Cari Byers


EP 67: Cari Byers (autogenerated)

[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 67. Okay. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Carrie Byers. Are you ready for this Carrie?

[00:00:13]Cari Byers: [00:00:13] absolutely. , this is a joy.

[00:00:15]Dane Reis: [00:00:15] fantastic. All right. Originally from Albuquerque New Mexico, Carrie has been dancing. Most of her life. She began dance as a young child, fell in love and has never stopped dancing. She earned a BA in dance with a minor in technical theater from ASU and is danced in ballet and contemporary companies.

[00:00:34] Small cabaret shows and large. Las Vegas production shows. Carrie came to Vegas over 20 years ago with plans to stay for six months and dance and Follies bear share.  Instead, she ended up dancing in the showgirl line at Follies for 12 years while freelancing on the side and continuing to freelance for another couple of years after Follies closed, then she took to the other side of the entertainment industry, taking over an agency called premiere show girls.

[00:01:02] She has worked for as talent now that was six years ago and it has been a great ride. Ever since carrie, that’s 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, who you are, and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:01:24]Cari Byers: [00:01:24] I was raised in a pretty artsy family in Albuquerque, which, um, luckily has a great. Art and dancing. I was very active and had a lot of energy as a child. My parents put me in dance pretty young, like three or four. I immediately loved it and couldn’t wait to go to the next class. So as I got older and more eligible, I started taking everything like ballet, jazz, tap.

[00:01:52]Tumbling contemporary, like I just loved it. Um, , and living in Albuquerque, , there were a couple of really great, so my professional ballet companies that I was, uh, fortunate enough to dance with. So that gave me some really good experience on stage. And I just, I just knew from a young age that this is what I was going to do.

[00:02:12] I never really thought of doing anything else. . And so then I threw, it was a weird course of events ended up in Phoenix, Arizona and went to ASU and fortunately enough to, they had an amazing dance and theater program. So I continue my education in ASU and then started my professional career. My first professional job was overseas in Japan, which was.

[00:02:40]Amazing in so many ways and such a learning experience and through Japan and some other weird situations, I ended up here in Vegas and dance in Follies.

[00:02:51]Dane Reis: [00:02:51] Brilliant. Well, let’s move on to this next section and Carrie, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?

[00:03:02]Cari Byers: [00:03:02] So, this is really easy. I found this quote in high school. It’s from Janis Joplin. Don’t compromise yourself.  you’re all. You’ve got.

[00:03:12]Dane Reis: [00:03:12] I love that. And I haven’t heard that yet. Can you, can you expand on that a bit on how you’ve applied that to your life and your career?

[00:03:19]Cari Byers: [00:03:19] Just always tried to be me as best as I could with the knowledge I had and stay true to myself and stay true to myself as a dancer and do what came to me like through gut instinct, I guess, and through my passion for dance. So I was tried to be honest and be myself. Sometimes it’s easier than others, but.

[00:03:42]Dane Reis: [00:03:42] Yeah, absolutely. It’s certainly something that can be easier said than done, but I love that you have brought up that quote and that you. Are always consciously striving to stay true to yourself because it’s so easy in this industry to try to mimic others and to try to be like others, because we see other people that are being successful and we’re like, well, if they’re successful doing something like that, maybe, maybe if I do that, it’ll work for me.

[00:04:07] And you know what? Sometimes it works out, but really you need to be, you, you need to own who you are, be in your lane and. That is what is going to attract people to you?

[00:04:19]Cari Byers: [00:04:19] Absolutely.

[00:04:20]And sometimes that’s a tough lesson to learn, 

[00:04:22] but. 

[00:04:23] Dane Reis: [00:04:23] Absolutely. Absolutely. And let’s move on to this section here. And Carrie, of course you are an entertainer. I’m an entertainer.

[00:04:32] And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industries. In existence and you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, you like you’re having now takes a lot of it, dedication and hard work.

[00:04:53] And while of course, yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of. Obstacles and challenges and failures, we are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through it. 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.

[00:05:18]Cari Byers: [00:05:18] So right after high school, I went to college. I went to university of New Mexico there in Albuquerque because I really didn’t have another plan other than I thought that’s what was expected of me. And I could still dance. I wasn’t a dance major. I never declared a major. And through that time I decided.

