Courtesy of Jenna Furio
- Jenna Furio is a 36-year-old showgirl in Las Vegas who got started when the pandemic hit.
- Her agency doesn’t pay an hourly wage, so her income comes from tips she makes on the Strip.
- Here’s what her job is like, as told to writer Costa B. Pappas.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jenna Furio, a 36-year-old showgirl in Las Vegas, about her job. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Everybody thinks it only takes a beautiful face and body to be a Las Vegas showgirl. That’s absolutely false — you also need to be outgoing. You’re putting on a show, in a way almost like an actress, but with extreme patience for people who may be drunk.
A showgirl is basically an icon for Las Vegas. It’s a representation of the lifestyle of gambling and glitz and glamour of it all.
I got started showgirling because of the pandemic
When COVID-19 struck, I was out of work and on unemployment. A friend reached out to me and asked if I would like to become a showgirl. They said that I had the personality, and I gave it a shot.
It typically takes at least an hour to get ready for our shift, and it’s mandatory to show up early so we can help each other get ready and leave at the same time. We usually go in pairs for safety reasons.
Our shifts are three hours long because we pay for the costumes in three-hour intervals, but if we’re feeling really good that day we’ll do a double, provided the boots don’t kill our feet. The agency that supplies our showgirl costumes, Very Vegas Productions, takes $35 for every three hours that we have costumes.
Vegas showgirls who work with Furio holding up their tips.
Courtesy of Very Vegas LLC
If you hustle hard enough and have a good quality customer, like the ones who come to Vegas for conventions, you can make a lot in tips. The money you make comes in tips, not an hourly wage, so you really have to put the work in.
As soon as I became a showgirl, I asked some of the other showgirls if COVID-19 had affected their money. They said absolutely because there weren’t as many tourists to approach, and that hit their pockets hard.
We always worry about our safety
We carry mace and stay in areas where there are cameras or security. Being a girl in the outfits that we wear, you can never be too careful.
I’ve definitely seen a lot of crazy stuff. People run out in the streets, throw up in front of you, or pass out on the sidewalk. Then there are the ones jumping in the fountains or climbing the statues around the hotels and casinos. And then there are those that just don’t care what anybody thinks and will run their mouths and yell and do vulgar things. Some people really just can’t handle Vegas.
The pros are the amazing outfits and headdresses, along with the awesome photos and videos you get on the job
I get cute stuff for my social media, and tourists get great footage and photos for memories to take home. You also get to schedule your own hours and you’re your own boss.
Vegas showgirls holding up their tips from the day.
Courtesy of Very Vegas LLC
With the transportation and getting ready with the girls, I work four hours per week, but it can vary. You can work as little or as much as you want, and the money can be absolutely amazing when you work hard enough.
The cons of being a showgirl include the boots, which can be hard on your feet and legs. Sometimes wearing a headdress can affect your back.
Another thing is the rude customers and dealing with harassment. Also, the weather is harsh in Vegas — the extreme heat or the blistering windy cold can really get to you and make it hard for you to stay in your headspace to hustle harder. We work outdoors mainly since we can’t work indoors unless we’re hired by a residence.
Outside of the mainstream casinos, it’s ideal to work at places like Caesar’s Palace, The Linq, Bellagio, The Mirage, and Planet Hollywood. There’s also the fact that there are many other showgirls on the Strip trying to do what you’re doing, and some people have a bad taste in their mouth from previous showgirls because of how rude they were to them. It’s hard to become very close to your colleagues because you’re constantly working with new girls all the time, and there’s a huge turnover rate of girls in this industry.
Being a showgirl definitely changed my perspective on how hardworking and amazing Vegas is
We work to keep tourists’ novelty ideas and expectations of the city alive.
Now that things have opened back up, bartending is definitely more my style. It’s indoors where I can stay cool, and it’s more consistent since I get an hourly wage and have health benefits. I’ve always had a love for making drinks, but when I have extra time to make extra income, showgirling is definitely the way to go.
Read the original article on Business Insider