This piece is part of a larger series involving the many sides and perspectives of strippers from the voices of the dancers themselves.
Jamie Saint is one of several “Strippreneurs” that have made a business out of their hustle. From her start stripping in Queens to making it rain on the regular in NYC, the self-proclaimed Financially Literate Stripper Hoe™ is showing the incredibly diverse and creative side of sex work.
Her successful stripper clothing line JUICE (IG: @wegotjthatuice) provides high quality stripper wear at an affordable price. She has also made a career as an artist, articulating animal skeletons into fine art – which you can find here.
I got the chance to correspond with Jamie to discuss her journey of stripping and the very important role that sex work has played in her life.
What prompted you to get into sex work? What do you enjoy most about it?
Money, and money. I have actually never met another sex worker whose main motivation for entering the industry wasn’t money. We may say it all different ways, like “Oh I had to take care of my kid,” which means money. “I had to put myself through school,” which means money. Or, as the only girl born into the 1% I ever met in the sex industry told me, “I have to make back the $30k I spent in Prague before my dad finds out.” So, yeah, money.
That is what I like best. The money. Not because I like to have a bunch of it and throw it in the air (that is fun though) but because it has given me a freedom and peace of mind I once never knew existed. My son does not know what that lack, that harrowing feeling, the pit in your stomach, feels like. Money did that for me.
I also enjoy the confidence I’ve gained from it. Stripping means that there are tons of men who adore me so much that they’re willing to pay me a lot of money to prove it – this has made it easy for me to hold high standards for the men in my life.
What has been your biggest takeaway/lesson from working in the adult entertainment industry?
It is difficult to choose one… sex work has been a huge part of my life.
The most inspirational lesson has been that I have complete power of myself and my life. I’ve seen myself, in this industry, destroy and rebuild my entire life up over and over again. Over time, I’ve worked on healing and learned to do less destroying and more building. Stripping has been the foundation I built a beautiful life on. Seeing myself make something out of nothing has made me feel very powerful, and know that there is nothing I cannot overcome or do.
Another one that is a little tougher to swallow is that all you really have, at the end of the day, is yourself. Yes you may have friends, family, community, and that is wonderful and we all deserve those. But you go to sleep and wake up with yourself. The most important things you’ll ever do occur within your own self. As an adult, you are the only one who will always have your own back, be willing to carry your own load. I’ve felt this way since I was a child, but being a sex worker made it abundantly clear.
How do you think sex work contributes to the reclamation of female sexuality in public spaces?
I don’t think sex work itself does this, but sex workers being public and forming communities among ourselves does. Most sex work is women sex workers performing for and profiting off of the male gaze. Because of how stigmatized sex and particularly sex WORK are in America, this creates a really weird space for us – on one hand, in private, men pine for us, pay us, compliment us, do so much for us, beg us for more. But most of those same men would never publicly date a sex worker, or if they did, want us to quit or pretend to be… anything but a whore.
So the adoration happens mostly in secret, in VIP rooms and fancy restaurants in a town they’re on business on but do not live in. That shame, that knowledge that you’re a secret, can be very draining.
But now! We hoe bitches have the internet, and are finding one another. This is really so comforting, so important. So many of us don’t have friends in real life who can relate to our experiences and the support from an online community can mean the world.
But anyway – the formation of these communities is a reclamation of female sexuality in public because this is us banded together and being like, lol! We are hoes and we are fantastic and we do not care if you love us, because we love each other.
So to get to play out that part of yourself – the sex worker – with your sisters, for ONCE not for the male gaze – is a huge act of rebellion. Now, instead of always having to be this smoldering hot, always horny, siren seductress – we can admit that yes we are sex workers and we are also people. We feel tired and annoyed and anxious. We feel bloated and have insecurities. We are artists, mothers, daughters, investors, healers. We are healing. It is very nice.
What motivated you to begin JUICE?
I found that I was always having a hard time finding simple outfits that weren’t $50. I feel like particularly with strippers, there’s this idea that we are swimming in cash, so people charge us more for shit just because they know we are strippers. I’d go to the exotic boutiques near me and end up paying $70-100 for one full outfit and like, a “fancy” three strapped bottom.
Also, I noticed that there is no real centralized place where you can go, as a stripper, and buy everything you need – at prices that don’t include the stripper gouge. So, my best friend and I (we started JUICE together in 2019, she is currently focusing on her professional career so I am running it at this time) started looking into suppliers and decided to create the company we saw a need for.
I am super excited to expand our inventory in 2020 to include way more styles, seamstresses, and accessories.
How can someone be a good ally to sex workers?
Pay us if asking for our advice or services, recognize that our work is just that – work, don’t ask us to pretend to not be a sex worker when meeting people (unless of course we ourselves choose to keep this private which should totally be respected), normalize dating us, and realize that being a sex worker is our job, and for many of us a large part of our identity – but it’s not ALL that we are.
If you have a friend who is an accountant, you respect all the other parts of their lives as well. Their hobbies, their goals, their relationships. You don’t allow the fact that they’re an accountant to trap them in a box they can’t escape from. Do the same for us. 🙂
Anything else you’d like to share?
Everyday, try to do one thing that the person you dream of becoming would do. Anything, it can be so small – putting your dishes away, brushing your teeth before bed. It can also be big! One thing at a time. One day you will look up and realize you are the person you dreamed of. Congratulations, you did it. 🙂
You can find Jamie on IG: @strippervenom.