[00:05:39]That I would travel back and forth to LA and start auditioning. And I had a couple of really disastrous audition and disastrous as me as a dancer, but disastrous because of my Heights, I’m over six feet tall. And at the time. LA was just not the place for somebody six foot tall. So I guess some really  I just had some horrific experiences with people just being so brutally honest to me in front of, , hundreds of other dancers.

[00:06:20] Dane Reis: [00:06:20] Oh man.

[00:06:24] Cari Byers: [00:06:24] So I kind of. had to rethink what I was doing. , I really wasn’t aware that Vegas was an option. , I investigated cruise ships. And at the time this was many years ago. Cruise ships did not hire tall girls either. So in a weird course in events, I got a modeling contract in an ad for an agency in Scottsdale, Arizona. So I thought, well, why not? I have tons of family in Phoenix. I will move to Phoenix. I quickly learned that I still wanted to dance and modeling was really not going to be my career. So I went back to school and I started the dance department at ASU. So through those disastrous auditions, I ended up in a marvelous place.

[00:07:14]After reassessing and then managed to figure out that Vegas was a perfect place for somebody of my height.

[00:07:21] Dane Reis: [00:07:21] Yeah, absolutely. And 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 living or maybe it was. Yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.

[00:07:45]Cari Byers: [00:07:45] You know what? I don’t really know that I had one moments. I just loved it. And some of my best memories are dance recitals as a child and just being able to dance, ? So I don’t know that there was one moment. It’s just always it’s like death has always had a special place in my heart and there was nothing else I wanted to do.

[00:08:09]Dane Reis: [00:08:09] Yeah, I love that. I love that. And you’re one of the lucky ones that discovered that. So early on , myself personally, I didn’t discover entertaining dance, singing all of that until I was nearly 18 years old. And. Yeah, very late into my life. And I’m very fortunate to have, uh, developed a career that I have been able to do.

[00:08:28]Uh, but yeah, I really, I really wish I would have discovered the arts much earlier in life, but you know what? Life has a funny way of giving you your own fantastic journey.  All right. Well, let’s piggyback on that question and let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs.

[00:08:51] 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.

[00:09:00]Cari Byers: [00:09:00] It’s  the night I got the call that I got the spot as a showgirl and fully BearShare. 

[00:09:07] I had just come back from Japan, uh, where I danced in a small cabaret show. . but . I remember when the entertainment manager called me, it was like 11 o’clock at night. She called me to offer the job and I had auditioned, I was still living in Arizona and I was back in Arizona and I was like, I’ll be there tomorrow.

[00:09:30] Dane Reis: [00:09:30] Yeah, back in my car right now. 

[00:09:33] Cari Byers: [00:09:33] Yeah. So yeah, getting that call that I got the spot and Foley brochure was that moment.

[00:09:40] Dane Reis: [00:09:40] Fantastic. I love that. And that, that was such a fantastic, beautiful show. And I love, I love the show girl style, and I really, really hope that Vegas, at some point brings it back at a large scale. Like it used to be.

[00:09:55]Cari Byers: [00:09:55] Oh, yeah. It, it, it’s what defined entertainment in Vegas. Those big production shows from Paris 


[00:10:02] Dane Reis: [00:10:02] Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I’ve actually spoken with quite a few people on these interviews and. People will refer to those old big MGM movies and how they love watching them. If they’re seeking some kind of inspiration in their career, go to YouTube, look up  uh, those big MGM numbers.

[00:10:22] And I think there’s a huge market for it. There’s such a craving for that. And hopefully it comes back.

[00:10:28]Cari Byers: [00:10:28] Oh, hopefully. Yes, absolutely.

[00:10:31] Dane Reis: [00:10:31] all right. Well, let’s talk about the present for a moment. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And look, it’s a crazy time. We are a miss this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:10:48]Cari Byers: [00:10:48] I’ll start at the last question. I don’t know exactly how the entertainment industry is going to move forward, but I see so many creative and amazing things being created by dancers on video, which is just another. Aspect of the art form that we’ve been able to work on and create it. Doesn’t it doesn’t like any means.

[00:11:14] Things take place of live performance, either for the audience or the dancer. There’s something about that live performance and connecting with the audience and the audience connecting with you. But I I’m inspired by everything. I see dancers and. People like me producing, short videos and collage videos.

