Stripping for Tuition: Pace Bares All


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Infiniti Styles Bowie, Features Writer

While T-Pain was falling in love with a stripper and Lil Wayne was busy making it rain, college girls were rushing to become that perfect candidate.

Ever since former Duke University student Miriam Weeks, better known as Belle Knox, took the stripping scene by storm in 2014, hundreds of female undergraduates flooded the strip clubs in hopes of earning hefty sums of money to pay off college debts. According to a 2014 article by the New York Post, after Knox did her first headline at Show Palace, dozens of hopeful college students rushed to apply.

Belle Knox Show Palace promo poster

Mike Diaz, who was the manager of the club, said that after the announcement of Knox’s performance, many college girls rushed to hand in their own applications.

“Some of these girls came out of school with a $50,000 [or] $100,000 in debt,” Diaz said. “And this is a way for them to not have this debt.”

Former student stripper Maran Gorham. Photo by

The club’s website proudly advertises that dancing is a “perfect gig for college students” and that dancers can make $500-$1,000 a shift.

A payday like that is sure to lure college students to strip for their studies. All except for Pace junior, Briana Cuttino.

For Cuttino, stripping will not be on her bucket list, even with the cost of tuition at Pace being more than $40,000 per year. Instead, the junior believes in working through college with internships and part-time jobs as opposed to working in the Red-light district.

“I don’t think it’s the best idea for girls to [strip] because I feel that there are other ways you can make money while being in college,” Cuttino said, “either if it’s a job close to the school or finding a job at home.”

However, even though Cuttino does not agree with dancing in the dark, the junior says she does not judge those who choose to do so.

“Even though I don’t think it’s the best idea or option, I wouldn’t be against it because I would not want to judge how any girl wants to make the money she needs in order to pay for college,” Cuttino said. “I feel that college is way too expensive and it’s sad to see a lot of people, not just girls, struggle to pay when they are just trying to get an education.”

Still, the junior vows to keep her clothes on throughout the remainder of the school year.

“[I] definitely would not [consider stripping], even if I was really desperate,” Cuttino said.

While Cuttino is against the idea of baring it all for books, Kiara Phillips, a sophomore at Pace, supports the decision for coeds to work the nightlife, saying she is “completely supportive of it.”

“Who are we to judge what someone does for money, especially when it’s legal?” Phillips asked. “A female is already viewed as a sexual object, so why not use it to her advantage?”

“As long as she’s comfortable doing it, I don’t see anything wrong with it,” the sophomore continued. “I say to each his own and to respectively mind your own business.”

Unlike Cuttino, Phillips said she would consider dancing if desperate times called for desperate measures.

“If it came to that, I would try it,” said Phillips.

Envision going to a strip club and seeing a classmate from Biology swaying on stage to Rihanna’s Pour it Up or another strip club anthem. For Pace junior Zae, the chances of that happening were high at her old school. The junior recounted knowing a few classmates who stripped their way through college at Buffalo State before she transferred to Pace.

“At my old school, girls would sell their bodies and strip,” Zae said. “Even boys were selling their [expletive] out there.”

While the junior is no stranger to the concept of dancing for education, she does not think it should be the first choice for college students.

“I don’t necessarily believe [stripping] should be the first go-to solution,” the junior said, “but if it’s your last option, then by all means.”

Despite this, Zae revealed that she would consider following in her former classmates’ footsteps if tuition proved to be too expensive.

“Honestly, yes [I would],” the junior said. “But I gotta be at rock bottom.”

It seems that although some girls at Pace wouldn’t suggest making it clap for a degree, they aren’t completely opposed to it either. Some even joke about considering the profession due to hard times. One such student is Jada Rojas.

“I’ve joked around about becoming [a stripper] ’cause life is hard right now,” Rojas said.

The sophomore also says she supports any student’s decision to strip, especially when it comes to tuition.

“If an individual is truly trying to work hard and get their degree, which is one of the most expensive things someone could do in this day and age,” the sophomore said, “then if stripping is going to help them, who am I to judge? Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.”

All jokes aside, Rojas also does not believe she would ever take it off for tuition. However, certain economic changes could possibly change her mind.

“Personally for myself, I don’t believe I would ever go through with it,” Rojas said. “Although Pace’s expensive cost really can make a girl reconsider…”

So is it worth stripping for tuition? Is it reasonable that an influx of undergraduate coeds are racing to the poles? If the girl who is usually quiet in Spanish class is getting around $50 for a  lap dance at Stiletto, then maybe.