Bambi Lane (Estrella) Interview
(James E. Strates Stripper)
On August 27 th 1986, just after interviewing Donny Osmond at the New York
State Fair in Syracuse, I headed down the Midway and managed to arrange
an interview with Stripper Bambi Lane (Estrella).
And, it’s a good thing I decided to do that because 1986 was the
last year strippers were a part of the Midway.
The following year, 1987, Family Values came into being.
Anyway, this is the very first time this interview has been published anywhere.
I don’t know whatever happened to Bambi Lane.
I know her real last name was Estrella and she lived in Miami, Florida.
Bambi, if you’re reading this-----Sorry, it took so long to get to
print!! It sometimes happens.
Q – Bambi, when did you start dancing?
A – When I was 16.
Q – Was it difficult to get onstage and take your clothes off? It
doesn’t seem like a natural thing to do.
A – It was sort of hard. That first time I got up there I was quite
nervous. (Laughs). It was something I more or less had to do. I just got
out there and did my best. I gave it my best shot and I ended up loving
it, you know. I got in them lights and now they can’t get me out of ‘em.
Q – When did you join the Strates Shows?
A – 1979. All girl show.
Q – When you’re not doing the Strates
Shows, what do you do?
A – I’m in Florida and I work clubs. I do things for the Senior
citizens. I do theatres. I do flea markets.
Q – What do you mean you do flea markets?
A – I work in flea markets.
Q – You have a booth and sell things?
A – Yeah. I took up a little bit of workshop and went into ‘Extras’,
you know, doing ‘extras’ in movies.
Q – Are there quite a few projects being shot
A – Yeah-----‘ Miami Vice’. We had a movie with Peter
Q – Have you been on “Miami Vice”?
A – I’ve tried. I’ve never succeeded yet.
Q – Do you have an agent in Florida?
A – I work for Universal Casting.
Q – You did an interview last year and said
you were going to retire from dancing and go into commercials. What type
of commercials were you talking about?
A – Well, I was wanting to go into, like just any type of a commercial.
I like character parts. I wanted to go into workshop and take up character
Q – But, did you want to get into commercials
where you sold a product?
A – Yes. Car commercials.
Q – So-----what happened?
A – I got all started up and I had several deaths in the family.
I had my brother who was an entertainer just pass away. One month after
that my step-mother passed away, his mother. And then 2 weeks after that
my son-in-law passed away. So, it was like bing, bing, bing. Here I am and
I didn’t do nothing. I’ve just been in another universe somewhere,
you know. That’s why mostly I came back out this year, ‘cause
I wanted to try and get my head together. Not too long ago I lost my daughter,
my husband and grandson in a car accident. When I’m out here and I
see people like you and the people out there and the nice welcome they give
me, it kind of eases things for me. Like God gives-----but he takes. Every
time I sit back here I read this-----the Showman’s Prayer.
Q – Are you surprised that people still come out to a show like this?
You can see more in a magazine or a video. You really don’t take off
all that much.
A – I think I’m surprised in a way but, then in another way
the younger people don’t really know what the burlesque is. I think
it’s ‘Oh, gee. What are we gonna see here’? It’s ‘live’ people,
not something they see in a movie. They’re seeing it for real. Out
here they’re not going to see anything anyway. With the experience
of having a son of my own, I think they’re just curious and they’re
going to get out there and masturbate. When they stop lookin’, even
at the age of 90, there’s something wrong.
Q – Do you ever hear what’s being shouted
up to you onstage?
A – Sometimes I hear, and sometimes I don’t. I’m just
in another world. I think by now I’m more of a robot than anything
else. I know what I have to do and when to do it, and how to do it. I think
a lot of times I don’t hear it. Like, I was getting kind of heavy
there last year. I was kind of on the heavy side. I’d have people
say, ‘Hey, grandma’ and all that bologna! When you hear the
people like this last audience, or the audience stand up cheering with lighters,
this makes me feel as big as this fairground. Even though I’m 53,
and I have young people I’m working with, I still feel I’m accepted.
Q – Ten years ago this show used to have comedians.
A – Yes. Right and some of the girls would go out there and do the
skits with ‘em.
Q – The show isn’t like that today.
A – The show has changed I would say in the last 8 years. You can
actually say it’s really changed. Even in the theatres or the clubs
it’s certainly not the same. That’s why I don’t go into
the clubs. It’s not Burlesque.
Q – Where do the people at Strates get their
A – Well, we used to get ‘em from the agents and stuff like
that. To get people to travel with the cost of living is very hard. So,
we usually try to pick people up where we go. They’ll come wandering
in, ‘Hey, we want a job’. Sometimes we hit it good, and sometimes
we hit it bad.
Q – And so the dancers we see here today won’t
go on with the show?
A – Yeah. They just quit. But then we’ve got some that are
really traveling with us now, ‘Shelly Pepper’ and ‘Little
Q – After your appearances end with the Strates
Shows you go on to try and get commercial work?
A – Right.
Q – And next year you won’t be sitting
A – No. This is it.
Q – Do you travel on the Strates train?
A – I have a van and my own house trailer. I take all my own wardrobe.
I don’t take a lot out here, ‘cause it’s needless.
Q – You’re on the road for how long with
the Strates people?
A – From June until October.
Q – Takes you all over the East Coast doesn’t
A – Yeah. New York. Delaware. Down to South Carolina. North Carolina.
Q – I imagine some people would say what a
glamorous life you lead Bambi. But, you actually only see the trailer
and the stage.
A – That’s it. (Laughs).
© Gary James All Rights Reserved