Change is good, inevitable and sometimes hard. Being with Chippendales now for nearly 12 years, I’ve seen my fair share of change. Some people embrace it, while some struggle. I was inspired to write about change because something happened this week that made me take a step back and look at all the changes that have been happening in our Chippendales world.
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed one evening and noticed a picture of one of the dancers, Joshua DeBouis. His normal head full of dreadlocks was now gone! I thought, this is either a very old picture or one of those picture apps that lets you edit and photo shop your pics. I immediately picked up the phone to call him and see if this was real. Sure enough it was. The dreadlocks were gone forever, fifteen years in the making, now gone. Something that had been part of him for so long, something that helped to define him at times was now a thing of the past.
Now there are some that take life and its challenges and stay ahead of the pack; current and fresh. A good example is when we are making changes to the show. We’ve been working very hard the last few months, especially since coming to Miami to update the show. I made a music change and took out the song “Get your freak on” by Missy Elliot and replaced it with “Light Em Up” by Fall Out Boy. Someone asked me why we replaced it and I said because that song was popular in 2001 and it’s 2014! Don’t get me wrong it’s a great song, but sometimes we need to let ourselves evolve and not get so stuck in the past. Embrace change!
All these things got me on a kick of allowing myself to be more open to new and exciting things and not being the one left in 2001! For me it was my wardrobe. Anyone who knows me knows I can be very over the top! The bigger, flashier and shinier the better, but my buddy brought something to my attention that I actually embraced. When Jaymes Vaughan came to Miami for our opening and saw some of the shirts I was still wearing, he had to give me an intervention. He took the black vest out of my spot, the one with silver studded collar and rhinestone ”B” on the back….threw it right on the floor and said this is out! I fell over in laughter! No one wears this stuff anymore; it’s very Vegas 1990s (I love the 90s)! He was right, I needed to step back. The same hair style that I’ve had for 20 years could probably use an update or at the very least try a new style. Trying new things can be scary, but sometimes necessary for your soul!
We also recently lost two of our best performers. They decided it was time to make some changes in their lives and spread their wings. Chaun Thomas and Juan DeAngelo; two seasoned performers made their final performance on the Chippendales stage. They have been with the company for nearly ten years, giving us the very best they had and will be missed very much!! These two gentlemen are class acts when on stage and a pleasure to work with. Throughout the years we all have become more than good friends, we have become a family! I will say this though, it’s never goodbye….Just see you later. I remember the first time I left Chippendales. I thought wow; this is the last time I’ll be dancing in Chippendales (I’ve said this twice now).
What is it about being on a the Chippendales stage that people miss so much when they leave it? What draws them back? Having two of my buddies return this season has been amazing. We welcomed back Staceyy Robinson and Luis Delatorra! I think it has a lot to do with the fans that keep us coming back for more. The way you feel when you put on those cuffs and collars is a feeling that’s hard to describe! So as we welcome new faces and say “see you later” to our friends, remember reinventing yourself is good and necessary. If it doesn’t work, guess what, you can always make changes!
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