When it comes to careers that you may not exactly go home and brag about at Christmas, performing on a pole at a gentlemen’s club may be pretty high on your list. That definitely isn’t the case for these 17 actresses who turned their role on a pole into some of the most iconic moments in cinematic history.
Not all of these actresses used their movie that was centered in a gentlemen’s club to take it all off, but you better believe we’ve covered it below if they did. Along with that, we’ve also got facts about the movies, quotes from the actresses themselves and even some updates on their lives, like which actress on our list had a very private tape get leaked in November. We’ve done our best to include photos from the movies, but many of the scenes in question proved too hot to handle!
While some of these movies went on to be some of the biggest of all time, Olivia Wilde is just one more big name whose seductive role barely got noticed by the general public, even if we didn’t forget about them!
17. Olivia Wilde – Butter
If you think Olivia Wilde is looking wild in the above photo, just wait until you learn that her character also locks lips with co-star Ashley Greene! This all goes down in Butter which also stars Ty Burrell (who you may know from Modern Family) and was released in 2011.
Sadly, not many people came out to see Wilde strip down, as the movie only earned $105,018 at the box office. When talking about her sexually charged role, Wilde advised other actresses to do the same, saying “Take risks, and take your clothes off — even if they don’t ask. Leave your comfort zone.”
Ashley Greene went on to add, “You should always have this adrenaline rush and always be moving, always be ‘on,’ and always be doing something different.”
16. Lindsay Lohan – I Know Who Killed Me
To say that I Know Who Killed Me was poorly received would be an understatement. The movie was nominated for 9 Golden Raspberry Awards (given out to the worst movies of the year) and it took home 8 of them. Lohan does take to the pole, but that is probably going to be the only thing you enjoy in the movie. Filming of the movie itself was constantly being interrupted by Lohan’s off-screen issues including attending rehab at night and filming the movie during the day.
Then when it came time to promote the film, Lohan decided instead to get drunk and go driving which caused her to miss an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Needless to say, the movie is considered to be one of the worst of all time and earned under $10 million at the box office. You can imagine they would have loved to have cast her after Mean Girls, and not after she decided life was all about partying!
15. Demi Moore – Striptease
One of the first movies that Demi Moore did after Striptease was G.I. Jane, so you better not have talked too much smack about her if you had an issue with her character in the former!
Moore shows more of her skin in Striptease than in any other one of her movies as she takes it off in the club, as well as at home. When talking about the role Moore said, “Striptease was a huge risk for me. It was difficult for me to do the dancing and the stripping. And the gain from it was different to what I would have imagined. While the public perception was hyper-focused on what I was being paid for taking my clothes off, for me it was the intense focus of connecting with my body and myself in a sensual, sexual way, in a way that I’ve never felt before. I was always very uncomfortable with my body. And it was to do with being female and seductive.”
14. Mena Suvari – Sex and Lies in Sin City
Mena Suvari is no stranger to being sexualized, after all, she did spend half a movie getting stared at by Kevin Spacey in arguably her biggest role, American Beauty. But there was no way she’d be able to avoid the pole when she took on the real-life role of Sandra Murphy, who was a former exotic dancer. Murphy came to public attention in 2000 after she was convicted of murdering her partner, Las Vegas casino owner Ted Binion.
Murphy ended up spending 4 years in jail but was later acquitted. The movie itself ended up being made for television and one reviewer noted that it definitely seems like they cut out some of the most explicit scenes for cable viewing. Sadly, because it was only ever aired on cable, no longer version of the movie is available to check out.
13. Heather Graham – The Hangover
There is no shortage of movies in which Heather Graham plays a character that gets down and dirty with another one on screen. Heck, she ever portrayed an adult film actress in Boogie Nights! But the role that may have gotten her the most acclaim was when she took to the pole to play an exotic dancer in The Hangover. She may not be shown on the pole, but it’s her character’s career nevertheless and the movie is also not shy to show some skin.
When talking about her experience with the movie, Graham admitted “I’ll miss playing a sexy stripper because my real life is pretty boring. I don’t really drink, I’m not that wild, so it’s fun to play these wild characters on screen.”
Graham has also gone on to say in past interviews about the impact of her sexually charged roles, saying, “I like the fact that some of my roles maybe help people to open up their minds in the way they think about sex.”
