A showgirl shows her strength

2010-04-24 00:00

EXOTIC dance club owner and actress GiGi (42) believes that her win on Survivor South Africa: Santa Carolina has shown the whole country how strong showgirls can be.

“I quickly realised that being on Survivor wasn’t about how tough you were, otherwise Okkert [Brits, the polevaulter] would be sitting here. It was about staying true to your character. My aim was to stay in as long as possible, to bring money home and to prove how tough the showgirls in South Africa are,” she said, after winning R500 000 for herself and another R500 000 for her chosen charity, Hospice Houghton in Johannesburg, at Wednesday night’s live finale.

“Girls in this industry are not sad cases, they are strong powerful women. Many of my girls [at the Lollipop Lounge, an exotic dance club in Randburg] are single moms. They work hard for their kids to go to good schools.”

Getting the call to appear on Survivor SA came out of the blue, GiGi, said, adding: “They phoned me when I was in the gym and started talking about Survivor. I thought they needed some of my girls for billboards or something and they said, ‘No GiGi, we want you to take part’, and I said okay without really thinking about it.”

The reality of that decision hit home when she was on the Mozambiquan island of Santa Carolina: “Being on the island was way out of my comfort zone. I love make-up, I love my shoes, so being on the island was hard. I looked terrible, smelled terrible, felt terrible. I was so hungry and it was so hot and the sand was so hard.”

Nevertheless, she is proud to have made it to the end of the reality show and believes she has shown both her former tribe-mates and the world that you shouldn’t judge people on account of their professions.

GiGi was crowned the winner of Survivor SA after the game plan of her rival, Ashley Hayden, which involved making and then breaking alliances when it suited her, backfired.

The jury members, most of whom were bitter about the way Hayden had blindsided them to reach the top, voted six to two in favour of GiGi.

Only actor Izak Davel and musician ProVerb sided with Hayden, who also narrowly won the viewers’ vote.

Asked what she plans to do with her winnings, GiGi said she will make improvements to the Lollipop Lounge.

GiGi also plans to invest in her girls by giving them skills training.

Other projects include a book about the industry she works in and a possible tour of her theatre show, Nipplecaps and G-Strings.

In the meantime, catch GiGi and her fellow Survivors on M-Net at 7.30 pm on April 28 in a special episode of the reality show that will feature previously unscreened footage.


Who is GiGi?: GiGi owns the Lollipop Lounge, an exotic dance club in Randburg. A trained actress, she has appeared in the successful stage productions, Nipplecaps and G-strings and Whore, in Spellboundat Sun City and recently on the big screen in Poena is Koning. She has a drama degree from the University of Stellenbosch, is trained in ballet, jazz art, mime and piano, was a member of the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal.

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