Student by day, stripper by night

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Anya, a Butte College student, shows off her dance moves at Centerfold strip club Sunday night. Photo credit: Annie Paige

When the club lulls without an audience to see her black, 5-inch go-go shoes click-clack to The Black Keys, Anya heads behind the curtain to squeeze in some studying.

Anya, a 25-year-old stripper at Centerfolds in Chico, hopes to become a registered nurse one day. She’s working on her nursing prerequisites at Butte College. In order to keep that dream possible, she provided only her stage name for this story.

Like Anya, the other women chose to go only by their stage names, said Angel, the manager of the club who also performs. Seven to eight students work at the strip club but only one attends Chico State,

Every semester, customers can find students working at Centerfolds, she said. However, some come and go. Those that stay have bills to pay, especially college tuition.

“Financial aid isn’t enough,” Angel said.

Anya’s been dancing at Centerfolds for a year and a half, but she’s worked at about nine other clubs in the past.

Like many other kids who jump into college after high school, 17-year-old Anya bounced from major to major, so she decided to take a break until she figured it out. Now eight years later, she knows what she wants to do.

“I believe I’m at that age where you are sure of what you want to do, and you’re past what other people are pushing you to do,” Anya said.

Autumn, a 29-year-old stripper, also finds herself doing homework during free time.

The other girls sometimes interrupt her study session to talk, which Autumn finds annoying, but at least slow nights allow it, she said.

Making at least $2,000 a month for four years now, Autumn is also able to pay loans stemming from her Illinois State University bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and small business management and the Butte College classes she’s currently taking.

Though she already has a degree, Autumn is playing around with classes of interests to explore her options.

“I want to make sure that I’m going where my interests and skills lie together the best,” Autumn said.

These ladies aren’t alone. Almost a third of strippers attend college, according to a study by The University of Leeds in the U.K. Nearly a quarter of strippers have already completed an undergraduate program.

This job isn’t for everyone, though, Autumn said. If a woman is comfortable enough to pole dance naked, she should go for it.

While most students don’t have to worry about working during the day, they do have to worry about taking morning classes.

Autumn’s earliest class this semester is at 2 p.m., she said. Noon is the earliest she’s done before.

“I’m a nighttime person,” Autumn said. “I like to be nude. I like to socialize. I love to dance, so it’s kind of right up my alley.”

Yessenia Funes can be reached at [email protected] or @yessfun on Twitter.