Sydney Unleashed

Sydney's #1 Entertainment & Lifestyle Publication


Skimpy Feature

Kellie Arrowsmith Interview.

SKIMPY or Outrageous true tales of crocs, snakes and pulling beers in the Australian Outback by author KELLIE ARROWSMITH is an eye-opening memoir of a self proclaimed feisty girl from regional New South Wales then the Gold Coast who decides to go into the extreme Australian outback working as a topless waitress. Falling in love was the last thing expected but it is just one of the many surprises in this fantastic tale of an individual finding life outside the comfort zone, literally. Now residing in the Port Stephens area, catching up with this naturally glowing beauty, Kel is a bundle of enthusiasm talking about her journey and views of life in general.

SAB. Your car when travelling through the outback was emblazoned Queen of the Desert. Are you called Queen of Port Stephens now you reside there?

Definitely not. Karuah is the kind of place if you come from a controversial background, rumours can spread which I think is hilarious. Unfortunately people assume you’re one thing because of your occupation before knowing the reality.

SAB. Did all those experiences you had in the bush harden you up to be a stronger woman?

I don’t know about harden me up, I still don’t like critters. The so-called earthworm (actually a snake) in the kitchen freaked me out because to me, anything with black and white rings means danger. I got used to it but if you had have told me I would live in a house where huntsmen would run under the door at your bare feet is terrifying, my phobia of spiders remains. My way of coping was a can of mortein.

SAB. You open the discussion on strippers not to be stereotyped.

Yes, I’ve met a lot of them and one particular girl did a double degree in chemistry, very smart and motivated, all kinds of people can be a successful stripper. Of course there are girls who do it just to party but some girls study, have kids or want to buy a house. Not all are at uni as many say (laughs), some actually.

SAB. Do you have a standard response to anyone who hands you their phone number or steps over that line of simply flirting?

It was easier when I had a partner, now it’s easier to take the number and not call them. Tips are an important part of the job and I don’t like confrontation or embarrassment, there is no harm in taking it. Plenty of folded up coasters are shoved secretly in my tip-jar like raffle tickets (laughs).

SAB. I am surprised it took 61 pages to mention the movie Roadhouse because it seemed there were many establishments that had closeness to the movie and 96 pages before Ten Canoes, a tremendous outback film made in the same area you visited. However, Coyote Ugly was not mentioned.

You know what, I’ve never been able to sit through the entire thing, the scene is not really like Coyote Ugly at all where I was working. A place in Brisbane, dancing on the bar is actually encouraged but because we were mostly doing topless waitressing in the afternoon, it was just a bunch of laid back tradies. Some girls go through routines but not a fan of working with them because I just want to serve the guys beers, have a chat and happen to be topless while you’re doing it. Documentaries are more my taste. Not so much movies in general, it has to be bloody good before I can sit through it.

SAB. Being a Skimpy, do you liken that to an actress?

Little bit, you have to be on at all times or adjust to situations or talk to people who you may not necessarily have anything in common with. It was easier for me because I was older and had worked for a plumber, therefore knowing how tradies think and talk.

SAB. Being all bogan?

Possibly (laughs).

SAB. The book takes the reader through various stages of your life from sin city at the Gold Coast to the far reaches of isolation to now working around the Hunter region with your lovely daughter Marli Rose. Is she still your gumnut baby or growing up fast?

Very proud of her, yes growing up fast.. She has an interest in animals and one day hope to get her a pony. I’m pretty sure she would really like one as horses seem to be her obsession not walking past one without getting a pat. She loves outdoors but not so sure I want her in the ocean to learn surfing, sharks are a worry.

SAB. Has your appalling view of fishing changed over time and after all those confrontations with crocs, I didn’t think sharks would be of huge concern?

(Laughs) Well I would rather deal with a shark than a crocodile but haven’t really thought about it. Still hate fishing, boring.

SAB. What was the reaction from Dave (former partner, father to Marli Rose) when mentioning you were writing a book?

Very supportive, the best Ex in the world. He has read Skimpy from the start, encouraged me to keep writing, not wrapped about the world’s worst four wheel drive label to his beloved troupy. We are still good mates which is better for all.

SAB. Are there any male Skimpy’s on the job?

No, but there should be (laughs). There are topless waiters but it’s something I would be annoyed about in Queensland because there were about ten pubs we would send girls to but no guys. Although every Tuesday, we would send a male to the Down Under bar in Brisbane to do a show at around 11pm, however as a regular pub shift no. Where do the girls go for a drink after work, it’s not fair.

SAB. Now that you have settled in, what is it about the Newcastle region you like most other than the wine?

Exactly the wine! Food, atmosphere, Port Stephens is just beautiful. Moving here without realising where it even was – sight unseen. Newcastle is the best of both worlds, beaches, Hunter Valley, national parks, so much to enjoy, stoked to be here.

SAB. What would you say to young women aspiring to be a Skimpy either in the city or out bush or in faraway mining towns?

Encourage them. I wish I had started at 20. Go into it and treat it like a job, the temptation to party is there but you don’t want to turn up to your shift not alert, you can make lots of money to save for the future. One girl I know in WA is 25 owning three properties so the opportunity is there when in the right frame of mind. Gaining confidence and traveling is part of it all. Some girls just stay with a bloke and don’t go anywhere, afraid to move on. This is a life affirming job for many.

SAB. How many side stories remain untold not in the book? Although not quite a PG rated read, I assume there are many risqué situations that may surface in a sequel or possibly a screenplay?

Good question, there may be a fictional variation of events in the pipeline as you don’t want to get anyone into too much trouble. There is an interest of what I could deliver from behind the scenes in the industry but I can’t say anymore until it happens. It will be more about stripping moments I’ve witnessed or experienced. Skimpy is more about someone who knows nothing about being in the bush and going from one culture to another, how I came out of it alive, how the Northern Territory changed my so far extraordinary life and meeting Dave showing me many unbelievable things. My book is not boring, lots of laughs involved in crazy circumstances, it’s also the sort of book you don’t have to read cover to cover, an easy read to go in and out of in your spare time. A collection of entertaining stories basically that may inspire people to go do a Territory tour.

SKIMPY now available from Hachette Australia at all good book stores.
Find out more about Kellie

Shane A. Bassett

Sydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.