"This is how I feel sexy," says Jill MacLean

By Ana Calderone
Updated March 22, 2016 09:30 AM
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Credit: Courtesy Jill MacLean

As a pole dancer for over nine years, Jill MacLean, known as “Cleo the Hurricane” in the business, is used to feeling sexy. But at nine months pregnant with her first child, she’s struggled to get in touch with that side of herself.

“I absolutely love being pregnant (for the most part) but I have also never felt so unsexy as I do today (especially in the last trimester),” MacLean, 36, writes on her blog. “Womanly definitely, feminine yes, confident yes but sexy? That’s a big no!”

So while she retired the tricks and inversions early in her pregnancy, the two-time Miss Pole Dance Australia winner still enjoys putting on her “skimpy outfits” for the camera.

“I have really enjoyed putting on my pole heels, getting dressed up and taking pictures,” she tells PEOPLE. “Not just for social media but for myself! And also to document my pregnancy journey. Plus, I’m having fun and am not in any way putting my child at risk.”

While the instructor – who gained just under 50 lbs. during her pregnancy – says 99 percent of the feedback she gets is positive, there are those commenters who assume she is “dancing in a strip club for other men.”

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“My husband is the one taking the pictures in our own personal studio space where I shoot other pole dancers teaching tutorials for my website,” she says, adding, “I would never put on a pair of 7 or 8-inch heels if I wasn’t completely comfortable and confident in them.”

And she has little concern for those who consider her profession “taboo.”

“As women we all want to feel sexy,” she says. “This is how I feel sexy.”