SHIFT Magazine: Notes From The Fare Room

April 22, 2011 by · Comments Off 


by Petya Kertikova

“Do you have your ID?” said the lady at the door to the first customer of the Fare Room in Dallas- one of the “entertainment” clubs offering shows with fully nude girls. Without a smile, the door lady greeted the older man who entered the club. As time went on, drunken customers crowded the space at the door, impatient to enter their dreamed world full of naked strippers ready to hustle for their money.

It was already 11 p.m. and the club started rejecting customers. Both the main and VIP areas were packed. Girls were walking around in shiny, topless bottoms waiting to get their customers. Stripper after stripper entered the club without any sign of smile, often looking down. Suddenly, after they put their stage clothes, they became the most welcoming and polite girls, successfully wearing their masks just for the customers.

Midnight was approaching. Loud music was playing, the DJ was talking, nearly naked waitresses were serving beverages, strippers were walking around topless, and customers were wandering with cups in their hands. Being one of the famous clubs offering full nude female performance, the Fare Room is one of the high rated clubs in the Dallas area, according to many of the customers.

Males young and old were among the customers of the Fare Room. After midnight, couples started to come. The usual case is the male having a birthday and the female giving a strip club visit as a present. That night, two couples visited the club, both having either a birthday or another special occasion. Looking calm, one of the couples went to the VIP section where they can enjoy more personal and quiet space and the other one chose the main area where the crowd was tremendous.

The night was going good for the club so far. The managers were excited. They kept smiling and talking about all the money they made up to this point. Customers kept coming in as well as more strippers.
The time was approaching 2 a.m. when a different looking stripper entered the Fare Room. Looking confident, smiling, but still having the hard, mean look on her face, the only one entertainer with short, not long hair as others, was about to hustle as many tricks (customers) as she could. Walking and moving like a dear, Mariah knew how to make her money. Being serious about her job, she was playing the game by its rules (dancing only, no other favors).

Mariah was the exotic looking dancer who knew how to hustle. “I don’t negotiate. A dance is $20. I get ‘offers’ all the time but trading money for sex is not worth risking my health or my freedom,” she says. “Most men will respect your decision if you are direct and firm in your stance. The ones who don’t, usually get a piece of my mind before I leave. And no, it’s not pretty.”

Strippers get involved in the industry for various reasons. “I was broke, without a job, so I applied for a waitress position at Baby Dolls Dallas,” Mariah says. “I wasn’t satisfied with what I made. Going home empty handed, watching dancers take home upwards of $500 and plus as a minimum, motivated me to try to be a dancer.”

She then stood up and went with one of her customers into the VIP area. Looking at her, other people wanted her. Many of the customers respected her, didn’t even dare to touch her in front of everyone. They admired her even though she was a stripper.

Mariah knew what her job was and what the stereotypes are about it, but she was smart enough to control the gossip by rejecting people’s comments or unwanted suggestions. “There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that is rarely mentioned in day to day life. There are a lot of dancers that are drugged and beaten by their pimps and required to make at least a $1000 a day. There are also dancers who work independently or without a pimp just to get by. I learned how to separate the two and how to become a stronger person because I am constantly exposed to the extremes of street life. So, yes, I have changed. I have grown and matured and I am proud that I had the opportunity to be independent and get what I want without having to sacrifice my freedom. “

“Rickey, there is an accident inside!” yelled one of the managers at the door. Rickey Johnson- Tatum Jr., the big, masculine, and tough looking guard, ran quickly inside the main area. On his way back to his usual position at the door, he was cussing some of the customers because they were high and drunk. “I am a security officer who just happens to work at a strip club! I didn’t know what to think when I first got here!” says Tatum Jr.

Not only Tatum Jr. had to deal with drunken and visibly drugged, high customers. Strippers, waitresses, and other female visitors were exposed to “the beauty” of the Fare Room.

The Fare Room was among the clubs in Dallas who accept minors as long as they don’t drink. Visibly under-aged males were approaching the club. They looked confused. They asked the door girl how much the cover charge was while she gave them special T-shirts saying “Minor” on them. Excited that they could get in, one of the guys yelled in the air: “Yes! Tits!”

Right after they entered the club, a dancer named Ella came from the VIP section cursing and screaming. A drunken customer tried to touch her genitals and she didn’t like it. “All men are straight scum bags! 90 percent of them are married and cheat on their wives. It’s quite sickening,” she says. Ella, who has been an entertainer for five years now, thinks that people will always stereotype her because she takes her clothes off for a living. People think I must be a whore or must have suffered from childhood sexual abuse because that’s what society teaches people. I feel sorry for those close-minded people. Never for myself,” Ella says.

The time was approaching 6 a.m. and the crowd slowly began to leave the club. The old gentlemen were drunk and happy. Looking visibly satisfied, they tipped the door girl and left quietly. Mariah approached the exit with her sunglasses on, without any sign of smile on her face. “It was a good night after all,” said the dancer. Her silhouette disappeared into the night.

