Melanie McSweeney

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Working at a Fake Brothel in Alaska

It was one year to the day after I spent all my money, moved to NYC, studied musical theater, and graduated. The year had been a rollercoaster: finding a survival job, paying NYC rent and creating a creative network.

One year after graduating, I got a call asking if I wanted to travel to Skagway, Alaska, live in a log cabin and perform a show. I said yes.

I embarked on a 28 hour journey, and landed in Skagway. I was greeted by an outdoor 400 seat theater, a corset and a salmon bake. This was to be my life for the next four months.

We learned how to pan for gold, and we entertained hundreds every day with our bosoms.


We began each morning at 7:30 and performed between 4-10 shows per day, accepting “titty tips” and posing for photos. It was freezing cold rain, and we somehow found ponchos and wool capes to put over our corsets to stay warm. The men who were our “gold-diggers” would pull our corsets very tight in the morning, and not undo them until while into sunset. This was a wild ride, and I absolutely loved it. We learned how to pan for gold, and we entertained hundreds every day with our bosoms. It truly was the craziest and best time I have ever had performing.

Melanie McSweeney
Melanie McSweeney

Single handedly bringing back the scrunchie. Check out Melanie on Twitter & Instagram @OnStageMel

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