Janine Jericho has been there and got the t-shirt when it comes to the life of a showgirl. She is a leading dancer from Canada, a country famous for it’s exceptional roster of feature performers. Janine has won titles such as Best Feature Showgirl, World Ultimate Entertainer & Canadian Grand Champion, to name a few. We caught up with her to get her insight into how to stay consistent and playing the industry smartly.
Strip-Magazine: So, we normally start at the beginning. What got you into dancing?
Janine Jericho: I had left home at 17, from the small city of Fort McMurray, Alberta to the big city of Vancouver. After a year of struggling to get a job because I was young, I had met a couple of dancers who encouraged me to try dancing. At first, I said, “Hell no! I would never do that!”. However, I watched these ladies perform their striptease act onstage and thought it was so beautiful and erotic. I was inspired, as I came from a dance background. My first amateur contest was booked the next week!
S-M: The perception is often so different to the reality… So how did that first contest go and how did you prepare for it?
J.J.: Well, I was so nervous for that contest that I almost didn’t do it. My boyfriend at the time came with me, though he hated the idea of me dancing and when I said I wanted to leave, he taunted me with saying, “What? Are you scared?” Within the next 30 mins I was on that stage in my birthday suit doing handstands! The agents were impressed and I was booked for the next 6 weeks. I bought a bag of costumes from the girl who introduced me to dancing and have never looked back.
S-M: Amazing! Did you stay in the Vancouver area when you started out or did your agents have you on the road straight away?
J.J: I stayed in Vancouver primarily. At that time there were so many clubs and they had dancers on a circuit, where you rotated each week and were on contract to perform 18-36 shows per week. All dancers in Western Canada get paid for their shows. Eventually I ventured out to Alberta followed by my first taste of overseas in Macau and Guam.
S-M: I love that it escalated quickly from ‘ventured out to Alberta’, to Guam and Macau. Had you been anywhere like these destinations before or did dancing take you there?
J.J: Never! I had left my hometown of Fort McMurray, Alberta at 17 for Vancouver and the only other place I had visited was Ontario. However, I started traveling without my parents when I was 4, so perhaps that had prepped me for my globetrotting adventures.
S-M: It would make sense but that’s still a bold move, regardless! Where else has dancing taken you?
J.J: I have been to England, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Tortola, Macau, Jamaica and of course, The U.S and Canada.
S-M: What would you say have been the most valuable lessons from this experience?
J.J: Most valuable lessons I’ve learned…there have been many! But here are a few:
1. Self care, self acceptance, self love is number one. Having a routine and ritual of things I do to nurture myself, such as yoga, balanced eating, regular visits to an RMT, training, baths, nature, fun stuff to feed my soul and relationships that do the same. Taking care of yourself gives you longevity and it just feels great! As dancers we can put ourselves on the back burner, soldiering on through life, nose to the grindstone but I’ve learned that making time for myself is what keeps me happy.
2. I don’t get bitter, I get better and better then colossal. This is my mindset when dealing with negative people/situations/naysayers. I’ve learned that regardless of how nice you are to people, you will be the villain in someone’s story, so just focus on being the hero in your own. I Don’t entertain negative energy. My attention is my power. Sometimes we feel like we need to stand up for ourselves, well, I think walking away from people/situations and withdrawing your energy is also a form of standing up for yourself. It’s saying that I don’t even value this situation enough to comment and I’m going to continue on living in my awesome bubble having the time of my life. Walking away from toxic people and arguments has elevated my life exponentially. Create a boundary when necessary but I focus on the good stuff.
3. Make smart choices with your money. Save, buy a house or two, invest in mutual funds. Make your money work for you. I bought my first house at 21 and my second house at 32, made accelerated weekly payments paying them both almost off and then selling them for double. Look at other income sources to create for yourself.
S-M: Fabulous advice…So you mentioned you have invested which brings us to where do you see yourself post dancing?
J.J: I am relearning a few lessons…or maybe re-inventing better solutions. I have had to go back to basics, re-examine my finances for future and learn how things work in the US since moving here a year and a half ago. Always expanding and evolving. I plan on owning my own yoga and fitness retreat, post dancing. I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for the last 15 years, so will move into that. Doing self-empowerment workshops as well.
S-M: Can’t wait to see it come to fruition. What are your goals within the industry?
J.J: My goals within the industry are to continue touring my butt off and seeing just how high I can go with this career, help get a documentary I’m featured in on the big screen and considering launching my own contest series.
S-M: Do you have a cut off point in mind or are you going to play by ear?
J.J: Cut off point…bahaha, I’ve had a few! But my career has a mind of its own. I still love and am passionate about performing and have finally decided to throw away the cut off point and see just how far I can go. There is more to do and in today’s world, longevity is sustainable and ageism is being demolished…I feel like I am one of those catalysts breaking down that old way of thinking and creating a new perspective.
S-M: What have been your favourite comps, wins and has there been any that have been particularly memorable?
J.J: My favourite WIN would be the Best Feature Showgirl Award from Nightmoves Magazine. To be acknowledged amongst others within the industry was a heart felt validation of my hard work. I didn’t expect it. My favourite comps would be all of my duo contests, Battle Of the Champions, World Ultimate Entertainer and Exotic Angels Performer Of the Year.
S-M: I love your statement about how to make longevity sustainable. It’s important but there is sometimes those that struggle in the scene and the temptations it brings. This is true of the nightclub industry, as a whole, but is there any advice you would give to dancers specifically on how they can stay in the industry in a healthy and productive way, long term?
J.J: My advice would be to have a life beyond the industry. Have passions, hobbies and friends outside of the industry to help keep you grounded and balanced. Also, for me, work is work. I treat my job like a regular job. I don’t drink or party. Furthermore, I eat balanced, exercise and sleep. BE-ing healthy, keeps you healthy, from the inside-out. Make those choices everyday. And if you slip, don’t beat yourself up, just get back into the groove the next day.
S-M: Very wise words to end on. Thanks so much for your take on the industry, Janine. There is so much here that will help dancers coming through and much to think about and reflect on, even for the veterans. Its been an absolute pleasure and we are excited to see where you take things next!
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