SHIFT Magazine: The Underdog Bodybuilder

April 22, 2011 by · Comments Off 


by Petya Kertikova

On a February sunny day, Jonathan Irizarry was on his way to a Dallas local gym. By entering the cozy building with the pretty lady sitting at the door, Irizarry challenged all the people with his athletic and very well developed masculine body. He greeted the lady and passed all the amazed people who were staring at him by avoiding their fascinated faces. Irizarry looked calm, relaxed, and ready for his morning workout. With an iPod full with his favorite workout music in hand and bottle of vitamin water, he began running on the treadmill.
Jonathan Irizarry is one of the promising heavy athletes in Dallas, Texas. He recently just appeared in “REPS” — one of the highest rated health and fitness magazines in the country. Being a bodybuilder for 5 years now and already achieved a lot, makes him one of the most talented and successful in Dallas area.

Moving like a beast, Irizarry was following his daily routine. After the warm-up, running, stretching and lifting weights were the next sets of exercises on the morning agenda. Looking tough and strong, he received many compliments about his body. Questions related to how he achieved to have only “pure muscle without fat” seem to interest other folks in the gym.

Irizarry’s appearance on this world and his life since he was an infant are a true miracle. When he was only 3 weeks old, he was diagnosed with meningitis, an infectious disease characterized by inflammation of the meninges, which is a membrane that envelops the brain and the spinal cord. The virus quickly spread throughout his body and took over every ounce of health he had. This put him at great risk of death because his immune system was not yet developed as an infant. “After careful examination and failed treatments, the doctors told my mom it would take a miracle to save his life;” says his sister Cassandra Irizarry. Their mother stayed hopeful and determined to keep her only son alive. For the next six months, the little Irizarry was under intensive care at the hospital, which included numerous IV injections, and skin transplants throughout his body and brain. Shortly into the six month of treatment, baby Jonathan started showing signs of improvement. He regained full health and was finally released to go home at the end of the month. It was a miracle. “Both Jonathan and my mom are very thankful for the patience and expertise of the doctors. Without their help, Jonathan wouldn’t be here today,” concluded Cassandra.

Besides the problems Irizarry was facing when he weighed only couple of pounds, not having the “perfect childhood added to his desire to do something meaningful with his life. Irizarry went through many difficulties in order to become what he is today. Having a father who is ignorant about everything his son does made Irizarry “look at life through different glasses,” he says. He started to depend on himself when he was young and that helped him grow up. Having only his mother and sister, Irizarry learned how to be independent and eventually to separate, get himself out of the family nest and start to follow his dreams.

Being originally from Puerto Rico, Irizarry has the exotic look of a foreigner. His well-shaped athletic looking body speaks about Irizarry’s passion, which is bodybuilding. At age of 21, Irizarry has an impressive collection of sports awards, including numerous medals, first place trophies, and several magazine appearances.
Just about a month ago he won the opportunity for a professional photo-shoot with one of the specialized fitness and health magazines in the country. Along with extreme workouts every day, Irizarry is now trying to start a career as a professional nutritionist and personal trainer. “Bodybuilding is my life. I want to excel and show the world what I can do,” he says.

When he was 16, he figured out the passion of his life. That helped him develop as an athlete and a promising bodybuilder. “Bodybuilding is a 24/7 thing,” said Irizarry. Dieting, eating right, always taking [under consideration going out and possibly drinking, are only some of the requirements which Irizarry needs to be aware of in order to succeed in the tough world of bodybuilding.

Discipline and responsibility are among the qualities Irizarry has. His sister, Cassandra, says she learned how to be disciplined by looking at and admiring her brother in everything he does. Having been a bodybuilder herself couple of years ago, Cassandra knows how tough it is to be an athlete. “I support him and I love him. I know he can achieve a lot, even more that he did up to this point of his life,” she says.

His family and friends supported Irizarry throughout his life. Stepping out of the ordinary and starting to follow his dreams, Irizarry is now a promising athlete and bodybuilder. Studying at Richland College and working as a non-professional trainer, at the same time as practicing twice a day makes Irizarry even more respected by other people. Not giving up and bravely facing the difficulties of life, following his own dreams without any help from others and his father especially, always fighting for what he wants, and eventually achieving it, Irizarry is feeling good in his own skin.

“He was a disciplined and very organized kid,” said Sonia Irizarry, Jonathan’s mother. “He is the leader of the family. I don’t remember him saying that he can’t do something. He always achieved everything he wanted and I believe he is going to gather the fruits of his hard work as a bodybuilder one day.”

According to Mike Dagro, a friend of Irizarry and a bodybuilder himself from New York City, “Jonathan is an extremely hardworking and determined person. He sets goals and always reaches them. This has made him successful in bodybuilding and in life. He’s a great person and an even better friend,” said Dagro.

