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A day in the life ... of a Vegas showgirl

This Vegas showgirl's busy schedule includes 12 shows a week, school and acting classes.

Tatiana (Showgirls only use their first name)
Showgirl for Folies Bergere
The Tropicana Resort and Casino, Las Vegas
Dancers are under contract and cannot disclose their salary.

A few universal images are associated with Las Vegas: Elvis impersonators, instant-wedding chapels, neon, gambling and, of course, scantily clad showgirls. In fact, only in Las Vegas can you find tables filled with people who look like your parents and grandparents casually watching women dance in revealing costumes.

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While the costumes may be revealing, make no mistake: They are not strippers. In fact, they aren't even "exotic dancers." They are Las Vegas showgirls, and their elaborate, larger-than-life performances draw thousands of tourists to viva Las Vegas every year.

A Vegas show takes a lot of time, rehearsal and hard work to pull together. More importantly, it takes the talent and dedication of the stars: the showgirls themselves.

One such showgirl is Tatiana. A nominee for Miss August 2000 in the "Search for the Ultimate Showgirl," this showgirl performs two shows nightly for Tropicana's Folies Bergere.

Showgirl 2000
If you'd like to vote for Tatiana or another showgirl in the "Search for the Ultimate Showgirl -- Showgirl 2000 contest," log onto Showgirl 2000. She could be The Ultimate Showgirl, and you could win $25,000.

She works hard for the money

As a child growing up in England, Tatiana never thought about performing in Vegas. "I've been dancing all my life. I wanted to be a ballerina, but I grew too tall," she says.

Height not withstanding, she is a beautiful woman, and she explains that appearance is a big requirement for her job. "[This job] completely relies on your mindset and how you look after your personal appearance. I can't go on forever." To keep up her physique, she spends time at the gym daily.

When she describes her day, Tatiana sounds like she enjoys what she does. The best part, she says, is her hours. "I like having my days free," she adds. But her free days are not for relaxing. Tatiana has a tough schedule, performing in two shows a night, six nights a week, and she attends school and acting classes when she's not working. If she weren't working as a showgirl, she'd still like to be performing on stage -- acting in a play.

I'm a Chiquita banana

After a long afternoon of working out and acting classes, Tatiana has to get ready for the stage. She claims this is the worst part of her job. "I take 25 minutes each day to put all of my makeup on," she says. The costumes can be a challenge, as well. One of the worst outfits she's donned was made entirely out of plastic bananas. Yikes!

Something you won't see if you catch one of Tatiana's shows is her birthday suit. "I don't have to go topless. Some [showgirls] do, some don't."

When she tells people about her job, she does raise some eyebrows. "Most people are interested and impressed by what we do," but she points out that some people have their own ideas. To the close-minded patron, Tatiana explains, "Showgirls are not even similar to strippers. We are talented, poised and beautiful, not sexual. We're regular people ... some are even mothers. We have a very intelligent cast."

"We have to have a bubbly, outgoing personality," Tatiana continues. And, of course, a bod that stops traffic.

Her bubbly personality landed her on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." However, she quips, "Coming from England, I had no idea who he was or what he did."

-- Posted: July 8, 1999


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