Candace Cane is the kind of person who somehow manages to be both approachable and awe-inspiring. For our interview, she appeared on screen wearing a flowing leopard print dress, winged eyeliner, matching red lipstick and nail polish, and her hair set in finger waves. The quintessential Old Hollywood glam look.

“This is just how I hang out in my house,” she jokes.

Candace Cane (AKA Sweet Ms. Candace) (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Who Is Burlesque Performer Candace Cane (AKA Sweet Ms. Candace)?

Known on Instagram as “Sweet Ms. Candace,” she is a triple threat entertainer. Primarily recognized for her mastery of burlesque and pole dancing, both as a performer and a teacher, she is also a contortionist, aerial artist, hand balancer, model, singer, and actor.

“That’s how I make my living,” she says. “I’ve worked with some of the most influential people in the music industry, like Beyonce and Rihanna. I was on tour most recently with Snoop Dogg and Diplo; I've worked with other artists and other countries… I don't discriminate. I am an equal opportunist when it comes to my skill set. Whoever wants me can have me, especially if they're paying!”

Mainstream audiences might recognize her from films like Dolemite Is My Name, starring Eddie Murphy, and Seth Macfarlane’s Ted 2, and numerous music videos for artists ranging from Rick Springfield to Maroon 5, Mariah Carey, Ed Sheeran, and Mary J. Blige. Last year she was a featured dancer in Latto’s “Big Energy” performance at the Billboard Music Awards.

Candace explains that while she’s mostly a solo artist, every now and then she’ll perform with others, such as in the Pin-Up Pole Show, which is dedicated to burlesque and pole dancing in the style of 1950s and 1960s pin-ups; LGBTQIA+ icon Miss Tosh’s variety show Beauty of Burlesque; and a show called Desperada—an untold tale of the women of the Wild West produced by Tosca Rivola. During that show, she remembers, she did aerial performances on a suspended mechanical bull.

“A lot of the gigs that I get at this point are word of mouth because I have been so established,” she says. “When I first started, I was very adamant about getting myself out there, even if it wasn't a paid gig.”

(C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture
(C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

How Did Sweet Ms. Candace Get Into Dancing And Burlesque?

What started as a ballet class when she was eight years old progressed into nurturing her theatrical and vocal talent at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies and Alexander Hamilton High School, and years of dance programs all the way through college, developing her own performance style along the way.

“I’ve been an artsy kid since forever,” Candace says, adding that she was also heavily involved in sports. “I've been a busy bee since I was a little girl. I was going from school to practice and from practice to rehearsal, to class, and then back home. I played basketball in middle school. I took Taekwondo classes for about two years, I also was on the swim team, and I played baseball. Not softball but baseball with the boys because I was not about that whole gender separation thing.”

“I was actually pretty shy about my physical appearance,” the creator says. “I developed pretty early in my teens. I looked, at least from the neck down, very grown and my face was always a baby face. I would hide and I would only take selfies of just my face and I would be covered up. I was just trying to mitigate attention that I didn't want to have at that time. When I started pole dancing, it was originally because I was trying to tap into my sexy, have ownership over that, and understand that I'm doing this for me. I'm coming into this not for your view and for your pleasure, but for my own. It really helped transform me and helped me blossom into this sex appeal that I have today. And I own it!”

(C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Although Candace is a confident and talented performer, there’s no getting around the fact that her career has myriad challenges, ranging from navigating dating (she doesn’t date her fans), to people conflating her dancing with other kinds of sex work (“What I do, I do consider sex work because I am a sexy person presenting myself in a way that makes you feel things; you feel tantalized and you might feel aroused or you can just be appreciative and think, ‘Wow, that's really beautiful and that's amazing.’ It's really on the person and the viewer. I'm doing it just to make sure the people have fun and have a good time.”), to on-the-job injuries.

“I tore my meniscus when I was dancing at an exotic club called Ace of Diamonds,” the artist recalls. “I was there one night and Amber Rose came in and tipped really well while I was on stage. And unfortunately, when I went to walk around the pole to get ready to climb up and do a trick, because there was so much money on the floor and our money sweeper was not able to get it all quick enough, I stepped on a dollar and my knee went one way and my foot went the other. I had the money to pay for the surgery—thanks, Amber Rose!—but I was out of work for a little bit.”

Candace shares that cannabis helped during her recovery and that she used topicals in addition to smoking it. It wasn’t anything particularly new, though, as she’s been a cannabis consumer for years.

(C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

What Is Sweet Ms. Candace's Relationship With The Cannabis Plant?

“I do fancy a nice little doobie here and there, but I use it mostly for medicinal purposes,” she affirms. A lot of people have this convoluted idea that you're just a pothead, you like to smoke. And I'm like, ‘Yeah, I do like to smoke, but that's how I'm able to function and do all the crazy things that I do week after week!’ It's been non-stop for me for years. I need to do what I need to do to take care of my body.”

Candace was first introduced to the plant at about age seven, when she found her mother’s pipe. Instead of panicking and making up some lie about what it was, her mother was honest with her.

“She sat me down and we had a conversation,” the performer remembers. “She was like, ‘This is marijuana. I do it, your grandma does it, your daddy does it, your uncle does it, everybody does it! And when you become of age and choose to do it, go for it—but right now, this isn’t for you.’ It didn’t feel super taboo to me.”

She tried it for the first time when she was thirteen—a joint filled with Northern Lights, which remains her favorite strain.

“I felt amazing. I remember walking home, it started to rain and I was just so appreciative of the raindrops and colors and everything. The vibrancy of life. I started learning about the medicinal properties of it, which was great because I have had awful pains due to my endometriosis since I was a kid. I've also had a lot of injuries. I've bruised my tailbone, I've dislocated my kneecap, I broke my elbow. So it was nice to know that I had another form of medicine that wasn't as hard on the liver as ibuprofen.”

(C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Sweet Ms. Candace's Cannabis Advocacy Today

Since her teenage years, Candace has become well-versed in the vast world of weed, gravitating towards joints (no blunts, as she doesn’t like tobacco products), tinctures, edibles, and dabs. Over the course of her career, she’s experienced the different cannabis laws in other countries like Germany and the Netherlands, and has even imbibed with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa. While she admits that she’s not up-to-date on all of the cannabis laws across the United States (nor should she be expected to be, as they vary wildly from city to city and from state to state, and are constantly changing), she’s an advocate for its use and for destigmatization.

“The way that I advocate is that I show people that I'm a smoker,” she says. “I'm not hiding that at all. People often see me smoking. I'll post videos of me smoking. I'll let them know this is what's helping me right now because this is medicine.”

 For more about Candace, follow @sweetmscandace on Instagram.

*A version of this article originally appeared in Honeysuckle's 17th print edition, featuring Havoc of Mobb Deep. Get your copy now at dispensaries nationwide or click here to order!


Written By:

Chloé Harper Gold is a writer and editor with ample experience across media and diverse environments, covering everything from pop culture to politics and nonprofit management. She regularly contributes to Dread Central; her work also appears in Horror Film Central, 71 Magazine, and Honeysuckle Magazine among other outlets. She was previously the Digital Editor for High Times and Adweek and a Staff Writer for

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Featured image: Candace Cane (AKA Sweet Ms. Candace) (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture