Probably the most household name in the entire pole dancing world!
I don’t need to tell you that she’s the legendary 3-time winner of the Miss Pole Dance Australia competition right? Or that she’s won the World Pole Championships not just once but twice… or even that she was famously invited by Cirque Du Soleil to headline her own solo pole act in Las Vegas for a few years.
Cos you knew that already, didn’t you?!
Just like you don’t need to tell me that maybe a small (or big) reason why you got into pole in the first place was because you were super inspired by watching her on You Tube.
And we both even know that she’s got haters too. Peeps saying her style doesn’t change, she’s not as current as the new generation of pole stars, that she’s all sorts of other things, blah blah blah…
You’ve probably figured out by now that she was my very first pole idol and she’s still my favourite one right?
So now that you’re aware I’m a completely biased fan-girl and you’re still here, let’s get on with it!
But first, some quick context about this little interview…
Earlier in the year, some of my girlfriends flew to Perth for the Western Australia Pole Camp, and of course they hit up Bobbi’s Pole Studio in Perth where Felix now teaches full-time.
Amongst their collective gushing about how friendly, cheery, and down to earth she is, they also mentioned that after their classes with her, she had casually invited them all to go visit the club where she works at night.
As a stripper.
(Btw, I liked her even more when I heard that. Yes, I think her being a stripper is pretty fabulous. Told you I’m totally biased, right?)
Then I heard all about how amazing her stage presence is, that she’s utterly classy and captivating, and also how they spent all their money tipping her that night.
And so I knew… that if I ever got the chance to meet Felix, I had to ask her about that topic myself.
Along with all the other usual dorky things I wanted to know.
So here we are! Enjoy…
Hi Felix! So tell us… what have you been up to since Cirque Du Soleil?
Since I left the circus about a year ago, I’ve been teaching at Bobbi’s in Perth. And it’s been amazing! I love it there. It’s home, you know?
I’m quite enjoying not moving and travelling, cos I did so much of it with Cirque that for now I just want to stay in one place.
There’s also so many things that I haven’t had time to work on that I just want to ‘get back into my body’. You lose a lot when you’re only performing because you do the same things over and over again, so it’s been really nice to just train and get back to basics.
What kind of stuff do you want to work on?
Well, I want to develop things that look beautiful and aren’t difficult, because I’m old and broken… So that’s my goal. I want to broaden my vocabulary of pole moves.
Old and broken!? ..What nonsense! But since you mention it, do you have a lot of injuries?
When I was working in the circus, I had a massive accident. They had a mechanical malfunction as they called it, and I smashed my entire face to pieces and broke my arm and my wrist. So that was a mega one.
Apart from that I’ve got a rotator cuff tear which will need surgery if it gets worse, a tear in my wrist as well, my hips are wonky, and my back is out so I have back pain… Shoulders, wrists, back; everything’s a little bit broken! But it’s general wear and tear. When you perform at a high level consistently, it just happens. Bodies are not meant to do things like that!
How many hours a week do you teach?
I teach High Advanced, Advanced, Prep Advanced, Intermediate 2, and Stretch and Flex. And a lot of Pole Grooves!
Phew, that’s a lot! Any favourite thing you love to teach?
I love teaching beginners actually. Or teaching moves from the very beginning, cos when it’s something that the girls haven’t done before, it’s exciting for them, and for me as well. So I like teaching new things. And I really love teaching Pole Grooves because it’s all choreographing and dancing, and it’s so much fun!
I also like students who really work hard, where you can tell that they’re stretching and doing stuff at home and it’s not just an hour a week for them to come in then forget about pole… Dedicated! I like that because I share a passion with them.
Do you prefer teaching to performing?
Gosh, that’s a good question…
I love teaching! I get so much joy from seeing people get things and progress. It’s so rewarding, and it’s a different sort of reward than performing. But that’s a difficult one. I can’t answer that one… I don’t know which one I like better! I like them the same, but they’re so different.
Would you ever compete again?
If I feel like I’m good enough. Cos I feel like I’m not at my peak right now. So if I feel like I get to a point where I’m like, ‘Man! I wanna show this stuff off!’, then yes.
I get so nervous when I compete! I’m like, the worst with nerves. I’m worse than everybody I know! On the day, I’m almost, ‘Why did I do this to myself? I hate this! Why did I do this to myself!’
