Chapter 18: What’s A Nice Girl Like You Doing on a Site Like That?

In The Beginning…

There is a reason and a story for EVERYTHING. Where did that antique chair come from? How did you get your cat? Where did your grandparents meet? When did you realize you were bisexual? I love stories.

Well, this one is about an adult web site. I didn’t create it because I’m a typical lazy, pretty girl who doesn’t want to work. It wasn’t because I was in debt. I’m not the classic single mom. It wasn’t to put myself through school; although I did exercise THAT cliché on my second go-round with college, working doubles and triples, all day and night at the strip club on Fridays and Saturdays, then doubling up on courses on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I had to drop my German class Tuesday morning. It just started way too early. Organic Chemistry, Abnormal Psych, Macroeconomics…yeah, as much as I’d have loved to see Das Boot without subtitles for once, German had to go. Auf Weidersehen.

I did not end up in the intended veterinarian school. However, I kick ass in Jeopardy.

With all that stated, I created an adult website to get off the road.

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I was traveling full time as a burlesque feature dancer and had been for seven years, while towing a camper to sleep in, eventually living full time in an RV tour bus. It was a fun time that was rarely boring, but I’d had enough. It wasn’t uncommon to drive 20 miles out of the way in the middle of nowhere, only to pull into an RV park at three a.m. that hadn’t been listed as closed for the season. Back-to-back weeks in Oregon, North Dakota, Nebraska, and then Christmas week in West Virginia without seeing anything other than the venues and local gyms. I missed birthdays, holidays, weddings…even a funeral. My agent didn’t allow me to say no, and I was a pretty decent act, so the offers kept coming. It was why I had to literally live out of a bus.

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(Yes…Pantera – and others you’d probably know – used to come to my shows.) 

Wanting to slow down, I declared my retirement while I was still hot but kept a few bookings from the better clubs where I’d done well and who had been good to me. (Unlike in pro wrestling, my retirement was for real.) I was performing in Staten Island and the club manager was a friend. The stage was set back from the patrons, so there was no possibility of any misbehaving. It was a packed venue and I usually made a lot of money. I always got a ton of press in that area. Photographers would come in from all over to shoot me, cover the week of my shows for the local papers or magazines, or I’d simply do Howard Stern ahead of time. However, I remember this most of all: asking for a double shot of vodka at the bar… and then another…

That’s what it took to get on stage. When I should have felt accomplished, I felt anxious. Coming from a long line of alcoholics, I’d always avoided liquor. That was not me…and that was when I knew I had to get the fuck out.

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Featured burlesque paid very well but the expenses were horrific. We were paid several hundred dollars per show and were booked for 12 to 24 shows a week. In addition, tips and sales after each show usually matched or exceeded our pay rate. A travel allotment was also provided. You can do the math: to be willing to give up that kind of a paycheck – it had to be a difficult life. I made significantly less on my website, but I also wasn’t fueling an RV, tipping everyone out in the club, spending $1200-1600 on Swarovski crystal themed costumes and having props made, like a huge see-through champagne glass shaped bathtub for my Little Mermaid show, buying posters in bulk to give away, and paying $20 a day to go to a gym on the road. Eating out just added to the costs.

If you’ve read my tour diaries on my website, then you already know some of the crazy things that used to happen on the road. I traveled with two dogs; an adopted pitbull mix and an American Bulldog. They were mostly for companionship but having them for safety was an added bonus. On three different occasions, they attacked someone trying to push their way into my hotel room or the RV. One was a drunken lady in shitty Flint, MI who just couldn’t figure out that my room wasn’t hers even though there was NO other room in that area.

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The economy had bottomed out in Flint long before everywhere else and the girls at that club were hooking for $5, so I’m guessing that’s what my room had been used for when I wasn’t in it. (I can’t call Flint just “Flint”. It’s always been “Shitty Flint”.) Another was a drunken soldier on a Georgia military base who’d followed me. Unfortunately, the club and my hotel shared a parking lot and I had to walk back and forth. He tried to break my door down after a show. I was actually on the road alone for that particular incident and it was the deciding factor to get a camper and permanently bring the dogs along with me.

