I wish someone would have told me that this life is ours to chooseP!nk, All I Know So Far
No one’s handing you the keys or a book with all the rules
The little that I know I’ll tell to you
When they dress you up in lies and you’re left naked with the truth
When I was a child, I did not exactly have the easiest time and consistently suffered from depression, the only thing that saved me back then was my poetry. At the age of 13 I wanted to go to Europe and write in fields of long grass; that was kind of my way of thinking about running away and joining the circus. That being said, the world’s underdogs will completely appreciate my interview with Infinity Circus Founder, Violet Streak. I am always fascinated by origin stories as there is always a powerful and typically painful lesson that accompanied immense growth. Violet truly went above and beyond with these answers; I am so happy to share this interview with all of you. Thank you Twisty for introducing me to Violet and affording a small seat to witness this incredible opportunity to showcase Infinity Circus in all it’s glory. Happy Reading. p.s. Click on the socials below to discover more about Infinity Circus.
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you over come it?
VS: Ooh yes, I have both mentally and physically by other people. I can give you an example when I was first trying to come up with a routine for my fire hoop act. I was really stuck with how to put the moves together and I ended up taking a few months break from hooping because, of how frustrated I was getting but after a while I just decided to go right back to the basic stuff, and watched a lot of other performers for a bit of a creative boost. It can be hard to restart it and when I am feeling down about everything it really helps to have all the tricks I know written down or as I am now doing having a video log of all the different things I can do from the very basics to the more advanced stuff. That way if I am struggling for inspiration, I can refer to the list and work from it that way. It makes choreographing so much easier. Being blocked from other people and external things you just need to say a mental F you and go for it anyway.
RMMW: Everyone deals with an ugly inner critic from time to time; How do you contend with yours?
VS: Oh, my inner critic can be super vicious at times. I have 3 mental health problems that I am currently getting help for depression, anxiety, and something I did not even know was a thing. Body Dysmorphia. The last one has been particularly bad. I have been struggling with that for a long, long time. It has stopped me from applying for jobs over the years because I did not believe I was good enough or pretty enough to perform up there with the other talented people. To help I have almost created a second personality that is everything I want to be and not at all what I am. It really helps to have that character because, when I’m nervous and worried about performing I slip into that character, and it helps to alleviate the pressure that would otherwise stop me. It also really, really, helps to have a great support network. I’m not exactly the slimmest person and I have a typical mum bod with the sagging tummy and everything. I’ve learned that my industry especially needs more “real” people of a more normal shape to be more active in it. I’ve been called an inspiration before because; I’m a break from the norm as it were. It’s hard to overcome your inner demons but, as I tell myself and my team; At the end of the day the only person whose opinion really matters is your own. If you think you can do it, and you WANT to do it then there is nothing to stop you. There might be a few walls to break through on the journey but, believe me it is so worth it. Confidence or even just acting like your confident is the first step to success because confidence is what works and sells.
RMMW: Can you please introduce my readers to your fabulous and daring team?
VS: Absolutely. They do all like to be known by their stage names and we are slowly introducing each member of our team on our social media, so I’ll give you the shorter version. We are a team of 9 performers all each with different skills and expertise areas.
I’ll start with Glow Worm. He is our poi spinner and was the first team member to be in our group apart from myself. He mostly focuses on poi but is also a stilt walker on the kangaroo (jump) stilts. He also performs fire poi, fire staff, fire sword and lycopodium canes. He started off as a dancer in clubs before joining my company. He has now partially retired from the circus to focus on his career as a physiotherapist, but he will still be around from time to time.
Next, we have Lunah who joined us shortly after Glow Worm. She is our female juggler and is amazing with her skills. She can juggle anything including knives, which she juggles whilst walking over me (it’s scary to be lying on the floor with those flashing over your head but our audiences love it) She can also hula hoop and perform with a contact staff and is super awesome with her poi although juggling is where her passion lies. She’s currently on maternity leave but will be back with us soon.
The next to join our team was Blue Sicx. This guy is amazing. He is our contact juggler, and our Compere. He calls himself the prince of dad jokes, and only second to his dad, and believe me when the two of them get going there’s no stopping them. He usually has the audience both crying with laughter, and groaning from the dad jokes but, all around he can really relate to our audiences and get them involved with everything. When he starts his act though it’s amazing to watch. It’s like a floating crystal ball and he’s so skilled at it that its just mesmerising. He is also a stilt walker along with quite a few of our other team members and is generally just a brilliant person and growing in confidence every time.
Then we have Twisted Sarah. We found her, after us both attending a Circus of Horrors show, and got talking about our passion for circus skills. Not long after that she joined our team. She’s a jack of all trades with masses of different skills. She’s a contortionist, aerialist, hula hooper, fire entertainer, stilt walker, and is also learning to unicycle and one other thing that I’m keeping secret for now but will be announced very soon but It. Is. AMAZING.
