November FitShowgirl Spotlight: Lola Frost
It is with overwhelming joy that I present the first FitShowgirl Spotlight to feature an artist who is both a Burlesque Dancer and an Exotic/Club Dancer. November’s Spotlight is none other than Vancouver’s Rock N’ Roll Flapper Lola Frost.
Lola Frost is an Internationaly recognized and award-winning performer, as well as a teacher and mentor. She is co-director of the Vancouver Burlesque Center and integral member of Sweet Soul Burlesque. She has been voted into the Top 50 of Burlesque figures 4 years in a row. Lola has been awarded titles such as “Sexy, Sultry, Sizzln’ Striptease” (2009), Most Dazzling Dancer (2013) and 2nd runner-up of Miss Exotic World 2013.
Her bio also tells of her incredible stage presence and how her acts are a sensorial experience to behold. While this is one million times true, I believe the what makes Lola Frost so remarkable on stage as well as off is her compassionate, supportive and loving character.
My first ever encounter with Lola Frost was four years ago at Burlycon where I took one of her classes. I was still a shy newbie performer at that time and I remember how strong, confident and truly sincere she came across. I was in awe of this powerful person in front of me. Since then I have had the great fortune of bumping into her in New York, Vegas and festivals around the States.
Lola’s demeanor is always welcoming and her visceral fierceness on stage is truly a gift to watch; as well as inspiration to grow as a performer. If you have not had the joy of watching the magic she produces go find her on: Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.
What is your name? Lola Frost
How long have you been performing?
10.5 years as a fancy naked lady, but I’ve been a performer of some sort for most of my life. Competitive figure skating, theater, go-go dancing…
What type of performance do you do?
Burlesque, Art Modeling, Exotic Dance, MCing occasionally – all in the key of a slow fierce burn.
What does fit mean to you?
It means being strong, healthy and at the top of my own personal ability. I’ve been active my whole life and can tell when my body is out of sorts physically. So for me, just having an active lifestyle that keeps me mobile, agile and fit is necessary. Then, depending on what I’m working on, I add skills or training to enhance it.
When do you feel your best?
When I’m in the flow and balance of performing, teaching and training. When my body feels strong and free from injury, when I have lots of energy for admin, creativity, and using my body physically on stage – when I’m getting enough sleep and fueling my body with the right foods. When I’m having lots of sex.
How often do you workout or are you active?
I’m active everyday; it’s part of the blessings and curses of being a full-time performer and teacher. In the last few years, just over 3, I added Exotic Dance / Strip Club work to my job repertoire and that made me even more active! I started pole dance and advanced floor work classes to add into my stage shows. All which take tremendous strength and agility. So, even on the days where I don’t workout, I am using a lot of physicality. It’s an interesting dynamic, if you start a new skillset you want to get better and stronger at it, but sometimes just having the energy to do 3-4,18min shows a night is a lot for a day. But without training, strengthening and stretching your body, it will indeed suffer after throwing it around in heels for hours.
As an instructor, you also put a lot of work into your classes, so that involves extra strength and output even before you exert it to your class. I’m always trying to achieve the balance of taking lots of classes to keep my outlook fresh and just planning and training enough to bring my students what they want to learn. To be honest I love it, but sometimes I just fall on the studio floor limbs all heavy and spent.
Do you have an exercise or workout regiment?
Not really. I wish I had more structure sometimes! I’m on the road a lot, and that makes doing the same thing everyday challenging. Sometimes I have space in my hotel, sometimes not, sometimes there are studios in town, sometimes not. So I just try to do what I can when I can. I always travel with light and effective items so I can do a little to keep myself feeling limber: a roller, a strap, a resistance band, a tennis ball and recently a set of 1pound ankle weights; those and some youtube videos or your own set of reps and you are good to go!
Do you prefer to work out at home, the gym or attend classes?
CLASSES! Always. I have my group fitness certification and have always love being in a place where there are mixed levels and everyone is supporting each other with their hard work. I find it inspiring and motivating. When I first found yoga (1998) it was from a book and I tried to teach myself. However, it wasn’t until I started to take classes and gain proper alignment, breath and perspective that my practice evolved. There is so much to gain from another’s perspective or technique.
I try to bring all those elements together when I teach anything showgirl related. My style on stage is more physicality based rather than character based, so I try to always have a way to translate the sensuality of striptease with the strength of our bodies.
Is there a specific type of workout/exercise you haven’t tried but are interested in?
I really try to do everything that comes up for me, but I guess there are things that are very specific, that would take a lot of dedication to get right so I have not ventured into like; a proper tango, capoeira, power lifting, rock climbing, bull riding…
Is there a certain area of your body you concentrate on? What do you do to target that area?
