Friday 23 March 2018

Meet Magic Mick... Ireland's real-life Magic Mike

With 'Magic Mike XXL' pulling in the female punters at the box office, Deirdre Reynolds spends a night with Ireland's answer to Channing Tatum

Anthony Brady sports a thong at work. Photo: El Keegan
Anthony Brady sports a thong at work. Photo: El Keegan
Channing Tatum in Magic Mike XXL
Anthony Brady dresses as a SWAT team member to set a bride-to-be pulses racing at a hen party
Anthony Brady pours lotion on himself during a gig. Photo: El Keegan

It's opening night at Cineworld Dublin, and as the end credits roll on the sold-out 9.20pm screening of Magic Mike XXL, hundreds of pairs of high heels are starting to spill out onto Parnell Street.

Just over a mile away, on a dimly lit street close to St Stephen's Green, meanwhile 32-year-old Anthony Brady is busy changing into a tiny red g-string in the back of his Volkswagen van.

As Ireland's real-life Magic Mike, the in-demand male stripper from Tallaght is getting ready to bare almost all to a clutch of hens for the second time that night.

And while he will be performing to Ginuwine's Pony, the RnB track made immortal by the original 2012 movie, unlike star Channing Tatum, he won't be donning tracksuit bottoms and a hoody to do so.

"Magic Mike has definitely added flavour to the industry," says Anthony as we meet ahead of his most recent gig. "And the routine he did in a tracksuit to Pony in the film is a great routine.

"Apart from the famous waistcoat and tie though, it's fairly limited in terms of costumes. In Dublin, if someone rocks up in a tracksuit, it's not exactly the same!"

Fireman, cowboy and cop are just some of the olden but golden female fantasies founder Anthony regularly fulfils, with a quick rummage in the back of his mobile office unearthing props like a banana, baby oil and handcuffs.

"Some nights you get a call to be in a place last minute," he tells, "so I have it all in the van when I'm on the road. I'm a stripper on the go!

"The fireman is probably one of the favourites, and since Fifty Shades of Grey, demand for the grey suit, grey tie and whip is big too.

"But I've had some really strange requests over the years including a farmer and a priest."

Partying in the private room of a trendy D2 nightspot, tonight's hens have opted for a sexy SWAT officer to help their best pal, who understandably wished to remain anonymous, celebrate her last night of freedom.

"A few hours before every gig, I shave all over, get tanned up and make sure the underwear and costume is ready to go," reveals Anthony, who's been thrilling ladies throughout the land for the past 10 years.

"Then I drive to the venue in my casual clothes. I always wait until the last minute to put the thong on because I don't find them comfortable."

How considerate then, for one of the 15-strong gang of 20-something women to urge him to 'Get ' em off!' not seconds after making his entrance at the party, admittedly a little out of his jurisdiction in a Special Weapons and Tactics uniform just like the one worn by Colin Farrell in the 2003 action flick SWAT.

First though, the male adult entertainer, to give him his official handle, woos the blushing bride-to-be with a romantic poem - which just so happens to be punctuated with naughty secrets from her past.

"It is different for male and female performers," reckons Anthony, who follows a strict raw food diet, doesn't drink, and works out four times a week to remain ripped.

"Girls want to hear the poem and see the theatrics behind each costume, whereas a load of men watching a girl [strip], they just want to see flesh.

"Hen parties and 21st birthdays are the big ones," he adds. "But I've also done a 90th birthday party and a joint 80th in Dolphin's Barn.

"Beforehand, the girl [who made the booking] came up to me and said, 'That's my grandmother in there - go easy on her'. When I went in, the two grannies were going mad dancing around me!"

As the supersized sequel to Magic Mike steams up big screens around the globe, by now, it's not exactly a spoiler to say that Sofia Vergara's fiance Joe Manganiello steals the show with his solo striptease.

Back in the downstairs bar of a dusky Dublin nightclub, Anthony is doing his best take on the bonkbuster's memorable supermarket scene - involving a bottle of water and a bag of Cheetos - bumping and grinding within centimetres of the bride-to-be while dextrously shedding layers of apparel.

It's not quite the full monty, in case you're wondering, but balancing precariously on bar stools to get a better look or capturing the action on their smartphones, the gang of screaming girls certainly doesn't seem to mind.

"Some gigs you go in and they're reserved, other gigs you go and they're just wild," he explains afterwards. "When you see the crowd, you get a feeling of how far you can take it.

"Most of these women have boyfriends and husbands at home," he continues, "it's the whole fantasy. It's more of a strip tease - you're kind of teasing them.

"The idea is to leave women wanting more. It's fine if they grab your arm or your arse. If they start grabbing you in other places, it's a different story!"

Just like Channing Tatum, who worked as a male stripper at Florida club Male Encounter before becoming an actor, 'Magic Mick' Anthony tells how he first began peeling off to pay the rent as a student. "I started stripping while I was studying for a degree in engineering.

"I was at a friend's 21st birthday party when this male stripper came out who was about 45, skinny and had a rat-tail. I thought, 'If he can do it, I can definitely do it!'"

Although clearly not shy about his credentials, the Dubliner says he always waits until the second date to tell girls what he does for a living - and never gyrates with customers for real.

"There is a persona attached to male strippers that they're not smart," admits Anthony. "But I have a college degree, one of the lads is a biochemist and another is a forensic scientist.

"If I was going out with a girl, I'd never tell them on the first date that I was a stripper. I'd wait until the second date so at least they get to know you a little bit first.

"Most have been fine with it. But I've been in relationships where they act cool with it and then, all of a sudden, you just know it's getting to them."

Half an hour later, after posing for photos with one happy hen party, the female fantasy for hire is back to reality, hauling a heavy speaker back to his van in the teeming morning rain.

With two more hen parties booked for the following night however, Anthony - whose services start from €100 - insists he has no intention of hanging up his g-string any time soon.

"Some jobs I go on, the older women would be insulting you without even realising it," he says. "They'd say, 'Oh you poor fella, having to do this'. But I love what I do, and if you understand stripping, I don't think it objectifies men.

"I said from the start, the day I stop enjoying it is the day I stop doing it," adds Anthony. "I can't sing and I can't act, so I suppose this is my way of getting attention.

"I'd like to think that I'll still be stripping at 40!"

Irish Independent

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