by Jacqueline Valdez


Celebrity Judge Zoraya Judd – Best Trick & Performer in Aerial Pole International 2011 & Zen Arts

This is Zoraya’s 3rd year with the expo. She did not perform this year but was a Judge for the Pole Classic Competition. Zoraya was so loving and full of positive energy. I asked her what tips she could share with the competitors and what she looks for as a judge. Zoraya shared “the competitors are important. Treat it like a performance not a competition. Do it to win the audience over not the judges. [She] looks for lines and as funny as it sounds a really good back up plan, if someone has a slip up how they recover from it actually scores them better points from her. That is what makes them a performer, confidence, form and technique. “

As well, Zoraya has a line that has custom apparel and tip jars. Her line even includes items made by name designers that created stuff for her and because “it is so fabulous [she] has duplicated to share it with others. “

Some of her favorite things about The Pole Expo are “[she] loves seeing all of her amazing friendships that [she] has made from everywhere [she] has traveled along the globe. All meet here and it is lovely.”

She also shared how much she “loves” Pole World News.


Rebecca Starr – 2010 USPDF East Coast Champion and Arnold Pole Pan-American Championship 3rd place 2013

This was Rebecca’s 1st year at the expo and she is a “convert.” She states she “love[s] how amazing it is, an annual everybody get together from all over the world to hang out and make friends”. She also loves the classes, sharing and the love everyone has for one another. Rebecca shared her favorite thing is “to definitely see [her] friends that I haven’t seen in years or that I know through Facebook but not actually met. Everyone is a fan of each other and everyone geeks out over each other.”

Rebecca had the unique opportunity to open the show in a group number choreographed by Webby award winner and fabulous pole choreographer Isis Masoud. They set the stage and the vibe for the evening, feeling light and energetic for the rest of the show. It was a happy, fun, energetic, get-everyone-excited, cheering, and happy piece. She stated more group pieces are needed in pole so it was fun to bring a lot of people together and a lot of energy on stage. This piece was done with a well-rounded cast of dancers and aerialist from all over the world and brought together in less then one week. The girls were all rocking Mika Yoga Wear. Rebecca “loves, loves, loves performing. “

I asked her how things seemed backstage before the competition and she stated, “backstage competitors were nervous and stress buckets. I wanted to say it’s ok, just have fun. Showcase dancers seemed to be excited to perform and do what they want with no restrictions. If they wanted to do lots of handstands they simply would. “

I asked her if she had any tricks of the trade and she shared with a smirk “straight legs and pointed toes never go out of style.”

I also had the honor of asking her if she had any words of wisdom to share with others in the industry and she so givingly shared “we all have an ebb and flow and we all have periods where we are hardcore and are exactly where we want to be and then you go in a period where you feel like I’m not training enough or I suck. It is never to late to get back into it there is no dip that can’t come back from. You are amazing and then maybe you get distracted you haven’t been training as much or you let your diet go, it is not a death sentence you can always come back, you can always start training again. At the same time to not be too hard on yourself if you are on a period of not being so intense enjoy life, train hard, have fun, live life to the fullest.”

Check out her performance at the Arnold Pole Classic 2013


Celebrity Cleo The Hurricane – Dancer with Guns and Roses Vegas “No Trickery “ tour and 2012 Miss Pole Dance Australia

The audience screamed as Cleo charged the stage. Cleo slinked along the stage with her sexy long legs and seductive moves performing to Ace of Spades.

Cleo carries a signature line Cleo the Hurricane that is all about “cool, stilettos, rock and pole.” Cleo has DVD’s, a range of awesome clothing that consists of a rock and roll style: bags, hats, bikinis and all sorts of goodies.

Cleo was very sweet and I had the opportunity to ask her what she would share to others in the industry. Cleo shared she “do[es] not take things so seriously and to simply have the attitude of just have fun.”

Check out her performance at The Pole Classic Competition in Vegas 2014!


Celebrity Steven Retchless – First male title holder and first ever pole dancer to make it to the finals LIVE on America’s Got Talent

The audience screamed and whistled as Steven graced the stage in colorful sparkle shorts, 7-inch stilettos and glittered covered nipples. Steven is “a born and raised showgirl and back in his hometown Vegas so [he] was super excited to be part of the Pole classic. “

Steven shared his fierceness with others as he taught sassy and dominatrix dance classes at the expo.

The love for Steven was apparent, as there was a crowd around us waiting to catch a hug from the doll. I had the honor of asking Steven what is his favorite thing about being a pole dancer and he stated “ I love the community and that I can be myself, show my alter ego on stage and be appreciated for it.”

I asked if Steven had any words of advice and he shared “to love yourself and everything else will follow”.


Celebrity Michelle Stanek – 2012 US Pole Dance Champion, elevatED, brand ambassador for Bad Kitty, Poles On Tour and AERA

The audience smiled on as Michelle gracefully floated along the stage in her beautiful blue flowing outfit.

One of her favorite things about the expo is seeing people from all over the world come together in one spectacular place.

This was Michelle’s first year at the expo as she gave a sneak peak sampler with her collaborators of the year old teacher-training program elevatED. “This program is unique to the fact that not only do you learn form and technique but as well how to be you. Create your own individual style of teaching. Hone in on your own skills as a teacher, create experiences for your students that they’ll come back to you not only because they will love you but because they receive a unique experience.”

Michelle was very kind and I had the honor of asking Michelle what words of wisdom would she share with others, she stated in a cute smiling manner “remember the pain is temporary and just to get through it. It will not last forever. “

Check out her performance at The US Pole Dance Championship 2012