RICHMOND, Va. -- Lisa Licious, an RVA legend of sorts, is 40 years old, which is up there in stripper years.
She believes 10 years is a pretty good run for an exotic dancer.
"But I feel like I took it to the next level with featuring and traveling the United States and doing shows. So, I feel like that bought me a couple more years," she said.
Her "featuring" means headlining shows here, across the country and in a few other parts of the world, showcasing her powerful dancing, elaborate costumes and props, which includes puppets, dummies, and even robots. Not to mention her assets, which includes one she favors above all others.
Comedy is a big part of what she does.
"I like funny," she said.
She has a lusty laugh and enjoys using it, I found while visiting with her on a recent night after her 12-step meeting for recovering substance abusers.
"Eight years clean," she said proudly.
What tipped her to sobriety?
"Jail," she said, "and just not wanting to live like that anymore. I was miserable, it wasn't fun anymore."
The difference is "amazing," she said. "I wake up feeling great, never hung over I'm not worried about the cops. I just live my life, I travel, I'm a free spirit."
Dancing in itself is a big workout, she said. But she also does thrice-weekly sessions with a personal trainer, occasional hot yoga, and a pretty strict diet.
She's also had a little work done, she's not ashamed to say.
Lisa Licious is an open book. She answered just about any question, including how she got started dancing (Hooters), what her parents think about it ("I think they kind of accept it"), how she feels about the men she dances for and how she sees her role ("It's like being an actress, a therapist, a life coach maybe.")
"The money is good, of course," she said. "But I like the performing part, like being on stage, smiling and dancing and having people interact and seeing they're having a good time . . . I like the energy of a busy Friday night."
She said she grew up very much a tomboy in rural King William County, playing with Matchbox cars and riding BMX bicycles. She said by 14 she was "smoking weed" and that eventually led to her near downfall. She considers it a miracle she came out sober and healthy, with a grown daughter, boyfriend and a national reputation as an entertainer.
But next year she's retiring - sort of.
She and her longtime mentor plan to open a "feature academy . . . to train girls to do what we do . . . The industry needs some good teachers to teach them how to create good shows."
When I asked her what her most important feature is, she turned as if showcasing her modified derrière and then whipped around to point at her face.
"My . . . smile!"
There's that laughter again.
See it and hear it for yourself in the video portion of this week's RVA Revealed.
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