Memoirs of a Showgirl

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Author: Shay Stafford
ISBN: 978-073-362-4872
RRP: $35.00

Shay Stafford has lived a life that many only dream about, in which she managed to achieve pretty much everything she ever aspired to. From her humble beginnings in suburban Brisbane at her first ballet class, aged 6, to her retirement from professional dancing in Paris, aged 34. Memoirs of a Showgirl take us on that journey with Shay.

This book is written very naturally and honestly with a great depth and perception in hindsight. I am not usually one to read autobiographies so it struck me that the chapters about Shay’s childhood are written with such clarity and attention to detail, there’s no way I could remember that far back so clearly.

memoirs of a showgirl

Shay Stafford wrote this memoir with the assistance of her Australian journalist husband she met in Paris. Shay’s voice is bright, fresh and enthusiastic which makes this an absolute pleasure to read.

The city of romance comes to life through Shay’s eyes and her experiences. From her arrival as a fresh faced young innocent with the world at her feet through the trials that come along with living on the other side of the planet from your family and friends with little knowledge of the local language.

Even for someone with little knowledge of the dancing world, in Australia or internationally, Shay worked with some talented household names even I am familiar with. Through Shay’s journey we learn a little about some other very talented people in the dance profession.

A birds eye view into the inner workings of the famous Paris showgirl scene, onstage, and the backstage politics. An insight not usually available to the public. A behind the scenes look at the celebrity and status afforded a showgirl in Paris, especially working at the Moulin Rouge or the Lido.

This book is filled with the heartfelt experiences of Shay growing up and re-evaluating her priorities.

The prologue takes places in the present and then we take the time tunnel back to 1980 so we can start the story at the beginning and follow every step of Shay’s journey to fulfill all of the hopes and dreams she holds for her passion to dance.

The road to retirement was fraught with partying, heartache and friendships forged to last a lifetime. Tagging along for the ride with Shay in Memoirs of a Showgirl will have you laughing and crying at the situations these girls find themselves in. But through it all you will be cheering for the achievements Shay ate up throughout her career.

Anyone who has ever lived apart from their family will empathise with the isolation and loneliness sometimes suffered by Shay, even surrounded by the new friends and surrogate family she found for herself in her new home. The Christmases that always make you feel alone, regardless of who you’re with, because you just want your family.

This book will appeal to a broad range of readers and can’t really be pigeonholed. It is something that you need to experience for yourself and I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

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