What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of pole dancing? Seedy, dark strip clubs? Or maybe how did she just humiliate your best mate on his stag do like a total savage?

In an interview with LADbible, champion pole dancer Leah Rose Clarke, 29, spoke about the taboo associated with pole dancing but embraced its ‘strip club’ roots and will carry on as long as her body allows her to.

The former customer service advisor worked in a strip club herself to get a taste for the ‘authentic style’ but soon quit after not enjoying the lap dancing side of the industry and worrying about punters grabbing her.

Leah, who started pole dancing in her teens, told us about her experience with former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas, her time at the club and sexual harassment.

"I started pole when I was 19. The slight taboo feel that used to be associated with pole dancing made me very curious about classes."

— Leah Rose Clarke

First of all, when did you start pole dancing?

I started pole when I was 19. The slight taboo feel that used to be associated with pole dancing made me very curious about classes. I used to ride horses so found I was able to apply my strength from that to pole and was instantly hooked. The rest is history!

What about your parents? Were there any problems?

My mum didn’t bat an eyelid. I was always very adventurous as a child and she could see how much I enjoyed it so would encourage me and show her friends pictures and videos of my progress. She is now a regular face in my classes at Chrome Roses and attends several classes a week, enjoying both the physical and social aspects.

"I'm super strong! My body is the fittest it has been for years, but it also has a great social community side."

— Leah Rose Clarke

Have any really weird things ever happened?

I’ve not had any weird things but lots of surreal experiences. Pole has allowed me to perform in front of huge crowds and travel the world. Last year I even taught Wales rugby star Gareth Thomas how to pole for his TV show ‘Alfie’s Angels’. It certainly wasn’t what I thought I would be doing 10 years ago.

Do you think you’ll ever stop?

There are pole dancers in their 70s now. I’ll be poling as long as my body allows me to!

You have spoken about pole dancing coming from strip clubs – have you ever worked at a strip club?

Yes, I have, but I wasn’t too great at it. To work in a club, you need to have a lot of confidence and listening skills. I just wanted to pole dance, so it didn’t last long!

I had already been poling for fitness and fun for a number of years. I love the sexy side of pole and thought that it would be good for me to experience strip clubs and get a real taste for the authentic style.

The girls I worked with were great, quite a few were working at the clubs to pay through university, some danced because they loved it, others because the hours suited them better, but all were normal women just working a job.

I didn’t last long at all. In the club I worked at, you would do a show on stage and then you would go and chat with the guys and then give them a lap dance, that was what I didn’t really want to do. I just wanted to pole and to be honest they weren’t really interested in whether I was doing some crazy trick!