Flashing lights, red carpets, millions of followers, and glam are part and parcel of famous musicians in the modern world. Fans can’t wait for their next single or album to come out, teenagers look up to them for inspiration, and marketers are constantly looking for ways to feed from the musician’s fame. You might be tempted to think these celebrities were born with a silver spoon and have never had to do any “odd” jobs.
Regarding their humongous careers, it’s fair to say that most musicians have a reputable past. They worked hard, endured sleepless nights, and disregarded producers who dismissed their talents; fair play to them. However, some singers started as strippers before their newly found fame. While some regret the experiences, others see it as a part of their life that catapulted them to the next phase. We discuss the most popular singers who used to be strippers below:
Related: 10 Celebrities Who Got Their Start in Adult Entertainment
10 Joseline Hernandez
Better known for her role in the VH1 reality series Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, Joseline Hernandez is a famous reality TV personality. She is also a rapper with about ten hip-hop singles released throughout her career. Born on November 3, 1986, Joseline boasts worldwide fame and is known as the Puerto Rican Princess because of her charming looks. However, there are some little-known interesting things about her that you probably didn’t know.
Aside from coming from a very large family, lying about getting married (yes, she did that), and taking care of a sibling who has autism, Joseline has, at some stage of her career, been a stripper! Before making it to Love & Hip Hop, Joseline did odd jobs when she was as young as 16 to help her family. Coming from a poverty-stricken background, she had to use her dancing skills to entertain people. She also appeared in a stripper reality show under a different name—Shenellica—that eventually failed.
While this career was short-lived, reports indicate that she once struck a deal in which she got $400 to appear on screen – she demanded cash, by the way.
Known for her hit singles such as “Who Is That Girl” and “Let Me Blow Your Mind,” Eve is a rapper that has never shied away from telling things as they are. During her career, the formidable rapper and performer has attracted praise from her fans and criticism in equal measure, mainly because of her persona and relatively bold lyrics.
Born in Philadelphia in 1978, Eve was born into an average family. She started her singing career performing with choirs and, eventually, an all-girl singing group. However, this is not the whole story of how she started. It turns out that when she was about 18, Eve performed as an exotic dancer to make ends meet. Even though the career lasted for less than two months, the rapper has never hesitated to talk about it whenever she has had an opportunity.
In an interview with Rolling Stone conducted in 1999, Eve acknowledged that stripping was part of the journey and was a hustle like any other. She even sang a song about it on an album, “Heaven Only Knows.” She says she was young at the time, had many problems, and the job helped her find “Eve.”
8 Courtney Love
Anyone who grew up in the ’90s has heard about Courtney Love… for right or wrong reasons. Courtney earned her success as a solo artist and the lead singer and guitarist of the seminal ’90s rock band Hole. Aside from being famously married to the late Kurt Cobain, Courtney was popular for releasing hits such as “Celebrity Skin,” “Malibu,” and “Awful.”
However, most people might not know that the sensational singer was a stripper long before she became successful in her music career. In an interview, Courtney says that she used to work at Jumbo’s, a Century Lounge near an airport, and Seventh Veil as an exotic dancer.
If you are curious about how much she used to make, the singer says she used to earn about 300 bucks in a day, and she was fine with that. The money was enough to fund her band, but she insists that she had to be extremely financially savvy.
7 Kat Stacks
Born in Venezuela on November 2, 1989, Kat Stacks relocated to the United States when she was eight. She later grew into a sensational rapper and hip-hop musician. She is popular for producing single hits such as “Sg Lily,” “Ajax Stacks,” and “Yung Weev.” Apart from her music career and controversial lifestyle, Kat Stacks, too, tried her hand at exotic dancing.
In an interview conducted by 97.9 FM, Kat revealed that she was a stripper at 14 before she turned to teenage prostitution. She recounts that her childhood was traumatizing and did what she had to do to get by. The rapper has never been short of scandal and controversies.
