Date of Birth: circa 1943
Place of Birth: California
Arrival in Las Vegas: 1964
Date of Interview: March 17, 1996
Interviewed by: Joyce Marshall
Julie Menard began her career as a showgirl in 1964, performing in the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel. Although she appeared in the show for only sixteen months, her experience described in the oral history offers an insider’s view of the early Las Vegas entertainment scene. She describes a period when showgirls were treated as local royalty and “the boys” wielded considerable influence; a period in Las Vegas tourism before it underwent the major transformation from “family owned” businesses to corporate control.
Menard’s narrative was collected as part of the series on women working in the gaming industry. It sheds light on the glamour and complexities of the showgirl. Her descriptions of physical characteristics of the job, the day to day work schedules, the expectations of physical beauty, as well as the stigma of her occupation outside of Las Vegas offer a fuller view of the job.
Menard left Las Vegas in 1966 to pursue a film career in Europe but like many Las Vegas entertainers, she returned to make the desert city her home. Although her brief performing career failed to prepare her for future employment, she reflected on her brief experience as a showgirl positively.