Reagan Reilly is a regular dancer at Palomino Club in Las Vegas. She has also been performing and competing as a feature dancer in strip clubs all over the country since 2014.
I first met Reagan when I was scouting for a Dancer of the Month. What struck me first was the ecstatic expression on her face as she was peeling off lace and flying around the stripper pole. She clearly loved what she was doing. It was exhilarating to watch her and she not only became our January 2015 Dancer of the Month, but a regular TVO dancer-correspondent (see A Vegas Strip Club Dancer Talks About Getting a Boob Job).
I caught up with her recently to interview her about her strip club feature dancing career.
How do you come up with the ideas for your shows?
It usually starts with an idea for a costume or music. Most of my costumes are made by a woman in Florida named Jacque Laliberte. She’s been making feature costumes for a long time. I call Jacque. Sometimes she tells me she already has a costume made — one time it was a cheerleader costume — and I’m like “Okay, I can do that.”
Then I choose music for the costume. For the cheerleader costume, it was Hey Mickey, of course, or sometimes I use Queen’s We will Rock You, come out with the pom-poms and everything.
For my Sweet Dreams show, I told Jacque I wanted a Stevie Nicks inspired costume — something lacy, sexy, dark. The costume seems to tell you how to dance in it.
Other times I start with music and use different music according to the crowd. I’m not going to use the same music for a small Midwestern club as I would for a big South Florida club. Being a feature you have to make sure you’re putting on the right show for your crowd. Even with house dancing you have to do that.
How many different feature shows do you have in your repertoire?
Quite a few. I’ve got a cheerleader, schoolgirl, nurse, Moulin Rouge, Sweet Dreams, military . . .
When a club hires you as a feature, how many performances do you do?
It can be anywhere from two to four shows per night. The agency sets it up and makes sure the club covers my travel and hotel expenses. It’s a job, so the more shows I do the more money I make.
If you’re a feature performer, do you just do your stage act or do you also do lap dances and VIP shows?
It depends on what the club wants. Usually you do your shows and afterwards you might hang out on the floor. Usually they’ll set you up at a table with your pictures to autograph. But it’s up to the entertainer too. Some girls who feature might not do VIPs, but I’m always like yeah, I’m available. Usually a feature can decide her own rate for dances and VIP shows.
What kinds of problems do you run into as a feature performer?
Oh, I remember the final night at Miss Nude Wisconsin. I was doing my show in front of the judges and I had a big bow on the back of my costume and I ripped it off and threw it on the stage. But I didn’t throw it hard enough. I ended up stepping on it and I slipped and fell — I actually fell in a competition that was being photographed and videoed. And it struck me that I was suddenly on the floor in front of the judges so I didn’t miss a beat. I couldn’t hide it so I just kept moving and got up and finished my routine and that was the time I won. Miss Nude Wisconsin.
At another Nudes-a-Poppin’, I learned that you shouldn’t try to do something new on stage. They had this big bowl and someone asked me Hey, do you want to do a water show? So I thought it would be cool to do something different. But I’d never done a water show and I’d never been in that bowl before. They put these soapy suds in it and — I don’t know what I was thinking — I got the soap in my face and eyes and I couldn’t see anything. So I’m naked in this glass bowl and my eyes are burning, so I’m keeping my eyes closed and I can’t see anything. I couldn’t see anything for the whole show.
Fortunately, I don’t think anyone even knew. They were just watching a naked girl in a bowl of soapy water and I guess the response was good because that was the show where I placed.
Another time I went to Florida to do EDI (Exotic Dancer Invitationals) and my costume never showed up. Now there are different levels of competitions and EDI is one of the big ones. They’re very serious in the stripper world, and there I was with no costume.
So all the other girls helped me out with pieces of costumes, and there I was with whatever I could paste together. I had to run to WalMart to buy an umbrella because I needed to incorporate it into the show. That was another competition I ended up coming in second place.
Feature dancing is always a learning experience. The show must go on, so how are you going to do it?
Do you ever wear your feature costumes when you’re house dancing at Palomino?
Sometimes I do costume shows at Palomino, but house dancing is a different kind of energy.
Doing a feature show takes a lot of work — coordinating the music, costume, props. It’s a lot of extra work when I’m just supposed to be house dancing. I’m taking my time away from the floor when I could be out there interacting with guests. It’s like any other gamble. One guest might see that show and say, I must have you in the VIP. In that case, it pays off. But I’ve also had the experience where I go on stage and do the same feature show and nothing . . . I just wasted all that time and energy. But I’m an artist and I run on heart and spirit.
What are your plans now?
What I want to do now is keep working at Palomino and keep building my brand as an artist and entertainer. I want to be on a more steady flow at Palomino. I like to give customers a real strip club experience. I like it when customers come up to talk to me. I don’t try to hustle them. I love doing shows for couples. I’m always so flattered when they’ve seen me at TVO and they come up to me and say Hey, you’re Reagan Reilly!
I really like my day-to-day life here in Vegas. I like to sleep in my own bed. Traveling gets very tiring. Just the sound of my suitcase anymore, when I’m unzipping it . . . but I did what I wanted to do. I became a feature entertainer. I’ve won competitions. I got to travel. I’ve done features all over the United States. I’ve had so many amazing experiences.