I have followed Beanie the Jet for a long time. After years of being friends online, I was lucky enough to meet her in person in January when she hosted one of my workshops at Poletastic, Manchester. In today’s guest blog post, Beanie talks about her struggle with self confidence, her pole dancing journey, The Filthy Friday movement, Women of colour in the pole community and her support of sex workers.
I’ve been pole dancing almost 5 years now. I’ve always wanted to pole dance for as long as I can remember, but never thought to try a class. I remember mentioning it to an old friend of mine and she put me off when she mentioned she’d been turned away from a studio in South Manchester because she was over a certain weight and the poles couldn’t hold her. About 8 months later I started a new job and mentioned to my new work bestie that I wanted to start pole and she was so up for it! I contacted Fay Warne at Poletastic and booked myself in for a beginner’s class. It remains one of the best decisions I have ever made.
When I began poling I wasn’t myself, it’s hard to write about because I’m such a different person now. I was massively depressed. I suffered from crippling panic attacks and it was hell to leave the house. I also have ‘PCOS’ it’s a condition which back then massively contributed to my depression and other physical issues. One of the main problems aside from weight gain and fertility issues, was that I had a massive hormone imbalance which meant my body created a lot more Testosterone than I needed. I was diagnosed in my teens and by my mid-late 20’s it had broken me. I’d lost my girliness, my femininity, and on top of that I was at my heaviest. My hair began to fall out and I hated myself. I remember, at so many lessons I’d use the pole right at the back of the class, out of the view of other people and my own reflection.
Before I got depressed I was such an outgoing, social and confident person. It’s almost as if I woke up one day and all my sparkle had disappeared. So, for a long time I stayed out of view, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the classes, I loved them. I just needed to take time with myself. For a Scorpio I must confess that it’s the most patient I’ve ever been in my life. Pole has absolutely, 100% shaped me into the fierce, magical WOMAN I am today. I feel as though Mother Nature regifted me my femininity and then some! All of this happened through the power of pole.
I must say, it was the heels that totally made it for me. The moment I strapped those shoes onto my feet and danced my little dance, the mirror was no longer my enemy. Pole has not only changed me mentally, but physically I look and feel so different. My hair grew back, I dropped over 48lbs, my fertility and hormonal issues have improved massively, and I finally grew a booty! Without pole, I honestly do not think I’d be sat answering these questions today and that is the only way I can put into words how important it is to me. Pole didn’t just change my life, it saved me.
Filthy Friday started off as a hashtag, a comfort hashtag I like to call it. I’d been poling for over a year and my confidence was creeping back, I wasn’t quite there yet but with the support of some good friends in our community I’d made it on to Instagram and I was ready to take it to the next level.
I had my pole fundamentals and with my new-found femininity I’d also reconnected with my sensuality. I wanted to immerse myself in pole completely. I’ve been obsessed with all things sexy since I can remember and I wanted to turn things up a notch, but I still wasn’t confident enough. I was still overweight, my skin is dark, and I wore a wig. Although I felt sexy I was unsure of how people would react to me on social media.
I came up with an idea, I’d dance the way I wanted, wear whatever the hell I wanted and post a video every Friday. After uploading I’d use the hashtags #filthyfriday and #lanamademedoit (I’d just discovered Lana Del Rey and her music literally made my heart skip a beat, perfectly slinky, sensual and submissive). People in the pole community began cheering me on, before I knew it, most of my friends in the pole community were using the hashtag on a Friday too! I noticed how physically different we all looked. There were slim girls, male dancers, plus babes, all shapes and sizes, all genders and levels, beginners to super advanced. The hashtag that started as my safety net became a thing, and it wasn’t a safety net anymore, it was a movement!
Filthy Friday is a colossal F**K YOU to the people who don’t believe you can be sexy at any size, any age, any sexuality or gender, because sexy is a feeling. Also, for me, a lover of porn, a lover of strippers, a lover of all things sex work related it’s a massive screw you to the people out there who try to discredit strippers and claim that pole is just for fitness. That’s where the Filthy Friday Showcase comes into play. I held the first showcase around the time when people were banging on about how pole dance originated from small, oriental men climbing wooden sticks and how it should be a recognised Olympic Sport. I saw some nasty things written about sex workers and kind of saw it as an opportunity to get the message out there. Strippers have been doing this for a long time and the hustle should never go unrecognised or uncredited. We wouldn’t have this style of dance if it wasn’t for our sisters. Filthy Friday has performers who work in clubs, cam etc and we find a seedy venue where we can dance our hearts out! We all look so different and I’m so proud of who we are as a team.