12. Jennifer Beals – Flashdance
Jennifer Beals may be able to take her bra off without taking off her shirt, as evidenced by Flashdance, but that doesn’t mean you got to see her without the bra on! Beals plays the role of Alex Owens, an exotic dancer who always aspired to be a professional dancer. There is no way the creators were expecting such a hit, but the budget of $7 million led to a cult classic and a box office smash earning $201.5 million!
Beals was also the lead of the fairly sexual series The L Word, but also did not bare it all. When talking about her decision, Beals said “You can intimate nudity without actually being nude. That’s what I’ve done, anyway.”
11. Morena Baccarin – Deadpool
The scene in a strip club from Deadpool would have been memorable even without Morena Baccarin‘s character appearing on the pole because it was the moment where Stan Lee made his cameo appearance (though thankfully, not on the pole!). In addition to playing an exotic dancer, Baccarin’s character also worked as an escort at the beginning of the film. You can imagine she’d be pretty happy if she got to just settle down with Deadpool for some R&R!
One of the more raunchy moments of the movie came not in the club, but during a montage between Ryan Reynolds and Baccarin. When talking about filming that particular section, Baccarin said “It was one of my favorite, believe it or not, things to shoot, even though it sucks being naked all the time,” and that while it can be awkward “By the end of the day you’re like ‘okay, where do you want me, how do you-?’ you’re like spreading your legs and you’re like whatever, it’s just, you get so used to each other.”
10. Elizabeth Berkley – Showgirls
Many people may have fallen in love with Elizabeth Berkley on Saved by the Bell, but you better believe you didn’t realize all that time in high school would lead to her being so raunchy upon graduation! Showgirls marked one of Berkley’s biggest breaks from television in which she plays dancer Nomi Malone as she tries to make a name for herself as a showgirl.
Her performance is definitely steamy, but when asked about it, Berkley said she has only herself to blame for that reason, saying “People have, of course, criticized [me] for being over-the-top in her performance. Most of that comes from me. I pushed it in that direction. Good or not good, I was the one who asked her to exaggerate everything — every move — because that was the element of style that I thought would work for the movie.”
Countless scenes in the club that are more ‘hands on’ than most movies on this list, as well as an intense love making scene in the pool, and a girl-on-girl pole dance routine with Rena Riffel help explain its higher spot on our list, despite the movie coming out in 1995.
9. Jessica Alba – Sin City
The movie may have been stylistically shot in black and white, but Jessica Alba still managed to look absolutely stunning up on the pole for her role as Nancy Callahan. Alba returned to the role (and the stage) for the sequel Sin City: A Dame To Kill For which came out in 2014. Despite the career as an exotic dancer, Alba does not display full-on nudity in either of the films.
When talking about her refusal to bear it all, Alba said “I don’t do nudity. I just don’t. Maybe that makes me a bad actress. Maybe I won’t get hired in some things. But I have too much anxiety.”
8. Natalie Portman – Closer
Natalie Portman may be wearing a pink wig on the stage, but honestly that probably just draws your attention to her all the quicker! While there is no full exposure in the movie from Portman’s end, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some filmed! Portman talked about the filming experience with Mike Nichol’s, saying “When you trust someone, you’re willing to do everything and make mistakes and really expose yourself inside out. So we made sort of a pact that while we would shoot, we would just do everything and then he cut it the way he cut, showed it to me, see if I agreed.”
Evidently, Portman elected to cut out the parts with more skin because she felt it was distracting to the scene.
The movie came out in 2004 and also starred Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, and Jude Law. In an interview Portman admitted that she learned how to do pole dancing in order to make her appearance look authentic, she also admitted that doing the splits (which she does seductively) was no problem for her because she’s plenty flexible!
7. Halle Berry – Frankie and Alice
While there are plenty of roles on here that are overtly sexual, for Frankie & Alice, Berry took on the role of a real-life stripper/go-go dancer who suffered from dissociative identity disorder. While there is some nudity from Berry, it comes when her character is running on the streets and not on the stage.
The movie takes you on some emotional rollercoasters as Berry tries to battle several identities and figure out herself but sadly was not well-received by critics scoring only 21% on Rotten Tomatoes.
When talking about the role, Berry said she was drawn to the fact that she was such a strong character and especially a strong character of color. Berry was also showing a lot of skin in arguably her most successful role, Monster’s Ball, in which she won Best Actress.
