Trust Khos, Assistant News Editor
IT’S mid-morning on a drizzly Tuesday but already Zoey Noleen Serani appears ‘high’ on something.
Clad in white body-hugging morning gown and matching slopes, the queen of the pole does the honours to open the gate for us.
Her once pimped van, which now appears deserted and yet functional, greets us as we stroll along the pathway leading to her apartment.
The restless Zoey ushers this crew inside her spacious and well-furnished apartment in Mabelreign.
“I just want to know the purpose of your visit which made you to come so early before I could take a shower or even wipe my face,” says the bubbly exotic dancer as she gives us seats.
For a minute, Zoey begs us to leave and take a quick shower but only agrees that the interview continues after some sweet-talking.
She then closes the window curtains to avoid the attention of nosy co-tenants as she grants us the interview.
Her apartment is more than any other structure you could imagine in the suburb.
Zoey’s longings can best be summed as a guest house, massage parlour and sex therapy academy.
She teaches women how to perform in bed as well as men who have challenges with horizontal gymnastics at their homes.
- TOUGH SHOWBIZ
Zoey who turns 32 on April 25 says as dancers they have not been spared by the current economic situation.
However, as she calls herself an “innovative Harare girl”, Zoey says she has learnt to improvise.
“Things are tough for the dancers because people have no money plus club owners are now treading with caution,” she says.
On how she is managing, Zoey continues:
“I’m one person who is multi-tasking and this has made me think outside the box to cushion up my earnings.
“I run a flea market selling imported clothes from Mozambique and South Africa.
“I also have an academy here where I teach Chinamwari as well as a dance academy where I teach pole dancers.
“I also conduct private tutorials in homes where I am invited by people.
“There are some men who prefer to see us teaching their wives these lessons and I do as they say.”
Despite her innovation, Zoey bemoans sexual exploitation rife in showbiz where female dancers are major victims.
“It’s sad that there are some dance groups charging as little as 200 Bond and surely where are we going when taxi go home is US$10 for the shortest distance especially in Harare.
“Then, there are some dancers who to the extent of sacrificing their souls by doubling as sex workers.
“In our cases, handizvigoni because I am a professional person.
“It sad that some of the dancers ended up being linked up with men by club owners or promoters which is why they accept everything they are offered for their services.
“These are some of the major challenges we face and I wish dancers could value their jobs because it defies logic for some of us to take up peanuts as payment for their work.”
- MASHURUGWI ROMANCE
Zoey who has found a new market in remote areas like mines and farms says she appeals to market gangs.
“I once attended a show in Zvishavane where I got a Thursday slot and it so happened that one of those days machete-wielding artisanal miners came and overpowered my doorman.
“Sensing danger that he was going to attack one of my fans, I approached him and sweet-talked the minor.
“Out of shame, he cried and went on to hide a blood-stained machete under my car.
“From then onwards, they (artisanal minors) became my friends and right now I don’t have a problem with them each time I perform in the mining communities,” she says.
Zoey says artistes need to understand the behaviour and nature of their fans when dealing with rowdy fans like artisanal minors.
“Nothing beats good PR and our playlists must appeal to these guys.
“For instance, I’m a pole dancer but when I perform in these areas, I try by all means to behave like one of them.
“I don’t even do pole dancing but I dance to sungura, rhumba and a bit of Afrofusion but I won’t give them a wrong dose because it backfires.”
Zoey who made a name for herself in the capital says she gets amused when some of her male fans fail to handle their sexual feelings during live performance.
“When I do club performance, there are some men who behave like male prisoners who have been invited to a striptease show.
“I have seen men shying away holding their privates with some discharging when we dance to them.
“It’s so sad that male fans are my better paying patrons but some of them can’t control their feelings when we tease them,” she says.
Zoey says she has seen some men performing oral sex after seeing her branded van.
“I once travelled to Mutoko and I got a shock of my life when a villager came to my car which was plastered with my posters.
“Upon seeing the posters, he started helping himself at the posters. He didn’t see me since my van has a tint but when I opened the door, he ran away and he was never seen again at the growth point that weekend.”
- BEV BEEF
The Red Angels boss says she still misses her beef with Beverly Sibanda which made them household names.
“The Beef worked in our favour because it created a lot of competition and appeal for our music.
“Initially it was real beef considering our background but we later decided to sit and iron out the so-called differences.
“But each time we tried to iron our differences, Bev would foil the plan by her wayward behaviour,’’ she says.
“At the moment, I wouldn’t want to dwell much on Bev since she is married because it would appear I’m jealous.
“We are still in talking terms and I congratulated her when she got married. She even told me before but I kept it to myself.”
On reports of juju use among dancers, Zoey says she has turned to God.
“I know there are people out there who believe in juju use but in my case I am now a Christian.
“My whole family practices Islam and I realised that I can’t afford it because I love my pork and beer which are against Islam.
“I’m the only kid in my family who is now into Christianity because it is flexible since it allows me to drink and eat what I want,” she says.
- LOVE LIFE
Zoey, who has been married to club deejay Devonte for six years, says she has lost sexual feelings.
“To be honest, I have lost sexual feelings because we deal with men every day not meaning that I now prefer ladies.
“At the moment, my attention is on looking for money and I will not stop until I get money.
“You can only have sex with me if you offer me a lot of money but I would be after your money and not real love,” she says.
- FAMILY SUPPORT
The Chitungwiza bred dancer says her family has been supportive to her despite pursuing what is perceived to be dirty dances.
“My family really supports and love me as I am and I don’t have problems with that as they love me.
“My mother stays with my daughter called Lerato in Chitungwiza but they really support me a lot.
“I will continue doing my best for them since they are showing love,” she says.
In a nutshell, Zoey is an epitome of hard work, resilience and defiance which has paid her over a period of time.
Creativity and hard work now define her path she has travelled.