Sheila Hageman is a 41-year-old mother of three from Stratford, Connecticut who has defied all odds. A former stripper and nude model, she later became a college valedictorian and wrote Stripping Down: A Memoir (2012, Pink Fish Press). Here’s what Sheila has to say about her debut memoir:
At twelve years old, everything changed for me with the discovery of my estranged father’s porn collection. Found locked away in a corner of the basement, the glossy images ignited in me an unrelenting desire for attention and adoration. I lost sight of my dream of being a writer and became obsessed with exercise, working out every day for hours and barely eating. I became that which I thought men adored—a stripper and a nude model.
Many years later when I discovered my mother had breast cancer, I was faced with who I had become and what I had used my body for. I quit stripping and returned to college to graduate as valedictorian; I also became a yoga teacher through which I learned how to take good care of my body and not be obsessive in my looks. I began writing again and then went to graduate school for my MFA in Creative Writing. At that time, reflections on my past as a stripper permeated my thoughts as I took on the new roles of mother, caregiver and wife. While helping my baby daughter take her first steps, I nursed my mother through the final stages of breast cancer and truly faced who I had become and who I had been. The resulting memoir, Stripping Down, was finally published in February of 2012. I am living my dream of writing everyday and helping other women to reach their own dream through exploring their lives in words.
Stripping Down can be purchased here.