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Deja Vu Showgirls, Vegas

(LAS VEGAS, NV) — Top Pro Talent had an opportunity to speak with Andrea Hackett, former Deja Vu Showgirls dancer and current lead organizer for the Las Vegas Dancers Alliance. During the interview, Hackett makes serious claims against her former employer, in regards to her gender, racially motivated business decisions and unfair wages for all dancers at the popular sin city hot spot, located at 3247 S. Industrial Rd. in Las Vegas.

AH: I was fired by Bob Proden, General Manager of Deja Vu Showgirls in Las Vegas, NV, on April 18th. I was told my dismissal was a direct result of an interview I gave revealing the fact that I had an operation reassigning my gender in 1995.

WL: Wait a second. You were formerly a man, had the actual operation and were dancing? What was your original name?

AH: My agent in New York has cautioned me against doing interviews about me personally as my book is not out yet.

WL: OK. Tell me about the GM, Proden, he knew you were formerly a man before this interview, yes?

AH: I worked for Bob since 1997 and he was well aware of my past as was every dancer in the club. It was never an issue with anyone, including the customers. In six years of dancing in top clubs across the country I think I’ve had two incidents with customers because of my gender. And both of those arose because dancers whispered into their customer’s ears. The fact that Mr. Proden told a local reporter he had no idea I was once male tells the whole story.

WL: So Bob was playing dumb, once it got public attention?

AH: Bob and I worked side by side for six years. The fact that his managers knew about me was demonstrated by the meeting they had with all the dancers instructing them to refrain from revealing my past to customers. For Mr. Proden to declare he had no idea stretches the limits of credibility.

WL: You said something in a recent email about a black stripper who was not given prime time shifts because of her color. How do you know that? Did you witness it personally or did you hear it from another source?

AH: My source for the information on the black woman who was told she could not go on stage on the weekends because of her skin color was the woman herself. She came to me to ask for help after being told by the DJ she could not do stages on weekends because she was black.

WL: So the DJ gave her some plain true reality to the situation…

AH: …The DJ quickly recanted his position and changed his story, claiming thereafter that her weight was the problem. When confronted with the situation, Bob Proden also said the decision was based on her weight, telling me, “It’s not a black thing, it’s a weight thing.”

WL: Well that makes sense, I would think a big ole’ girl would have less draw in a prime time slot.

AH: The problem I have with that, however, is the fact that she’s 105 lbs.

WL: Oh.

AH: So, clearly, it’s NOT a “weight thing.” The weight argument becomes even less convincing when considering the fact that one of Deja Vu Showgirls’ star performers is comparatively overweight, yet still permitted to do stage shows on the weekends. That dancer is white.

WL: Ok, jump back with me for a second. What made you decide to go the whole way with this gender switch? The operation is a big deal, is it not?

AH: As far as my operation goes, I see it as no different than a boob job. It should be obvious to everyone that no male would even consider such surgery. If they did, they would no doubt live the rest of their lives regretting their decision. The only thing I regret is the fact that people seem determined to make my life more difficult than it needs to be.

WL: But are you in the mindset that you were born female, always have been a female and the surgery was a necessity to complete what was meant to be?

AH: My brain has always been female, ever since birth. I can’t help the fact things got switched around. And, yes, my family has always supported my decision. The prevailing medical theory today with regards to transsexualism is that the hormone shower which takes place in the womb is somehow reversed. Therefore, though the child is born with male chromosomes, the brain, having been inundated with female hormones, is decidedly female. I am physically, emotionally, mentally–and legally–female. Period!

WL: Las Vegas Dancers Alliance is calling for a boycott of Deja Vu. What is that all about?

AH: LVDA is calling on a nationwide boycott because their actions are patently unconscionable. Discrimination is repulsive and it has no place in the workplace. Whether a dancer is black, white, oriental, lesbian, or transgender–if she’s pretty enough to get the job in the first place, she should be treated with the same respect as her coworkers. Deja Vu Showgirls in Las Vegas has demonstrated a policy of discrimination and we’re asking their customers to take their business elsewhere.
WL: LVDA has been a pretty strong force for the strippers lately.

AH: Las Vegas Dancers Alliance is a multi-cultural organization and our board reflects that diversity.

WL: But what about you personally, how are you holding up?

AH: I’m presently unemployed and as close as anyone would want to get to being destitute. I just narrowly avoided eviction, having spent everything I had fighting for dancer’s rights. Am I done? Am I ready to throw in the towel? Not on your life. I knew going into this thing the powers-that-be would do everything in their control to stop me. And I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But I’m committed to fighting for the dancers in Las Vegas. I’ve worked side-by-side with these women for the last six years.

WL: Aside from this scandal, what other negatives have you faced with these girls in Vegas?

AH: I’ve watched police drag us off to jail, politicians put the screws to us, and clubs like Deja Vu steal half or more of everything we make. We’re not about to stop fighting.


Top Pro Talent contacted General Manager Bob Proden of Deja Vu Showgirls in Las Vegas. His secretary assured us that he wishes to speak on the matter and will call before the day is out.

TPT will keep you updated as this story further unfolds.

 

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