Bikini baristas, shot girls, and Vegas showgirls: 5 women who make huge tips in unconventional jobs share their most bizarre and frightening experiences at work
- Insider spoke with 5 women — a Vegas showgirl, 2 bikini baristas, a bottle girl, and a shot girl — about their jobs.
- They said that while they have to deal with drunk customers and long shifts, the money is worth it.
Women in unconventional service jobs are making thousands a month as showgirls, bikini baristas, bottle girls, and shot girls.
For some, the gig is a side hustle, and for others, a full-time job. But they all make a killing in tips, and they often have to deal with loud, aggressive, or drunk customers.
Insider spoke with five women who shared the most bizarre — or downright frightening— experiences they've had on the job. All of them said the chaos has been worth it for the money, perks, and freedom.
Grace Morris loves her job despite lewd behavior from men
Grace Morris used to keep her job a secret. Even though bikini barista stands have been popular in the greater Seattle area for decades, she was still worried she'd be judged for making coffee in her underwear for a living.
And the job isn't easy, either. During her first week, she said a customer drove up, and she quickly realized he was masturbating at the window. Terrified, she reached for the panic button (which would sound the alarm and alert the police) and he sped off.
Morris said that this behavior from male customers a normal part of the job; she's dealt with everything from lewd comments to stalkers — but doesn't plan on quitting anytime soon.
"A lot of customers ask me to take my top off or offer $20 to make their drink completely naked, and I have to explain to them, 'No, we don't do that here,' said Morris. "I think that a lot of men feel comfortable saying these things when they know no one else is around."
Jenna Furio says some people just can't handle Vegas
Jenna Furio is a 36-year-old showgirl in Las Vegas who got started when the pandemic hit. Her agency doesn't pay an hourly wage, so her income comes from tips she makes on the Strip.
To her, the pros of the job include "the amazing outfits and headdresses," but she said customers can be reckless.
"People run out in the streets, throw up in front of you, or pass out on the sidewalk," Furio said. "And then there are those that just don't care what anybody thinks and will run their mouths and yell and do vulgar things. Some people really just can't handle Vegas."
To stay safe, she and the other showgirls perform in pairs, carry mace, and stay in areas where there are cameras or security.
"Everybody thinks it only takes a beautiful face and body to be a Las Vegas showgirl," she added. "That's absolutely false — you also need to be outgoing. You're putting on a show, in a way almost like an actress, but with extreme patience for people who may be drunk."
Carrie Orozco deals with throw up, cigarette burns, and sloppy customers
Carrie Orozco, 28, is a model cocktail waitress at Omnia Nightclub inside Caesars Palace who can make thousands of dollars in tips in a single night. She was shocked at how incredibly wealthy the customers are.
"You're getting the crème de la crème of rich people," she said. "When I started, my little 21-year-old self was blown away."
She said one of the job's main perks, other than the money, is that she's gotten to see artists like Celine Dion, Matchbox Twenty, and Iggy Azalea perform at private events for free.
Orozco's pet peeve is when drunk customers get sloppy — some have even accidentally burned her with cigarettes.
"I think the job is a lot grosser than people realize. There's throw-up, and glass breaks, and sometimes things like that are just unavoidable. I've never personally been thrown up on, but I know plenty of people who have been."
Sierra Anderson doesn't hesitate to call security when male customers cross a line
Sierra Anderson is a 23-year-old aftercare teacher who works as a shot girl at a bar in Dewey Beach, Delaware during the summer. Usually, she works 15-20 hour shifts, not leaving until 2 or 3 a.m. — and she said the job is mentally-taxing for other reasons.
"You're dealing with a lot of drunk men. They'll say very rude things and don't get the hint that you don't want them near you," she said. "Certain men become angry if you're not giving them the attention that they want. They'll ask for your number and call you a slut if you say no — they don't understand that you're there to do your job."
Anderson said that when customers cross a line or get physical with her and her coworkers, security guards on on standby will escort them out immediately.
"I sometimes feel like a piece of meat, but there are upsides to the job," she said.
Anderson has made thousands of dollars in tips in a single night, and she likes that it's not a strict 9-5 job that allows her to express herself creatively with makeup and fun outfits.
Shay Harmon keeps tasers and pepper spray nearby during her shift
Shay Harmon started as a bikini barista right after high school. She was hesitant to take the job at first because she didn't want to be judged or looked down upon — now, four years later, she said it's been completely worth it.
Harmon has used the tip money she earned to buy a new car and go on trips to Las Vegas and Hawaii. Overall, she said she's had a positive experience with customers, but sometimes it can be uncomfortable.
"It can get a little scary at times, especially when it gets dark earlier in the day," said Harmon, "but most of the stands have panic buttons inside that you can press to immediately call the police. We also have tasers and pepper spray around the stand."
For the most part, though, Harmon said she feels safe on the job and loves the freedom it gives her.
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