Not married yet, having his work and life goals set, Irizarry feels that for his 21 years, he achieved a lot. Being proud of himself and not forgetting what he went through and where he started from, Irizarry is now on the “right track” of becoming first a better person, by helping other athletes and non-professionals meet their life expectations, and then a well-known and famous bodybuilder. His plans to work in the professional fitness world in a couple of years from now are already developed. “Strength and positive attitude towards life is the key for achieving perfectionism,” concluded Irizarry.

Campus News Blog: Do You Know How To Sew?

December 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Petya Kertikova

Even though it might seem that sewing is old fashioned and no one does it anymore, it is important for girls to know not only how to sew, but to be able to apply certain tricks.

Sewing will not only save you from an embarrassment moment at a party, but it will save you some money.

In addition, knowing some basic principles of sewing will not only make you a sewing master, but it will help you maintain your look wherever you are.
Basically, there are three things you should know about that “complicated” procedure.

First, you should know how to pick an appropriate color thread. Second, don’t do sew-hemming even though some magazines might recommend it.
Finally, be careful how you sew.

That way you will save yourself time and materials, and just so you know…there is always a way to fix a broken zipper or another minor problem with a piece of cloth.

ARTS BLOG: Are You A Baroque Freak?

November 10, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Petya Kertikova

No doubt fall is the fashion season. All fashion events and reviews are during the fall. A perfect example would be the New York Fashion Show, which just ended a couple of weeks ago.

During fall there are lots of colors women can mix in order to look fashionable and still be creative. Of course, orange, green, yellow, and brown will dominate because of the association with the season itself.

Speaking of colors, clothes, and entire outfits, jewelry was and will always be the perfect accessory. As all women know, a simple necklace can make an entire outfit look fabulous.

They are many different types of jewelry depending on the material used, the shape, the color, etc., but one will definitely be fashionable forever. And that is the Baroque type of jewelry. Not only the shape,colors, but as well the royal story behind it, make women go crazy.

This fall especially, the Baroque jewelry is a total hit. Now, it is up to you whether you will give it a try and feel the historical magic of wearing that fine decorative jewelry.

Campus News Blog: How To Cut Fashionable Bangs At Home?

November 3, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Petya Kertikova

Fashionable women always play with their hair. Either short or long, bangs or no bangs, ladies want their look to be according to the latest hair style.

When we want to look different, one way to achieve that goal is to have bangs. Just like celebrities always change their hair style, ordinary women also want to keep up with their fashion role models.

For instance, one of the well known female models, Kate Moss , said that she cut her bangs with kitchen scissors.

In order to have cool looking bangs, women are not necessarily required to go to a hair salon. Just like Moss, females can be creative and successfully get that dream hair look, if they are brave enough.

In general though, women don’t have the courage to do crazy things with their hair, but sometimes the results coud be amazing.

At least once in our lifetime we should let our immagination dictate our actions. Who knows we might like it.

Students Get Their Foot In The Door at Career Fair

February 19, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Students fill out name tags at the Career and Internship Fair (PHOTO BY PETYA KERTIKOVA / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

Students fill out name tags at the Career and Internship Fair (PHOTO BY PETYA KERTIKOVA / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

Petya Kertikova

The first Career and Internship Fair of the year was hosted in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center ballrooms Thursday afternoon by the Hegi Family Career Development Center.

The career center has hosted internship and career events twice a year since 1939. According to Darin Ford, director of Hegi Family Career Development Center, up to 1400 students are attending the internship fairs every year. At Thursday’s fair, 75 percent of the positions were offered to all majors.

Even though most of today’s internships are non-paid, Ford suggests students still need to attend the career events. The main benefit is to gain experience.

“Working in a real world setting gives students a deep depth of experiences,” said Ford.

Events like the one Thursday are helpful to employers because they save time in searching for the right candidates and it is just easier to find interns from a college event.

Although multiple positions are available, some students do not find what they are looking for. Alex Odiari, an ex-football player at SMU, does find the career center helpful in general but not all of the time.

Katie Roberts, an SMU freshman, felt differently.

“The career center is a very helpful place,” said Roberts.

Most of the students, especially the freshmen, have already visited the Hegi Center.

“You have to be self motivated and very ambitious to go there,” said Roberts. “People over there can help if you are truly interested in what you want to do for the rest of your life.”

The student opinion is that career events should be held more often on campus.

“We don’t know about these events,” said Roberts. “We are receiving e-mails, but often we are deleting them, thinking it’s a junk piece.”

Ford also suggests that career fairs may not be as beneficial to freshmen who are undecided on the future and rightfully so.

“Most of the freshman folks change their majors two or three times by the time they decide what they really want to do,” said Ford.

Even if, Ford stresses that students still need to gain experience outside of the classroom and the career center can be a useful tool for students to learn the right way to develop job skills and even explore work positions before graduation.