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Meet Trailblazer Selene Arca

Today we’d like to introduce you to Selene Arca.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Selene. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
This is a challenging question because if you know me, then you know, I’ve got stories. I’ll do my best!

I’m a proud Denver native with Apache and Navajo roots in this region that go back generations.

I’ve been on some kind of stage doing some kind of art since I was three when my Granny enrolled me in tap classes. After trying my luck in New York City at age 19, I came back to Denver, swore off show biz, and started working in the hotel industry – even spent time as a manager in the oldest hotel in the city, The Oxford Hotel.

In 2008, I was single in the city and needed something (productive) to occupy my free time, so I applied for a few restaurant hostess jobs. I got a call from The Clocktower for an interview and was hired that day by the legendary Kim Townsend, a.k.a. Midnite Martini (a.k.a. 2014 Miss Exotic World Queen of Burlesque!).

I didn’t disclose my performing history for two years because I had sworn off the stage, and because I didn’t see the job as a gateway to the stage… but one night, we were short a few acts and Midnite Martini asked if I would “do that thing with the beer” in the show, and so I did.

I’ve been toasting, talking, and singing in Clocktower productions and shows around the country ever since. Now, I serve as the club’s Sales Manager, and I’ve found a delightful middle-ground between my onstage and offstage personas. And! I still “do that thing with the beer”!

Has it been a smooth road?
Nothing worth having is ever achieved easily. My advice to anyone starting or thinking about starting any kind of journey is to remember to be strong. There *will* be disappointments, there will be hard times and you will lose people, things, and even lose yourself – but be strong! Keep going! Rise above! Take time to reflect on why you’re doing what you’re doing, and if your vision changes, don’t beat yourself up, just be strong and keep rising. Keep good people around you, tap into the relationships that make you feel like sunshine. And always Stay Gold!

We’d love to hear more about your work at The Clocktower Cabaret.
Anyone who sticks around The Clocktower for any length of time usually puts on more than a few hats (and names)!

By day, I’m Selene, the Sales Manager. I’m responsible for creating and posting content on our website and across our social channels. I coordinate with artists and producers from contract to press to show-time and work towards a goal of sold out shows and happy people.

By night, I’m Dolly Patrón/Sofia Soubrette/Princess Peach Schnapps/Mrs. Naughty Pierre: a singing, swearing, swigging comic MC for many of our burlesque and circus productions. I am known for my fresh mouth and “that beer thing”.

I am most proud of the fact that we are a small, family business (run *mostly* on estrogen) that has made it almost 14 years as: 1) a place for artists from all backgrounds to have a stage and get paid for their work; 2) a place for our audiences to escape the madness of the real world and be inspired; and 3) a place for people from all walks of life to be happy together for an hour or two. It’s a place of love and expression, and it has been Oz for hundreds of people on and off stage. I am very proud to be part of putting smiles on people’s faces.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
I think one of the biggest barriers, in general, is a lack of mentors/mentorship, and genuine relationships with other leaders. The world is volatile right now on its own, and I think we could be better at walking the talk of sisterhood by really, truly lifting each other up.

As an industry, rejection is part of the job. As a person, rejection is hard. I think one of the biggest barriers in the showbiz world is the misunderstanding that rejection does not mean you suck or you’re a bad person. I wish there was better energy around the idea of rejection, and I wish more people would use these tough experiences to propel themselves higher.

I also think social media is a huge barrier for all people and causes unrealistic comparisons between ourselves and our online friends. It’s changed how we communicate, how we problem solves, and take the face-to-face relationships out of our lives. That’s one of the reasons I love my job too, because for an hour or so – no one is checking statuses or emails – they’re just having fun with other people. Human interaction is taking a hit because of social media, and I’m grateful to have the space to reconnect with others in person.


  • Tickets range from $10 – $100!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kari Cummings Photography, Dave Wood Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Dale Whitaker

    May 28, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Wonderful story! Selene Arca was my boss when she spent those years in the “hotel industry.” What a creative, compassionate and caring human being.

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