Meet the real 'Magic Mike' who earns over $12,000 a month and looks just like Channing Tatum
Magic Mike was a big surprise for me. Not because of all the half-naked men, I was definitely expecting that when I got roped into watching them both at various points. The big shock for me was that I actually appreciated how funny, heartfelt and all-round entertaining the movie was (particularly its sequel) despite not exactly being the target audience for them.
While the idea of a group of men expressing sex-positive behavior, performing for women's entertainment as much as the dollar bills their dropping, may seem like a fantasy - it's one that has made its way to real life in more ways than one.
Will Parfitt is not only living the life of Channing Tatum's character in Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL, but they look remarkably similar.
The 27-year-old is Australia's answer to Tatum, entering the world of stripping just a few years ago and never looking back. But he didn't seek out the job as much as it fell into his lap.
"I was travelling, just enjoying the party scene in Australia," he explained. "I met a club promoter who started calling me 'Channing' as a joke. I didn't really take him seriously - he was the one who introduced me to Magic Men."
Parfitt was born in London, but is now based in Melbourne, where he has lived for the last three years. He started off as a topless waiter, before moving onto shows, yet still works as a removalist during the week. Self-taught, he strips exclusively for Magic Men, a Melbourne agency that specializes in girls' nights out, bachelorette events and birthday parties.
He has his own Facebook page, where fans can get updates on upcoming gigs, shares behind-the-scenes photos of him on other performers. His actual work is restricted to the weekend, where he performs up to 15 acts over the two days. Performances last between 20 and 30 minutes and the guests choose the theme of their outfits, meaning Will has policeman, fireman and even karate instructor and football player outfits (who knew that was a thing?).
He charges $220 for each performance, a third of which goes to his agency. That means with 15 shows he gets around $3,300 for just one weekend of work. Not bad for a part-time gig. And on top of that, it gives him motivation to stay in shape, both for his dance choreography and to keep the often wild parties entertained:
"They [the shows] start off pretty tame but the later the night goes on, the crazier things seem to get and it can be pretty hard to control a roomful of women.
"And the later it gets the more 'hands-on' they [the girls] get too.
"Generally it's the brides-to-be, definitely, who are making the most of the opportunity to blow off some steam before they get hitched."
Getting propositioned by women is something he expects, but he does try and respond as professionally as possible. But aside from the unruly performances with younger women, he does see some who are on the older side of things, including an 80th birthday party.
"I do remember thinking "Oh my God" at the time, but she loved it," he recalled. "She was up and about, dancing and getting involved. It was great."
Will isn't thinking about stopping any time soon, but he is aware that the nature of his job means he will have to call it a day at some point. "Stripping has a shelf life," he concluded, "but I hope I still have another couple of years left".