Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 | 9 a.m.
Blonde bombshell Amy Toliver leads a double life to fulfill an incredible dream. The Phoenix resident sheds her clothes several times each week nightly at “iCandy Burlesque” in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops and at the new SHe nightclub in Crystals. By day, she dons scrubs for nursing school to follow in her mother’s footsteps to become a trauma emergency room nurse.
It’s an only-in-Las Vegas story of a striptease showgirl by night earning money to put herself through school. I asked Amy how she juggled the schedule of being in an operating room one moment and peeling off her clothes the next.
“I am not quite a nurse yet. I have another year juggling both. I am in nursing school, but there are so many more requirements at this stage than just being a nurse. I travel weekly back and forth between school in Phoenix and the stage in Las Vegas. Right now, my show nights are Friday through Sunday night in Las Vegas, and then the rest of the nights I spend in Arizona.
“I just pretty much break up my travel between flying and driving depending on the week. It was hard at first, but now I am used to it. I have to manage my time really well and know my priorities.”
Amy cut back one of her nights in “ICandy” at Saxe Theater because it meant an drive to Phoenix when the curtain came down and right into scrubs when she reached the Valley of the Sun.
She said: “I was dancing on Monday night, getting off at midnight, and then driving all through the night to make an 8 a.m. lecture for nursing school. That was just too hard. It could have been dangerous, too. There’d be times when I’d want to fall asleep and pull over on the road to grab a quick nap. I cut out Monday night at ‘iCandy’; it works a little better for me.
“It is still a little crazy, though! I do ‘iCandy,’ then go across the street to SHe at CityCenter and dance until 3 in the morning.”
Nursing school and a mortgage are an expensive proposition. Amy explained: “Right now, I am at $90,000 that I owe back to the government, so I am using the two night jobs to pay back my school loans. Fortunately, my tuition is half paid for by my scholarship.
“I have to maintain a 3.7 GPA to keep my scholarship, so not only is going to nursing school and dancing in Las Vegas hard, but I have to make sure that I get really good grades, or I lose my scholarships. … I am a really good student, just shy of a 4.0. Nursing is my priority, and I love it.
“It also is tough because I have a mortgage. It is not like I am fresh out of high school and have no bills. I have accumulated bills over the years, so I have to maintain and make sure that I am still paying them.
Amy, who has few inhibitions onstage with her sexy routines and is one of the James Bond unclothed beauties in Jeff Kutash’s new production at SHe, says she thought about becoming a doctor but has decided on nursing and will join the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
She told me: “Being a nurse is so much more personal. There are so many different specialties that you can go into without having to go to school all over again. I can pretty much practice nursing anywhere. I wouldn’t be able to dance and to be a doctor at the same time; it is not as flexible. I’d like to continue nursing and dancing.
“When I am done with nursing school, I am going to do the traveling nursing for a while, accepting three- to six-month contracts with hospitals in different states. So, I want to travel and I want to dance and, after that, I want a contract with the Army serving my country in the military as a nurse.
I had to ask why blood and battered bones didn’t trouble the dancing beauty: “My mom was a trauma nurse for 30-plus years. … As a little girl, I always knew that I was going to be a nurse, I knew that I would want to follow in my mom’s footsteps. I knew that I wanted to do something that I could better the world, that I could help people in a major way.
“My mom set a really good example for me as a young girl. When I told her I was going to nursing school, she asked me what kind of nurse I wanted to be. I told her I wanted to work in the emergency room, trauma. She looked at me with a really serious face and asked if I was sure. She said it takes a really special personality to be able to be a nurse who does that. Then she said, ‘If anyone can be a great trauma nurse, it would be you because you have that personality.’
Amy, who was an NFL cheerleader for four years, said her first dance mentor was a Las Vegas showgirl appearing in “Splash” at the Riviera. She encouraged Amy to dance here to pay her tuition, and she joined “iCandy” in its debut a year ago at the Tropicana before it moved to Planet Hollywood.
She summed up: “I realized there is a lot of work in Las Vegas for me, and I love it. It is a lot of fun dancing in Las Vegas. I have been commuting to school in Phoenix for a year, and I have a little over a year left. My graduation will be May 2014. I just have to keep driving safely back and forth for a while longer.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.