Next, we have Spyros. He started off as part of our ground crew which are the instructors for our workshops but, has seriously mad diabolo skills and is and currently working on his first ever choregraphed performance which will be a mixture of Jazz, good old-fashioned showman and daring diabolo skills. He’s also a stilt walker, and is brilliant with meeting and greeting audiences at events.
We also have Fyre. She is a devil stick whiz and is fantastic at teaching at our workshops. She usually handles the stilts, devil sticks and peddle-gos. You’ll usually see her providing ground support for the stilt walkers and wowing everyone with her devil stick skills, her confidence is slowly growing, and I hope she’ll eventually want to perform on the stage because believe me she’s good enough.
Mr Zanco is our stilt walker and balloon modeller. He’s usually surrounded by children taking requests for different balloon model shapes. When he’s not 9 feet tall he’s also usually teaching during the workshops we provide to events. He’s also the oldest member of our team. Fun fact Zanco is Spanish, and literally stands for stilt which was the perfect stage name for him.
We also have two new members to our team. Neither have settled on stage names yet so I won’t mention their real names, but we have a fantastic aerialist who partners with Twisted Sarah as part of our new Acro duo and he’s also usually up in an aerial hoop or pole wowing everyone with his incredible skills and strength. Our last member is another hula hooper, but she is honestly amazing. The kindest person is the world and is one of the most patient and best teachers of circus skills that I know. She adds the element of fun to any event and her hula hoop skills match my own she can also juggle and hopefully will be part of a duo with Lunah when she returns.
RMMW: I watched the P!nk movie on prime; You remind me a lot of her. She is the captain of her own ship, just like you. What do you feel is your biggest responsibility as the founder of Infinity Circus?
VS: Oh, I have two main responsibilities that go hand in hand and sit equally in importance.
First is I have a responsibility to my team members. Not only to bring them up in skill, help them gain enough confidence to realise their full potential in what they do and to make sure that they have a safe, friendly environment to work, and perform in with no judgements and negativity in anything we do. We’re honestly more like family that co-workers and I appreciate every single one of them.
The second is to my clients and audiences. We need to make sure they’re safe and that they have the best experiences that they can with us. If our clients aren’t satisfied and if our audiences don’t leave us with smiles and happiness, then we haven’t worked to our best ability.
At the end of the day without my team members and without our clients and audiences my company wouldn’t exist. They are the most important to me.
RMMW: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned since you picked up your first hula hoop at the age of 15? And when was the element of fire added to those hoops?
VS: The greatest lesson I’ve learned is perseverance and that goes for all my circus skills. Just keep at it and don’t give up. I’m totally self-taught and learned some of my tricks the hard way through trial and error. Perseverance has been what’s kept me going and not let me quit when it got hard. I’m stubborn which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Fire was added as an almost accident. I brought a fire hoop and was practicing with it not lit on fire at Crawley convention goodness knows how many years ago. I think I was maybe 17/18 tops. I had one of the people running the fire show come up to me and say, “I see you have a nice shiny fire hoop; would you like to be in our show later”. I was confident hula hooping but had not yet tried fire although I had done other fire performing with poi. I decided yeah why not. Now I can be honest and say that it wasn’t the safest or correct thing to have done and I would not recommend anyone doing the same. I did a small act of a couple of minutes and literally fell in love. I’ve since then added fire swords, fire fans, fire staff, lycopodium canes, fire eating, body burning and now fire poi to my repertoire. What can I say I’m addicted the danger and beauty of it.
RMMW: I’ve noticed on social media that there is a hell of a lot of body shaming, what is your best advice to women who feel their body type is not appropriate for this kind of work, what would you say to encourage them?
VS: I hate body shaming and everywhere is just rife with is. I’m not skinny. In most places I would be classed as plus size, and I have a typical mum tum with a saggy flap of loose skin and stretch marks and you know what? So, what! It doesn’t matter what you look like or who you are in my team we include everyone. In terms of advice, I’ll repeat what I said above. The only person whose opinion matters is your own. If you feel fantastic let that show. If you feel comfortable let that show. Confidence is sexy it doesn’t matter what you look like. In terms of what I would say to encourage someone; just go for it. What do you really have to lose? Anyone can do what we do if you practice at it enough; literally anyone can become a performer and do what they dream. The only person holding you back from anything is you so tell that negative thought in your head to get lost and think about how great you’ll feel when you go for it. Will you meet negative comments and criticism? Of course, you will but don’t let that stop you from shining like the amazing person you are. When you feel good it shows. You glow and that is worth more than anything some hateful person could think. I’ve been turned down for work many a time, but you know what I tell myself? Would I really want to work for someone that close minded or do I want to showcase my skill for someone who can appreciate the skills and work that has gone into what I do and look past the physical body. Half the journey of reaching your dream is to dream about how its possible. Once you have a dream, you have a plan and I honestly say go for it!!!
RMMW: Please tell me about some of your favourite Infinity Circus Acts; If they are all yours, please explain why?
