Welcome to “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” GO Magazine’s brand new interview series that profiles a different queer lady each day, by asking her seven unique (and sometimes random) questions. Get to know the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the groundbreaking, fierce forces-of-nature in the queer community.
I was walking down the gay section of the beach this summer when I heard someone shout my name. I turned around and there was Jhani, she popped up out of the sand and said “We have to take a selfie together!”
Jhani Miller has the kind of energy that exudes to everyone around her. And she truly does it all—as a pole dancer extraordinaire and knowledgeable librarian.
To me, Miller is proof that queer women should run the Universe. Learn more about the woman behind it all in our seven minutes in heaven with Jhani Miller.
GO Magazine: Who are you and what do you do?
Jhani Miller: My name is Jhani and when I am not making it rain library cards as a Senior Adult librarian, I can be found pole dancing at a variety of social events around town or getting lost on public transit. I also occasionally panel at impressively, stuffy conferences about Library Information Science and the future of diversity outside the stacks. Not gonna lie. Impressively, stuffy things make me really giddy.
GO: Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?
JM: Movement is my jam. Sometimes I catch myself dancing in my chair at odd times and I have to pretend like I was just stretching or I had a catch in my lumbar. I’ll feel this burst of energy and joy when my hips are circling, shoulders thrust, my neck gets to swirling. I’m hair whipping in my mind right now. I used to get in trouble for it as a kid. My mother finally found the money to put me into dance classes, cheerleading and roller skating. It all paid off when I got to bring her to my first North American Pole Dance Championship. I didn’t win, but I gave her all types of Anna Mae Bulllock dopeness that made her a proud mommy. She sends more photos of me on the pole than at lecture podiums these days.
Music also inspires me out of my funks and I enjoy sending postcards, a hobby I picked up from my Girl Scout days and yes I do still know the honor pledge by heart. It refills my vessel when I see that they got that thing I sent them. Finally, when even I—as an extrovert am over the top—”can’t wit chu” then I put the world on airplane mode and push play on every streaming site I can think of for animated domination. I’m currently rewatching “Death Note” (the good one), “Bob’s Burgers,” and “The Amazing World of Gumball” from the beginning.
GO: Who are your queer role models?
JM: If you’re on my friends list then you can pretty much assume I look up to you. New York has been such a blast. I’m originally from Chicago Heights, IL and I often used social media to better understand my sister outsiderness. I’d heart the photos. I’d like the Instagram clips. I’d share the think-pieces.
I’d know “of them” but when I moved here, I actually got to meet such icons in my mind and we became fam. We turned up together. We cried on each other’s couches. My queer role models are honestly my Radical Black and Brown Hotties who took me in, showed me the ropes, and eventually became the support system I didn’t know I needed in order to survive this city. And the best part is my community keeps growing. I smile just thinking about the cool people I have the honor of coming across in Brooklyn, online, and through travel.
GO: Describe yourself in three words.
JM: Bossy Femme Fairy.
GO: What podcasts are you listening to right now?
JM: Podcasts are perfect for me because I am constantly moving around and doing things with my hands. I like topics that range from literature, memoir, mystery, history, pole, and just fun shade. My top eight would definitely be “Missed In History” (check out the Rejected Princesses episode), “Stripcast: True Stories from a Stripper with a PhD” (sup Lux ATL), “Mysterious Universe,” “LeVar Burton Reads,” “Suspense!” (radio drama), “This American Life,” “The Read,” and “Pole Parlour.”
GO: What would you say to anyone who says you can’t be a librarian and a pole dancer?
JM: I do not know if I would say much of anything. I would probably just gif and meme them into submission or just give a good side eye.
It is so important for us to see one another as fully realized individuals with passions and purposes that can coexist. I remember this would you rather game: Would you rather have the power of flight or invisibility? The first time I answered I said invisibility. I thought it would be useful to fade away whenever I wanted. That was before pole and before I became a librarian.
Today, I choose to fly.
As a librarian, I fly by empowering others with access to information and providing community resources. As a pole dancer, I fly by putting my story to music and by making my body stronger, more graceful and bendier than it has ever been before. I became the pole dancing librarian when I was the first person to co-teach a pole dance class at a public library and I did it for free because I wanted everyone to know what it feels like to fly. I am thankful to work with people who believe in me enough to allow me to do these super things. In short, you can take my chrome pole and ALA membership card away from my cold dead hands. But you’ll have to reach me first because I’m about that yes and life.
GO: Where can people find you?
JM: Find me at New York Pole Dancing, BUFU and EDGJ events, or IG: librarian_shimmy. I’ll also be performing a high femme polesque piece at the 10 Annual Michelle Mynx Pole Dance Extravaganza on Oct 7. All proceeds will be going to the Sexual Assault Victim’s Unit of Call For Help, Inc and it is going to be legendary.