[00:11:35] And it’s just like, I saw one the other day. I can’t remember who it was, but it was, um, Swan Lake and it was members of a dance company doing dances in bathtubs. , it was beautiful. It was phenomenal. So that’s inspiring to me and I, and I feel. Like with all that creativity, it’s only going to move the industry forward when we go back to live performing.

[00:11:58] Cause , we have had all this time to work on our craft and be creative and, and think and brainstorm. So there’s, I feel like there’s going to be just a, surgeon’s a really great arts and performance when we are back up and running.

[00:12:13]Dane Reis: [00:12:13] brilliant. Yeah. I love that insight. 

[00:12:15]Cari Byers: [00:12:15] I mean, that’s what I’m doing. I mean, I have things that I’m working on. one of the things I was working on prior to the pandemic is a very traditional old school burlesque show, but very Vegas with big feathers and costumes and lots of sequins and rhinestones. And I had just signed with a talent buyer out of Hollywood to book us around the country and casinos.

[00:12:42]So I’m working on that  it’s basically up and running, but you can never have too many feathers or sequence on a costume. So, so I’m working on my costumes and I’m working on  the backend. So I have a lot going on, but that’s kind of my heart and soul and where,  I really want to move forward with that. 


[00:13:08] Dane Reis: [00:13:08] Brilliant. , for sure. And it sounds like, like you said, it’s, it’s pretty much ready to go. So hopefully as soon as everything comes back in live theater is a go, you can press go and be immediately up and running. I love that. And. It is time to move on to one of my favorite sections of the interview. I call it the grease lightning round.

[00:13:30] 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? 

[00:13:40]Cari Byers: [00:13:40] Yep. Let’s do it. 

[00:13:41] Dane Reis: [00:13:41] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?

[00:13:48]Cari Byers: [00:13:48] I don’t know if there was one thing I feel like out of those disastrous auditions for a moment, I had to regroup and I thought maybe my height was going to hold me back. But that was just, I feel like just a moment.

[00:14:02] Dane Reis: [00:14:02] Great. And the second question, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:14:09]Cari Byers: [00:14:09] All right. I have, I have two answers to this. I had a ballet teacher who I’m sure it was in high school. When he told me this, he said there will always be somebody better than you at an audition. And in class, just know that. So I’ve kind of lived by that,  , and it goes back to you can’t compare yourself or want to be like somebody else.

[00:14:31] You have to be  yourself.

[00:14:33]Dane Reis: [00:14:33] absolutely. I love that piece of advice. And you’re right. There is always someone who, even if it’s not dancing was always someone who’s prettier. Someone who is doing something that you wish you were doing. Someone who is succeeding, quote, unquote more than you. And you have to, you have to stay focused on you because you don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.

[00:14:51]Cari Byers: [00:14:51] Yep. And then the other piece of advice I got from a friend who was a very successful dancer in LA New York and in Vegas. And when I started the audition process going from audition to audition, he told me. It’s just a free class carry. It’s just a free class.

[00:15:13]Dane Reis: [00:15:13] perfect. And I’m assuming that the, the goal of that was to alleviate the pressure that we can 

[00:15:20] Cari Byers: [00:15:20] Yeah. 

[00:15:20] Dane Reis: [00:15:20] when we walk into those rooms.

[00:15:22]Cari Byers: [00:15:22] Yeah. And it did, if you go in there and sometimes I’m, we all know it sometimes,  we’re struggling to put the ramen noodles and apples on the table. So a free class is kind of what we need to stay in shape and, , stay in the game.

[00:15:37]Dane Reis: [00:15:37] Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s move on to 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.

[00:15:52]Cari Byers: [00:15:52] Just loving what I do and being able to. Still stay in the industry and continue to, I have the love and passion I have for dance, but be on the other side,  I think my love and respect for the industry.  helps me in many ways and it helps me be successful because people can see that. The talent I work with, I think knows how much I appreciate them and appreciate dance as an art.

[00:16:24]So I think that’s what works for me. 

[00:16:27]Dane Reis: [00:16:27] absolutely. I love that you brought that up on a couple of points. First that from speaking with many of my friends who have done. Loads of work for you and premiere show girls that they have nothing but amazing things to say about you and you have beautiful costumes and you really do love the art form.

[00:16:45] You love the girls, you love everything that you are putting out there in the world. And it really truly does show from the way people react and the things that they have to say about you and your company. And, and also, I love that you’ve. Transitioned into the same industry, but you are doing the other side of the table.