VS: No, they’re not all my acts. I only have a couple of my own acts that I love. My LED hoop act to a Lindsey Stirling track that was also my first choreographed performance is my own personal favourite act. One of my favourite acts from my team members is Blue Sicx’s labyrinth act. His costume as the goblin king and his contact juggling act with the crystal balls just works and he plays the character so well. I do also love my own fire fans act. I love how much the audience reacts to the body burning that is included with that act and the sparkle dust we put on the fans to give that extra glitz to it just works every time.
RMMW: I read in the literature that you so graciously sent that you are a bookworm. What are the next three books you would like to read and why?
VS: I’m and avid fantasy fan. I especially love reading about dark fantasy stories set in real life. One of my favourite stories are the Kelly Armstrong Otherworld series about supernatural characters like werewolves, witches, ghosts, half-demons, and other characters. I’m also a massive fan of K.M. Shea, K.E. Breene, Raymond. E. Fiest and other authors. I recently discovered Melanie Cellier and just finished reading her spoken mage and hidden mage series and Helen Harper and am currently reading her Firebrand Series. So the next three books will probably be the next three in that series the latest book Scorched heart which is the 4th book in that series has only just been released so I’m reading the whole series again to catch up on the story line. It’s set in London UK in 2020 and the main character is Detective Constable Emma Bellamy who is the leader of Supernatural Squad who deal with the supernatural people living amongst humans in our world. It’s an interesting read full of twists and turns and unexpected events coupled with a slow burn romance that grows as the books progress and I’m loving it all.
RMMW: Out of all the numerous circus skills you’ve attained over the years do you have any favourites? And why?
VS: Well obviously my hula hoops will always have a special place in my heart, and they are my strongest skill but also my stilt walking. It was the first thing I learned when I started in the circus at age 12 and I’ve grown in confidence and skill over the many years I’ve been performing. I love interacting with my audiences especially if I’m playing a character like a fairy or story book character. It just makes everything so magical, and I love meeting new people. My hula hooping is also a big reason for my confidence increase in both myself as a person and a performer. It’s been such a big part of my life that I literally can’t imagine ever giving it up.
Any time of day suits Violet fine to use her hoops!
RMMW: What is the most important lesson motherhood has taught you? And why?
VS: How to let things go that just don’t matter and to also prioritise myself sometimes. I’m a super stress head and learning that some things don’t matter and to just let it go has been one thing that has massively helped. Also self-care for us women is a biggie. I’ve been guilty of not prioritising myself, and then dealing with the emotional fallback that it causes. The feeling that you’re losing yourself bit by bit was a feeling I wasn’t expecting, and I learned that it was because I had stopped focusing on myself as well as my son. At the end of the day we’re only human and we all have different needs. A bath or doing my nails does not count as me time. I make sure I prioritise time to speak and see my friends. Attend my pole classes and my circus training and do things that I enjoy without my son in tow when my hubby can look after him and not at work. It’s a massive boost for my mental health and I don’t feel like I’m losing who I am and just becoming my son’s mum. Yes, I am a mother, and my son means the absolute world to me, but I am still an individual as well and my needs matter too. At the end of the day if I have a mental breakdown from depression after not focusing on myself then who is going to look after my son while I recover? In modern day society, women are told that the children come first in everything and the hubby second, but we are the most important and this is an outdated way of thinking that can have drastic mental health issues for the mothers. If I’m looking after myself properly, I can then be the best mum I can be to my son without any negative feelings marring that. We have a super close bond, and my son wants for nothing. He’s the sweetest little boy and always happy.
RMMW: I’ve always been curious about stage names – I always thought having one would be so cool, I’d be oblivious as to where to start – How did you select yours?
VS: Haha my stage name was a bit of a spur of the moment decision. Stage names can literally come from anything at all, and my only advice is to make sure that you can relate and like the name you’ve chosen after all that’s what you’re going to get called most of the time. Sometimes it can be changing your surname and using a nickname or going for more of a title name as my first stage name was. Ideally if you want to use a professional name you want it to be completely different from your real name, that way there’s no cross over between professional and personal although it does take a while to get used to answering to your stage name rather than your personal.
My original stage name was Chaz the hula girl. It worked when I was younger as Chaz was my nickname and barely anyone called me by my real name back then but after going professional and becoming an adult it just didn’t have the same ring to it anymore, so I needed to choose a new name. At the time I had blonde hair with purple streaks at the front on both sides. Think anime hair and you’re on the right track. I needed a name that would work for both burlesque and adults but also be child friendly enough to use at family events.
I took my hair as inspiration and Violet Streak was born. I can relate to my character and when I become her all the problems and worries I have as Carly (my real name) just melt away. I can be the confident performer who loves what she does without having to worry about the body dysmorphia that Carly battles with. It also helps with the nerves and makes keeping my professional and personal lives separate and easier to compartmentalise.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
VS: hmmm this is a toughie. I’d probably say to be able to be in multiple places at once. Running a company as well as being a stay-at-home mum, having a day job, and being a wife means I regularly feel like I’ve been stretched too thin even though I do already prioritise time to myself. To be able to get multiple things done at the same time would be super helpful and I’d have time to sit and chill rather than work, housework and be a mum sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day.