Standing completely naked on stage in front of 1,000 women for the first time, Lauch Hay’s James was so nervous he nearly had a panic attack.
But, almost a year later, it has become second nature to his profession as a professional “Dreamboy”.
Geordie, 28, thinks 25,000 women have seen him naked as he performs in venues across the UK with the famous ‘Dreamboys’.
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The professional actor, dancer and singer from Tynemouth is relatively new to the role, landing the part just weeks before hitting the road in June last year for the national tour.
While some may be quick to judge those in the profession, it takes a lot more than just looking at the role to make him a Dreamboy, as revealed by James.
“It’s been wild, to say the least,” he said.
“It’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy it.
“It’s not just a strip show, it’s a dance show and a full show where there’s entertainment for everyone, with comedy, solo acts and group acts .
“Everyone after the show always says how much they loved seeing us having fun on stage and messing around.
“The girls always leave with big smiles on their faces.”
James’ Dreamboy career began after spotting an ad for open auditions at a time when he was struggling to find performing work during the pandemic – and he hasn’t looked back.
“Not everyone can do this kind of work,” he said.
“You have to be able to do the choreography and the dance.
“You can look like a Greek god, but if you can’t move and look like a stiff board on stage, people won’t pay to see that.
“This show is about being sexy and teasing…it’s not always about being fit. It’s about how you move.”
Performing up to four shows around the county each week in front of around 1,200 women at a time, it’s fair to say that working as a Dreamboy can be demanding.
But seeing the reactions of the women in the crowd gives James an adrenaline rush like nothing he’s experienced before as a performer.
“I’ve been acting all my life and I always get that adrenaline thrill doing a show, but with this one I can’t compare it to anything else,” he said.
“I go completely naked on the show and for me to do that from day one, I was like, ‘That could be interesting!’
“The first time I was so nervous, but it’s become like second nature now.”
James, who is the only Geordie in the group, said the North Billingham audience was the wildest yet as he looked forward to his return show in Newcastle in May.
“It should be a lot of fun,” he added.
“The Newcastle girls are always crazy so it should be a great night.”
So what do his parents think as he prepares to make his debut with Dreamboys?
“When my dad’s female co-workers found out I was a Dreamboy, they were asking him for merchandise,” James said.
“I actually made him very popular at work, so he’s laughing about it now!
“My mom is very proud and so is my dad. He just says, ‘Do what makes you happy.'”
With a career in performing, it would be easy to assume that James had extremely high self-confidence before becoming a Dreamboy.
But he admitted that just wasn’t the case after stepping out of a relationship that left him rock bottom.
“I came out of a really bad relationship a year and a half ago where I was always put down,” he said.
“It made me feel really bad but, coming out of this relationship, I worked on myself so much, mentally and physically, and I found myself in a really healthy state.
“When that job came and I went to audition and got it, it gave me so much confidence.
“It gave me a lot of confidence to love myself again.”
James trains every day to stay in shape for their performances, but James stressed that the Dreamboys are inclusive of all body types.
“Dreamboys are all different types of boys,” he said.
“We have guys who are huge and some who are toned and lean.
“Dreamboys embraces different body types and that’s what’s great.”
Performing in front of women at girls’ nights, birthday parties, and girls’ nights out can be tough when it comes to dating.
But James, who dresses as a firefighter, soldier and builder in some of his routines, said he actually found love at a Dreamboy show in Hull.
He met his girlfriend during the post-concert meetup and says the key to their relationship is trust.
“She likes that I’m a Dreamboy,” he said.
“She likes that other girls might want me but that I’m only hers. She trusts me very much.”
He continued: “[Before meeting my girlfriend] It is very difficult to date in this line of work.
“It can be swings and rides; either some girls like it, some don’t.
“What matters is trust because when I’m on stage and I’m doing that in a room full of thousands of women, of course your partner may wonder if he’s going to talk to someone after the show and what will happen.
“But it comes down to trust, because you can work 9 to 5 in an office and still cheat.
“It doesn’t matter what your profession is. It’s the person, not the job.”
When it comes to telling people what he does for a job, James admits people might assume he’s arrogant.
But he was quick to address that stereotype and said all Dreamboys were down-to-earth guys who just did their jobs.
“I take great pride in what I do and if someone I talk to can’t get into it then that person is not for me,” he said.
“I come from a working class background and have worked hard to be where I am.”
He continued: “I think the main thing people expect – and it’s wrong – is that people think we’re womanizers and arrogant and love each other, but really that’s not true. is not the case.
“We’re just a bunch of guys who are artists, we love what we do, and we have fun and laughs.”
The Dreamboys will perform at the O2 City Hall in Newcastle on Sunday May 29 at 6.30pm.
Tickets are available for the Dreamboys Tour via the website – https://www.dreamboys.co.uk/tour
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