I target my core a lot. I’ve had such bad injuries to my lower back over the years. If I don’t keep those muscles extremely active I am very sore and sometimes immobile. I combine yin style stretching to the back, complementing it with a lot of lower transverse abdominal work. With the addition of pole in my life I have had to reevaluate my upper body as well. I have naturally tight and inflexible shoulders, I also have a lot of upper body strength. If I’m not careful I get very tight and bound in that area. I’m still learning how to avoid this, but like everything else it’s balance and dedication! Stretch, stretch, roll out, stretch.
Do you have a favorite piece of workout gear or accessory?
I use to work for Lululemon so I had access to really good workout gear and really good discounts! 😉 Over the years my favorite gear was always the hot yoga gear. The fabrication and cut of the shorts and bra tops were ideal for my body and very effective. Now, to my delight, they double perfectly for pole training!
I also can’t live without my roller. It saves me on the daily!
One of my goals of this blog is to begin to fuse the worlds of nightlife or blur the notions that burlesque isn’t stripping and the stigmas of being a stripper to those who pole dance for sport. As another performer who has a toe in both worlds what would you say to someone who is weary of being labeled as a stripper?
Whoraphobia is strong within our society, sadly, so stigmas are very slow to be released from those not wanting to associate themselves with what it might mean to be attached to those stigmas. I often see it as a condition of misogyny that has been ingrained so deeply in us from day one, and it comes from men and woman. Those not wanting to be called a Stripper are usually coming from a place where they think or have been told that being such is – low class, is filthy, is bad, is wrong or is dehumanizing – because society has set up woman who use their bodies and sexuality for gain to be “whores” and therefore, worthless. Instead of seeing the Sex Work spectrum as work, they see it as something one does when they are desperate or lack options (and that perceived desperation can also take on many forms that also are woven with stigmas).
I could go on a whole tangent about the layers of why people think and act this way, but I will sum up with your question – “what would you say to someone who is weary of being labeled as a stripper?”
I would say respect others and their choices, learn how to support one another and articulate what you do in a way that does not demean another. If you are a burlesque dancer, you technically are a stripper, you are striping down layers to reveal more of your body or ideas. When you peel and reveal, you Strip period. If it makes you uncomfortable to be labeled a Stripper you need to look deeper into the whys of that for you personally. It might not be for you. You might identify with the terms Stripteaser, Showgirl/boi ect, or Burlesque Dancer more, and that’s just fine. But in NO way should you put down another for identifying with or being a Stripper. That is personal choice, expression and agency.
As for the “pole fitness” world sometimes wanting to distance themselves with Strippers I have the same opening statement, and will add – without us there would be no you. So chill out and have a good time. You don’t have to proclaim #notastripper we know, you are here for the sport. It’s important to learn your history and respect it. Being associated with the Stripper movement does not make you a Stripper, standing beside a Stripper does not make you a Stripper. Being a Stripper makes you a Stripper. Stripper Pride and unity is important, just like in any subculture or art form outside the contemporary standard, we need each other to thrive. Let’s hold each other up, not down.
How do you feel that burlesque and club stripping differ in regards to body positivity? Or do you notice a difference between the two?
Holy YES, yes it does differ. A lot. I’ve worked clubs where girls have been let go for bing “too big” or “too old” and it broke my gawd daymn heart! Coming from the world of the burlesque where we honor and make space for it all, seeing the expression before just the flesh, and knowing Burlesque can stand alone without titillation it was hard to cross over and see that.
I’ve personally found so much support in my own healing and expression over the years on Burlesque stages. I know there would not have been room for that on a club stage, being under the scrutiny of strip club “standards” can be horrifying and exhausting. There is some diversity sure, but the majority of looks and body sizes fit a general esthetic. I also know it comes with the territory of working in a male dominated industry as opposed to a female dominated industry. I’m grateful for having deep deep roots in burlesque from which to grow froth from.
Part of what makes Burlesque as an art, industry and expression so great is that is celebrates, encourages and supports diversity of all kinds. I honestly would not be the same person without it.
Working as a strip club stripper is hard work, it’s a lot of work and it’s work that not everyone can, should or wants to do. I feel the same about construction work, serving tables or being a Lawyer, not everyone can, should or wants to. Every job comes with parameters, I’m just so glad that art does not.
What are your words of advice for others on how to stay fit & focused in the nightlife world?
Find what works for you body, find what makes you feel alive and strong and keep at it. Being active and fit allows lots of new energy to come into and leave the body. For us creative types this is so important as it keep the juices, literally and figuratively, flowing! Drink lots of water and dance it out!