Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 9:54 a.m.
“The last time I danced topless was in 1999, and now 15 years later here I am again stripping down to pasties and a G-string. Isn’t that crazy?” laughed tattooed beauty Sabina Kelley, now 36.
“Immediately, you’d think I’d be a little old or rusty, but you know it’s like riding a bicycle. Everything came back instantly, and I’m in great shape. The body is looking and feeling great. I’m proud at what I’ve got and what I’m going to show.”
It was Sabina’s first interview since Wednesday’s official announcement that she’ll take over from Playboy beauty Claire Sinclair for a week’s run in “Pin Up” at the Stratosphere starting July 24. Rehearsals have begun in the quick week it took the deal to fall into place. Claire will be away attending Comic-Con in San Diego for her new line of adventure comic books.
“I’m excited but at the same time nervous. It’s a lot to take on in a hurry. Fortunately, I’ve got a big, long and strong background in dance. It’s sure easy for me to shed the clothes, and fortunately my body is still trained well for dancing,” Sabina told me. “But there’s a lot of pressure to get all the timing and cues down to the split second.”
Sabina, who measures in at 34D-26-38, is now a celebrity judge on the Oxygen Network’s hit series “Best Ink” but started out as a topless showgirl at age 18 in “Jubilee!” at Bally’s. She appeared on billboards promoting the show and the theater program. She performed “tall” and “short” dances during her run there before deciding out of boredom to get her first tattoo, and that brought her “Jubilee!” gig to a halt.
“Over the years since, I did a little burlesque. I played small clubs in America and out of the country. Now, though, I think the bug has bitten big time. I want to start dancing again full time. This will be my foot in the door. I am heavily tattooed, so I’m breaking down some doors — or at least trying to. I didn’t think that would happen because there’s been resistance to tattooed dancers.
“Maybe that’s changing. Claire didn’t have a problem with it. She’s the one who recommended me. She knew I had lots of tattoos. Her producers weren’t bothered by it, and with rockabilly becoming more and more popular, we think it isn’t going to faze audiences, either.
“In fact, they’ll probably be so curious they’ll want to come see the first heavily tattooed girl on the Strip in a burlesque show!”
Just how tattooed is Sabina? “There’s nothing on my stomach, breasts or chest, but elsewhere, well … I have sleeves on both arms. There are tattoos on my neck, my back, on both tops of my feet and my knuckles and …”
Sabina, who invited me to Friday’s rehearsals for an exclusive photo gallery next week while I am away in Macau, makes no secret that she’s the proud mom of two daughters and a son.
“They’re too young to come see me,” she laughed. “There’s nothing raunchy I would be ashamed of … this is classy and great dancing. It’s a real show and not a men’s strip club, but they have to wait a little longer to see Mom at work!”
Claire commented: “Her tattoos are gorgeous and will bring a rockabilly edge to the show. I think ‘Pin Up’ fans will adore her.”
Sabina, a 5’10” platinum blonde beauty who also runs her laser tattoo removal boutique Bombshell Tattoo Removal at Carey Hart’s Hart and Huntington tattoo salon in the Hard Rock Hotel, summed up: “ I love the ‘Pin Up’ show. It’s sexy, fun and flirty — it’s really great how they brought the calendar to life month-by-month with a pin-up girl.
“I’m going to put my own spin on it — hopefully create a new routine, as well, and put my edginess to it. One thing for sure: I’m not going to disappoint anybody!”
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.
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It is virtually impossible to be anywhere in Las Vegas and miss the Stratosphere. It towers 1,149 feet above Las Vegas and is the tallest observation tower in the United States. The casino itself is 55,784 square feet and contains 950 slot machines, 120 game tables and 2,427 hotel rooms.
Of the hotel's 2,427 rooms, 909 were recently remodeled into Stratosphere Select rooms.
The Stratosphere is mostly known for its rides at the top of the tower. The Big Shot, located at the 113th floor, torpedoes riders up 160 feet using compressed air. X-Scream is a teeter-totter perched at the top of the observation deck — if that wasn't scary enough, the coaster arm flings the riders out 27 feet over the edge of the tower. Guests looking for something more sedate can just hang around the 107th floor and simply look at the scenery.