Depriving a stripper of money is the only way to ensure they will follow club rules, former dancer Lisa Lewis says.

Lewis, who has worked in strip clubs all around New Zealand and the world since she was 17, said having fines in place was standard practice.

Lewis was commenting after Christchurch woman Jessica Clifford, 22, revealed the inner workings of Calendar Girls, which she is taking to the Employment Relations Authority.

The club's former director Jacqui Le Prou agrees stating some of the girls were hard to control so they needed tough love methods.


Clifford claims unfair dismissal after she didn't turn up to work one night last year and today revealed what the dancers were subject to behind the scenes.

A document included in her case reveals how the club can issue fines to dancers for offences including wearing a G-string for too long while performing and "hanging around in changing rooms".

It also unveiled the various fines the dancers were subject to, which included a $100 fine for lateness, $75 fine for intoxication, $250 fine for not showing up for work, a $200 fine and a 50 per cent tax on tips for "rudeness to patrons or management", a $100 fine for wearing a G-string – "All dancers must be completely naked for whole of second song and entire duration of tip round" – and a $50 fine for "hanging around in changing rooms for [an] unacceptable amount of time", among others.

Clifford called herself an advocate for strippers' rights.

Lisa Lewis during her time as a guest performer at Calendar Girls several years ago. Photo/Supplied.
Lisa Lewis during her time as a guest performer at Calendar Girls several years ago. Photo/Supplied.

But Lewis was unimpressed with Clifford's stance - and said it was normal practice to have fines in place for strippers.

"Every strip club that I've worked at in New Zealand ... and around the world, have all had that deterrent. The girls don't care about being told off.

"The girls that come into the industry have been kicked out of home, they've been on the streets, some have broken the law, they have criminal convictions.

"In terms of our industry, we don't have a fear of being told off. We don't care. What we care about is money."


Lewis said each of the dancers would have a monetary goal as the reason for working there.

"One girl might be wanting fake boobs, one girl might be trying to pay rent and put food on the table for the family, another girl might be doing drugs on the side. Every girl has her own reason for being in the industry and the only way someone is going to listen in a club scenario is a deterrent of a fine."

As for Clifford's experience, Lewis wasn't impressed she was calling herself an ambassador.

"She cries out that she's been bullied and then she calls herself an ambassador to the industry. I'm sorry, someone who has been in the industry four months is not an ambassador to the industry."

She said an ambassador in the industry would be someone like dancer Venus Starr.

Lewis, who performed as a "guest performer" several times at Calendar Girls many years ago, added that it was a given that you have to work weekends.

"Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest nights in a strip club. Of course they're compulsory."

Lewis said she felt sorry for Calendar Girls being dragged through the ERA and said she would recommend any girl to work there.

Former Calendar Girls director and now dancer advocate Jacqui Le Prou agreed with Lewis in that the dancers needed a monetary deterrent but said not all clubs in New Zealand did it.

"Some of the girls are so hard to control ... the girls need to understand that this is still a business. They need to be held accountable.

"I'm not saying that I know [what's happened] because I don't know. Calendar Girls has always been respectable and looks after its girls and unless you're being [disrespectful] nobody ever comes down on you."

Le Prou said club dancers were not "employees" rather contractors who were responsible for paying their own taxes or ACC levies.

She also wasn't impressed Clifford wanted to be an ambassador for other girls.

"She's 22 years old. If she was an ambassador to other strippers she would understand the industry."

She said every club rightly had its own rules and regulations.

"Girls should know what is expected of them. They need to be professional, yes they are a different person when they come to work and it's not appropriate to talk about their dramas or personal problems because a lot of the time the client is coming there because of their personal problems and you are a sounding board for that.

"They're coming for a fantasy."

Le Prou said she wasn't picking sides but said it appeared Clifford needed to learn more about the industry and how it was run.