When you “perform”, are you in character or yourself?
Lili is just a bigger version of myself. She’s all the emotions and eccentricities turned up a notch…or ten!
How did you find yourself here? What’s your story?
It’s been a winding journey! As a kid, I dabbled in dance and basically lived in flamboyant leotards, and then did show choir for several years as a teenager. I sort of lost interest in performing for a few years through college as I focused on my studies, but came back around to it when I decided to try a pole class after moving to Columbus. I tried it as an alternative to joining to a gym, and completely fell in love!
I was drawn to pole for a number of reasons:
1. It allowed me to fly, which obviously, is super fun and bad ass.
2. While I enjoy taking dance classes, I’ve never been very serious about it, so taking ballet as a beginner in your 20’s can be scary. Most pole studios are still adult-only, so I didn’t feel behind!
3. Underwear is appropriate (and necessary!) workout attire. As you advance, more skin contact is required to stick to the pole. I was timid at first, like most are, but when the option is taking off your shirt or plummeting to the Earth, you get over it.
After a year or so doing pole, I started to branch out and try other aerial apparatuses. I love them all, but like all aerialists, I tend to prefer some over others. They each require different skills and strengths, so it makes sense that different bodies would naturally be better at some over others. I perform primarily on pole and lyra (aerial hoop), but I’ve done some work on trapeze and corde lisse too (aerial rope). I’ve tried silks (aerial fabric), but I could never really get into it. I guess I just prefer having something hard in my hand (bah-dum-cha!).
Correct some misconceptions about your art.
Aerial and pole dance is HARD. I know sometimes it looks easy, folks, but that’s because we work our butts off to make it look that way! I sometimes get comments like, “It can’t be that difficult… I mean, strippers do it.” Aside from being a generally ignorant comment, it just doesn’t make sense. How exactly do you think those strippers get those rockin’ bods?
I actually find that once people see the work it takes to do it, they respect both me and the art form more.
How do you juggle your “racy” side with your “home” side? And do they ever merge together?
Juggling my performer life and home life isn’t an issue at all, but I do have a 9-5 working, professional side that I like to keep separate. Having a stage name certainly helps with that, and it makes me feel like a super hero!
Describe your life in one word.
If you could go back, would you do it again or take another path? And what would that look like you think?
I’ve really enjoyed my journey, and it’s not so much that I wish I would have done things differently as much as sooner. I’m having so much fun; it would have been great to have been doing it all along!
What’s your cure for creative blockage?
I put on some music, close my eyes, and just start moving. If I can’t think of anything to do, I just bounce up and down, but eventually something comes. If that doesn’t work, I take a break, drink some booze, and then start the process over. There’s always a video recording, so I don’t forget anything genius that’s discovered in the fourth cycle or so.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
In college, my roommate and I would watch “Next” marathons on MTV. I haven’t seen it in years, and I still get withdrawal shakes when I think about it. It’s so unbelievably good/bad.
I also really dig Quiet Riot.
What’s your sexiest turn-on?
It’s something I’ve only realized lately, but I really dig underwear with ass capes.
What’s your perfect Sunday look like?
- Breakfast – Cold pizza
- Morning activities – practicing pole on the beach somewhere warm and sunny, next to clear blue water. While riding unicorns along the beach, all my favorite people would clap and holler when I nailed all my nemesis moves.
- Lunch – Sushi and cheesy mashed potatoes
- Afternoon activities – Drinking margaritas on the beach. The unicorns are still there too, of course.
- Dinner – Hot dog in a baguette from one of the street vendors in Denmark.
- Evening – All of my friends fly to Korea and dance until the sun comes up. We exit the club and eat Pizza in a Cup (That’s a real thing. This little old lady stays up all night to feed the hungry drunk people of Daegu tiny pizzas in paper cups. Rain or shine! She’s a saint).
Mind you, this Sunday isn’t very practical, but neither is perfection.
What’s your preferred drink?
Bulleit bourbon and soda
Have you embraced technology or are you still a pen and paper writer?
I’m constantly made fun of for being a Luddite. All my grocery and To-Do lists are scribbled on old envelopes and receipts, and I have a notebook with a Zebra-Unicorn-Pegasus on the front that I keep all of my act ideas in. I don’t have a smartphone, so I still look up directions on Google Maps and write them all out on scrap paper before I leave the house. I feel that I function just fine, but it really bothers others when they find out. I really just prefer to be less “connected.” It’s liberating.
Share an embarrassing story.
When I was in Korea, my friend Shauna and I saw this white van idling, but empty, along the side of the street. This was in the wee hours of the morning after some drinking, so we decide it would be a good idea to climb inside and see what happened. I was looking around while in the passenger seat, and as Shauna is climbing in, a man comes running up and speaking Korean to us. Then, almost immediately, there were about 15 young Korean dudes (early 20’s?) in the van. We try to explain, in English, that “we thought it was our friend’s van.” They accepted our “oops”, and he even handed us his business card. We met up with one of our friends that speaks Korean and showed him the card. I’m not sure I would have guessed that a business card with pink stars all over it would be for male prostitutes.
Truth? I’m not actually embarrassed by this story, but I think it’s so good that you, lovely readers, would enjoy it anyway.
What’s your next project or step?
The next couple of performances are repeats of previously created acts, but I’m really excited for some things I’m working on for October! Halloween always brings out the best performances. You really have to bring your A-game since it’s rare that you’re the only one in costume. You have to really give them something to look at!
What’s the last random internet…thing…you saw that made you laugh out loud to yourself?
Drunken Jungle Animals:
Name one completely useless thing you’re really good at.
I can wiggle my ears, although I’m much better at one side than the other.
What was your moment—the moment you realized you “made” it?
Have I made it? Don’t stick a fork in me yet! I’m still in the making!
I have really enjoyed the journey so far, and all the opportunities I’ve been given, but I still feel like there’s so much room for me to grow. Of course, I put a lot of effort into my pieces, and I try to put the best show on I can, each and every time, but I can still really feel myself developing a little more with each performance.
Stay tuned, folks!