EP 149: Acro Mel (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 149. Alrighty, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Acro Mel, are you ready for the smell?
Right. Mel was born and raised in Canada and has trained extensively in aerial acrobatics, partner, acrobatics pole, dance, yoga, dance, gymnastics, and theater. She began performing at a very young age and has attended various performing arts and circus schools, training and performing worldwide.
[00:00:36] In 2016, Mel earned her MBA in the UK and moved back to the middle East where she is now primarily based. She has taught for royalty and celebrities, and is now predominantly focused on building and growing an acrobatic community within the region. As an instructor, Mel aims to create a comfortable and engaging environment that allows students to learn about movement and your bodies in a healthy and positive way.
[00:01:02] Mel, that is a quick intro of. Who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:17]Acro Mel: [00:01:17] Okay,
well, I am Kadian as it says. And, uh, although I currently live in Asia, so right now I’m based in Saudi Arabia and I do travel pivots. I would describe myself as a circus artist, especially in aerial and most important teacher, Brian Ariel discipline. So Ariel, I would say, would be my primary
[00:01:37]Dane Reis: [00:01:37] Yeah, very cool. And I saw, obviously in your bio, there are a lot of different aerial apparatus and things that you use. Is there one apparatus that you prefer or do you just like everything
[00:01:50]Acro Mel: [00:01:50] I actually love everything. So I majored in aerial robot or the lease in circus bull. And I do wrote soaps. Who’ve been trapeze. My favorite discipline is actually do a PDs. And I did have a partner that I worked with a four year old Europe, also in concert. And I think that’s the one actually that I loved the most.
[00:02:07] I miss the most, because I haven’t been able to do it in the last couple of years.
[00:02:11]Dane Reis: [00:02:11] Yeah, very cool.
Well, let’s move on to this first section here. And Mel, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:02:24]Acro Mel: [00:02:24] Oh, there are so many, I love quotes that inspire people to be Holy themselves and inspire empowerment and freedom of movement. One of my favorite, I would say is some public Picasso.
Uh, I’m always doing that, which I cannot do an order that I may learn how to do it. And this is inspiring to me personally.
[00:02:43] I love to push myself and my boundaries and the growth and inspiration, not comfortable, but motivated and excited and challenged. So I would say that one is my personal favorite.
[00:02:53]Dane Reis: [00:02:53] brilliant. I really liked that quote. And let’s move into this next section here and now of course you are an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you would agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industries in existence.
[00:03:14] And you know,
you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry. Like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures.
[00:03:34] We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:03:47]Acro Mel: [00:03:47] One challenge while working full time as a professional areas was the constant travel without a home base. I love traveling. I love experiencing new cultures and food and locations, everything associated with traveling. But I found out that I really, someone who works best on stability, having a home base and having a known income, I actually don’t regret that to me, that I switched to travel and experience and book with media companies and people, but it was stressful and not knowing if the decision I made to stay or continue traveling elsewhere.
Uh, would it be too much in my plate? I’m not enough income, or if I was giving up a better opportunity waiting to happen. So, although I do still travel quite a bit, I, for the most part, do you have a regular teaching schedule and a regular training schedule? And I am definitely a better person for it.
[00:04:30]Dane Reis: [00:04:30] , for sure. That is always the conundrum of our career. Isn’t it? Because we love everything, but there really is. A lot of kind of instability. There’s a lot of what is all the time. You never really know when that next gig is happening. You can look at your next month and go, I don’t have anything booked.
[00:04:48] And then by the end of the week, your next three months are booked flat and it happens so quickly sometimes. And. Sometimes it is nice to have that schedule. And then also finding out what works for you, because some people like to do that. Other people want to round out their schedule with training and teaching.
[00:05:07] It’s that’s. What I love about this industry is that it allows you to really customize and create and curate your own experience through the industry and through life and your own artistry.
[00:05:20]Acro Mel: [00:05:20] Oh, absolutely. There was actually one week where I was working 16 hours a day for seven days straight because I’m looking on various contracts that had different time, the timelines. And I actually had no time to even make food or to eat. So what I had done is I bought about 12 pizzas and kept them in the car that I was renting.
