Former chef creates own food delivery service
A former chef has started a food delivery service named Meals 4 Heels catering for strippers, bouncers and dominatrixes in need of a home cooked supper late at night.
Nikeisah Newton, 38, spotted a gap in the market when she realised there were no nutritious food options for sex workers on a night shift.
She was inspired to start Meals 4 Heels, originally called Meals 4 Six Inch Heels, when she delivered food to a dancer friend at a strip club.
Nikeisah, of Portland, Oregon, USA, said: "It's a physically and emotionally demanding job.
The options for food shouldn't just be Taco Bell.
"If strippers eat my meals, they are not going to be left hungry.
They will be able to work, climb the pole, swing around and not feel bloated or gassy.
"My friend wanted to eat late at night and she wanted to eat healthy but everywhere would be closed.
"The menus at the clubs are designed for men and are full of heavy dishes like wings and fries.
"The dancers can't leave the club to get food and in some clubs they let the cook go early to save money.
Nothing is geared towards the women who work there.
"If I had the time, I would drop off meals to whatever club my friend was at or she would pick up the food from my house.
"She mentioned that the other dancers were intrigued and impressed by what she was eating at night and that they wanted to eat something similar." Last December, Nikeisah realised she could make a business out of delivering healthy meals to sex workers in Portland, known as America's 'strip club city' as it has the most clubs per capita in the country.
She said: "I have so many friends who are bouncers and dominatrixes, sex workers and dancers.
Sex work is stigmatised and looked down upon and demonised.
"But I look at the humanity in sex workers, seeing them as humans not just something for your needs.
"There are so many strip clubs and private lingerie shows here.
I'm surprised no one has reached out to that niche before." Nikeisah offers four healthy bowls named 'I like to cha cha', 'gettin that paper' (The GTP), 'verbal tipper' and 'fregan vegan'.
She said: "All my meals start with a base of massaged kale.
I sprinkle salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil on to the leaves and massage it in with my hands.
"'I like to cha cha' has brown rice, citrus slaw, black olives, pickled red onions and an avocado mash.
"'Gettin that paper' has sweet potato noodles which are gluten free, coconut milk, roasted cauliflower and mirin-soaked cucumbers.
"The 'Verbal Tipper' is a mediterranean bowl with couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers and quinoa.
"'The Fregan Vegan' is a mix of sweet potatoes, roasted apples, mushrooms and sweet and spicy nuts." Nikeisah described the operation as a "one woman army".
She said: "It is a black-owned, female-powered business.
This is a one woman army.
I go to the farmer's market, cook and prepare the food and I deliver it.
"On Friday and Saturday night I'll be up until 3.30am delivering the meals to clubs.
I stress, I get anxiety, I am elated with joy and I cry.
"There's a huge amount of people who support me whether it's farmers donating food or dancers referring me to other places.
"I cater day and night to all types of business but my clients are predominantly sex workers and occassionally bouncers and bar tenders.
"During a week, I'll take around 20 orders from sex workers." Each bowl costs $15 which includes delivery but not tip.
Jordan Arentz, 27, a stripper at Devil's Point strip club in Portland, is a loyal customer.
She said: "I started ordering meals from her about seven months ago.
"Nikeisah reached out on Instagram and offered me and the girls a free meal to try out the service.
"We loved it so much that we started ordering from her." Jordan, who has stripped for three years, said that the healthy food keeps her away from the club's deep fried menu.
She added: "Strippers have a really bad habit of ordering quickie bad food.
Meals 4 Heels delivers excellent, healthy, delicious meals for junk food prices.
"These are meals that would cost $20 plus in a restaurant.
It gives us way more energy.
"When we eat terrible food, we get like slugs.
All the bar food is deep fried and it makes us so sluggish.
"About half of the girls at Devil's Point order from Meals 4 Heels regularly." Julie Flores, 28, a journalist who dances on the side, has been ordering Meals 4 Heels bowls for the last three months.
She said: "Before Meals 4 Heels, I ate hummus, wings and nachos because they were the only thing available at that time of night.
But when you are eating bad food, you really feel it.
"It matters what you are putting into your body - this is a very physical job." Nikeisah hopes to see Meals 4 Heels in other American cities and has even had orders from as far afield as Nebraska.
She said: "I've had interest from other states and ideally I'd like to expand.
I think we could serve sex workers in Seattle, Vegas and Atlanta.
"I've even had people from little towns in Nebraska hit me up.
"Ultimately I would like the business model to get to the point where 10 to 15 per cent of revenue will go back to the community.
We are all connected.
"If you are not taking care of sex workers, you are not taking care of black women.
If you are not taking care of sex workers, you are not taking care of trans women.
"We have to stand together."