Introduce yourself and profession to our readers:
My name is Sayuri Smith from Atlanta, GA, mother of two children and Jill of many trades. I hold a real estate license, 3 insurance licenses and inventor of a medical device called The Nose Cozy ™. At present, my focus is being grant writer and Care Team Coordinator for a life-changing organization called 4Sarah.net, who assist women in transition out of sex work and victims of sex trafficking and the author of the first and only devotional for adult entertainers entitled Scriptures for Strippers.
What inspired you to pursue this area of interest?
As a former exotic dancer, it is important to me to support and assist other women who are attempting the almost impossible feat of transitioning out of an addictive and damaging lifestyle. There are not many organizations around to help women from a survivor stand point who can speak to the women from a place of the exact experience. These women are the lowest priority in society and some people feel these women are not worth being saved it assisted. Having been through the process and coming from the lifestyle, it has revealed to me that all my heartache, pain and struggle was for a purpose. That purpose was to help other women push through as well.
What advice would you share with those interested in a similar pursuit?
Many people ask me what they should do if they want to become a stripper. I do not advise it anymore as the industry has changed so much. I know that my approval of the ladies is not going to stop them so I tell them to make a plan to exit before they even enter and make the plans the priority. This industry sucks women in with the easy money and the moral fibers are quickly unwound if there is any desperation in the equation. When women ask me about starting in this business, I tell them they should be prepared to be disrespected, underpaid and spiritually tested.
When people ask how they can help 4Sarah, I ask them to give! A portion of each sale of Scriptures for Strippers is donated to 4Sarah to help fund the Scholarship Program. I suggest people volunteer, spearhead a toiletry or clothing drive for outreach or support by donating money to help fund the programs at 4Sarah.
Discuss a professional challenge and how you overcame it:
The professional challenge for me is to find new ways to encourage and motivate the women I encounter. Many of these women come from rougher backgrounds and have dealt with more trauma than I, myself, experienced. When speaking with a woman who has been selling her body on the streets and addicted to drugs for 25 years, the only way to encourage and minister to her spirit is to have emotional intelligence and have empathy. The memories of my own pain and struggles of the isolation and desperation help me understand how to assist anyone transition. I often refer to Scriptures for Strippers, which is a workbook to help me issue self-help assignments and help a person reprogram their mind and behaviors so they can make the transition into their new life successfully.
What is next for your brand/business in 2017?
In 2017, 4Sarah.net has successfully been exposed through multiple media outlets but the real focus is to fund the 4Sarah Assessment House. When women contact us, sometimes they have nothing and some even live in hotels. Right now, when a woman expresses her desire to leave a pimp, we relocate them. But sometimes the places we know are full or we have to send them to another hotel on another side of town. The assessment house will be the place where women who are assisted can come temporarily if they are in immediate danger until they can be placed in a more permanent place. Every situation is different and we take the time to make sure we do what we can to help from providing anything from food and diapers to drug rehab treatment and spiritual care and support .
How can readers connect with you online and through social media.
Follow me @SayuriSmith on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Subscribe to the Scriptures for Strippers YouTube Channel where I discuss parts of Scriptures for Strippers or enjoy the positive music playlists. Lit for the Lord is gospel Hip Hop music that sounds great without the negativity. Relax with the Lord is R&B type music that glorifies God and the Scriptures for Strippers Soundtrack is music to be played to get in the presence of the Holy Spirit.