[00:05:38] And I would just eat on the way from one contract to the other. Just love to repeat that. And by the end of that, I was so exhausted, but that was an amazing experience, narrow my boundaries and be able to push myself in that way and go through that.
[00:05:52]Dane Reis: [00:05:52] Yeah, absolutely. And another thing that I really like about this career is that, Hey, we can do anything for a short amount of time, right? Sometimes the timelines and the schedule is just like what you just described. We get thrust into those and we’ve filled our plate up this way to full in a way, but you go, this is not ideal.
[00:06:14] This is not sustainable, but you know what. I can do it for a few days for sure. And it’s, I’m going to be better for it, but then it’s so great. Cause you have that light at the end of the tunnel moment that you get that massive sense of accomplishment when you do these things
[00:06:28]Acro Mel: [00:06:28] absolutely 100%.
[00:06:31]Dane Reis: [00:06:31] yeah, for sure.
Well, let’s move on to a time that I like to call your. Spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:06:54]Acro Mel: [00:06:54]
uh, this is tough. Uh, I’ve always been a born performer. I was a gymnast and a dancer from a very young age. I loved competitions, not so much for the winning part, although it was definitely fun, uh, but for the opportunity to be on stage and be bigger than myself. I also took a lot of acting as a kid and went to performing arts school where I did dance, acting and directing for theater and film.
[00:07:14] And I loved every bit of this. I’d always loved circus, but I didn’t really know how to get involved in it because there weren’t a lot of studios or social media around, like there are now. So I’m
kind of aging myself. Uh, Uh, yeah. In 2011, I think I was performing as an actress and contortionists for theater calls.
[00:07:31] And they brought in an aerialist and I was mesmerized. And so when I had the chance to learn Ariel later on, it was like a magical union. I had already been performing aerial, but when I attended circus school is that’s when I really got my aerial days. And when, like when I come in the air, it’s a mix of those most amazing components of performing it’s directing your own performance, acting on stage, dancing to music, flying through the air.
[00:07:56] With big stones that make people gasp and something other worldly you feel when you’re wrapped up in something beyond what is visible to the naked eye. And so long story short, there’s a one moment, but
many, many moments.
[00:08:09] Dane Reis: [00:08:09] Yeah, for sure. And the, this, the progression through your career, I really liked that you’ve just always been involved in the arts because a lot of my personal experience with acrobats is working with acrobats that have been in the circus. As a family business. Right.
Right. And I’m sure, you know, many, you know, many, many people that are like that.
Uh, and they approach the craft. I find a little bit differently versus say yourself, who trained in theater and singing and acting and dancing, and you just kind of progressed up and then you just kept going. And you’re like, well, Ariel seems like the natural progression. So. Because you had all that foundation.
[00:08:48] I love watching performers like yourself that have had all of that foundation, because I think there’s almost a little bit of a, there’s a bit more performance element that comes out in your Ariel instead of it just being about the tricks and the, Just how crazy it really is to watch someone in the air doing whatever on an apparatus and the strength that it takes, but really the performance behind it.
[00:09:09] That’s what I love about people like you that have that really solid foundation.
[00:09:14] Acro Mel: [00:09:14] Absolutely. And actually some of my most memorable performances. That other people have told me about are ones that I put together really quickly and actually are not that skilled at very technical.
Um, they’re just more about the performance and people remember that because there’s an emotional response.
[00:09:29]Dane Reis: [00:09:29] Yeah, for sure. I think that happens a lot in performance, especially when you’re performing for,
uh, Mughals and the layman, right? The people that they, they’re not entertainers because when entertainers perform for entertainers, there’s this thing that happens where everyone tries to make it super difficult and super technical, but that’s not always what reads.
[00:09:49] And if you’re watching it, you can really appreciate it. With a trained eye and be like, wow, that is amazing that they can do that technically.
