Strip Club Journal Unbounds June(Unedited Version)
“Everything happens for a reason. Clip my wings and I will still figure out how to fly.” ~Vayda Kiss
Last year when I was interviewing Vayda Kiss for Miss Pole Champ 2015, this was one of the last things she said. Later that month, she crowned Natasha Nova Miss Pole Champ 2015. Then within a couple of months Vayda was gone without warning.
The strip club industry suffered a loss like never before, Vayda Kiss left this world at the young age of 31 in September 2015 never to be replaced. She left behind a huge hole in many people’s hearts, both inside and outside of the adult/strip club industry. A one of a kind beautiful soul, her presence is extremely missed within the small feature dancer/showgirl community. Vayda Kiss aka Nicole LeeAnn Smith was born in Northampton, Massachusetts and had been in the strip club industry for over a decade. She is the only two-time winner of Miss Pole Champ USA. This and many of her other trophys speak of her talent, but her friends speak of her heart and her uplifting personality.
“I worked with her at Wedgewood in NJ and Spanky’s in Easton, PA. The wedge was a dive bar and some days it was slow, but when she was working it was an awesome day whether we made money or not.” ~Lara
Spending time with Vayda Kiss seems to be a blessing many people understood. Her memory is still cherished and protected by many. Unfortunately, no family likes to air their dirty laundry and the strip club industry is like a family. Vayda Kiss committed suicide and no one wants her to be remembered for this. However, it is a perfect example of how people need to give the extra effort when they know a friend is going through a difficult time or situation(even if they should be on top of the world from an outside perspective). Awareness is the goal and Vayda would want to help people with her story.
Some of the dancers Vayda left behind, who still live similar nomadic lives traveling, featuring, and competing, are the ones who are the most guarded about Vayda’s story. Perhaps this is due to all the similarities they see in their own lives and it makes them face their own mortality? How will they be remembered? Will they attempt or commit suicide? Will they be next? Is life about competition? Is winning competitions winning at life? Is it all worth it? Will they survive the lifestyle they chose and are lucky enough to lead? The fear sets in, as it does for us all when defining and choosing a long-term career.
“Vayda was all about forgiving and moving on.” ~Jeremy Sweigert(Vayda’s longtime friend from high school)
Family was something Vayda Kiss was not blessed with in the traditional sense. Her brother committed suicide shortly before she did and she attended her own father’s funeral shortly before her own death. Vayda’s family failed her, but the strip club industry has warm open arms for those who are beautiful, young, lost, and looking for community/family and a way out.The strip club industry became her pseudo family. When your friends and family are all performers, sometimes it is just easier to paint on a smile. However, it took two prior suicide attempts before the third and final time when Vayda succeeded in killing herself. Yes, some depressed people hide their feelings, but these circumstances explain the hardships leading up to her death.
“As we got older she morphed into a sassy little princess into one of the most humble, kindhearted spirits I know. She suffered a lot of loss these last couple years. Didn’t realize just how hard that was on her until I lost her.” ~Ashley(a former dancer and friend Vayda met a decade ago in PA).
Despite all of Vayda’s hardships, she was a ray of light to other people. People would have never guessed she was so humble and willing to help others, even her competition. “There was a period where she was on a roll, winning everything she entered. She would be texting me from back stage about how nervous she was and I gave her pep talks at this time…” ~Bob Layton(owner of http://www.Studio83ExoticClubWear.com). The relationships she developed along her journey were valued, but the strip club industry is a dangerous place for someone seeking the love of family.
The people/acquaintances you work with in strip clubs, who you may even call friends, are really the competition and they are all entertainers/performers too. They all cater to what people want to hear and see. “I am one of those people who values their alone time,” Vayda Kiss. During her feature dancing days Vayda would order pizza(her favorite cheat day food) and stay in her hotel room alone to recharge before a show. She will be remembered for the kind-hearted soul she was, who shines still in our hearts.
For a woman with such a small stature Vayda was larger than life.
“She was the greatest person ever. She cheered me up when people were rude. She showed me that dancing is art not just a job she opened my eyes to a great profession and made me want to follow in her footsteps more.” ~Brittany