Los Angeles, CA — As far as career paths go, Vanessa “Lil Monster” Demopoulos has taken a unique one. The LFA strawweight, currently on a three-fight win streak, most recently competed at LFA 81, earning a unanimous decision against opponent Loveth Young. The latter might sound like a stage name, but it’s actually Lil Monster who works as an exotic dancer.
She’s also an author, having put pen to paper (or these days, fingers to keyboard) to author Stripper Bible.
“I kind of do a little bit of everything,” Demopoulos told Cageside Press at a recent media function for Black House MMA, where she trains. The Stipper Bible, she said, “is actually an instructional how-to for strippers.”
And yes, it comes with commandments. “Thou shalt keep lip gloss poppin’! That’s a real thing!”
If you’re about worried what mom and dad might think, don’t be: Lil Monster’s parents were both in the business. “I just kind of followed the family footsteps right there. My dad was a D.J., and my mom was an entertainer. And that’s how they initially met. So when I was growing up, it was a very common discussion. Talking about the clubs, the scenes.”
“When I became an entertainer, my father actually taught me how to hustle,” Demopoulos revealed, “and how to be a professional in the industry. So it was kind of nice to have that support.”
While there was a few reservations, Demopoulos has now been a fighter for over ten years, and a stripper for over thirteen. That’s been an interesting balance. “Initially the balance was different, where I would just train all day long, three to four times a day, then go to work at nighttime. That got to be very exhausting. Now I just split up my time, where I get to train all week, and on the weekends, I just do dancing.”
Those weekend gigs are eight-hour shifts, which is a workout in itself, she said.
Prior to moving to Black House, Demopoulos had been training in Columbus, Ohio. “I got invited to come out here and train at Black House by Ed Soares. It was a huge, huge deal to me. A huge honor. I knew the big names that were training here. But when you walk out onto these mats and you really experience it, it’s something special. You see why there do need to be tryouts and it is a professional, invite-only gym. Because that’s how everybody treats it.”
Demopoulos has been working with former UFC champ Carla Esparza, as well as the men’s amateur team. She also trains with other gyms to brush up on her jiu-jitsu and other disciplines.
Next up, she has some lofty goals. “I want that strap. I want that gold. We’re either going for the title belt, potentially Contender Series.” While she’s getting over a couple of injuries, “whatever opportunity presents itself first, and whatever the better opportunity is, that’s where we’re going to go.”
Watch our full interview with Vanessa “Lil Monster” Demopoulos above! Find her on Instagram via @littlemonsterdemo