Rihanna made it rain on her in the Pour It Up video. Her pole tricks stopped Ne-Yo dead in his tracks in a scene from She Knows. She performed on stage with Bruno Mars at the MTV European Music Awards. Thought Freida Pinto was working that pole in the Bruno Mars Gorilla video? Nope. It was her body double, the aerial phenomenon otherwise known as “Nicole ThePole.”

Nicole Williams aka Nicole “ThePole” has a media heavy resume that reads like an A-list celebrity. There are appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Access Hollywood, The Insider and Ricki Lake. She taught Nick Lachey how to pole dance on VH1, showed the crew from Cosmopolitan magazine her moves, even gave the Grammy winning gospel group Mary Mary pole dance lessons. She has appeared in Diesel’s campaign for i-d Magazine, was the first African American to create a pole dance instructional DVD series and has one of the biggest studios in Los Angeles.

Nicole’s alter ego was born in 2007 when she saw women pole dancing at a Los Angeles house party. She immediately bought a pole and taught herself tricks by watching YouTube. At the time, she was a personal trainer and co-owner of a Personal Training gym and quickly began telling clients about her newfound obsession.

A tomboy and athlete in high school, she fell in love with the fitness aspect of pole dance. Her new outlet also offered something else… the freedom to be sexy. She learned to step into her femininity, point her toes and be graceful, learn fluidity and musicality, traits she didn’t posses prior to her pole dance training.

Nicole had a vision. She believed pole dance could be a powerful movement for women and for fitness. In 2008 she opened Allure Dance and Fitness, one of LA’s pioneer pole studios. Nicole excels as an instructor because she connects with her students, she has a special gift for breaking down moves and explaining them so that anyone can understand and most of all – makes it FUN! She reminds everyone if you keep a positive mindset and “Can Do” attitude anything is possible.

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© Capital of Texas Aerial Championships 2016; Photos © Michelle Huey