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The Road to MPDA

My god, it really happened. I competed in Miss Pole Dance America, and I fucking KILLED it.

Two years ago at this time, I walked away from my academic career in a single-minded pursuit to get my ass to the top of this pole dance industry.

After competing in this elite invitational competition that is MPDA, I feel that I can say–“Mama, I made it.”

Spoiler alert: I didn’t win! (Sarah Jade is Miss Pole Dance America 2016, an award well-deserved.) I did, however, shred it like never before in my life. I consider my routine at MPDA to be the baddest, most complex, most meaningful stage show I’ve ever produced.

For those of you who were in attendance–the LOVE WAS FELT! For those of you who could not make it–wait patiently along with me for the professional video to be released, and I hope you will feel the love too!

at-mpdaThe journey to MPDA is an emotional one for all of us competitors–several of us talked about this backstage, what we went through to get here, what changes the process made in our hearts, our bodies, our souls. We all have our different stories, and they are all beautiful and sad and glorious in their own unique colors. The tears, the elation, the costume mishaps and the pole trick missteps: getting to Miss Pole Dance America wasn’t easy for any of us. And so I send mad props and love to women who danced on that stage this Saturday. I think it’s safe to say we killed it.

We all have our own hardships. And even my own are varied, multiple, many, and for the most part–hidden. Portraying positivity and joy is part of my social media ethos. And honestly, some shit I just don’t want to talk about. This confession I’m about to share with you–is one of those things.

I suffered a terrible life-changing injury due to a dumbass fall down some metal stairs this January, mere months before MPDA. I tore my labrum in my shoulder and without surgery–which is incredibly expensive, traumatic, and not something I desire–there is an entire library of pole tricks I will never do again. I’ve made my peace with that–though it wasn’t easy.

I didn’t build LuxNation on tricks. I can live in the fullness of myself without ever doing another split grip again.

However, this injury did prevent me from training for MPDA for months. Let it be known: getting into this competition has been one of the greatest honors of my life and meant the world to me. Having this taken from me, possibly entirely–my god, the despair.

I was 100% unable to pole. I could not even pick up a fucking milk carton. There was a good chance I’d have to bow out of Miss Pole Dance America if shit didn’t heal.

Here’s the good news. Shit did heal. Well, it healed enough, and as much as it ever will. This is a chronic injury I will deal with for the rest of my life. However, never fear: clearly I am still able to pole my heart out, which is proven because none of y’all noticed any changes in my videos or performances these past months that I’ve kept this injury to myself!

A note about safety: I was under the care of a physical therapist for months and followed her orders to the letter. I did not touch a pole for 10 weeks, and then only entered back gradually.


But guess what. I did get it all back, and I fucking shredded at MPDA. So this story…has a happy ending.


We’re all human. Here’s to all my polers out there who’ve suffered the terrible loss of a serious injury. Here’s to all my folks out there, poler or not, who’ve been disabled in any way from pursuing the work and art that feeds your soul. Hang in there, friend. I love you.

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