A third was a weird middle-aged stalker in northern Indiana. He had parked outside my room and keep walking back and forth, not realizing I had dogs inside. Both animals could tell how freaked out I was and were pacing. I was contractually booked for another show within the hour and had to leave. When he got to the door, I tried to pull both back (which was about 170 lbs of dog total) but my larger male lunged and nipped him in the thigh. There was no blood, but his pants ripped. It became a fiasco and he had my dog taken from me by animal control. Thank God the owner of the nightclub was in tight with the local politicians. I got Chance back late that night between shows, but not before crying a lot of tears and one hysterical panic attack. They’d talked about putting him down. There I was, having to smile, get on stage and do shows like nothing was wrong. When you’re on the road, you don’t always have a lot of friends. For me, my dogs meant everything.

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(Photographer Paul B. Goode caught this photo backstage right before my show and then the second shot during my show. The first picture is very telling.)

This “smile, get on stage and perform like nothing is wrong” is something that happened a lot: Through fights with my mom, a divorce, my husband emptying out our bank account (which was pretty much all mine), car accidents, missing my brother’s wedding and my nephew being born, being deathly sick with bronchitis, and my father dying in a plane crash. (Yes, I did go to his memorial. Both of them. He lived in California but was from Philadelphia. But I had to work in between.) When you sign a contract and have accepted the deposit, the show must go on. This path is like a football career; you can only do it for so long, so you must work hard, be in demand, put as much away as you can, try not to get injured or addicted, and then get out. It’s difficult to build solid relationships when it appears that your main priority is always work.

I never felt safe. I never felt like I could sleep. It was rare that I didn’t feel like a target. This, of course, made me feel easily shattered. There are many, many other crazy road stories I could share but I’d run out of room here. It was time to hang up the sequined g-string and do something a little less crazy. I’ve often been asked why I never did porn. Simply put, it was not for me. There is a massive difference between being a nude fantasy and exchanging bodily fluids via insertion with another human being. Some are not able to grasp this, but I do. Through my website, people get to see enough. I share what’s under my clothes and now, what’s in my head. Only my chosen partner should know what sex is like with me. I have absolutely nothing against those who are in porn industry, which is a legitimate business with many nice people. Agents and fans have always attempted to push me into this direction; that answer has and always will be no.

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I had a very smart and business savy porn star friend, Lisa Lipps, whose heart was actually bigger than her massive breasts. She opened up her home and office to me in Las Vegas, and that’s where I crashed for a little while to get on my feet. She taught me how to run a website. Her, Asia Carrera, Minka…I learned from the best. They are all smart businesswomen and should be respected as such.

My website was never intended as your classic adult site. It’s always been a fan club. Of course I have all my photos and videos on there. However, from Day 1, it’s been an extreme variety of entertainment: it’s had all the behind the scenes on wrestling tours, photo shoots, daily life and conventions, my wrestling matches, fitness and diet tips, all my writing, dirty jokes. I’ve tried to keep it different and fun. It’s been a source of stability, and I truly appreciate when fans become members.

Aside from fetish shoots and larger name magazines, for most of our photo shoots, centerfold modeling doesn’t pay much (if at all!). Generally it’s a trade; time for promo. Meaning, I’ll give you my time (and name as a reference) and you’ll give me the promo photos you’ve shot to use as I please. The only way to earn is to have a site or do some kind of sales with what we get from the shoots. It’s also been a source of creativity as well. Whatever it says about me, I enjoy dressing up and writing my tour travails down; sprucing them up with all the snapshots backstage and video clips. I like CREATING something out of nothing. It’s gratifying. I also know that as much as I’ve enjoyed this, it’s got a shelf life and this is a source of great angst for me. Working for myself, having had the freedom to fly home to visit and take care of my sick mom every other week…

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Speaking of freedom, that means a lot to me. Freedom is exactly why I started AprilHunter.com. Freedom is why I still have it. Freedom has always meant more to me than anything. Some of you know I have bipolar disorder. Many people with this disease are disabled and can’t work at all. I believe being self employed has helped me greatly in this department, even though the self employed get no benefits, sick days or retirement. Having my site has allowed me the freedom to work around how good or bad I feel. Some days I will work until 4 a.m. while other days, not at all. Retouching photos, writing Behind-the-Scenes diaries, updates, editing videos, sending out newsletters, emails, social networking, promoting…I do all of this. I’m not complaining, but it does take up a tremendous amount of time and energy. There’s not a lot left over to deal with for bookings, travel, shoots, writing and thinking of what’s next in life. Oh, right…I have to get to the gym most days, too.

