Since I first heard the abbreviated version of Diablo Cody’s story, I’ve been totally intrigued. Any news item that pops up about her, I scramble to read. Whether it’s out of semi-morbid curiosity or relativity, I’m not sure, but I do know that I’m 100% tired of the “Stripper-turned-[Diablo Cody Achievement]” headlines. I mean, I’m a journalist, I get it – you have to snag people’s attention with something, and nothing’s more salacious than subcultures mixing with mainstream life… But come on, is that all she’s supposed to be?
After reading about her for so long, reading her various blogs and listening to her interviews, I’m pretty sure that I know about 7 Diablo Codys. You know, the girl who, in high school, wasn’t noticed too frequently – geeky, smart, and likely hung out with non-cheerleader types – but once she grew into her natural personality and got comfortable, she became the girl you’d give your right arm to be friends with.
But she was a STRIPPER?!?!!
Yes, a stripper. The mascot of seedy underworlds everywhere. Have you ever sat down and had a conversation with a stripper? As someone who has personally spent a lot of time in strip clubs, I’ve always been interested in what goes on in the upstairs portion of these women, probably because they seemed like the complete opposite of how I viewed myself: confident, brazen, fearless, and comfortable with themselves to the extreme. A common misconception is that exotic dancers only dance because they need approval from men, sexually – implying that they weren’t confident and actually had some self-loathing going on. As far as I can tell, this is 100% wrong; if you’re looking for a mentor in self-appreciation, make friends with a stripper.
And this is exactly why I love Diablo Cody: she does what she wants, when she wants, how she wants – unapologetically. Her real name is Brooke Busey, but that name is “so not heavy metal”, so it changed to Diablo Cody. (Remind you of anyone?) This girl gets what she wants because she creates it instead of waiting for it.
How did she get to be a stripper? Did she run away from home at 14, get mixed up with drugs…? No. She graduated with a degree in Media, became a copyrighter for radio ads, got bored, and went to Amateur Night at a local strip club and loved it. Pretty scandalous, huh? She even stands by it to this day, and after penning the book Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, says “if this writing stuff doesn’t work out, I’m getting right back on the pole.”
She even started out as a wee little blogger. Her blog, Pussy Ranch, gives you an insight to her crassy’n’classy attitude, and blunt honesty that you rarely find in the fancy-shmancy Hollywood we all know and loathe love. From anecdotes about awkard period experiences to waxing lyrical about Michael Cera’s “cutie-cute” face, even photos of her (amazing) rack – she’s exactly who she is, all day every day. Hell, there’s even a drunk post or two in there.
I don’t even need to remark on her definitive style. Cody is like the lovechild of a cyber-punk, Bettie Page and Polyanna when it comes to personal style. While her hair is ever-changing, she seems to be most often photographed in something leopard-print – whether it be a duster, a gauzy dress, or a form-fitting frock. While that all seems nice and rockabilly-tastic, you can also find her in pretty florals, girly patterns, and flats.
She’s always classy with her selections – not revealing like a hussy, not covered like a prude… She’s mastered balance. I think it’s really cute that she wears flats… Exotic dancers typically like more elevated footwear, in my experience.
Relating back to the beginning of this post, you know, the part where I spit fire about how it’s all you can do to get away from reading how Diablo Cody “came from stripping” or “turned from stripping to _____.” I guess what I’m so annoyed with is that phrasing her success that way is basically giving her a backhanded compliment, as if it’s ever-so shocking that a perfectly proud, intelligent, creative woman who chose to be an exotic dancer (because she enjoyed it) could actually do something societally accepted as positive – as if she came from a profession or mentality that was less capable than ye olde suits and Ivy League grads. If anything, it’s the traits that lead her to becoming a stripper that enabled her to accomplish what she has.
Luckily, I think there’s a little “stripper” in every girl, waiting to break out with the class, confidence and power of Ms. Diablo Cody.