It’s not hard to see why Magic Mike was a box office hit when it gyrated into theaters in 2012: Channing Tatum’s abs, Matthew McConaughey’s syrupy drawl, Steven Soderberg’s direction, and a genuinely enjoyable and poignant storyline combined to create the perfect storm of male stripper obsession. Magic Mike XXL, now out in theaters, loses both McConaughey and Soderberg, but still delivers exactly what its name promises. There is much, much more crammed into those banana hammocks than in the original; more male friendship and bonding, more over-the-top dance numbers, and more beautiful women. Yes, hundreds and hundreds of women—because if either movie in this franchise has taught us anything, it’s that being a male stripper is a surefire way to meet and sleep with gorgeous women.
Intrigued, we decided to talk to a dancer about what the business is really like. Dino Campagna of Hunk-O-Mania filled us in on what it takes to be a male stripper, if the guys are really all having fun, and how it’s allegedly affected his relationships with women.
So Dino, how old are you, and how long have you been doing this?
I’m 23, and I’ve been doing this since I was 18. I was a club promoter, and I’ve always been really good with women. I’ve always been a ladies man, so to speak. I got paid by different nightclubs in New York City just to bring in good-looking girls to different venues. And what better way to meet women than working at a male revue? I was always a good entertainer. It was something that I was naturally good at, it’s not really hard and strenuous work. It’s just having fun entertaining girls.
What’s your workout and grooming routine like?
Well, I’m Italian, so obviously I get really hairy. (Ed. Note: Same.) I don’t wax or anything because it doesn’t work well with my skin, so I am always shaving everywhere. I am constantly shaving, always have gel in my hair, and always go tanning. I always work out at least five to six times a week, and all different workout routines. There are a lot of low carb days and high carb days, and I eat a lot of chicken, fish, lean meats, and vegetables.
What’s the average age of your clients and the type of women you tend to entertain?
[Hunk-O-Mania is] 18 and up, so anyone from 18 to 60 years old. A lot of bachelorette parties, birthday girls, and girls just coming to have fun. [We perform] Thursday through Sunday.
In Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL, the guys are all really close with each other. What’s your relationship with the other male dancers like? Are you guys all friends, or is it competitive?
Yeah, we all hang out together. Everybody works out together, and we all help each other get in better shape. It is very similar to the movie in all aspects. The first one, not so much because it involves drugs, and none of us are really into drugs. We are all clean-cut guys that dance, and everyone has their own jobs. Some guys are in med school at Columbia University, some are personal trainers, some are in real estate, and some guys work on Wall Street, some are investment bankers, stock brokers...everybody has their own job. They find the time to go to the gym and take care of themselves, then come Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights to Hunk-O-Mania to just have fun and make money.
Do you have a side gig too?
I used to, I was a personal trainer, but now Hunk-O-Mania and promoting are the only things I do.
In both Magic Mike movies the dancers all get lucky with the women they’re entertaining. What's the craziest experience you've had with an audience member?
The girls act crazy during the show. After the show, I drive girls from the show to different nightclubs and they party with us. I’m in charge of the after party for the show, and that’s usually when girls will act crazy, have fun, and get really drunk. Do you know the sparklers they use for bottle service at the nightclubs?
This girl caught her hair on fire. It’s just random, funny, and crazy things that happen. There’s always something fun, and there’s always something that happens that makes it a good time. Some girl is always acting crazy. Girls act way different when they are out partying [with us], not in a bad way. Girls can act more like themselves.
Have you ever had a relationship with anyone that you’ve met through performing?
Yes, I do now. I've been with a girl for three years now.
How has being a male entertainer impacted the relationships with the women in your life?
I have been with this girl for about three years, and she doesn’t accept what I do. She has been trying to make me change and get me out of it, but I don’t let her. So she just drives herself crazy over the fact of, “oh my God, I’m in love with a stripper.” It’s so hard to deal with, as much as I care and love her, I am not going to quit how I make money and my passion for anyone. There has been a lot of drama between her and I. Sometimes she starts to accept it, and then sometimes she has outbursts. She will be cool with it, and then for a couple weeks she will just start drama over it.
But you met her performing, so she knew what she was getting into, right?
Exactly, so she says that she kind of accepts it, but she doesn’t.
Does she ever still come see you perform?
Oh yeah, sometimes. It pretty much all started with a lap dance between her and me.