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While this career path can be easy at times, it’s a very difficult lifestyle – and we who are in it, PAY for it every day. TRUST ME. I dress really comfortably in my downtime. I mean, really comfortably. Because the last thing I want to wear is an underwire bra, itchy lace, fishnets or any type of lingerie. I wear that stuff for shoots and wrestling…at home or for my partner, no dice. It’s cotton, all the way. Now stop and think about how messed up that is. I’ll dress sexy to earn a paycheck. But if he wants to see sexy, it feels like work to me. What am I supposed to say? Go to my site?

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I’ve had female friends not feel comfortable with me around their husbands…and lost very good long-time male friends when they wife-up with someone new who has perceived me to be the way my photos depict. Honestly, this kills me. I’m a tomboy and love my guy friends. Losing them has sucked. Truth be told, I can halfway understand this. I’m a very good actress in my photos. I have playing a fantasy down to an art. In real life, as just plain April with no makeup and my hair wrapped up with a clip and my boxer shorts on…that’s me. But on film…I’m the convincing sex goddess who would have you believe I’m the ultimate woman into everything…hence, it brings the insecurities out in women. We ladies aren’t always the most secure creatures anyway and I give my solid female friends who have looked past this to the real me huge props. I love you.

However, it’s been a double edged sword. I’ve hit a point in my life where relationships have become a priority to me and having this site has been an issue. Unless someone is open-minded or a business oriented thinker, they can’t really get past judgments upon it. There’s a lot more to me than just big tits. If you’re on this blog, you already know that. I’m sure that limiting myself to nothing more than a topless or nude model has done a lot of harm in the way of career possibilities. Nothing irritates me like the question, “What do you do?” I don’t really know how to answer it. But I know this: What you do isn’t always who you are.

IMG_8399smallI’ll post photos with friends from the beach and, inevitably, some random fan will make a comment like this: “You have sexy feet.” I have nothing against foot fans, but time and place. It just gets creep-tastic at certain times and it’s gotten old. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to shield my mom or family from fan comments. Yes, they all know what I do. I’m honest. You can’t hide with the Internet anyway. I just prefer not to rub it in their faces.

“I’d love to date you.” Really? No. You think you’d be dating April Hunter. Truth is, you wouldn’t. If you want to date April Hunter, go join my site. That’s where she exists…and that’s the ONLY place she exists. I love some of my fans dearly and I’m super grateful to those who are there for me. While I’ve always tried to give the fans everything I could, including access to me through email and social networking (in addition to seeing me naked every which way), I could never figure out why some fans’ demands were so high that if they didn’t get their way, they went from loving to destroying me. Having my YouTube videos pulled down, my Facebook reported as fake, my PayPal suspended, and so on. I’ve had spiteful people send or show nude photos to my trainer, my brother, and even my grandfather.

It’s also heartbreaking that fans steal from model’s sites so much. This is a never-ending battle for me and it kills memberships. I don’t understand why a so-called fan would deliberately put their favorite models out of business and take food off their tables, but that’s exactly what they are doing by stealing, trading passwords and reposting content. It ruins us. We are the epitome of small business in America and stealing from us truly hurts in ways you wouldn’t believe. 

I’ve shot a lot of content and it’s enough to keep updating AprilHunter.com for quite a while after I’m done with this. I also keep adding a lot of In The Dressing Room stuff and Behind-The-Scenes Diaries that are current.

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Truth is, I haven’t shot anything nude in ages. I quit years ago. However, people think I still do it because they see updates that still have nudes included. I just hit a point where it was “been there, done that” and felt time to move on…so I’ve been working towards life after the site, all while maintaining it. I’m deeply thankful for it and my fans…it’s really turned into a multifaceted website that’s way more than just simple centerfold photos and videos. I’ve outgrown being one dimensional. It’s worked for a long time and I’m grateful. Now I wonder if I wouldn’t be much further ahead in life had I not chosen this path. However, I don’t want to live in the past, analyzing past decisions, and I’m committed to moving forward. It is what it is, and it was what it was.

