Nikeisah Newton Cooks Gas-fueled Meals On A Stripper Pole

On any night before the pandemic, Nikesah Newton traveled the length of Greater Portland. “All the way east to center 250,” she says. “To the Dancin’ Bare. Back to downtown. Exit to the Golden Club, in Southeast McLaughlin.”

Her business, Meals 4 Heels, provides hot, healthy meals to people in the sex industry. Made with dancers in mind, Newton’s recipes avoid ingredients that may cause bloating or gas. They are well seasoned, but judicious with regard to garlic and onions.

Most importantly, Newton’s recipes contain a great deal of force because it takes energy to move them up and down.

The idea came to Newton after she saw fast food wrappers in her ex-girlfriend’s car. Her ex-husband was working at a strip club at the time and told Newton that she often got off work too late to find something healthy to eat. Newton, a longtime restaurateur, began cooking meals for her. And her co-workers started noticing and asking if they could pay to get them meals, too.

Originally called Meals 4 Six-Inch Heels, Newton honed her takeout and catering business while she was on the go. Now Newton’s Meals 4 Heels occupies a small kitchen with a walk-in window in Redd on Salmon, a separate building in the center of the East Side. It has different hours than the delivery business – lunch hours from Wednesday to Saturday. It offers birthday parties and baby showers to its sex worker clients.

But with clubs reopening, Newton hopes dancers will place more orders.

“I miss those customers, personally,” she told WW. “Sex workers are, by far, the best clients and some of the best flip-flops.”

The legal status of sex workers will be a high-level debate in 2022, as advocates gather signatures for a ballot initiative to remove prostitution from Oregon’s criminal laws. We asked Newton about it. But for now she’s focusing on other kinds of help – not just serving delicious and healthy food, but also on safety and understanding.

WW: What kind of business is Meals 4 Heels? Is it non-profit? for profit?

Nikesah Newton: Definitely for profit. We’ve been in business since January 25, 2019. A lot of people still think we’re a charity, and that’s clearly something to keep in mind. Why do people think serving sex workers would be charity?

You are doing a lot of good work. Not only did it feed the dancers but the activists.

Feeding strippers was how it started. But this has been very rare since the pandemic. When the clubs closed due to COVID, my clients fell 80%. I would say that most of my clients now are the general public, social or activist groups. We’ve catered for Q Center, Don’t Shoot Portland, and the US Asia Pacific Network in Oregon. We prepared meals for the vaccination clinic.

When sex workers moved to cameras or telecommuting, were you still able to hook up to them?

Some kept in touch, but a lot of my early clients requested via social media, and now anyone who puts “sex work” on their profile risks being removed or suspended. So it affected my work and slowed it down.

Now that the clubs are back their doors, can workers order through your site?

Yes, but I don’t have as much presence as I used to do in strip clubs because there is a turnover every two years. A new wave of workers is coming.

I started at a very grassroots level so this seems like an opportunity to go strong and reinvent myself with more professionalism. promotional code. short message. things like that. There is demand, so I have to remind them I’m still here.

There is a petition that voters may see on the ballot paper called the Sex Workers’ Rights Act. The goal is to decriminalize sex work.

I’m aware, I’ve been asked to get involved in it.

Will you campaign on behalf of the measure?

As soon as I have more information on this topic, I will be able to tell you. I’ve worked on other things, like CROWN’S Law [which expanded Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws to include hair texture and styles like locs, braids and twists]. If the bill looks right, I will support it. As long as the wording is correct, I will actively campaign to decriminalize sex work. I want to see what is written specifically.

What do people not understand about club workers?

They are human. They are people who choose their job. It is not imposed on them. They are members of our community.

I’m thinking of the comments from a Fox News article written about Meals 4 Heels. Negative things people have said are like, “Why am I interested in this?” People are really uncomfortable with sex workers, because they take their own power and control their bodies – and their money, at the time.

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