Carmen Electra, the 30-something glamour model and former Playboy playmate, is making money out of stripping. No, it’s not what you think. She has a workout video that uses a stripper’s pole for an imminently watchable bump n’ grind total body workout. It’s hard work.
Hollywood loves strippers and they like making movies about them too. In the 1960’s, Natalie Wood played the notorious in-your-face stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, in Gypsy. And in 1997, the British film, The Full Monte told the warm and funny story of out of work men who formed a strip act. They were hilariously bad at the business of taking their clothes off, but everyone laughed all the way to the bank.
Strippers strip for the money mostly. Some are exhibitionist, and some see it as a way of breaking into show business. But everyone, even the brightest stars in Hollywood, were young and hungry once. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of them, male and female, turned to stripping. Here are 15 celebrities you didn’t know were strippers.
15. Brad Pitt
When young Brad Pitt was in college in Missouri, he was part of a male amateur strip group called “The Dancing Bares” (get it?). They performed mostly for girls’ parties and the like (Could you imagine having Brad Pitt stripping at your party?). He also worked for a stripper service, driving girls to gigs and watching their clothes while they weren’t in them. One of the dancers was in an acting class. So, Brad went to check it out, and the rest, as we know it, is history. In other words, stripping led him to fame, fortune, Angelina Jolie and more kids than you can count.
14. Catherine Zeta-Jones
What do most people do when they are in need of fast money? They turn to a job that could give them a fast paycheck. But what if what you desperately need a nose job and can’t afford it? Well, you can turn to stripping, of course (if you have the talent for it, that is). That’s just what a young, up and coming Catherine Zeta-Jones did. Before embarking on an acting career, she worked as an exotic dancer. If you ever wondered how she mastered those dancing, strutting moves that she pulled off as a dancing con in the film version of Chicago, well it’s simply because they were the real deal.
13. Chris Pratt
When the Guardians of the Galaxy and Zero Dark Thirty star lost weight and posted a buff-selfie of his shirtless self on Instagram, the Internet was buzzing. But the now-successful star has admitted that he likes getting naked. So, before acting, Chris Pratt told Ellen that he was a stripper for a time. His reasoning went something like this: I like to get naked, so why not get paid for it? He worked bachelorette and birthday parties when he was all of 18. He even auditioned at a strip club. No call back, though. Well, the stripping world’s loss, is acting world’s gain.
12. NeNe Leakes
It may not come as a surprise to all of us but, before all the fame and fortune as the sassiest Real Housewife of Atlanta, NeNe Leakes worked a pole at a strip club. She reportedly did it to build her confidence, as well as to make some money, so she could provide for her son. She poled dance under the stage name, “Silk”. But don’t dare get in her face about it (as if anyone would really have the nerve to take her on). She’s not bragging about it, but she’s not ashamed either. Work it girl.
11. Lady Gaga
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, was working strip clubs when she was 18 years old. It won’t surprise anyone to hear that her act was pretty outrageous. Dressed from head to toe in black leather, she danced and gyrated to Black Sabbath and Guns N’ Roses music. She says that there were drugs, lots and lots of drugs. These days, in things like her G.U.Y. video, she is still baring just about everything, only to her very own successful music. Old strippers don’t die, they just sometimes become rich and famous.
10. Javier Bardem
The sexy Spaniard that Julia Roberts and women everywhere swooned over in Eat, Pray, Love was 20 years old and struggling when he was a stripper. He went to an amateur night at a club, thinking he might pick up a bit of cash. And like good boys everywhere, he took his mother with him. As he tells the story, the club asked for volunteers for a male strip. So, Javier Bardem just got up and did it. It lasted for all of 10 minutes, but he got the cash. And his mother? He reports that she was proud of her son. No word on what his equally sexy wife, Penelope Cruz thinks of his brief fling.
9. Kendra Wilkinson
Say you’re Hugh Hefner and you want to talent scout for Bunnies and Playmates and the like, where do you hang out? Forget the mall and go straight for the strip clubs. Hef is certainly no dummy. So, that’s just what he did. That’s where he found Girls Next Door diva, Kendra Wilkinson. She was stripping to keep body and soul together. Unlike NeNe, she’s a little embarrassed by the whole episode. No longer a stripper, she can be called a television personality and glamour model. Which is another way of saying you don’t have much on, but are standing still. Not much glamour in her current gig though, in the Australian jungle in I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here.
