Monday, July 22, 2013 | 2:32 p.m.
Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with Meeka, one of the sexiest showgirls in Las Vegas and Angela Stabile’s star performer in “X Burlesque” at Flamingo Las Vegas.
Hi! My name is Rasmeeka Onstead. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m going to let you into my head and life. I’m a Las Vegas entertainer and the mother of a beautiful 4-year-old girl. I have a lot of interesting life experiences and opinions I’ve never really shared with anyone.
The first interesting fact about me would be I’m not from Las Vegas. I was born in Durban, South Africa, during what we all know as apartheid. My father was a proud 6’3” cowboy from Mineral Wells, Texas. He was an oil engineer who landed a job in Libya working under one of the most feared men in the world, Muammar Gaddafi. Being that Dad worked in Africa, he would occasionally travel to the island of Malta for vacation in transit back to the States.
My mother, who is East Indian, was born in South Africa and attended the University of Malta to obtain her law degree. Looking back, I see now my mother wasn’t so different from me, seeing as she met my father in a nightclub. They wed shortly after and soon moved to South Africa to be closer to my mother’s family. After my birth, South Africa forced my parents to register my sister and me as “mixed children.” We were only to reside in the coordinates given to us, and at that time mixed was one of the worst things you could be.
My dad, coming from “The Land of the Free,” was not going to settle for this. The South African government went as far as telling my father he could not hold the hand of his own wife in public because of their skin color. That was it. My parents decided that they wanted infinite possibilities for my sister and me, so at age 2, I found myself on a plane to Las Vegas.
Ah, Las Vegas. My parents loved it here. It was warm, well ... hot! There were no major natural disasters, and job possibilities were infinite. I took an interest in the arts at a pretty young age. I was an overly hyper kid with energy only my mother could tolerate. I flipped and tumbled to the best of my ability everywhere I went. To the dinner table, the potty, in the grocery stores and even to bed. Mom and Dad decided the best place for me to use my talents was not in the house with expensive artifacts but in gymnastics.
Little did they know I would grow to love gymnastics and excelled at a rapid pace. I won nine state championships and eventually made the U.S. National Team. Having the hunger to keep pushing, I decided that I wanted to try for the Olympics, and in doing so, I would move back to South Africa and compete for my native country. At 15, I found myself in a pre-qualifying competition for the South African Olympic team.
My first event that day was bars. I saluted the judges, mounted the apparatus and began. My routine went flawlessly until it was time to land my dismount. I would say that due to the adrenaline, I had much more height than normal. I kicked open to try and spot my landing, but the ground was still not there. When I finally landed, my legs were already straight, and snap! My gymnastics career was over.
Flying back to the States was tough to swallow. What do I tell my friends? What are people going to think of me? I kept having thoughts of letting everyone down. I had to reassess my life. I rehabilitated my knee upon return and decided then I still had some fight in me to make something of myself. I didn’t train all these years for nothing. I had a tremendous background in gymnastics and dance, and what better place could I live besides Las Vegas to put those two talents together?
At 16, I auditioned for “Follies Bergere” and booked the show as an acro line covered dancer/gymnast. I was thrown off, as I’d never seen that many naked people walking around in one area. I was the youngest in the show and completely intimidated, but I grew to love it. I loved being part of a cast, and I loved performing every night with full audiences. I knew that I had found my calling. I was born to perform.
This is where my life gets interesting. At 18, I found an audition post. It was for this new show titled “The X Girls.” There was a quote at the bottom that read, “Must have the hunger to want to become rich and famous.” I thought about it, and, well, hell yes, I do! At the time, I had shorter hair and braces. I wasn’t exactly sure what they were looking for, but I showed up. I wore flat jazz shoes, biker shorts and a fishnet top that read “Naughty” in the netting.
I stepped up to audition, and the producer yelled, “Hey, you, can you put on some heels?!” “Sure,” I replied nervously. I ran to my bag and pulled out 7-inch, clear, plastic stripper heels I had in my bag from the last Halloween costume I wore. I put them on, and everyone stared as if I were crazy. The rest is history. I booked the show and have been a proud “X Burlesque” girl for the past 11 years.
About four years ago, I welcomed my little baby girl into the world. My daughter is my life! Every day, I kiss her goodbye and head to work with the biggest smile. She is the reason I breathe. I’m an amazing, hard-working mom by day and a topless dancer by night — and I’m proud of all of it.
Check out our other guest columns today from Meeka’s “X” producer Angela Stabile; “Raaack N Roll” host Robert Nash, who is Robert De Niro’s double; and chef Akira Back, who opens Kumi at Mandalay Bay on Tuesday. Then, on Tuesday, it's “The Rat Pack” stars Sandy Hackett and Lisa Dawn Miller and producer Seth Yudof.
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.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.