Time to visit LAS VEGAS for NATIONAL CREATIVE ICE CREAM FLAVORS DAY!Posted: July 1, 2020
Valerie Stunning wants a better Las Vegas—one that’s intersectional and filled with plenty of ice cream. But not just any ice cream. Bougie ice cream. Indulgent ice cream. Adult ice cream.
Stunning founded Paradise City Creamery last May, combining her knack for gourmet, plant-based ice cream with another of her passions: advocating for sex workers.
For years, the “Head Creamstress,” stripper, writer, activist and former burlesque dancer made artisan ice cream as a hobby and for her friends. Eventually she realized it was tasty enough to sell to the 18+ masses.
Last summer Paradise City Creamery ran a monthly pop-up inside Downtown’s Jammyland Cocktail Bar & Reggae Kitchen and also had a booth at Life Is Beautiful. On January 17, Stunning will celebrate a new residency at Artifice (along with a new winter menu featuring four new flavors), which will continue every third Friday through 2020.
Just don’t expect your average trip to Baskin-Robbins. There’s a peepshow-inspired photo booth, plus lots of gold and neon, and each flavor (starting at $12) comes decked out with its own signature toppings, like dripping, dazzling disco cherries. And there’s a sexy story to accompany each cone.
“Our yuzu-wasabi [flavor] is inspired by shopping for a sex toy,” Stunning says. And the espresso chip flavor is “inspired by my work as a day-shift stripper—how I would be in New York drinking my coffee on the subway with a full face of makeup while everyone’s wearing their suit and tie.”
It’s a tongue-and-cheek way of bringing two seemingly opposite worlds together, breaking the ice around conversations about sex and sex work in a fun and delicious way. “These stories tie in everything and cater to that no-shame, no-guilt celebration,” Stunning says.
With sexy-meets-glam marketing, Stunning has already made a name for Paradise City Creamery on social media, and with her motivational, no-holds-barred writing (she’s written for Hustler, and she blogs at valeriestunning.com). She’s a cheerleader for her community, and hopes her playful, gourmet ice cream can get folks to see a bigger picture.
Stunning explains that part of Paradise Creamery’s goal “is to create visibility and promote intersectionality”—a theory and way of looking at discrimination through multiple avenues that often include race, class and gender. “This is the world I come from. Community organizing is what I will always be about, and so to have this platform gives me an entryway to another type of person who may not have considered these issues before.”
Most importantly, Stunning says she wants people who are typically excluded to feel welcome. “Everything is constantly catered to straight, white, f*cking middle-aged people,” Stunning says. “I feel like, if I’m able to hire people that I want to celebrate and represent who I identify as, it really contributes to this conversation about visibility.”
She’s quick to add that Paradise City Creamery’s ice cream game is serious, too. A one-day-only white cacao and truffle ice cream was featured at Picnic in the Alley in October, and her Mezcal vanilla bean and balsamic caramel flavors will also be out on the 17th.
“I really strive for this balance between the strong messaging behind the brand, but also, we’re not f*cking around culinary-wise,” Stunning says. “We’re using really high-end ingredients.Everything we do is top-notch and bougie.”
by Leslie Ventura for the Las Vegas Weekly