`Queen of the world when on the pole'

Launceston pole dancer "Miranda" says she loves her work. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

Launceston pole dancer "Miranda" says she loves her work. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

`PEOPLE seem to think I have daddy issues ... I don't," "Miranda" told me as we finished our interview.

She is one of eight pole dancers employed in Launceston.

And despite common misconception, she is not an alcoholic, or drug addict and she does not have a criminal record.

But Miranda is one of many young Australian women who have found empowerment and financial gain from showing off her body and lapping up the attention of the men and women who enter her workplace every weekend.

"I wake up every morning and eat breakfast - I do what everyone else does," she said.

"If I'm meeting friends, I'll meet them in town - I go on coffee dates with my friends pretty regularly. Just because I'm in this industry, doesn't mean I should lock myself up behind closed doors."

Miranda does not consider herself a feminist, however the former University of Tasmania nursing student admits she feels "in control" on stage and took the offer to pole dance because of the money and the unique lifestyle it brings.

Her ability to suppress the anger in young men and touch the wild side in middle-aged women is something she believes gives her profession significance within today's society.

"In some ways, it's a lot like the job of a counsellor. Some people do confide a lot (in me) - you can tell a lot about a person through body language.

"Men think they need to be big and tough and bigger than everyone else when they come in. But when we start to talk to them, they themselves become exposed.

"We have women who look down on us like we're nothing. But we also have women who hug us when we come off stage and say `oh my God, that was so amazing. I wish we had your confidence'."

Miranda does not shy away from the negativity surrounding her line of work.

Despite occasional verbal and physical abuse, the Launceston local is confident pole dancing will become an accepted profession in Australia in the near future.

"I've heard all the profanities under the sun.

"I've even had people tell me I was too fat to be on stage. In things like porn films, there are skinny women, because it's all perceived ... (Men) just think that we should be porn stars, or models in ZOO Magazine, FHM, or even Playboy. They put us to a stereotype and when they don't like it, they say `F--- you'.

"I was actually abused out the front of my work last week. People drove past yelling out my real name at the top of their lungs, people calling me a slut when they drive past.

"We've had guys throw eggs at our club when the girls are outside. There was even an incident where someone tried to throw a bag of flour all over me.

"I don't think people really have much respect for it. Some people do. Some people really appreciate it and respect it, but compared to the numbers who dislike the profession, it's very small.

"But I find it very empowering. I can turn men into putty and toss them aside. I find it very empowering in the fact that I have control of every situation and I never feel like I'm going to become a victim."

While she admits to self-loathing on occasion and struggling to combat her audience's lust for the perfect female figure, the self-professed night owl refuses to let stigma ruin her appreciation and outlook on life.

"In 10 years' time, I see myself going back to uni and having a degree," Miranda said.

"Everyone has something they like to do in life and I just happen to enjoy my profession.

"So I don't think (my future children) should have to feel insecure or let down just because someone thinks it's wrong.

"I've had those moments (of self- loathing) a few times, but then I also remember that my job makes me happy.

"When I'm on that pole, I feel like I am 10-foot tall. I feel like I am the queen of the world - it's the most awesome feeling ever.

"Even though guys will say I'm only a stripper, at the end of the night, they're still coming to the club to see us strip."

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