Right. And still perform it and live it. But when you’re just a normal person, I’ve done so many corporate events and it’s always the numbers that are big and fairly basic in their choreography, big repeats, you know, but they read in a room of a thousand and people and they always are the ones that get the most response from the audience of just normal people. like you said, it wasn’t necessarily something that had to be super technical. It was something that you could perform really well and bring yourself to the number. And that’s what made it good.
[00:10:30]Acro Mel: [00:10:30] Yeah. The creativity and the passion.
[00:10:32]Dane Reis: [00:10:32] Yeah, 100%. And let’s piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment.
[00:10:43] Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it moment.
[00:10:55]Acro Mel: [00:10:55] My most memorable booked it. Moment is actually not a performance booking.
Uh, performance bookings are amazing. I’ve been through a lot of auditions. I have even crashed into a judging stable, for example, audition, highly embarrassing. Uh, but I had been going through that a lot in my life, and I’d also been a gymnastics coach and a dance instructor.
[00:11:14] But when I got my first teaching job with teaching Ariel, I was definitely nervous. I had just heard about using Instagram and I was just ready to get noticed. And the studio was super excited to host ACO, Mel, and I really didn’t want to let them down. I have always had the creative Bieber, cardiography and dance, but Ariel was a lot harder for me when I first started, I learned to choreograph that, and it was the first time I felt like I was no by people who didn’t know me personally or through someone else.
[00:11:41] And because social media was taking off, if I flunked it, there could be serious consequences to my career.
Uh, so luckily everything went super smooth. I knew that I was teaching a portfolio festival, a training for a variety of different age groups. And luckily the surface humans are like humans. And so I was really so lucky to have such a great group, which included instructors from the studio who were just hungry to learn.
[00:12:03] And I finished Superstore, but very pleased with myself and the effort that I put in for that.
[00:12:08]Dane Reis: [00:12:08] That’s really great.
I, I liked that and I also really liked that you appreciated and for saw that, Hey. Social media is really picking up a lot at that time. I can imagine there was still a lot of organic searchability, right. And discoverability versus it being much more pay to play. Right. And it really does make a difference, especially then when your content and what people would share about you really properly made it to the large percentage of their networks. And that you saw that and you said, I have to, I have to perform. I have to do well. And then the fact of course, the cherry on top, that it all went well. Hey, that’s fantastic.
[00:12:46] Acro Mel: [00:12:46] Absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:12:48]Dane Reis: [00:12:48] Brilliant. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And. It’s kind of
kind of a weird time, right? We’re amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:13:07]Acro Mel: [00:13:07] okay,
well, starting on what I’m working now. So I’m working on a few different projects. I have a whole studio in November, 2019, which sadly closed in March due to Copeland’s, but I’m hoping to reopen in January, 2010, one stronger than before. I am also opening up a little aerial studio in January who goes out and kids.
[00:13:25] And in September of 2021, I plan to open up a yoga teacher community program. As I am also an ER Lightsey 500. Alongside this. I collaborate with studios in Saudi Arabia and in the Gulf region for showcases and teaching opportunities and opportunities to bring the circus artists together. I had a lot of colleagues in UAE that have done an amazing job with pole and really brings a better strong, full community.
[00:13:47] And I would love to see this happen for aerial as well
Uh, but the entertainment industry I’ve seen Kobe hit a lot of studios and performance really hard. And I really have to believe that without the arts, during this time, people will come back with a better appreciation and need for it.
[00:14:04]And that performing will expand even more so than prequel. It’s both in person and online. And I think in the Gulf region, your chats are, you may our slides. I opened up the first poll and area of studio and she doesn’t 13 and Casa. And since then communities Morrish and it’s been an absolute privilege to see this development, as I truly can only hope that it will continue to grow.
[00:14:25]Dane Reis: [00:14:25] Oh, very cool. I think it’s fantastic what you’re doing and really just taking all of your skillset, all of your expertise and making it happen. And,
you know, being really, almost like a pioneer in a way in that, in that region, because like you said, you opened the first poll studio in
I mean, And aerial studio.
I mean, that’s amazing, you know, and I can only imagine it’s going to take off really well because so many people around the world love that art form love doing it just simply for the fitness of it and what they can do and what their bodies and make their bodies do. But then also the ones that want to then advance and take it into maybe a professional career as well.
