A woman has told how she started stripping to fund an unpaid internship when she was a student and went on to earn nearly $114,000 a year.

Sayoni Nyakoon, who at the time was studying for her undergraduate degree in Denver, Colorado, first got into the business when she took it up as a summer job aged 20.

Sayoni, who now lives in New York, was motivated by money - taking home an average of $573 per night before tax for working six hour days, four times a week - she wrote on Financial Diet.

'Why become a stripper? An easy answer is: Money...At age 19, I started my undergrad at the University of Colorado, and found it difficult to balance working even just twelve hours a week and maintain decent grades.

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'Then, I turned 20, and was offered an unpaid internship with the Colorado Department of Education. I realized that if I accepted the offer, I would risk my financial security and independence. Later that summer, I became a stripper,' she wrote.

Sayoni - who prefers to refer to herself as an ecdysiast, or striptease performer - said a $573 a night average was 'acceptable' for many but that the hours could be 'draining'.
She added: 'There are some exotic dancers who would never return to a club if they could not make at least $500 per four-hour shift.

'There are also some exotic dancers who would beg for an opportunity to make $430 per eight-hour shift.'

She said within the profession, earnings are a source of pride, adding: 'A large sum of money can turn what many would consider an immoral and degrading profession into a practical one.'

For some strippers - who Sayoni describes as 'unfortunate souls' - she said their self-worth is defined by their earnings.

Sayoni said they work as independent contractors, paying 'rent' to dance in the club, fees to use rooms and 'tips' to staff such as the hair and make-up professionals and DJ.

Although clubs vary, Sayoni said some ask strippers to have a $143 ankle-length gown, a minimum heel of four inches and hair that is at least shoulder length.

The performers decide for themselves how much to spend on make-up and accessories, she said.

'When you're an ecdysiast [striptease performer], you walk into work saying a prayer. Either you leave the club a few hours later with $2,868, or you stay the entire night and leave with less money than you entered.

'This is true whether you do or don't include the cost of upkeep an ecdysiast must spend to maintain herself and the illusion she sells. It is entirely possible to work an entire week and come out in the negative,' Sayoni wrote.

She said during her three-and-a-half-years in the profession she usually made a profit.
'I've been able to firmly cement my own financial security, financially assist friends and relatives, and go on vacations. Lots and lots of vacations,' she wrote.