By: Michele Koury, Ed.M, MA, MFA
I don’t remember how I first came upon SoCal-based dancer and “sensuality coach” Ginger Valentine’s sunny social media presence; I only recall surmising that she knew how to be confident. In fact, she’d effortlessly redefined the concept of presence with her warm smile, whimsical style, and wide variety of hobby-driven content. Cooking original recipes, roller-skating down Venice Beach, and offering free stretch/dance tutorials, she’d cleanly curated her DIY brand without any hint of inaccessible or algorithmic “influencer” aesthetics.
“I have ADHD,” Valentine explains, “and while that isn't my personality, it is my brain, and certainly explains my speed and many, many interests.” Valentine is candid about her experiences with ADHD, emphasizing the importance of finding humor in its not-always-easy aspects. “I’m really into monopoly right now. Who wants to play?”
Somehow — even through the limited dimensions of a phone screen—Valentine’s desire to help women to empower themselves radiates from her grid on the ‘gram. Valentine tells me: “I want to bring dance and sensual movement to as many female-identifying people as possible - especially the shy ones, because I am shy too.” This powerful sincerity may explain her steady growth towards a six-figure following.
What I appreciate about Ginger Valentine’s personal brand is that simply by being herself, she models modes of self-love that can be self-made instead of materially bought: movement, music, creativity, and fun. Valentine doesn’t prescribe simplistic formulas, nor instruct her followers on what to do. “To me,” Valentine says, “confidence is ultimately radical self-acceptance - and self-esteem is the byproduct of loving and accepting yourself as you are.”
She bundles this belief system into an affordable and accessible virtual curriculum called Strip School, which teaches fun fusions of striptease and burlesque with themed months like “Big Cat Energy: Floorplay and Stage Presence’ and “Spooky, Dirty Tease: Boolesque Edition.”
Her playlists are nostalgic and playful, featuring songs like Eartha Kitt’s “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and “Here Comes the Rain Again” by Annie Lennox. Her original choreography is rhythmic and watchable – but also doable for newcomers. In Valentine’s video lessons, she minimizes pressure to perfect the moves. In a recent class, she said: “if you’re not RIGHT on the right like I am, that’s irrelevant - just move your body, have fun. Are you doing that? You’re doing it perfectly, then.”
Valentine elaborates on the philosophy behind this encouragement: “I think dance is so important for us all, but I understand that it can be scary. Let's face it - it can feel downright humiliating and exclusive sometimes. I think so many people don't give themselves a chance because of misconceptions about dance and dancers. Also because of that tricky unreliable narrator we all have in our head. I bring in a lot of my professional classical training to my classes; but, overriding that, I just hope to create a safe and sexy virtual playground where we can explore movement together. No expectations or judgements. Just grown-up play.”
In short: Ginger Valentine, to me, comes off as the Real Deal in self-care content. Instead of telling us what we should do in order to fix a flaw, she shows us what we might want to try in order to grow.
What are some of GV’s essential confidence cues?
- Know Yourself – and Customize Your Self-Care from There: “I have a hyperactive mind and a hyperactive body, so getting enough sleep and rest are always at the top of my list. Animal Crossing, home cooking and lots of Indica are some of my favorite personal treats to help me feel still and calm. I can't meditate but I do listen to binaural beats and that helps too.”
- Make Meaning of The Struggles: “I've come to realize that while I really suffer in lots of ways and often feel so overwhelmed and exhausted, the dopamine chasing and hyper-focus can really benefit my artistic productivity.”
- Go For It: “The biggest thing I've learned from teaching Strip School - which I'd want to share with everyone - is that if you have an idea that really, really excites you, just go for it with all your heart.”
- Defy Self-Doubt: “Don't listen to your inner critic, they are an asshole, and definitely don't have your best interests in mind.”
- No Such Thing as Too Much Music: “I have at least 1200 ‘Confidence Songs’ depending on my mood, including everything from Cumbia to Zambian Rock to UGK!”
Follow Ginger Valentine @gingerleevalentine