This past February, Genea Sky became a viral sensation overnight. It wasn't because she said something racist, or that she had some wild TikTok dance that blew up. The 24-year-old (now-former) exotic dancer Sky was in the middle of a pole routine at the XTC Cabaret nightclub in Dallas, TX when she fell from about 20 feet in the air and landed on her face...then continued her routine. The clip of that performance spread like wildfire, making Sky, who resides in Texas by way of California, an instant (internet) celebrity and, surprisingly, the face of what exotic dancers and strippers have to go through when horrific mistakes happen.
Days after the fall, Sky was on the road to recovery, which included having to have her jaw wired shut while trying to navigate what the next phase of her life—which does not include exotic dancing—will look like. We caught up with Sky roughly two weeks after this incident, during her recovery process. Speaking through the wire (which has since been removed), Sky calmly broke down not only what went wrong that night, but how she sprang so quickly back into action, and how she plans on applying the lessons she's learned to helping not just herself, but hopefully for better working conditions for other dancers who were in her situation.
How often do falls and injuries from being on the pole like that happen? Is that a frequent occurrence?
Not from where I fell, because there are not too many girls that even go that high. So when it comes to stuff like that specifically where I was working, it doesn't really happen too often. I've had a couple of minor falls or slips. Little things happen, but the severity of my fall, it happens, but it's not an everyday thing. And when it does, it's usually not [all over the] news. It's kind of like sports or anything that requires that level of physicality or challenge, mistakes are bound to happen at some point regardless of how long you've been doing it, how good you are. It is going to happen.
You weren't knocked unconscious or anything because of the fall?
[No]. When I was falling, I felt the fall before it happened and it kind of happened in slow motion for me. So the whole time, I was thinking, "Oh my God, I'm either going to wake up in the hospital [or] I'm going to bust my head, something's about to happen." And so I had all this adrenaline from falling—just being that high up is already an adrenaline rush for me. I get really excited and pumped up and everything. So when I hit the ground and I heard the music still playing, I was like, "Oh okay, I'm fine." Because I didn't feel it at first. And I was just like, "Okay, whatever." I've made a mistake on stage before so I wasn't embarrassed that I fell or anything. I was just happy that I felt fine.
So I just kept going. But then there was a video that went around. I'd seen that I went into my headstand after. I don't really remember after the impact because I was just in shock, I did a headstand and I kept going and then I guess when I flipped back down, I saw blood and that's what I remember seeing blood. And I kind of started getting kind of freaked out and then I was escorted off the stage. And I went to the [back], we called 911 and I called my mom. But I was really calm the whole time but I'm pretty sure I was in shock.
It's almost like your body takes over when something that traumatic happens. How long had you been working as a dancer?
I've been dancing for over three years and then I've been at that specific club for over a year now.
Forgive me, the only knowledge I know of those types of things is what I've seen in Hustlers. Is it a situation where one of the more seasoned performers would teach you tricks like that, going up that high on the pole?
For me personally, I'm completely self-taught. I have a very close friend who's very big in the pole industry and I've just kind of watched them. I'm the type of person, I'm very visual so I just have to see it and I can do it. And that's pretty much how I've learned everything I do is that I do pretty intense tricks and it's things that people actually need lessons for, but I just taught myself and then made sure that I was correct with my friend. And the height of that pole, it's kind of just at your own discretion. That's why most girls, they don't even go up there. There are probably a small handful of girls, maybe five including myself, that will go that high at that club. So it's just for the dancer, what they're willing to do, what they know how to do. But most girls do take pole lessons and go to classes and stuff, but it's expensive.
I believe I've read reports, it was 15 feet. How high would most girls normally go on the pole?
Well, actually I don't know where people got the number of 15 feet. I don't know the exact measurement, but I'm pretty positive it was a little higher than that. Most girls probably go about mid-range on that pole and lower.
Yes. When the story first was going out, I feel like I saw 20, but then I guess someone said 15 and every other story said 15.
Yeah, somebody said it and then everyone just kind of ran with that number. But it was a two-story pole, pretty high. And I'm about 5'2 and that fall was definitely taller than three of my body.
After hearing that you were okay and you had to get surgery, it was almost immediately you were like, "I'm not going back to do this anymore." You mentioned to Wendy Williams that you had been thinking about getting out of the game prior to this. What was the point where you were like, "You know what, I'm done with this"?
Honestly, I've been done with it for a very long time. Originally I'm from California, so I moved out here to Texas a year ago. I'm trying to just start fresh and start my journey on my way out, pretty much. I enrolled in school, I started in September. Basically, my plan was to keep dancing—I support myself 100 percent—I was going to keep dancing to give myself the flexibility to continue with school and finish and then pay off my debt.
I was just going to be done with it. So because I had been wanting to be done with it for so long, I've just been very eager to get out. And so with this situation, now I was able to. Instead of pushing it off any longer, I felt like my prayers had been answered. I didn't question it. I knew right away this was my way out and so I didn't hesitate. It wasn't the fall, I wasn't traumatized from that. I'm just done with that whole environment entirely.
