After years of shining bright in some of America’s most popular strip clubs, former exotic dancer Tiara ‘Mizhani’ Walton, 32, is hanging up her cape in exchange for peace of mind.
The Detroit dancer rose to stardom fast and in 2014, at the age of 23-years-old, was named the queen of King of Diamonds in Miami. At the time, KOD was the biggest adult entertainment venue in the country; attracting thousands of patrons, throwing thousands of dollars sky-high for the young entertainer.
But one day something clicked in Mizhani and, without warning, she quit the nightlife industry.
“I won’t say anything motivated me to leave the underworld or the nightlife industry,” Mizhani said. “I just quit cold turkey one day. I quit everything; I quit having sex, I quit smoking weed and I quit stripping on the same day. I just didn’t want to do it anymore.”
Nearly five years since her departure from the industry, Mizhani is now very careful about whom she shares her energy with. Whereas before she’d do five photoshoots a week, traveling the country to promote her brand de ella, she is now very cautious about whom she allows into her personal space de ella.
Instead of twirling around the pole for thousands of dollars, Mizhani now spends her time focusing on building her pole fitness company, Mizhani Pole Fitness, and writing poetry that is reflective of her soul. Her pole fitness company de ella has a three-day workshop coming up and she will be opening for Erykah Badu, performing her spoken word de ella, in Jacksonville, FL in May.
Although some may say she fell off, Mizhani is thriving more than ever and, through her transition, has learned how to show grace and humility to others.
“I used to be really dogmatic in regards to how I would deal with people,” she said. “I am an Alpha female, so I would just be kind of aggressive, and now I’m more understanding that everyone isn’t built like that.”
Through traveling and poetry, Mizhani has found an internal peace that is like no other. She no longer seeks to be understood, but instead gravitates towards places that already understand her. Her relationship with God comes first, and she is very intentional when it comes to being grateful for everything she’s experienced and where she’s going.
“I’ve really been trying to get into the space as an artist so that I’m not taking anything for granted and that I am really experiencing the whole thing as an artist,” she said. “Sometimes, as a person who has done so much, I miss the fact that a lot of people would kill to be in positions that I walk away from.”
While her nightlife career took her all over the globe showcasing her talents, Mizhani still finds time to incorporate traveling into her current lifestyle. For her de ella, traveling allows her the opportunity to show that, although she is not in the industry, she is still at the height of her greatness de ella.
“It’s most important that I continue to travel even though I’m not in the nightlife because I’ve created a certain level of energy around myself, and I’ve given myself a certain level of ‘You can still do it’ without being in that space.”
While her brand has matured, so has her outlook on a lot of things in life, as Mizhani recalls cutting up in Dubai when she was still in the industry. Once young and full of angst, she is thankful she now has a new perspective on traveling to different places and respecting their traditions and customs.
“Just to come out of the darkness and understand that it was holy land, and I was really acting a fool over there, I just thank God for grace and mercy and being able to come into a space of understanding,” she said. “I can look back and say I did go, and I did act that way, but now I’m found …and I don’t have those spirits in me or on me anymore that controlled my energy. I feel free.”
Now a resident of Orlando, FL, Mizhani enjoys visiting places like the Bahamas and New Orleans, but doesn’t limit herself to any list of favorite destinations. Instead, traveling anywhere is a boost to her mental health and a chance to show others that they can see the world without being a part of the nightlife industry.
“It’s important for my mental health to see different scenery and to be in different places and to remember the strip club that didn’t make me,” she said.
With her past behind her, Mizhani aims to let others know they too can make it out of darkness and emerge in the light. Holding tightly onto her faith, Mizhani is fully focused on building her brand and her walk with God instead of chasing the culture and trends.
“Everything that I did in the darkness, I can do in the light,” she said. “And I can do it better because now I can see.”