A conversation with the Berlin Strippers Collective.
Berlin is undoubtedly a hedonistic city. It’s known for its wild sex clubs, indulgent late-night food culture, excessive drinking, and the legalization of sex work. Despite this sinful reputation, sex workers in Berlin still face much of the same stigma they encounter elsewhere. Berlin Strippers Collective (BSC) is an organization of strippers living in Berlin, working to tell their stories through art and events, while always advocating and fighting for their ultimate goal: decriminalization.
Written by Adri
Photos by Megan Auer
Clothing Courtesy of Riot Pant Project
I sat down with three members of BSC on a cloudy and grey Sunday afternoon on Zoom to discuss their goals, events, and how Berliners, who so ardently support the hedonistic culture here, can support the absolute root of it: sex work. My interviewees (who all use she/her pronouns, although not all in the collective do) introduced themselves as Mia Onacid from Spain, Edie Montana from Italy, and Chiquilove, originally from the Venezuelan countryside, but more recently from London, each cozied up in their little Zoom windows, complete with plants, maps, Ikea lighting fixtures, and mimosas in hand.
After cofounding a similar collective in London, Chiqui moved to Berlin and founded BSC with Edie and another stripper called Suki to create a space for strippers to share their stories with the public, generate a new source of income, and campaign for decriminalization. They officially created the collective in November 2019 and have been hosting live drawing sessions, performances, comedy evenings, variety shows, and other events ever since. “Basically, the collective first started from two needs,” says Edie, “we were fed up with the shit at work and wanted to create a space that was independent, where we could create our own rules.” The group is proudly feminist, and their audiences are 70% female.
“It’s a political choice to call ourselves sex workers instead of performers because we’re saying we are on an equal level to all kinds of sex workers, all kinds of people that do any kind of sexual labor.“
Online Article – iheartberlin.de