I don't know how religious you are, but they always say God's trying to tell you something when something like this happens. It's a hard way to get that statement. But I feel like as long as you can get it and make it out of the other side...
Yeah, no, I definitely, that's exactly what I was thinking because that environment was draining my spirit completely. Everyone who knows me, they're like, "I don't even know how you do that, your personality and the person you are just doesn't coincide with that lifestyle at all." And I'm just like, "I know." But it was just survival for me and now that this happened, I knew it was a sign from God. I literally had been crying the day before just about what the level of stress that I was under and being frustrated with being in the club still. It was just a lot on me mentally and emotionally. I think He heard me and was just like, "You know what, fine." And He knocked my ass off the pole. Literally.
Are you still planning on staying in Texas?
For now I really like Texas. I lived in California my whole life. It all kind of got old to me, so I'm happy where I'm at in Dallas. And also I'm kind of building a name for myself out here, especially with the situation now, with my career that I'm pursuing. I would like to stay, but if opportunity calls and pulled me somewhere else, I'm willing to move. But as of right now, I like Texas.
It was interesting to see Wendy Williams giving you the $10,000 towards school, as well as the GoFundMe hitting $41,000. Were you surprised at the amount of positivity that's come out of this?
Yeah, very. But for me, that was a confirmation of what I mentioned already. I just felt like God is blessing me and hearing me because, without that reaction, I wouldn't be able to stop dancing. I would have no steady income. I could get a regular job, yes. People have been throwing that at me a lot. I've had regular jobs and the pay cut that I take going from dancing to that is just not ideal, especially when I'm paying for everything. And I'm like, "No." And also if I'm dancing, it gives me that flexibility. So seeing the amount of support that I got, I knew this was a blessing in disguise and I'm not taking it for granted whatsoever. I'm so thankful and it was so nice because a lot of people have this negative view on strippers, dancers and stuff. Nobody cares about dancers. And so to see people come forward and support me and kind of seeing me for who I am, it's been very nice.
I know that one of the big questions people had was, "what's the club going to do?" With the concept of you being an independent contractor and there being no insurance, can you give any updates on what's going on? Are they helping you out with things?
So there was a report that went out that said that they pretty much wanted no part and they weren't going to help me, and that was completely false. They were trying to reach out to me immediately after the incident but apparently, they had the wrong phone number on file. When they [finally] got in contact with me, they said they will help me with the medical expenses. They weren't just throwing me off to the curb and just saying, "Go figure it out yourself." That club specifically, they care about their dancers and they've been so nice.
I'm assuming that your former coworkers have all been supportive as well?
So I'm not really the type of person to involve myself with everybody. There were a few girls that I was cool with, in passing, but out of everybody at that club, there were only two girls that I'm actually close to and friends with outside of the club. And one of them actually came to the hospital immediately after to make sure that I was okay because I was by myself. I don't have like family and stuff out here really, so she made sure that she came and she got me home and did all that for me. That was really nice. I've [also] had dancers that I've worked with from other clubs back in California.
You mentioned calling your mom earlier, is she with you now or has anybody in your family, especially from Cali, come out?
My mom came, she flew out the next day and she was here for a whole week. She was helping me, taking care of me and making sure I got to my appointments and everything. My mom is my superhero. She's the one person in this whole world that I can call on for anything and she'll be there. And she was and she was really nice. The first thing I did when everything happened was call her. And the morning I was by myself at first I was like, "I just want my mom. I don't know what I'm going to do." And she figured it out. She got her and my sister over here the next day and they were here for me. So it was nice.
That's great. You said you were going back to this beauty school. How long had you been in beauty school?
I did a cosmetology program years ago and I decided I didn't like doing hair. As I got older, I found out that there's cosmetology and then there's aesthetics, which focuses on skincare. So I took an interest in that.
Now I don't want to say you're going to go on a path of advocacy for strippers or strippers' rights, but I think it's been important for you to talk about the dehumanizing side of being someone that works in a club in that lifestyle. Have you ever thought of doing more things like that, advocating for women that are in that position?
Yeah, I would love to do that, I just don't know exactly how to go about it yet. But that is definitely something that I've been talking to other people about. I want to do something. We have a couple ideas that I can't speak about yet.
We do have some things that we're kind of spitballing at each other because at the end of the day, this is something that's been a part of my life for three years now and it's a big part of me. As much as I dislike the environment, I wouldn't change my whole path at all. I've had good times, I've had bad times and I learned a lot. I met some amazing women and I've seen the real side of it and coming from the regular world and then going into that, it was like a culture shock.
I was like, "Oh my God. There's so much more that goes into this that people do not know about and it's just pure ignorance that people speak on it without knowing these things." And if I can do anything, I would just at least like to shed light and educate people on the reality of it. Because a lot of people think that we're just in there doing drugs and getting drunk and showing our bodies and that's not the case. Most of us are regular women just trying to get by, support kids, pay for school. Everyone comes from different backgrounds but it's a lot more realistic in there than people realize.