6. Jennifer Aniston – We’re The Millers
You may always see Jennifer Aniston and think of Central Perk, but she has definitely done plenty of roles since leaving Friends that would make Rachel Green blush. One of her raunchiest may have come in the comedy We’re The Millers in which Aniston is featured in several scenes doing stripteases at the club, giving some lap dances and some of it is even filmed in slow motion.
One of the more seductive moments of the movie literally ranks as Aniston’s scariest acting moment, as she revealed in a past interview, saying “I think it’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life. People actually said, ‘What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?’ And I can say, honestly, it’s the striptease. It was really frightening.”
The underwear still remained on, but there may have been more there than you thought! In another interview, Aniston said “I had no taping. I really just doubled my bras. I had a thong and then two pairs of underwear. Why I thought that was going to help protect anything is beyond me. Because, that’s just like ridiculous. … I was like, ‘No, I need three bras! I need three bras because God forbid that one, if it’s gonna escape!’”
5. Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler
Marisa Tomei definitely knew she was going to have her work cut out for her when she agreed to work with Darren Aronofsky. That’s not to say he isn’t talented, the man is just known for his attention to detail and his desire to shoot scenes again and again. A lesson that Tomei learned the hard way when she played an exotic dancer in the critically acclaimed movie The Wrestler.
Tomei rocks out on the pole, as well as on a gentleman’s body as she gives audiences a full look at her birthday suit on multiple occasions.
When talking about the experience of filming strip club scenes, Tomei said “Even just the dance alone was 26 takes and that’s like two minutes of dancing on a pole. That’s really a lot. And that was not one day, that was part of a day. It was a very, very physically challenging shoot.”
Though the worst thing about constantly being naked was apparently how cold she was.
“The worst thing was not the hours or the nudity or anything like that. It’s that it’s going to be freezing. And I try to avoid that at all costs. [Aronofsky] said upfront that this is going to be really, really hard….It was rough. Just because, you know, I was naked, it was cold, and everyone else had coats on. And it was mostly because it was very long hours,” she said in a past interview.
4. Jessica Biel – Powder Blue
Some of these movies on this list also ended up being huge hits at the box office. That was not the case for Powder Blue which saw a limited release. Perhaps enough people didn’t realize that Jessica Biel‘s character performed at a strip club. The movie also marks the last appearance of Patrick Swayze before his death. Sadly he plays the sleazy club owner.
Biel lets it all hang out in the movie on the stage, including a moment in which she pours hot red wax all over her chest…you know in case that’s your thing… On top of being completely bare on stage, Biel is seen in her birthday suit off the stage as well as in an assortment of lingerie or bustiers throughout the movie.
3. Rose McGowan – Planet Terror
If you think Rose McGowan‘s leg looks killer there, just wait until it turns into a machine gun! McGowan’s character starts on the pole but ends up needing to kick plenty of ass in Planet Terror which came out in 2007. McGowan also has the distinction of being the only person on here who plays a stripper in what ends up being a zombie movie!
The movie ended up also starring Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis, and Freddy Rodriguez but when director (and producer/writer) Robert Rodriguez was first coming up with the idea, he had Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett in mind to play one of the primary roles.
2. Gillian Jacobs – Choke and Blackbird
Gillian Jacobs may have made her name for herself in the television show Community. But she has definitely graduated school (or at least finding an interesting way to pay for education) with her two movies: Choke and Blackbird, both of which she shows that she went to Pole Dancing 101. Both movies feature explicit nudity for Jacobs, including rocking out in a purple wig in the latter.
Jacobs is one of the many stars that is having her career get helped along by Netflix original series. The first season of her show Love premiered in 2016 to solid reviews and the 2nd season will be airing in 2017 and while she is nowhere near the pole or bares it all in the show, there are still plenty of steamy scenes to leave you rushing to check out the above two movies.
1. Salma Hayek – Dusk Till Dawn, Dogma, Americano
Salma Hayek is no stranger to taking on seductive roles, which just so happens to come when you get cast as an exotic dancer in multiple movies. Hayek has taken on the role in Dusk Till Dawn which came out in 1996 and lacks a pole but includes some sexy stage dancing. She keeps the underwear on but matches her bra and panties with the same shade of pink for the comedy Dogma. Her most seductive role may have come at the age of 45 when she played a stripper in Americano, a role that included her rocking out in an all mesh body suit.
One thing is for sure, if Hayek just ends up always getting ‘typecast’ as the stripper in Hollywood, there probably wouldn’t be too many people complaining about it!