Pregnant Pole Dancer Defies Critics With Impressive Moves: 'It's Empowering'
A pole dancing mom who proudly flashed her very pregnant belly while showing off her moves has become a viral sensation for her refusal to compromise on her craft just because she had a baby on the way.
Even at 9-months pregnant, Jill McLean aka Cleo the Hurricane was able to perform a mind-bogglingly deft routine complete with platform heels.
Now the mom of a newborn boy, McLean says reactions to her video have been both positive and negative. But, she said she wasn't doing it to impress anyone else, anyway.
"Getting pregnant, I started to feel really unsexy," the first time mom, who gave birth about a week ago, told InsideEdition.com. "For my whole career I've been dancing and its all about being sexy and it's empowering and I've built my whole career on that.
"It was my way of trying to get that feeling again."
With McLean's pedigree, it's no surprise that she had no desire to wait until after giving birth to hit the pole.
McLean, who calls Los Angeles home by way of Melbourne, was even named the 2012 and 2014 Australian Pole Dance Champion.
In addition to teaching pole dancing, McLean has produced, written and starred in her own fitness DVDs, traveled the world as a performer, and has her own websites dedicated to teaching others her art and to selling sexy clothing to fellow dancers.
McLean's photos and videos show her doing a range of moves, all of which were cleared by her doctor. However, she said she stopped attempting the more difficult and strenuous moves--like going upside down--at five months.
When she finally gave birth to a nearly nine-pound bundle of joy, McLean said her doctor was astonished at how quickly and easily she was able to push him out.
And that's all thanks to the strength and flexibility she maintains with pole dancing, she said.
"It helps me in all aspects of life," she said. "Even childbirth!"
Despite her abundance of caution, McLean said she received some very negative responses from readers of some news sites.
Their criticisms ranged from calling McLean reckless to suggesting she was somehow shaming her unborn baby.
"I had to stop reading all the comments," she said. "Towards the end [of the pregnancy] I was getting high blood pressure."
Which isn't to say McLean doesn't take the whole thing in stride. After reading some of the backlash, she took her last photos at the pole dressed as a cop with her belly exposed as if to mock her critics.
"Someone call the police," she joked. "She's pole dancing at seven months pregnant!"
But her fellow dancers have shown McLean the strongest support since she started posting the photos, which her firefighter husband personally snapped.
"The pole dancing community is worldwide and they've all been absolutely amazing," she said. "They love it and that's what's important."
Some fans have even responded by sending their own pregnant pole dancing photos. "The outpouring of support has been great," she said.