It’s almost here ladies, that day we’ve all been waiting with bated breath for—the release of Magic Mike. Since word of its ab-tastic cast hit the blogosphere, everyone with a pulse has been going gaga over the flick, centered on a ragtag group of guys who just-so-happen to drop trou for a living, partially inspired by star Channing Tatum‘s real-life background in erotic dancing. And yes, while the well-muscled trailer definitely peaked our interest, it also made us wonder just how accurately art imitates life in Magic Mike. So what did we do? We asked the experts! Check out our Q&A with stripping sirs Taylor Cole and Justin Whitfield of Houston’s La Bare club, and producer/writer/actor and former male dancer Steve Stanulis of NYC’s hottest new show “Stripped: The Play” on what it’s really like to be a male stripper, what Magic Mike gets right, and what’s the craziest thing they’ve run into during their stripping years!
Taylor Cole & Justin Whitfield of La Bare
Male stripping is having quite the moment. Why do you think the male stripping trend is catching on so much?
Taylor Cole: It’s definitely growing because of the movie, but also as times change, women are more empowered now. Instead of just sitting at home, they’re going out too, just like guys go out to the strip club.
What’s the difference between a male and female strip club audience?
Taylor Cole: Women are way crazier. Guys usually just sit there and watch the girls, but with an audience of mostly women, you’ve got hundreds of girls screaming, throwing money at you, trying to run up onstage.
Justin Whitfield: Women, because they’re so used to acting a certain way in society, when they’re in the club, they let everything out. Unless you’ve seen 100 bachelorette parties, you won’t believe it until you see it.
What’s the craziest thing an audience member has done during a show?
T.C.: One of my craziest experiences was when I was actually working a private party at a house with another dancer dressed in a cop uniform. I’m about to ring the doorbell and go inside when the real cops drive by. It’s illegal to impersonate a police officer so they come over and start asking us a bunch of questions. Before we know it, we’re on our knees, getting frisked, they’ve called backup and more cop cars are showing up—all the while, we’re like “we’re strippers!”
J.W.: On numerous occasions, women have pulled down the front of my G-string. That’s a no-no; that’s illegal! No guy wants to show his junk to a bunch of strange women.
T.C.: I might! (laughs).
How did you get into stripping in the first place?
J.W.: I fell into it. I wanted to since I was in middle school and after college, I couldn’t find a job so I got into body-building. One night when I was 19 years old, I decided to enter an amateur night that they have at the (strip) club every Wednesday. The winner of the amateur night could get hired—that night I didn’t win, but I did get hired.
T.C.: When I was really young, I saw an advertisement for Chippendales and thought it was such a cool lifestyle—girls screaming at you and throwing money at you. At 16, I won amateur night at the club, which isn’t saying much since I competed against all homeless people (laughs). They all saw the cash prize sign and joined just to get the money, so I won the whole way. The manager saw I was too young to work there so a couple of years later, when I was 18, I ran into Justin at the gym and he helped set me up at the club.
Has stripping ever affected any of your personal or romantic relationships?
J.W.: I met my wife on the main stage! I jokingly call it “love at first tip.” Because we met at the club, she was totally cool with it. I’m definitely the relationship type. In fifteen years of dancing, I’ve probably spent two years of that single. Taylor’s the total opposite.
T.C.: I love women. I love them all!
What do you want the world to know about male strippers?
T.C.: People tend to judge us for what we do. We’re just average, everyday people.
J.W.: We’re not all sluts, we’re not all gay. We’re normal guys with abnormal jobs. One of the great things about the movie Magic Mike is that it views us in a positive light. I’m retired now and I own my own business, a sports bar and grill in Houston. It used to be hard to explain to people what I used to do but now with the movie coming out, it’s gotten easier. It shows the stereotypes aren’t always true.
Joey Lawrence just joined Chippendales. What other male celeb do you think would make a good male stripper?
T.C.: Other than the guys in Magic Mike? Mark Wahlberg.
J.W.: Taylor Lautner—he’s 18, right?
Image credit: popstar.com