I’m really inspired by music. I love listening to music that gives me rollercoaster butterflies. I’m such a visual person too, I love seeing something and translating it into dance, it doesn’t always work but it keeps me busy and switched on. Absolutely anything sexy really inspires me too, films, books, smells, feelings. I’m sensitive in that respect so I feel as though I see inspiration everywhere.
Recently I’ve been making the effort to attend some UK Pole competitions. I find the atmosphere, especially at Authentics really inspiring. There is no better place to be for inspiration than at a pole competition, especially if you’re friends with or follow people competing. You know they aren’t half-arsing anything and to see them get on stage and give you their absolute best is probably one of the most inspiring positions a pole dancer could be in. Watching my friends this year smash comp after comp has most definitely helped me step my game up. Just wow!
I love so many different genres of music I think it really depends on what mood I’m in. I tend to go for ‘submissive’ style music, it really does get me in the zone and feeling sexy. Artists like Lana Del Rey, The Weeknd, FKA Twigs, NAO and Sade. I also love rock bands like, AC/DC, Queens of the Stone Age and The Eagles. Led Zeppelin is my all-time favourite, they have such a bluesy, soulful sound.
For class choreo I do mix it up, but I tend to go for more ass-shaky vibes, Drake, Cardi B, ThePartyNextDoor, Jerimih. 90’s Rap/RnB/Garage really does it for me too. My husband sometimes plays guitar while I’m off in my little corner stretching in the evenings, I’ll usually end up having a jam to his music.
It saddens me that still, there’s not as many pole stars/celebs from ethnic backgrounds in the UK/Europe. There also aren’t many women of colour taking part in competitions and judging. For example, I can’t see any WOC feeling comfortable enough to take part in a comp in Italy and rightly so. My sisters are doing their thing in America, and yes things are getting better in the UK/Europe but for me, it’s not moving quickly enough. I’m not about raining on anyone’s parade, and people reading this might think I’m just another ‘angry black woman’ but it’s how I feel. Im not even sad for myself, but for all of the talented dancers out there who really deserve more than they are getting.
After the Blackface incident in the pole community we got better. So many people from our community reached out and offered their support, but that all seems to have disappeared now. Will it take another incident for people to see this is as an ongoing struggle for us? There’s still a fine line and we need to bridge the gap.
Also, the whole, negativity towards sex workers sh**s me off, along with the ‘#notastripper’ horses**t. It makes me want to rip my tits off in frustration! These people are part of a pole community, a POLE community that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for strippers. I’ve seen the work being done out there to change both issues. I’m happy to be part of a community that is open to and supports change.
I’d have to say my favourite pole dancer is Lauren Elise King (@laurenelisepole). She’s so, so beautiful and her style is mesmerising. I’ve seen that girl hit certain beats in a song upside down, one hand on the pole and she is still serving face and body. She is so lovely!.
Another is Rhiannon White @redrhi), (I’ve just taken a sip of water before continuing) I am the thirstiest bitch for Rhiannon. I got to see her perform live in front of my own eyes this year after over 3 years of following her on Instagram. I realise I can never ever see her perform live again and it’s safer for everyone if I stick to watching her on my phone! Jokes aside, she is something else. I think she still has a little bit of my soul following her around. I’m also living for Chan and Little Dee, people need to watch ‘this space’ with these two.
We have our next showcase coming up 19th October.We’ve just moved to a new venue so I’m looking forward to having all the girls in one room for some Filthy Fun.
We’re also working on a Filthy Weekender, 2019! We’re almost there with the plans and it’s really important for me to choose to work with people who’ll benefit from my ‘lavish ideas’ (as my husband calls them). A few messages have gone out and there are still some to be sent! I’ll be able to tell you all more in the New Year.
I’ve almost finished putting together a Sensual Movement Intensive that I’ve been workin on since January. I’ve kept a diary over the last few months, I won’t go into too much detail but just know it’d be a psychologist’s dream! The diary has my moods, inspirations, favourite songs, choreography etc recorded. I wanted to put the intensive together based on this, as women tend to share a lot of similar feelings, our hang ups and fears included. I wanted to figure out a way that I could enhance body confidence and promote self-love using certain moves and songs to stir up positive feelings. I’ve used this technique with my girls during class over the last 12 months they’ve all done amazingly. I’m trying to figure out how to get 12 months into a few hours!
Beanie The Jet (Sabrina) is a Thirty Something, Plus Body Confidence and Pole Instructor. She is the Creator and Owner of PD Filthy Friday. Beanie uses a variety of Floor, Pole, Chair, Pole-Dancehall and Strip classes inspired by the Filthy Friday Movement. She focuses on Sensual Movement which is a combination of sensual, ass-tastic and downright FILTHY flow. Beanie has been dancing for over 4 years and believes you can be sexy at any size!
If you’d like to be featured or have an idea for the blog, visit the contact section to get in touch..