Trina, whose real name is Katrina Laverne Taylor, is an American singer and rapper born and raised in Miami. Surprisingly, Trina never wanted anything to do with music. After high school, she was committed to furthering her studies and pursuing a career in real estate. However, when she one day accompanied her friends to shoot a music video for Luke’s “Scarred,” Trick Daddy, another musician featured in the song, noticed her and asked if she wanted to start her singing career. Even though she initially declined, Trina later agreed, and the rest is history.
However, in an exclusive interview, Trina recently admitted that she tried dancing for money but quickly realized it was not for her. While she wasn’t allowed to strip naked, Trina acknowledges that she did strip down to a bra and bathing suit bottoms. Her exotic dancing career barely lasted a week, though.
5 Amber Rose
Born on October 21, 1983, in Philadelphia, PA, Amber Rose is a popular musician and socialite. Wait for it… and a former exotic dancer! She is also known for her relationship with musician Kanye West and was briefly married to Wiz Khalifa. Her top tracks include “Stain,” “In Time,” “Loaded,” and “GYHO.”
Unlike many other celebrities who would jump on every opportunity to brush such past experiences under the carpet, Amber Rose has never shied away from speaking about her time as a stripper. In an interview, she claims that she had some of the best times of her life when she was an exotic dancer and even had words of wisdom for anyone looking to join the field.
The multi-talented singer suggested that as long as anyone goes in with their head up, stays off drugs, and focuses on making money, exotic dancing is a job like any other. She then advised anyone comfortable with their body to try it out the right way.
4 Azealia Banks
Azealia Banks is an American rapper, singer, actress, and writer. She was born and raised in Harlem and began her music career on Myspace in 2008. She was later signed to XL Recordings when she was just 18 years. However, her breakthrough came in 2011 when her debut single, “212,” broke the internet and entered several international charts.
Now a tough girl with a slick tongue, Azealia attributes her nature to her past, the one before she started her music career. In an interview with The Sunday Times, the rapper recounted how she used to sleep with older, married men for money and about her stripping career. She did everything to avoid being broke and “heal” her childhood traumas.
3 Amanda Palmer
She identifies as a feminist, songwriter, pianist, ukulele enthusiast, and singer. Amanda is famous for releasing songs such as “The Bed Song,” “Coin-Operated Boy,” and “Voicemail for Jill.” However, did you know the now outspoken, established songwriter did some odd jobs, including being a stripper, before she became who she is?
Even though she is not proud of her past, Amanda told interviewer Bob Lefsetz that she was a living statue in her early ’20s. She began stripping at about 24 years, thinking she was a very strong woman. She says that her acts were very different from the other strippers, probably because she knew what she wanted (money) and had it “figured out” in advance.
2 Lady Gaga
Remember “Bad Romance,” “Poker Face,” and “Born This Way”? Of course, you do; who doesn’t? Lady gaga used to and still does turn heads wherever she goes. Sold out stadiums, record-breaking music videos, and money flowing in her bank accounts—what more could she ask for? Given her free-soul nature, very few people would be surprised to learn that Lady Gaga was once a stripper.
In an interview conducted by fabulous, Lady Gaga confirmed that she turned to exotic dancing when she was 18, even though she came from a well-off family. She attributed her bold nature to her strong sense of sexuality and love for the naked human body; she wasn’t short of confidence. Her act was pretty wild; she would wear black leather and dance to rock ‘n’ roll music, but you already knew that!
1 Cardi B
A random internet search on Cardi B will give endless results about her career. She is always hitting the headlines for some reason and is definitely having the time of her life. The “Bodak Yellow” hitmaker doesn’t make it a secret that she was a stripper before she changed her career goals to become the heavyweight musician she is.
When she was 18, the sensational rapper was an exotic dancer. When she started, she says she knew the career would pay her more than any other, and she needed the money. Even though she made a lot of money, she met someone who scammed her when she was 20, leaving her with a lifelong scar. She quit dancing when she was 23 and became a global icon in rapping. She is married to another musician, Offset, and continues to be vocal about her past.