Catholic girl goes stripping



Nothing in Diablo Cody’s background seems to explain why she decided to
take her clothes off in front of paying strangers.

She had never so much as entered a bikini or a wet T-shirt contest when she
saw a downtown topless bar advertising amateur night, as she trudged home
one evening from her copy typist job.

Cody soon returned and, ignoring the bouncer’s laughter, gave it a try.

“I just thought I have to do it. I really don’t know what got into me. I
just thought it sounded like fun. And I’d really hit the wall of boredom,”
she recalls.

She quickly found out she was the only amateur competing, but despite
losing — “I was definitely the worst stripper there” — Cody kept
stripping for the next year and turned her adventures into a sharp and
funny memoir, “Candy Girl,” subtitled “A Year in the Life of an Unlikely

After a rollicking appearance on “Late Show With David Letterman” — where
he named “Candy Girl” the first pick of “Dave’s Book Club” — Cody awaits
the start of production this fall on her movie script, “Juno.” Brad
Silberling (“Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Moonlight
Mile”) is slated to direct.

Cody, who just turned 28, also is planning another memoir — this time,
about everything that’s happened to her in the past year.

“It was like being shot out of a cannon,” she says, looking punk with her
tongue stud, black fingernails, skull-and-crossbones head scarf and
upper-arm tattoo of a bikini-clad miss emblazoned with the words “JONNY’S
GIRL” — Jonny being her husband.

Talking about sex has never been a problem for Cody, a longtime blogger who
grew up the younger of two children in a boisterous Italian family in
Lemont, Illinois, near Chicago, and attended Catholic school for 12 years.
(Brook Busey-Hunt is her real name. She chose Diablo Cody for its cool,
androgynous sound while visiting Cody, Wyoming. As a stripper, though, she
used names such as “Bonbon” and “Roxanne.”)

“For some reason, I’ve always just had total verbal diarrhea when it comes
to sexual issues. I’ve been making people’s jaws drop with frank sexual
talk since I was about 10 years old,” she says.

Her “textbook parents” — dad works for the state of Illinois, mom’s an
office manager — are “cool” with her new fame, Cody says.

“My dad always told me that his main objective in life was ensuring that I
was not ordinary. So he’s happy to see me stand out,” she says.

In high school, Cody was “lead screamer” for Yak Spackle, a punk band she
and her friends started. “It was such a horrible band, it almost qualified
as performance art,” she recalls. But the exhibitionism was a precursor to
her stripping.

She got her first tattoo the day she turned 18. Besides the arm tattoo
featured on the cover of “Candy Girl,” Cody has another tattoo of a pinup
girl on her left leg and the word “yes” — her reply to her husband’s
marriage proposal — on her left wrist.

She wears a simple dark dress with a crucifix at her neck to an interview.
Her hair, which has been “every color on the visible spectrum,” is at the
moment its natural reddish-brown, and her slate-blue eyes are rimmed in
black. While she wears dresses every day, Cody says, “I always say it’s
drag for me. I always say I’m a big drag queen.”

“I don’t think I’m a very sexy person,” she says. “I am just loaded with
testosterone. I’m just like a hairy, trash-talking woman, and I have no
grace.” (During her month as a phone-sex worker after she quit stripping,
her low voice served her well when she would pretend to be a transsexual.)

Attracted by ‘her voice’
Highly intelligent (her IQ exceeds 140, she says), Cody aspired to be a
writer and attended the University of Iowa, famous for its Writers’
Workshop, but hated academic life. “I could not get out of college soon
enough,” says Cody, who graduated in 2000. She eventually she met her
35-year-old musician and graphic designer husband, Jon Busey-Hunt, on the
Internet and moved to his hometown of Minneapolis in 2003.

A blogger since 2000 (her blog’s name is not family friendly), Cody spent
her year as a stripper writing by day in coffeehouses, then lugging her
laptop to write more at night at strip clubs, where people assumed she was
doing her homework.

“People aren’t used to seeing a stripper writing her memoirs in real time,”
she says.

“Candy Girl” hit bookstores just after last Christmas and sold out its
initial shipment, said Lauren Marino, executive editor at Gotham Books. She
says the hardcover is enjoying “a nice long, steady sale” and got a bounce
in sales at, Barnes & Noble and Borders after Cody’s appearance
on Letterman in March.

Marino said she wasn’t looking for a book about stripping and strippers.

“It wasn’t so much the subject matter that attracted me as it was her
voice. She can write about anything and make me want to read it. She’s so
intelligent and witty. She’s funny, she’s edgy and she’s got a great
sensibility,” Marino said.

Cody always had seen strip clubs as dangerous, creepy places — “I would
actually shiver a little” walking past them, she says — but she soon got
over her fear of stripping.

“It occurred to me very quickly that it is not that scary to be on stage
naked,” Cody says. “Because, that’s what you’re supposed to be doing. If
you’re a waitress, you carry sandwiches. If you’re a stripper, you take
your top off.”

Cody had a job typing up radio ad copy when she entered amateur night at
the Skyway Lounge. She remembers being shocked when some guy tipped her
five bucks the first time she stripped.

“That’s when I started to think to myself, ‘This could be a nice way to
make money.’ And it’d be a lot more fun than typing copy.”

But she soon discovered that clubs would expect the strippers to sell a
quota of lap dances or T-shirts. At the end of a long shift, dancers could
end up with the club taking a big cut, says Cody, who was a low-earner.

“To be a stripper, it’s not just about your body or your face or how erotic
you can be on stage. It has to do with being able to create a fantasy for
men and maintain that illusion for them, so that they actually believe that
you are their girlfriend or companion, and that you are interested in what
they have to say.


“And I cannot feign interest in anything to save my soul.”



Cody was living with her husband — her fiance at the time — while working
as a stripper. His reaction?

“He loved it,” Cody says. “He’s never been the type of guy to hang out with
women of ill repute. Now he was engaged to one, and it was very exciting
for him.” They still exchange smiles when a song from her stripping days
comes on the radio, she says.

After getting married, Cody wrote “Juno,” about a geeky pregnant teenage
girl who develops a sexually charged rapport with the adoptive father of
her unborn baby. Her screenplay, which she says is based on her best
friend, was among the top of the 2005 Black List of “most-liked” scripts in
Hollywood and was hailed by Entertainment Weekly, which graded it A-minus.

Until her appearance on Letterman, Cody says her neighbors didn’t know
about her stripper past. She says they thought she only wrote for the
alternative weekly City Pages, where she’s the TV critic.

But the response has been positive, says Cody, who is now a suburban
stepmom to her husband’s 7-year-old daughter, from his second marriage —
this is Cody’s first marriage.

And she bristles at suggestions that anyone who strips could write a book.

“If that were the case, the legions of women that I worked with, who were
desperate to get out of it, would have done the same. There’s a reason that
I did it and they didn’t. And the reason is, that I’m a storyteller.”

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Author: Saxon is covering the European Striptease industry with monthly updates on or famous London Gossip, Interviews with industry people, articles and news from the world of striptease. We also offer a Striptalk forum, Industry Directory with Stripclubs and Agents and a Job board for the Striptease industry in Europe.