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Vegas Then and Now

Maren Wade’s Confessions of a Showgirl: Vegas Then and Now

As I was searching deep in my dressing room shelves for my favorite bedazzled Swarovski bra, I came across an ancient artifact. I felt like Nicholas Cage in the movie National Treasure. Well actually, I guess I was more like Diane Kruger because as far as I know, Nicholas Cage appears to be male. But I guess you never know …

Anyway, I found a diary of a showgirl from the 1960’s! Apparently, confessions from showgirls date back further than I thought.

Fifty years ago, Ingrid Liebschreiber travelled all the way from Germany to Las Vegas and became a showgirl. Her story is fascinating. She doesn’t hold anything back. I was really surprised! (I mean, not surprised that she didn’t hold anything back because she’s a showgirl and that’s what we do.) But I was surprised at how different Old Vegas was from New Vegas.

Vegas Headliners Then: Ingrid writes, “showgirls were treated like royalty.” They were escorted into the most exclusive lounges. They mingled with historical headliners like Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte and Elvis Presley. In fact, Ingrid says she even had an affair with Elvis and got pregnant! Can you imagine the headline? “A showgirl pregnant with Elvis’ baby.”

Vegas Headliners Now: The closest a showgirl can get to that headline now is, “A showgirl pregnant with Elvis impersonator’s baby.” Which probably isn’t news. I’m sure it happens more often than we think. And it doesn’t happen in those exclusive lounges from back in the day. It probably happens in those loud nightclubs where no one can hear himself think. Which is why it happens in the first place.

Vegas Audiences Then: After their shows, showgirls were showered with lavish gifts from the audience, like jewelry and furs. Apparently, there was an abundance of wealthy suitors with sufficient cash to entertain.

Vegas Audiences Now: Most of our suitors now have insufficient funds, or they take yours and then you have insufficient funds. Which reminds me, I have to call my bank.

Vegas Showgirls Then: Aspiring showgirls would come to Vegas from all over the world in hopes to perform in a real Vegas show. Ingrid came all the way from Germany.

Vegas Showgirls Now: Now, you have to move 2,500 miles to New York just to get hired for a show in Vegas. You would think it would be easier just to hold auditions in Vegas but what do I know. I’m just a showgirl.

Vegas News Then: Ingrid had to be very careful about anything she said because it was a small town and news travelled quickly back then.

Vegas News Now: Hmmm. News travels fast here too.

So I guess the truth is, showgirls haven’t changed at all. It’s comforting to know that in this fast paced world, some things can stay the same.

As Ingrid said, “Once a showgirl, always a showgirl.”

It was as if Ingrid had written all of this just for me to find in my dressing room years later. If I hadn’t been looking for my bra, I never would have found out what Vegas was like back then.

Okay, I have a confession to make. I wasn’t exactly digging through my shelves in my dressing room. I was digging through the icons that look like shelves on Amazon, more specifically the Kindle store, but I was in my dressing room. It turns out Ingrid’s diary wasn’t just written for me. It’s available to everyone in fact! It’s called Love Target and every showgirl and non-showgirl should read it!

Okay, I have one more confession to make. Or maybe Ingrid does. How should I put this? Technically, Ingrid isn’t a real showgirl because she’s not a real person. But she is a character based off the life of the real showgirl Heidi Loeb Hegerich. Heidi’s book Love Target is part fictional memoir and part historical novel, which begs the question: Did she really have an affair with Elvis?!

A showgirl never tells … or maybe she does.

For more of Heidi’s (I mean, Ingrid’s) adventures in Sin City and New York visit, available in paperback and hardback, too.

Follow Maren on Twitter @marenwade


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