That’s, that’s fantastic.
[00:15:06] Acro Mel: [00:15:06] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:15:08]Dane Reis: [00:15:08] and it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:15:27]Acro Mel: [00:15:27] Yes, I am.
[00:15:28]Dane Reis: [00:15:28] All right. First question.
[00:15:30] What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:15:35] Acro Mel: [00:15:35] Whether I can actually make a good income from performing to how to good standard of living.
[00:15:40]Dane Reis: [00:15:40] Fair. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:15:46]Acro Mel: [00:15:46] You can only do the best that you can in this moment with what you have right now.
[00:15:51]Dane Reis: [00:15:51] So true. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on pause?
[00:16:04] Acro Mel: [00:16:04] absolutely community development, bringing people together, creating a strong community, one with openness, lack of judgment and constant supports,
uh, really a family that you can count on.
[00:16:14]Dane Reis: [00:16:14] Oh, So good community networks, relationships. It is so vitally important in this industry. And I’m so glad you brought that up because that is something that has come up a time and time again, with different guests on this podcast. And. That’s what I love about this podcast in this platform that we really truly are discovering the actual real fundamentals of what it takes to create and have a successful career in this industry.
[00:16:42] So many people go into the world into this industry with a skill set, but no way how to navigate it, really. And we have to stumble and figure it out ourselves. Sure. We do that. But. What a great resource that this is become, it’s just, it’s surprised me, honestly, that it’s become this. And we’re able to learn so much from people like you that have been there, done that and are succeeding at it.
that, that you brought that up. Thank you. What a great takeaway. Yeah. And. The fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now?
[00:17:25]Acro Mel: [00:17:25] Instagram 100%. It offers a way to communicate and reach so many people, as well as share learning and inspiration. And of course the failures.
[00:17:36] Dane Reis: [00:17:36] Cause , those exist.
[00:17:37] Acro Mel: [00:17:37] Oh, yes, I’ve got some real gems on
my, my accounts.
[00:17:43] Dane Reis: [00:17:43] And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:18:00]Acro Mel: [00:18:00] I would have gone, just took a stool, I think at a much younger age and explore the opportunity to work more with the truth. I collaborate a lot, but I’ve been primarily independent in my career and this works really well for now, but in my younger days, it would have been nice to, I can travel with a group of people.
[00:18:17]Dane Reis: [00:18:17] for sure.
I mean, back to the community, back to the relationships and the networks right there it is. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.
[00:18:33]Acro Mel: [00:18:33] Work smart and train hearts create objectives. Even if they’re small checking with yourself, if you’re unhappy and stress. This is likely going to impact your image. Really take care of yourself. There are a lot of roads that lead to the same place, and sometimes it just takes a bit of creativity to find any path and be an asset to your colleagues company.
[00:18:53] As students are good attitude
really, really does go a long way.
[00:18:57]Dane Reis: [00:18:57] so well said, thank you. And to wrap up this interview, Mel, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:19:12]Acro Mel: [00:19:12] my Instagram handle is at acro dot note, and you can check me out on my website, www dot dot CA, where all my workshops and the various courses that I teach are available. And feel free to always send me a message. I am sponsored by a few quality companies and that information is also available on my Instagram.
[00:19:30]Dane Reis: [00:19:30] Brilliant. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Mel just said into the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with her and be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, art and entertainment educators, and anyone,
you know, aspiring to create a career.
[00:19:53] In this industry, you booked. It is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful career in the entertainment industry.
I mean, case in point take everything Mel just talked about today, all of the actual insight, and that’s just one episode, there are 149 episodes as of today.
[00:20:14] That you can go look through and every single one of them has something fantastic for you to take away from. So check it out, make sure you subscribe. And if you enjoyed this podcast, make sure you subscribe as well. So you can listen to tomorrow’s guest. Mel. Thank you so much for being here today. It’s been such a pleasure to have you on
[00:20:35]Acro Mel: [00:20:35] thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate the chance to share.