I met Ashley Neal (@ohmadisonn) on set of Hustlers earlier this spring. When we first met, I was immediately drawn to her understated confidence, warmth and playfulness that had me so perfectly at ease when I was otherwise kind of stressed out, on my first movie set, trying to do the best work I was learning to do on the fly. But Ashley and I got to talking, and sure enough, she's a real-life stripper and was using her real-life stripper charm to bring some glitter zen to set. Splitting her time between Miami and New York, Ashley took a moment to chat with me about how she got involved in the movie, and how her real-life experience as a stripper helped her secure the role of Georgia.
How did you get cast for Hustlers?
I noticed the movie sign-up sheet in the locker room at the club one night. I didn’t expect much out of it, because the simplicity of the sign reminded me of a posting for a middle school talent show. I put down my name anyway, even if it was just for the chance to be on set. When I went to the audition earlier this winter, I told the casting agents I was wearing my waist trainer to help me stay warm and snatched. I believe that’s what sold them.
Tell me about your character, Georgia:
Georgia is a fiery sex worker from Craigslist. She has amazing fashion sense, and isn't afraid of doing the dirty work. I understood Georgia because I understand what it's like to be in this industry. Normal people do not understand the behind-the-scenes of what sex work is really like. They don’t know about house fees, house moms, management and all that shit. Also, this film is literally shot in the same place, on the same stage where I earn my fucking living! How real is that?!
How does it feel to be a real-life stripper playing a Hollywood stripper?
I am so proud of myself. Stripping was the best choice I ever made. I know I can work in any city, I know men are boys in big pants, I know the value of pussy is endless and eternal. Stripping taught me to be confident, manipulative, and quick-witted. I learned how to look deeper into, analyze, and unpack social situations. They say the job is 90% rejection, so if you want to succeed you need to drop the ego. The strip club is a very primal environment. It's a science that I love so study.
What makes you really fucking good at your job?
I'm very charming, I know a few pole tricks, and I ask a lot of questions. It's the perfect cocktail to get into this line of work. But I'm also a dedicated student: when I began to read about the work and the hustle, my life changed. Something I've really worked on is my listening skills. Most of sw is just listening. Books like Ho Tactics and The Art of Seduction helped me understand why a customer just said something, or what he’s projecting onto you. That's the stuff that helps you keep it professional and close the sale.
What do you wish for other strippers of the world?
Let us all tackle classism among sex workers. Stand tall, support everyone, and do not back down. I'm wishing a money shower on everyone RIGHT NOW!!