Kalgoorlie man-about-town or "Kal-lebrity" Ashok Parekh says skimpies need to be well presented and professional to be successful. Photo: Jenna Clarke
Of all the enterprising minds at the annual Diggers and Dealers mining industry conference held in Kalgoorlie-Boulder this week, the ladies in the lacy lingerie were by far the most innovative.
Unlike gold, iron ore and nickel, sex has always sold - and the sassy skimpies are laughing all the way to the bank off the back of what many delegates call "a four day buck's party".
For the topless tenders of the bar, the annual conference opens the door to a world where "motorboats" can put so much money in their pockets they can practically afford to buy their own motor boats.
Candy loves her job. The 23-year-old has a witty charm and infectious giggle that draws men and women alike to her. You'll find her on most nights in her knickers pouring pints in the mining town’s infamous hotels.
"You work with your friends, you work with all your best mates, you work with hot chicks and get to see boobs all the time, it's just the best job, I wouldn't trade it for the world," she told WAtoday.com.au.
The former cocktail waitress relocated from the Gold Coast after a colleague mentioned she was heading to the wild west to pursue a career in the "naked arts" just as the mining boom began.
"I just said 'what the f..k is a skimpy and where the f..k is Kalgoorlie?' then she told me all about it and it sounded awesome and I've been here ever since," she said.
The skimpy barmaid is just one of the pretty young, feisty things who have flocked to the Goldfields from all over Australia in the past three years to earn upwards of $2,000 a week, sometimes in excess of $4,000 during Diggers and Dealers.
They work 10-hour shifts behind the bar making drinks and conversation in between "getting the girls out", then party til the sun comes up (last night's antics involved sitting around in their Ugg boots and g-strings drinking a carton of cider and gossiping), sleep until noon and then doing it all again the next night.
"It's pretty full on, it's pretty heavy but we make a lot of money and we work very hard for it, it's very exhausting physically and mentally but it’s well worth it," she said.
Since the conference's inception 20 years ago, attitudes toward skimpies, or "Digarettes" as they are affectionately known by thousands of high flying brokers, explorers, executives and investors, have changed significantly.
According to a Diggers stalwart, back in the mid-90s admittance to the forum was determined by a gentleman's ability to skull a pony glass (140mL) of milk and brandy and parties were held outside at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club where skimpies were employed to serve beer wearing nothing but stilettos.
During the conference the mercury dips as low as three degrees.
In 1994 an over-excited and overly familiar delegate copped a black eye from a skimpy and in 1998 police stormed the Federal Hotel in order to crack down on risqué behaviour. They detained one woman for exposing her assets on the first night of the conference, much to the locals' dismay.
"Kalgoorlie is about girls. It's gambling, it's grog and it's gold. They're trying to destroy that history," former owner of the Exchange Hotel and current West Australian Hotels Association vice president Ashok Parekh told the Kalgoorlie Miner newspaper at the time.
Mr Parekh, whose daughter Siobhan was a popular pin up for lad’s mag FHM, this week told WAtoday.com.au a successful skimpy is now measured by her abilities to be "well presented, professional, friendly, genuine, hard working and considerate of the patrons. You must treat everybody like you want to be treated."
These days Candy and her colleagues consider themselves to be ambassadors for Kalgoorlie's hospitality – ambassadors who enjoy working hard, partying harder, socialising and making close friends with the customers.
They also do their bit for positive female body image, admitting that IPL hair loss treatments are the only form of cosmetic enhancement the majority of "the regular girls" undergo.
While Candy says her hangovers stop her from frequenting the gym on a regular basis and her "small titties only allow me to 'pancake shake' in people's faces", fellow skimpy Phoenix, who enjoys working in sexy costumes like a butt-hugging police uniform, says she works hard every day to keep her posterior in perk condition.
How to get Phoenix’s skimpy bum:
3 sets of 10-13 lunges
3 sets of 10-13 squats
3 sets of 10-13 dead lifts
3 sets of 10-13 jumping jacks