If you do pole dancing for say, the circus… they don’t really know what they’re looking at so you can just do the splits and they’re like, ‘WOW!’. But the pole community knows what they’re looking at and they expect things of you, so it’s really nerve wracking.
I love performing, and I love being on stage, but I just get really nervous. It’s that 15 minutes before that my heart starts racing, and I start shaking. I can’t breathe as well, I’m like “hurghh!’ I don’t know what I think is going to happen, but I just panic. And then I get on stage and I’m fine!
Do you think the competition scene has changed a lot?
Definitely. I think that across the world, competitive pole dancing has become so gymnastic. It’s ridiculous! It’s sort of lost the essence of pole, but I think the Miss Pole Dance Australia competition has maintained that authenticity, with the showgirl side of the whole performance and showmanship, rather than just being about tricks.
And it has shoes! Cos… wear your shoes! I dunno, I have my preference… whereas I know that other people like it better when its fitness, but to me it’s an art. And I kinda like the taboo-ness of pole…. and how it’s a little bit naughty, like 7-inch stilettos!
Talking about the naughty side of pole… what do you think about the whole, ‘I’m a pole dancer, not a stripper!’ thing?
Well, I’m a pole dancer and a stripper, so I think you can be both! It’s funny cos people sometimes say, ‘She’s a pole dancer! She’s not a stripper!’ And I’m like, ‘hmm, really?’ *giggles*
Do you ever correct them?
No, I don’t think it has anything to do with it. It doesn’t make me any better or worse of a pole dancer.
So you’re cool with people knowing that you dance in a strip club?
Yea, I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed about.
I think people are scared of what they don’t know and what they don’t understand. Just like with pole dancing, there’s a lot of stigmas and assumptions attached to the strip tease industry. You can try and convince someone as much as you’d like, but it’s pretty much like flogging a dead horse. Unless they know it and they’ve experienced it, or unless you’re talking to another dancer, there’s no point really trying to change someone’s mind about it.
Striptease is an art form as well, it’s not about being vulgar… there’s a way of doing it that’s beautiful. Burlesque is like old-school strip tease; it’s a beautiful style of dancing that’s sexy, too! So I don’t think that there’s anything to be ashamed about, because to me it’s just another style of dancing.
But I get it that people don’t like it, and I’m not gonna try to change the world on that one! *laughs*
When did you start in the strip tease industry?
I started working at the Voodoo Lounge in 2006, after I started pole dancing.
I started performing there because it had poles, and pretty much the only place in the world that had poles then were strip clubs!
So I went in and I was like, ‘I’m not going to take off my clothes! But I’ll do a performance for you.’ And they let me. So I started out with just doing pole performances.
But then I saw everyone else making loads of money! And I was a student at the time, and I was making hardly anything. The amount that these girls were making in a night was more than what I’d make in a month. So I was like, ‘ what’s the point of me working 9 till 5, training on the pole for 5 hours, practically dying, and not making any money?
Then I thought, ‘I can practice and make loads of money, I won’t be so exhausted, and I can still do what I love.’ So I just did.
There are so many different types of strip clubs as well. There’s some that are gross, and I would never even walk into them. But some, like The Voodoo Lounge, are beautiful! And the girls are beautiful, and you walk in and it’s an amazing venue, and it’s fun to be part of it.
Are there any moves that the guys really love?
In a strip club, they guys don’t really come to see your pole moves. To be honest, it’s all about eye contact. If you can make a guy look at you, and not look away, that’s the key.
Do you have any funny performance stories?
Yup! I’ve got a good one… from when I was working for Cirque Du Soleil, and it was during the Michael Jackson Immortal world tour.
So I’d do the Spatchcock in every show, and in a Spatchcock, your hands are out behind you, and you can’t really put them anywhere else. And in this particular show I had a very sparkly bikini on, but the bottom of the bikini didn’t stay where it was supposed to so my whole lady-ness was out for everybody in the audience to see! All 20,000 of them! In a Spatchcock! That was probably the most horrific wardrobe fail that I’ve ever experienced! *Laughs*
*Update: Since our little chat last month, Felix must have changed her mind and decided that she is indeed ready for the competition stage again because the Miss Pole Dance Australis 2015 finalists have been announced, and she’s been included as the ‘Automatic Wildcard’ contestant.*