My website and my life experiences have made me who I am today.

…It won’t be around forever boys, so enjoy it while you can. And don’t steal. 😉

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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Chapter 5: My First Meeting With the Big Brass In Life. Pole:1 – April:0

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Before I became a well-traveled and fairly in-demand burlesque showgirl, (which led to modeling…then fitness competitions…and eventually professional wrestling) I got my feet wet dancing in perilously high heels as a go-go dancer.

Previous to THAT, I had a “real” job. Several. Usually work that barely paid my half of the rent, so I had one or more roommates. Such was the case in this particular story. It went a little like this:

What the shit? I knew something was wrong as soon as I walked through the front door. It was eerily quiet. The roommate was nowhere to be found. Neither was his furniture. I darted to his bedroom and was greeted with bare walls. His stuff was gone from the bathroom. It was interesting to note that of all the things he could have stolen, he’d only taken my aspirin. That mutherfucker had split on the first of the month.

I rang my friend Mike in a panic. A little background: at this point I was barely eighteen, had been living on my own for just a few months and my waitressing hours had been cut to part time. I graduated high school early and was planning to return to college after I’d sorted out what I wanted to do, instead of wasting time and money taking random classes like I’d been. Plus, I wasn’t ready to sit in a classroom any longer at that point. I wanted to be free to do things and enjoy life instead of endless studying. Mike came over with the newspaper and we searched want ads. Everything sucked. I needed the entire rent by the 5th , or face eviction.

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One ad caught my eye. “Dancers Make Dollar$”. I pointed to it. He gave me a look, eyebrow raised.  THAT look.

“What? What else can I do right now?”

“Are you sure you want to go that way?” He knew that regardless of how wild I appeared, I was pretty conservative on the inside. I never so much as removed my clothing when with my boyfriend. Unwilling to admit defeat and crawl back to my mothers, I was painted into a corner with exceedingly few options.

I located the tiny dive bar in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Salvo’s wanted to bring girls in on Tuesdays and Thursdays to boost lagging business. They had no license for topless dancers, but were related to mafia, so this niggling issue was of no matter. I met three other girls, all of us baby faced, barely legal and 100% natural.  

In the miniscule kitchen, Mr. Salvo was cooking authentic Italian food and we’d learn to never refuse, lest risk insult. On that day, the kitchen served as our dressing room. I went out and auditioned behind a row of folding tables with a few dozen or so dubious, dirty blue collar men on the other side near the bar. The jukebox played the same songs over and over. It smelled of beer and cigarettes. I was barefoot because it was the only way I could dance at the time. I wore a bra size 32 A and was sure I was wasting my time. I felt clumsy, terrified, self conscious, bold, my heart was racing. Wearing a peach colored short top and matching thong – the only thong I owned – at the end of the song, I swallowed hard and unbuttoned it, flinging it open. I earned more in that quick audition than I had working a double shift at the restaurant.

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I paid my rent. I made friends with the other three girls who worked there.  We banked at that tiny hole in the wall and worked as often as possible. We pushed for a third day to be added to our shifts and won Saturday afternoons. The Salvo’s treated us like family. We were invited to Sunday dinners and two of the girls were dating the Salvo boys.

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And, then…we were closed down. Someone stopped paying somebody off, and that was that.

Instead of hanging up my g-string and ever the entrepreneur, I employed the two of the other girls to work for me as party entertainment for a while. I took out ads, had business cards made up and we got rolling. We surprised CEO’s in offices, crashed nightclub parties and occasionally did the odd stag party. The money was sporadic and unreliable. The bachelor parties were horrific. If we booked in too late at night, the guys were already drunk, out of control and wanted far more than just dancing girls. We brought in a fourth girl, Wendy, who was a prostitute for these parties. I soon learned that if the guys could have Wendy, they didn’t want her…they wanted the girls they weren’t allowed to have. Getting out of the parties without a huge issue became, well…a huge issue. I wanted out.

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I searched for a more reliable (and safer) income. Seventh Heaven was a biker titty bar (think Sons of Anarchy, but more Piney than Jax.) The club…and I use that word loosely…had a tiny stage with a brass pole smack dab in the middle. I scooted around it, trying to dance. Held on to it to do a few high kicks. Accidentally whacked my elbow on it. The pole and I were not getting along.

