Heather Heaven interviews Nicky NineDoors in an all new Planet Platypus segment called the Beaver Report.
HH: How long have you been performing for? What made you pursue featuring?
NN: I first started performing on stage at age four, and after I bowed I decided I hadn’t done enough and showed everyone that my knickers matched my dress and hair band. For reference, this was at a formal piano recital hosted by my teacher, who was also my dad.
HH: What do you think makes a great entertainer?
NN: I think the ability to transform the energy in the room and draw the audience away from their thoughts and worries and into your world is where the magic of great entertainment lies. Some performers do this with beautiful dancing, some with dynamic pole tricks, some with sensual floor work and eye contact, some with big sparkly costumes and all the bells and whistles. What I love about stripping is you can connect with your audience in so many ways that it’s impossible to ever get bored, and there’s always new ways to challenge yourself as an entertainer.
HH: Along with your solo endeavours, you created, produce & perform in the “Retro Strip Show”. Tell us about that.
NN: Retro Strip Show is basically vow of adoration and respect of my fellow strippers, signed with my love of music. I had produced live music burlesque shows for six years before I decided to create RSS, and I just knew based on what I was seeing in the power and magic around me that I needed to make another platform to show more people what it is we do on stage. Up until 1978, showgirls used to perform to live bands in Vancouver, and as a musician myself I just think that’s the dopest thing. When liquor licensing changed in 1978, all the musicians were fired, and along with other changes in the industry, it just never really came back. Obviously that seemed stupid to me, because I know how incredible it feels to be backed by a live band! Our form of art already feels amazing to have such an energy exchange between performer and audience, adding eight musicians and four vocalists to that mix just completely amplifies the power of that energy and takes it off the charts.
I also wanted to do my best to create a show conscious of diversity and representation in the lineup. Before producing the first Retro Strip Show, I met Legendary local stripper Jackie Brown, and she told me some of her experiences dealing with racism in the industry. And a lot of stuff was coming to light in the burlesque world I’m a part of, too. I’m not good at ignoring things in society that need fixing. So, I decided that diversity and representation was definitely going to be a huge goal when producing the show. It’s not perfect, but I’m always trying to make sure it’s better each time, that we have multiple cultural backgrounds in feature roles, that those I hire in supporting roles aren’t just cis white women, and that everyone feels both comfortable and celebrated in the show. It can be a fine line between diversity and tokenism and I’m constantly thinking about that line and how to make sure I don’t stray in that direction. In addition to lineup considerations, we also fundraise for Sex Workers United Against Violence during the show, which is a small, local not for profit organization.
This show is the thing I am most proud of creating in my life, and the response to it gives me so much hope for possibilities in this industry’s future.
HH: What advice would you have for ladies wanting to get into dancing?
NN: Don’t. JK!
Research. Go to your local clubs (bring money to tip!) and get a feel for the vibe. Study the dancers who are commanding the audience and have the power that draws you to them. Listen to how the DJ speaks about them. Notice the vibe of the staff. Imagine doing that four, five, six nights a week. Imagine putting aside your troubles and worries and taking people on a journey with your body and soul multiple times a night. Pole lessons will not make you a good stripper. Being grounded and self aware can, though. The job is heavier than you’ll understand until you’re doing it. It’s also full of moments of incredible beauty and solidarity that will breathe a life into you that you didn’t know existed before.
HH: Is there any performers you dream to capture on stage for your photography page @stripperwithacamera?
NN: So so so many. I dream of capturing every dancer I work with, but that’s just not possible all the time! So, I’ll settle for as many as I can. My goal is to create a coffee table book to share the beauty I’ve witnessed with the world.
HH: Top 3 essentials for a travelling showgirl?
NN: I travel with a yoga block, a roller peanut ball, and resistance bands always. Can I have five? I also need my travel yoga mat and my essential oils!
HH: What’s next for Nicky? Big plans for 2020?
NN: Currently, I’m on a health journey. I worked my ass off after accidentally destroying my home (whoops) and wound up with some stress triggered ailments that I’m sorting out. I think I’m near the bottom of that nonsense, I hope! After that’s sorted out, I would love to get into some feature competitions. And of course, no matter what, I’ll be making music happen as much as I can, taking photos of kickass strippers, and producing a couple more Retro Strip Shows.