Canada: Stripper, 44, charges age discrimination

Posted: November 17, 2008, 8:45 AM by Karen Hawthorne

Exotic dancer Kimberlee Ouwroulis has filed a complaint against a Mississauga strip club, New Locomotion, saying she was fired because of her age. The 44-year-old, who has taken an age discrimination complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, spoke to the Post’s Rob Roberts:

Q My first question was going to be, how long did you expect to be stripping? But then I discovered you were 40 when you started stripping. How’d that come about?

A I started dancing on the suggestion of customers and managers at another bar where I had been waitressing for a year, at a strip club. I started in the business due to a nasty divorce. There are many dancers still in the business at age of 40; however, it is unusual to start the business brand-new at age of 40. It really worked for me, because I enjoyed it, and maintained a great attitude.

Q How did your manager tell you you were being fired?

A The manager called me into the office June 6, sat me down, looked at me directly and I quote, “Your time is up here,” and I asked, “Why? Is it my age?” He furthermore volunteered that another older girl had been fired the same day, and told me her name.

Q How long do you expect to be dancing? Will you be on stage when you’re 50? 60?

A When I started at age 40, I looked around and realized I actually fit in very well with the girls, and always felt good about myself and looks. I have plans to be in the business until I’m 47 or 48.

Q Surely your job is predicated on how you look. Or is it?

A The job is partially about looks, partially about personality and attitude, all of which helped me to be a good dancer. I was not doing stage shows when I was fired, but I am doing shows at my new club. I was not simply needed to do shows at Locomotion, as there were many girls at the club. Had I done shows, I’d have attracted customers, but I made money regardless in the business doing shows or not.

Q You’ve said you can’t go wrong in a strip club with ”the boobs and the blond hair.” That suggests looks are the key issue for a dancer, doesn’t it?

A That is simply my look for the club. That is not to say that many dancers who do not have that particular look don’t make money, because they do. Again, you can’t go wrong with the look that I have, is the point.

Q Does society have a narrow view of sexy?

A I don’t know what society views as sexy. All I know is that people like different things, and my look was popular, and still is with my new customers. Every customer should have a choice –mature dancers, younger dancers, blond, brunette, black, white etc.

Q You’re now working in a different club. Do clients know about your rights battle? Has it made you more marketable?

A The new club that I work in is about dancing and doing stage shows. It’s not talked about, or at least only the odd person said they thought they knew me from the newspapers, and they were very interested in me and bought dances too. So far it’s been positive for me in that way.

•• Read an update here

(Photo: Exotic dancer Kimberlee Ouwroulis has filed a complaint against a Mississauga strip club, New Locomotion, saying she was fired because of her age. Photo taken November, 2008.)

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