As I counted my tips at the end of the shift, I watched as a pretty blond from Poland flipped upside down on that pole and hung on with just her inner thigh. She then spun around the pole, still upside down to hover gracefully midway, and step off…in high heels. She was amazing. Impressive. Beautiful.

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As an athlete and gymnast, I was intrigued. Could I not learn how to do this, also?

“Can you teach me how to do that? Please?” Her slanted Slavic eyes twinkled. She laughed, which I would soon find out she did often, usually at me…and she agreed.

“You try,” Sascha said.

“What…now?”

“Yes. You try. I see.”

I eyed the cold, brass pole doubtfully. It was smudged with fingerprints and God knows what else from the busy Friday night. I glanced at Sascha. She pointed. I was strong. She was skinny. This should be no big deal.  I took a deep breath, grabbed the pole and hoisted my legs up…and slid down in record speed to hit the hard, wooden stage. It sounded like when worn out windshield wipers scraped and burned like fire. Stunned, I looked to Sascha, who was doubled over in laughter. And, our lessons began. At the end of the shift when the bar closed, I’d stay after and get pole dancing lessons.

I’d love to say I was an instant success. A sexy whirling dervish in leather lingerie. “Wow, look at April, she’s so athletic and sexy!”

Sadly, this was not the case.

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As a matter of fact, I fell. A lot. On my hip. On my ass. On my head. And Sascha laughed. I was not athletic and sexy. I was clumsy and slippery. My tender inner thighs, not used to gripping unyielding cold brass for dear life, were horribly bruised. Purple, black and an interesting shade of green. They were tenderized. And still, I tried.

After some time, I was flipping upside down, spinning, hands free. Or holding on at the very top with just my ankle while my other leg was fully extended and my back arched gracefully. I was amazing, because I had a great tutor. Who laughed at me.

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While my technique had gotten much prettier, my bruises remained quite ugly. I covered them up in heavy dermablend makeup to work but hid them under clothing on my off hours.

My family invited me to the Jersey Shore for a weekend. Oh, no. Swimsuits. Mom announced that she and I would be leaving for the beach shortly, to get out of earshot, I learned. While trekking towards the sand on that hot, sunny morning, my mom suddenly turned and grabbed my shoulder, stopping me. “Tell me the truth. Are you a prostitute?”

“WHAT? No! Wait, why in the entire world would you think THAT?”

Her eyes were wide with concern and panic and her fingers dug into my shoulders. “The bruises on your thighs…men…”

“Oh God, Mom! NO!” She looked unconvinced. “OK…fucking hell…OK…I didn’t really want to get in to this, but I’m a dancer. At a topless bar. “

“A…what?”

“Uh…a stripper. There’s a pole. I’ve been trying to learn how to use it…”

“A what?”

“A pole? You know…a brass pole? I try to hang off it and spin…it looks cool, but my legs bruise up…are you mad at me?”

“You’re  not a hooker? Oh, thank God. That’s all it is?”

“Yes. I swear. You can come to work with me on Wednesday. It won’t be busy; you can meet everyone and see what I do.”

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And, she did. She met the bartender, girls and some of the regulars, who treated her with respect. Mom had been a model while attending the Art Institute so nudity was never a big deal to her. It became a family business when I got my brother a job there as a bouncer working opposite shifts as I. The rest of the family wasn’t so keen on my current career choice, but they grudgingly admitted that at least I was open about it. 

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I’ve learned a lot from stripping. Three of the biggest lessons:

  1. It doesn’t matter what you look like or how big your breasts are. What matters is your confidence & smile. This is not bullshit. But perky nipples help.
  2. The word NO is the biggest aphrodisiac in the world to men. Males are hunters by nature and inspired by a challenge. Anything gotten too easily bores them and signals that it’s not worth much.
  3. You really can hang off a brass pole with just one leg. Who knew?

Eventually, the bruises went away. And Mom would often sit on the floor with me and help straighten out the dollar bills.

….I went back to college and got boobs at age 19, all of which was paid for one dollar at a time.

 

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“One thing…one thing leads to another.” -The Fixx.

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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Photos-

Black & white headshot: Julie Strain – Patriots Pole: Merika Rock