Photo by Erik Kabik
While audiences in the Shimmer Cabaret at the Westgate may be taken with what is not left to the imagination when it comes to “Sexxy” dancer Jennifer Romas’ stage attire, it is what is invisible to the naked eye that makes for her stunning entertainment style – such as all the “hats” she is wearing.
As the star/creator/choreographer/costume designer/marketer/director/producer of the popular topless revue “Sexxy,” which has been appearing nightly in the cabaret since January 2015, what you see is what you “get” once you understand the 24.7 creative mind that it is emanating from.
“I’m fighting for the bigger picture, which is the show and its brand,” Romas, who recently revamped the show, acknowledges. “The ‘Sexxy’ brand is trademarked, under which we have clothing, liquor, perfume, makeup and show memorabilia. ‘Sexxy’ is not a burlesque show. I am very particular about the women I hire. They are beautiful and talented but they have other lives and careers. To me, that’s sexy.
“The show represents athleticism, empowerment, passion, sensuality, confidence, and believing in oneself,” she adds. “Women can be sexy at any age – it is a state of mind, a confidence. ‘Sexxy’ is topless but not burlesque, the pre-conceived notion of which is old-world, old-style striptease cabaret. While there are some burlesque elements, I classify ‘Sexxy’ as a high-powered interactive production show of beautiful, talented sexy women. My mom and dad come to the show all the time. It’s more about beauty, creativity, and sensuality than just being a topless show. The audience really appreciates the talent.”
Before “Sexxy,” Romas was a featured attraction in Jason Tenner’s “Purple Reign” show in the cabaret. It was Robin Leach who introduced her to Westgate Resorts CEO/Founder David Siegel and to the hotel’s COO, Mark Waltrip, who asked her to put together a special show for CES but declined, offering instead to create a show for the cabaret. She was given three months to accomplish it and although she was scared at the thought of trying to do something that would be a hit from the git-go, she went all out. The results speak for themselves.
In revamping the popular show, which includes nine permanent dancers and a singer, Gabriella Versace, Romas made big changes both in the numbers and costumes. She found it to be a challenge but one in which she had to keep making challenges for herself that would work. Again, there was an element of fear as she wondered whether she could duplicate her initial success.
“I brought in my own lighting people and did all new videos and production numbers,” she reveals. “The dancers have all been with me for over a year. But I’m still learning every day.”
Romas, who does an incredible pole routine in the show, says that her favorite style of dance is contemporary lyrical, which she notes is a very personal style, but that she has to choreograph for what looks good on stage. She describes the latter as very theatrical and not just random moves. Her inspiration comes from music and its vibe that comes from the lyrics. Then, of course, the costumes play into that vibe as well.
“I make some of the costumes; I purchase the basics and add to them,” she explains. “The new opening costumes were designed by myself and Waistel Couture. I have quite a few things made overseas and shipped to me.”
Romas admits that the most challenging part of it all is that by being hands-on with all ends of the production, she is always on a roller coaster that keeps going. And she is hardest on herself. The most difficult part, she acknowledges, is not to be a producer while she is on stage.
“My eyes and ears are everywhere all the time,” she smiles. “It’s hard to let all those hats go and just be a dancer.”
Because the shows are so physically strenuous, Romas works out every day and warms up for an hour before the show. She also eats healthily and clean.
“I’m not a spring chicken so I look at cake and it goes right on me,” she admits. “So I don’t eat desserts.”
The Westgate has proven to be a great home for Romas and “Sexxy.” The casino has implemented “Sexxy” gaming chips, slot machines, Blackjack gaming tables, and a Big 6 Wheel. And Romas is excited about what the future holds for her growing company, JRR Enterprises, for which she says that she is building a team of amazing people. She started the company in 2012 after being injured – her dance partner dropped her and she shattered her kneecap – and was unable to dance for three or four years. Feeling fortunate to be able to dance again, Romas is still looking to expand the LLC, which is an entertainment company that books corporate gigs, offers choreography, works with nightclubs and dancers, movies, and more.
One thing’s for certain – as much more than a dancer, Romas will always keep herself on her toes.