend who was interested in learning to sew. I exchanged sewing lessons for dance lessons with her and started making my own costumes as well on the side. I love the production elements of a show just as much as I love actually dancing and putting on the show.
Travis: At Stripperfest, you competed in (and won) the category Princess of the Stage. Was this your first time in full blown competitive stage performing?
Phoenix Phires: I’ve participated in a few competitions since April. Could you be a bit more specific on what you mean by full blown?
Travis: Stage is more theatrical. Pole is more about just the music and dance moves. So I was asking if this was your first “Stage” competition.
Phoenix Phires: Oh no. I’ve competed in Miss Nude Wisconsin and I competed in Miss Nude Rising Star at Nudes a Popping. I placed second in both. I also competed in my first Skindustry competition months ago -The Grand Prix of Exotic Dance at On The Border. Finally building up to Stripperfest at On The Border.
Travis: In your opinion … How are the demands of Stage performing different from those of Pole Dancing?
Phoenix Phires: I find pole is a very athletic competition whereas stage is more a mixture of different attributes including dance ability, props, and costumes, but overall its a matter of how well you can entertain. Depending on what competition you enter, most Clubs or Agencies are more than happy to give you all of their judging criteria upfront for anyone with questions. That takes a lot of the guess work out of it.
Travis: A lot of people who act or dance or sing, actually have an introverted side. That need to leave the job and get away from people for a few hours here and there. Are you someone who needs your alone time?
Phoenix Phires: I think everyone needs to have their own sort of get away. If not you will go crazy. You cant let yourself be sucked into your work 24/7. Its not healthy. For me, its the 3 days I get off Sun – Tues to spend with my family at home.
Travis: Some of the Dancers will say that they enjoy showing as much skin as possible on a regular basis. Others seem to enjoy the bathing suit look (or partial nudity) while in the club or on stage … But then they have this need to be fairly modest during the rest of their time. Where do you fit in?
Phoenix Phires: To each their own But I would like to think my style is more in a burlesque fashion. The tease of nudity is there without giving it all away. Leaving them with wanting more.
Travis: I love that attitude. The “Friendly Flirting” that takes place at Performance Clubs … Some Women say it is very easy for them. Others have said that getting used to doing it is almost like having to learn a second language. What has been your experience on the teasing and flirting that is expected to go on between the Dancers and the Patrons?
Phoenix Phires: I’d say it came pretty naturally for me. Apparently, I flirt with everyone and didn’t realize it for a long time. Or maybe my friendly attitude is mistaken for flirting. Either way I just act as myself when I’m at work and things seem to be going well. I am a people person. Meeting new people all the time, socializing and networking is my thing.
Travis: My lovely wife says that if I didn’t flirt … She’d call the Pentagon and tell them I’d been replaced by a Space Alien.
Phoenix Phires: (giggle)
Travis: A significant percentage of Dancers / Actors / Singers are very into cosmetic surgery. Others want to play by the rule of K.I.N.D. (Keep It Natural Dammit). Do you have a particular opinion on this?
Phoenix Phires: Once again, to each their own. I don’t plan on having any type of surgeries, I am very content with my body just the way it is. But I have nothing against anyone who wants to alter their own body. If a dancer wants breast implants, who am I to knock her for changing her body when I change my hair color on a regular basis.
Travis: When I was younger, my parents were split on me wanting to write, act and model. Mom was all for it. Dad (being old school conservative religious) kept accusing me of wanting to hang around with a bunch of “High Class Whores”. How did things go between you and your family?
Phoenix Phires: Well, mom was 100 percent okay with it. Especially after she saw my bank account. Even her parents were okay with it! (Grandmother: “I want to come dance with you! I can shake my butt too!!”)
Phoenix Phires: My dad, on the other hand, we tiptoed around. He was very against Belly Dance in the first place so we were worried about how he would react. It wasn’t until later when he found some pictures of me that the truth came out. He was pretty calm about it. I think he disapproves but he respects me enough not to say anything about it. He knows I’m an adult and he can’t tell me what to do with my life.
Travis: What advice would you give to a young woman who was asking about trying something like Pole Dancing or Stripping as a profession?
Phoenix Phires: It would depend on what she was looking to do. Pole Dancing as a profession is very different from stripping, just as Stripping as a profession is very different from Featuring. You can be a stripper without having to know pole tricks and visa versa.
Travis: Could you give us a brief run down on each?
Phoenix Phires: Sure. I’m not much of a Pole Girl but I will start there. Most I can tell you for pole is that it takes a lot of practice and patience. I’m still learning myself and slowly getting better. Some days I’ll work on a new trick for hours and never get it right. Sometimes I’ll wake up the next day, jump on the pole and get it in the first try. Sometimes not so much. It’s a constant struggle. Some days your body just isn’t up for what you are trying to put it through. But I definitely believe that the pole is a sport on its own. It is a lot of work and it a does great deal to keep you in shape. In my opinion, stripping is all about how you carry yourself. As a house dancer or stripper, you don’t have to be the best on the pole, you don’t even have to be the best dancer. If you walk into the club or onto the stage with your head up and you act like you know what you’re doing, act confident, and most importantly SMILE, your job is pretty much done. Be confident but don’t be cocky. If you truly love being on stage, putting together shows, and dancing and you are interested in being a Feature Performer — Prepare for a lot of hard work. A lot of investment (time and money… blood, sweat, and tears), and a lot of time away from home. I LOVE my job. I love performing, traveling, everything. But it did not come easy. And I’m not even all the way there yet. I have put a lot of work into what I do, and I have mastered the Princess of the Stage at Stripperfest 12. But I know a lot more work will have to be put forth if I’m going to master the Queen of the Stage competition next year. And there’s even more work involved to make it higher than that. It’s a matter of constantly training, constantly working. The A TEAM does not rest. And if you want to be in their league, neither should you.
Travis: Anything else you’d like to tell the readers? Any points I might have missed that you’d like to touch on?
Phoenix Phires: You can follow me on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram. Always search for Phoenix Phires. And I also have a brand new website at the strip mall. (PhoenixPhires.com) You can book me through Frank or Dave with A-List or Continental Agency.
Travis: Thank you very much for your time.
Phoenix Phires: You’re very welcome. And thank you for helping me promote myself.
Travis: It has been a pleasure. But now it is time to hug you goodbye.
All Pole Dance Pictures were taken by Tamie Yost with a Nikon D3200. All other pictures were supplied by Phoenix Phires (as photographed by Mark Delaney and Josh Stringer).