Feature

Student persevering through college with unique side hustle

by Cameron Smith

Staff writer

Times have changed. There is money to be made in almost every aspect of life.

However, in the case of college student Kris Dew, money is brought in from multiple pursuits – stripping and modeling. 

The 22-year-old graphic design major at Texas Tech University began her lifestyle as a dancer from an early age.

“For me, it was a natural escalation thing,” she explained. “I was in dance all four years of high school and excelled in it really well. Then, when I got to college, I got hired as a go-go dancer at a local club. It was OK for some time, but the pay wasn’t enough and management was awful. So I decided if I was doing nearly the same thing as stripping, then I may as well take the dive.”

Dew danced locally until she realized her talents could soar higher in bigger cities.

The stigma of friends and family members disowning exotic pole dancers was expelled almost immediately, according to Dew.

“My close family knows,” Dew said. “Everyone was pretty accepting of it when they found out. I mean, I’ve been doing it for three years already.”

Photo by Cameron Smith/PLAINSMAN PRESS

The overwhelming factor of fear and terror come hand in hand with the stripping lifestyle and community. Stage names and personas are created not only for showmanship and flare, but also for protection.

“There’s always this stereotype that strip clubs are a catacomb of crime and danger – and that’s not completely true,” Dew said. “I’ve been in corporate jobs that were far more dangerous than stripping. I do face unique dangers as a dancer, such as pimps, sex traffickers, thieves, drunken men, stalkers and having to be careful my drink doesn’t become drugged. God forbid we get sexually assaulted or even raped.”

Despite the dangers of stripping, she continues to perform every weekend.

“I strip because I’m an amazing pole dancer,” Dew said. “I make a lot of money from my talents.”

Dew’s nights are filled with extravagance and glamour until the light of day shines down. Even then, she doesn’t have the time to catch her breath and relax. That’s when she starts her next career path: modeling.

“Getting into modeling wasn’t as easy as getting headshots,” Dew stated. “I started figure modeling with the art school my freshman year after my roommate told me about it. Then I got my headshots done by a producer I was working with over the summer. I uploaded my portfolio to this site for connecting models with photographers. I used the site for a while and networked myself through social media, and established a connection with photographers I regularly work with. Friends also send me new photographers too.”

Dew’s future in graphic design isn’t completely abandoned. She intends to continue pursuing freelance graphic design but prefers to take a break after she graduates.

She finds it difficult to put time in for doing homework between stage-time and breaks from modeling. Her schedule leaves little or no room for schoolwork. However, that doesn’t stop her from maintaining her 3.7 GPA and remaining in four honor societies.

“I’ll be continuing to model once I graduate,” Dew said. “I’ve been trying to decide if I want to do agency life or continue to be freelance.”

Dew’s daily life is somewhat of a fantasy; however, it’s just something she’s been doing for the past four years. Her days may be packed full, but her dedication to her craft is visible with every day that passes.

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