[00:17:06] And I think that’s so important for people to know that these things are possibilities. You don’t have to only be the person dancing on stage. And then when you feel like , maybe your time is done doing that, that this industry has done for you, this industry is. So massive. There’s so much you can do within it.

[00:17:25] And I love that you’ve transitioned and you found your passion and you’ve stayed connected to this industry.

[00:17:31]Cari Byers: [00:17:31] Yeah. Yeah. I love it. And it all happened like this isn’t  at all. What I intended to do, I had no idea what I was going to do, but through another strange series of events, this opportunity opened up to me and. It seemed like a perfect fit. Like I could stay in the industry and at the tunnels as well. I can still work a little bit if I wanted to, but I can still be in this industry that I adore and I’ve been in my entire life.

[00:18:00] Dane Reis: [00:18:00] Yeah, absolutely. And there’s a lot to be said as well about always keeping your eyes open for opportunities. And when they present themselves to you to take them in. And look at them and see how they might fit into your life instead of having any kind of preconceived judgments, uh, on whatever that opportunity may be, even if it’s quite different from what you’re used to doing in your normal life, but just keep your options open, keep your eyes open to opportunity and be open to opportunity.

[00:18:28] Cari Byers: [00:18:28] Absolutely. Yup. 

[00:18:30] Dane Reis: [00:18:30] Wonderful. and the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.

[00:18:46]Cari Byers: [00:18:46] , I would have to say right now it’s social media. It’s keeping me relevant. It’s keeping my Showgirls out there. It’s keeping my name out there. And it’s also giving me, opportunities to be creative and, and think of new ways to use social media, to entertain people and get our message out there.

[00:19:10] And. Stay relevant.

[00:19:12] Dane Reis: [00:19:12] Yeah, 

[00:19:12] love that. Beautiful. 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?

[00:19:31]Cari Byers: [00:19:31] I would probably keep it the same. As I look back now, I would like to say, would work harder in class. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t work as hard as I could have in class. but I, I feel like everything’s happened for a reason, even though I had, , some setbacks and those horribly disaster humiliating audition experiences, they led me.

[00:19:56] To Arizona, which led me to an amazing education at Arizona state and amazing people that I met there. . So if that hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t, yeah. I’ve gone to Arizona and I wouldn’t have ended up here. You know what I mean? It’s just, I, I wouldn’t change much.

[00:20:12] Dane Reis: [00:20:12] Yeah, absolutely. I love it. . And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry that you’d like to leave with everyone?

[00:20:24]Cari Byers: [00:20:24] The cliche. And I think a lot of people have probably said it, but you’re not always going to be everybody’s thing. You’re not always going to be the perfect tire for that job or what they’re looking at, or they may not like your style of dance or they may not like your Heights or your build, but that doesn’t mean the next person won’t or the next show won’t you just have to put on that tough skin and understand it’s not a personal thing.

[00:20:58] And. Realize that you’re not everybody’s cup of tea and you’re not perfect for every job.

[00:21:03]Dane Reis: [00:21:03] Absolutely. Absolutely. And to keep  moving forward, next thing, next thing, next thing. And you will find where you hit, where people appreciate and need you. 

[00:21:14]Cari Byers: [00:21:14] Yep. 

[00:21:14]Dane Reis: [00:21:14] Beautiful. , and to wrap up this interview, Carrie, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you?

[00:21:25] Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:21:28] Cari Byers: [00:21:28] Well, like I said, I have the burlesque show and that’s called lips lashes burlesque. There is a Facebook page. For lips, lashes burlesque. There’s also a Facebook page for premier show girls. I have a website, premier I’m on Pinterest. I’m on LinkedIn carry Byers. I’m on Twitter, one Instagram, like I’m on all the platforms except like tick-tock and, um, those, but yeah, I’m out there best places to find me your Facebook, Instagram and the website.

[00:22:00] Premier show girls.

[00:22:01]Dane Reis: [00:22:01] Beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to all of her websites that are social media in the description of this episode. , so you can easily click and connect Carrie. Thank you so much for joining me today. It has been so great 

[00:22:19] Cari Byers: [00:22:19] Oh, thank you. It’s been a pleasure, absolute pleasure, and honor to be on the show.