When Nomi and others are auditioning as dancers for Tony Moss, he says, "Okay, show me your t*ts." All the dancers were shocked and suddenly timid. What was their motivation supposed to be? All the dancers have seen the shows before; they know that they are auditioning to be topless dancers.

EDIT @steelersquirrel reminded me that Nomi had been working as a stripper, so she is not shy about nudity or nude dancing. That makes her reaction even more confusing.

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    I haven't seen the movie but I would think that just because someone is expecting to have to dance topless, a crass directive like that would come as a shock regardless of whether you knew it was inevitable or not... additionally, if their goal in turning to topless dancing is just to make money, they may not be prepared to actually make that jump to dancing topless... deciding to do something and doing it are two different things.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 17:38
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    @Catija I think that the OP is asking because Nomi works as a stripper before this audition and she is far from shy when she does her lap dances and other dancing there...which is completely nude, not just topless. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 17:51
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    @steelersquirrel Thanks for reminding me that Nomi was a stripper previously! I couldn't remember if that was the case or not. I'll add that to my question. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 17:52
  • It could be due to the fact that Nomi is an unstable person with serious anger management issues ;) Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 20:35
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    It could be it was just a bad movie. Yup. That's it.
    – dbugger
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 0:40

2 Answers 2


Okay, I'm going to engage in the futile exercise of trying to make sense of that train-wreck of a film.

Here is a possibility -

Nomi is working in a strip club, yes. But she doesn't especially like it, she doesn't like being treated like an object, and the dream of being a "showgirl" is based on the belief that it's a more classy, artistic endeavor based on the pure dancing talent one has.

There's nudity, yes, but not the "shake your boobs," prurient, objectifying kind (in her mind, anyway). It's like the difference between a painting of a nude by a classic artist, or an ancient Greek sculpture vs a spread in Penthouse Magazine.

So, if she's a fantastic dancer, and this is the high-art, classy undertaking she's dreamed of, then she'd be chosen on her dancing talent, with the understanding that she'd have to show her body as part of the show.

It's the difference between being a dancer who happens to be nude, and a pair of breasts being displayed under the pretense of a dance.

There's really no reason for her to need to show them in what is supposed to be a dance audition that supposedly focuses on talent, so it's that much more objectifying to have to display herself, unexpectedly, for the jollies of the guy in charge, just to try and get her dream.

It's the realization that her dream, as she always thought of it, doesn't really exist and what she's chasing isn't that far removed from what she's put herself through to get there. What she's running to is way too similar to what she's trying to escape and that realization hits home in that moment.

Or maybe it just seemed a little more dirty if she didn't want to show it. Who can really make sense of that mess?

  • Wow! That's an extraordinary answer, because it actually makes sense! Upvote. In fact, I'm marking it as The Answer. Well done! I'm still in amazement.... Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 16:51
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    And it's pretty much in line with James' observation about that dream job (and the entire movie actually) he makes at one point: "You don't want to be in this kind of show. At least what you do is honest. They want tits and ass, that's what you give. Here, they pretend they want something else, you still show tits and ass."
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 11:41

Nomi is reacting to what she deems, rightly, as a power play. Her response is her pat anger done rather coyly. I don't think she was being 'shy' --I think it's bad acting, not to mention, a terrible script.

As to the other dancers, I suspect akin to Catija's comment, that when it comes to an art form such as dance which takes a great deal of dedication, it's humiliating to have it reduced to how your tits look.

Alas, Showgirls remains a guilty pleasure.

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