Dancer takes aim at nursing career
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Exotic dancing comes with its share of thrills and excitement, and often perceptions of the dancers can be negative. But in the case of the reigning Miss Shades Exotic Dancing Queen, Latoya Geddes, any notion of her in a disapproving manner could be off the mark.
Although she is a dancer at Shades Nightclub in Ocho Rios, Geddes has very clear plans for a different future and has started working on making them a reality.
"My long-term goal is to become a registered nurse and also to own my own business," Geddes told Entertainment Avenue in a recent interview.
"I chose nursing because I like taking care of people, nursing them back to health. And I like the challenge of being an entrepreneur so I want to operate my own business."
Geddes is yet to decide on the type of business she will enter. However, she is focused on creating a bright future for herself and doesn't really care about perceptions.
She used to attend the Pre-University School in Kingston after gaining three subjects in CXC - English language, biology and social studies. Now she is targeting the other subjects required for entry into nursing school.
"I will be going back to school in September. I need to pass maths, physics and chemistry in order to enrol in nursing school. I did one year at pre-university but stopped because I had to go overseas for a while. Right now I'm looking at Brown's Town Community College as a possibility."
Geddes is currently near the end of a two-year modelling contract with Pulse and appeared on Caribbean FashionWeek 2013. She also sings but admits that she is "not such a great singer".
"I'm a good girl," Geddes asserts.
Asked why she decided to be a dancer, Geddes said she has always liked to dance.
"I like to entertain people. I like to be around people, I like to interact. That's why I chose this line of entertainment. What people think about dancers or about me in particular doesn't bother me because I know I'm working for my own money. To me, it's an honest living and it's what I choose to do. Dancers can be very intelligent and we have plans too. We dance because it's a job to make money and make a better future for ourselves."
Geddes is confident and comfortable onstage as she carries out her job on a nightly basis at the popular nightclub.
"My job entails offering good entertainment by dancing onstage. We wear clothes based on the theme for the night, so if it's impy skimpy you know we girls have to wear impy skimpy clothing. We just work with the theme night overall."
Geddes is getting encouragement from her boss, Shades' operator Lloyd Cameron, who believes Geddes will succeed.
"I support her, most naturally," Cameron said.
"We view dancing probably as a means to an end, to wherever you're getting," he said.
According to Cameron, over the years, girls who come to the club as dancers have routinely moved on to improve themselves through education, and in some cases have become professionals.
"Our aim is to cultivate good citizens. Many of these girls have the qualifications to do much more substantial things but they choose to dance because they enjoy it. It's absolutely a job," said Cameron.