Before Alli was born, I was a different woman. I wanted to pursue Biology and work in the forensics field since I was in high school. I was raised in Southern California in an conservative Catholic household by a grandmother who did not believe in sex before marriage and drilled these beliefs in my head. (It must have killed her to find out by my 6 year old brother that I preached about losing it in the journal I kept under my pillow at 16 years old.) I had mommy and daddy issues clearly and held a lot of resentment for it. By 16 years old, I had found the love of my life (or so I thought) and wanted to run off with him everyday. I ditched too often and missed my mathematics class so much, I failed senior year and could not get admitted into a CSU college like I longed for. My heart was shattered but I recouped my losses when I found out the local community college offered crime scene investigation courses.
My father seemed to always get the better end of the stick than me. Throughout all of my childhood, I just recall everything being handed to him without having to earn it by my grandparents. My mentality did not work this way at all and I worked every weekend of my junior and senior year to pay for the bucket of a car I finally was able to buy. Shortly after I graduated high school, my dad flaunted to me his brand new truck that my grandma got him and that was the last straw for me. One day, I came home with keys to my new apartment in one hand and packed my shit up. I never even looked back as I moved into one hell of a dump in the worst part of my hometown.
I kept my head down, and minded my own business. My car got broken into several times, and when they realized I had nothing valuable to take, I was just stuck with the costs of broken doors and windows. The slum lords were always out to get me because I was an easy target. I even recall a new neighbor coming over and threatening me because the land lord told him I complained about his music. I didn’t. I was never home to give a fuck. Eventually, they realized it wasn’t me and I fell into their good graces. I learned the difference between gun shots and fireworks and when to fall to the floor. Neighbors were always looking out for me by looking outside the window to make sure it was myself or my live-in boyfriend who even him was away for some periods of the time.
Working part-time for minimum wage, and going to school was tough. I needed some kind of outlet to make more money. My family did not have any money saved for me to go to college. I do not really think they ever thought I would go, being the first to go in my family. Times were tough. I lived on Top Ramen and hot dogs. I never learned any real-life skills such as cooking, cleaning, having pets or even paying bills. It was a real culture-shock for me. I was depressed, slept up to 16 hours a day and maintained 115 lbs. somehow. This is the life I chose though. I chose to go away from home and live with my boyfriend who supported me the best he could.
I had to think of ways to make this work. My grandma had always tried to get me to actively pursue modeling. I started modeling and provocative as one could at 14 years old. She instilled in me that I was pretty. Pretty enough to be a model. It was her dream that she never got to finish accomplishing. I had always been interested in modeling but modeling for money was always proven difficult because they wanted you to be naked or do other "favors." I had always promised myself that would never happen. I would think to myself, "I have my boundaries and my own values and being naked on camera is against everything I believe in." I always had respect for women who did this professionally though because they paid their bills regardless of the way they handled it. Being exposed to the modeling industry means I was equipped with plenty of contacts should I ever change my mind and... I did.
It was a paying gig for 2 hours tops in a city near San Diego. They promised the photos would not be published unless I wanted them to be. I was not sure what the photos would be used for and I did not care. I was being paid about $250 an hour. That was my rent and utilities and that was all I cared about. I learned a lot from that day. I learned that even the most "legit-sounding," photographer with his published work in Playboy, Hustler, etc. had the potential to be unprofessional. Several acted like they did me favors by hiring me, or getting me the job and expected "favors." I never gave in but it did put me in some dangerous situations. I was committed on just getting my money and getting out. Eventually, I learned how to sweet-talk my way out and maintain a level of professionalism. I never thought about the tarnishing of my reputation later on. I never thought about the consequences or the enemies I would face. Mostly, I never thought about the danger it presented to me. I was all about the green.
I was getting anywhere from 4-7 jobs a week, all requiring travel outside of town. I was burnt out but I was happy to be able to make my own schedule so I could go to class. A 2 hour gig would turn into an all-day event because it would still take me up to 4 hours travel time and time to do my make up, hair and coordinate wardrobe. Some photographers were very specific and had a vision in their head but always expected the model to acquire the materials necessary. Other times, they hired a make up artist, hair stylist and wardrobe was provided. When this happened, it always made me happy because often, I got to keep the wardrobe and pictures. Eventually with any self-employment, work slowed down and came to an almost abrupt stop. I was so broke, and tried my best to continue to market myself for new work but I had worked with some of the top photographers in Southern California and they had grown bored with me.
A friend from middle school contacted me on Facebook and suggested that I start supplementing by stripping and that the money was great. I was extremely hesitant because the last thing I wanted to do was make my boyfriend upset (same guy). But ends were not being met by me nor him and I felt I had very little choice to at least try it. He was not happy about it, but I felt unless he could fully support us, I had to take a chance. How could it be any different than what I was doing? I asked her, "you mean I would have to actually get on a guy and give him a lap dance?" "Yes." "Can I just dance on stage for tips and bypass the lap dance area?" Damn, I was naive.
I attended "an interview" by her boss at a club that seemed hidden right off of the freeway. I explained to him the truth, I was a college student just looking for some extra cash. I told him as long as it did not conflict with my school schedule, I would be willing to work the day shift. He told me, "you will not make any money working the day shift. Come in at 7PM on Friday." He had such a blank expression on his face. I could tell he had a tough exterior and it was intimidating. I had no idea why I was there or what I was doing but I showed up that Friday. In the dressing room, I do not recall anyone talking to me or acknowledging me so much. I was instructed to tell the DJ what song I wished to dance to. I had no idea, so he had to pick for me. He then asked, "which name do I introduce you by?" I froze. My friend was so brief about what this all entailed and I had not thought about it. Softly, I spoke, "Do you have an Alli?"
Alli was my name on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights to come.
Alli was born.