8. Renee Zellweger
There’s something comforting in her “old” face, as opposed to the brand “new” one. We all miss Renee Zellweger’s old face. Anyway, the now-successful Hollywood actress was a cocktail waitress at a strip club in the metropolis of Katy, Texas, before making it to the big screen. So, not a stripper per say. But if you happened to see her saucy bump and grind moves next to Zeta-Jones in Chicago, you might as well imagine she took some pointers in between drink orders.
In “Heaven Only Knows” Grammy Award winning rapper Eve sings, “went from dancing on tabletops to making labels pop . . .” and derides the love of money. The lyrics say it all because they are real. When she was 18 years old, and pretty messed up to boot, she turned to stripping for a brief time. What was Eve’s verdict on her one month stint as a stripper? Apparently it was very depressing, but on the bright side, it did help her through a very tough time. Strip therapy, or some such.
6. Mark Consuelos
When you’re sexy and buff, why not show it off, right? Well, that’s exactly what Kelly Ripa’s chunky, handsome hubby did. He was fresh out of college when he began stripping in Florida. The star of television’s All My Children and Alpha House started as the roadie for a male strip act, before taking the plunge and taking his clothes off for fun and profit. In 2012, Vanity Fair reported that Ripa still has a pin-up of the buff Mark Consuelos back in his stripping days. We wonder what their three kids think of the poster their mom kept.
5. Amber Rose
Long before she was a Ford model, designer, and Kanye West’s former girlfriend, Amber Rose was a stripper. She started early, at the very ripe age of 15, telling Fox that she was “a South Philly hood rat.” She got into stripping for the money it would bring in when her parents divorced. Amber reportedly performed under the stage name, “Paris”. Eventually, she made it into a music video that West got his eyes on, beginning their two year romantic relationship. Amber Rose then married rapper Wiz Khalifa, and they had a son together. Although, the couple filed for divorce in September 2014.
4. Courtney Love
90’s punk and grunge diva, Courteney Love is a singer and songwriter, noted for her uninhibited, in-your-face stage act, as well as for her angry lyrics. She was a force of nature and married to notorious Nirvana rocker, Kurt Cobain. Their sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle was the stuff of tabloid covers for a lengthy period. So, it is no surprise that for a time, she was a stripper. What was in it for her? In two words: money and drugs. Love, who recently appeared in the popular television show, The Sons of Anarchy is now sober.
3. Channing Tatum
Actor, dancer and model, Channing Tatum left a job as a roofer and went into stripping in Tampa, under the stage name, Chan Crawford when he was 18 years old. Oh, and you might not know this, but he also performed in the Ricky Martin video, “She Bangs” before going on to acting in Hollywood. The 21 Jump Street actor actually starred in a movie about his experiences as a stripper, called Magic Mike. His character works at a club called Xquisite, owned by a former male stripper, played by Matthew McConaughey.
2. Diablo Cody
The Academy Award winning screenwriter of the quirky 2007 film, Juno is a writer. So, what does a writer do when it comes to discussing her time as a stripper? She writes a memoir about it called Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper. Just in case anybody missed the point, she also had a blog called, The P***y Ranch. Certainly not with the same genre as Juno. At the age of 24, she left a boring job at an ad agency, went to a stripper’s amateur night, and apparently loved it. She called it a thrill.
1. Mike Sorrentino
MTV’s Jersey Shore star, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is a Jersey boy, so the fact that he appeared with an all-male strip act called, “All American Male” in 2004, should come as no surprise. A Google search should bring up some pretty grainy shots of “The Situation” in his stripping heyday. As they say, some people never change. In 2012, he stripped down to his boxers for a spray tan ad. Although, things haven’t gone so well for him since his 6 year stint on the show came to an end. In September of 2014, he was charged with tax fraud for allegedly failing to pay taxes of nearly $9 million.