Not a 'glorified stripper': AGT winner smashes stereotypes

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Kristy Sellars wowed the judges and audiences with her pole routine, and she kicked prejudice to the kerb on the way up. Photo: Seven

Australia’s Got Talent was taken out this year by a mum with a mission and the talent to get there - Kristy Sellars.

A vertical pole dancer, with a penchant for emotive, colourful storytelling, Kristy took out the 2019 competition to the surprise of nobody but herself on Monday evening.

The mum of three will take home the top prize of $100,000 after wowing the judges and audiences with a stunning performance.

Kristy told Yahoo she couldn't believe she won, unlike everyone else watching. Photo: Seven

The veteran dancer of over 12 years mixes her art with the visual effects of best mate Ryan Talbot to create complex routines that use two poles with an ease that defies the gruelling physicality that goes into the dance.

“I never thought I would win, not even when I got announced in the top 4,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle.

Not least because the mum hit a road bump or two when it came to people’s reactions to her form of dancing.

Overcoming the stigma

Kristy wowed with her AGT audition, proving the haters wrong. Photo: Seven

Though pole dancing is gradually moving along from the outdated stereotype that associates it with strip clubs and bucks parties - and assumes both those things are inherently negative - Kristy says she knew she was going to come up against some resistance from the get-go.

“I saw one comment, before anything had aired, in our local paper,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Someone just wrote ‘glorified stripper’. That person made that comment completely naïve to anything I would perform.”

She explained her frustration with the hesitation around pole dancing, arguing it’s as legitimate as any other dance routine.

“It’s a vertical piece of steel,” she says, audibly rolling her eyes.

“We could turn it horizontally and we’re doing gymnastics.”

“For me, I just see the possibilities that can be done with it, and I love sharing that with people.”

And it seems people love watching, given the mum took out the top spot in the country’s biggest talent show with her take on the pole dance.

Now she says she can already feel the tide shifting.

“I’m really overwhelmed with the positive response to it and the whole industry has recognised it,” she says.

“All the studios are getting enquiries and it’s just great.”

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