EP 76: Mariah Rivera (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it, episode 76.
[00:00:06] All right. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Mariah Rivera. Are you ready for this Mariah?
[00:00:14]Mariah Rivera: [00:00:14] Thank you so much for having me.
[00:00:17] Dane Reis: [00:00:17] bet. Mariah has modeled professionally with credits such as sports illustrated, swimsuit edition, Maxim, hometown Hottie, national ads for Harrah’s entertainment and action magazine cover girl, 10 billboards on the Las Vegas strip ring girl for the MGM and national commercials. She is being a professional dancer for over 10 years in Las Vegas. Dan’s credits include showing the sky erotica, Showgirls and rhinestone cowgirls risky at the Paris. Steve, why Rick’s magic show Las Vegas girls in Italy since city kitties, magical passion in Shenyang, China. Cheerleader for the AFL Los Vegas Outlaws, and now fantasy Mariah. 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, who you are, and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:16]Mariah Rivera: [00:01:16] My name is Mariah. I’m originally from grand junction, Colorado. I grew up on a farm. My parents are fruits and vegetable farmers, and they’re still back there. In Colorado farming. I moved to Las Vegas when I was 18. To be a Las Vegas show girl. And we’ve been out here. Ever since luckily,
um, Well, obviously.
[00:01:31] Quarantine. I got to do a lot of shows and I’ve been very blessed to live my dream and get to entertain thousands of thousands of people on the Las Vegas strip.
[00:01:41]Dane Reis: [00:01:41] I love that. And let’s move on to this next section here. And Mariah, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone.
[00:01:52]Mariah Rivera: [00:01:52] I love.
[00:01:53]Your time is limited. So don’t waste it. Living someone else’s dream. I feel like I have to tell myself that a lot, because I. A very, very competitive person. And I try to like, you know, pick different people that I like to,
uh, You know, or my motivation, but I have to really tell myself don’t live someone else’s dream. Don’t waste your time and just live your true life.
[00:02:13]Dane Reis: [00:02:13] I love that you’re right. Cause we all have our own journeys is sure we can look up to others and try to model a few things over life after that. But once we get started, once we get that ball rolling, we got to make it ours.
[00:02:25]Mariah Rivera: [00:02:25] We have to ask them definitely. You know, all the trying times too, and it’s easy to just kind of get yourself off track, but .
uh, especially right now. , um, during this pandemic, it’s a great time to really listen to your own voices and really figure out what’s best for you and limit to the fullest.
[00:02:40] Dane Reis: [00:02:40] Absolutely. And let’s move on to this next section. Now, Mariah, of course you are an entertainer. I am an entertainer and I think that you’d agree. The entertainment industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries, either of us have probably ever experienced. And you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now.
[00:03:08] It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while, yeah, of course there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to experience and we are 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.
[00:03:35]Mariah Rivera: [00:03:35] Absolutely. It’s a very tough industry. It takes a very thick skin. I think that was my biggest challenge. When I first moved here.
Um, I played sports growing up, so I was always, you know, Always on a team thing. Team group. And it was always very, you know, He, it was much easier for me to, uh, to succeed. And when I moved to Las Vegas, it is so cutthroat and just, to the bone and you really had to develop a thick skin. I think I went to about 15 auditions when I first moved here and I failed miserably at every single one.
[00:04:03] Cried myself to sleep every single night, but it was my job to figure out what I was doing wrong. Figure out what to do better next time and figure out what all the other,
uh, Other performers were doing right. That I needed to figure out how I could succeed, just like them. And , it takes quite a learning curve.
[00:04:19] In the beginning. To get through that, but it’s once you. That thick skin and just realize, you know, sometimes it’s not always about you and sometimes you’re, you know, they were looking for a brunette or blonde. So, no, you either have to change your hair color or, try the next job. And hopefully they’re looking for your type.
[00:04:34]Dane Reis: [00:04:34] Yeah, absolutely. I love that. Cause I know. People will look on the outside and say, Oh, wow, look, look at all the great things that she’s done, or he’s done all these things. You look at the Instagram feeds. I think it’s amazing of these beautiful photos and great videos. And that’s just what we’re really choosing to put out there as a representation of what we do. But behind that is so much more, so much work. There’s those nights you gotta go home.
[00:05:00]Be super upset and figure out what went wrong. How do I make myself better? And I love that you’ve had those moments that you’ve had to be very introspective about that. And you’ve turned it around, figured it out, got yourself back out there, put yourself back out there and kept going until you achieve what you wanted.
[00:05:20]Mariah Rivera: [00:05:20] You have to in this industry, I remember,
uh, always wearing the wrong thing at the audition. So I, and I love to be the first person in line. And so then I had to learn that, you know, maybe just be, you know, the 20th person in line. So I just sit in my car and watch what all the girls were walking in. And I had suitcases full of things. So they were wearing.
[00:05:35] You know their hair down and you know, that I would change it to like hip hop outfit or whatever they were wearing and then follow them in as opposed to being the first one there. And if they were all in, you know, tight showgirl buns with their hair and, you know, the G strings and that’s, you know, had that, that ready in my car waiting to go and.
[00:05:49]that was the trickiest part for me was just configure out from grand junction, Colorado. I had no idea what I was doing when I came to audition. So I, , , it takes, it took some work, but it was definitely worth it for me just to figure it out. And,
uh, I couldn’t be happier that I, I did actually figure it out.
[00:06:05] Dane Reis: [00:06:05] And I love that you, you said that you just sat in your car. You had bags and suitcases full of stuffing, whatever, whatever can happen, I’m ready for it. And you look that’s, that’s why all of us performers and entertainers, we show up to auditions and we got this giant bag of stuff. Four or five, six different pairs of shoes, different clothes. Cause we’ve all learned over time that you need these things. You never know. When maybe even, maybe even the floor just isn’t the right surface for the shoes you’ve got, and you need to switch it up. Or you just need to find ways to be appropriate. Always be prepared. I love that.
[00:06:38]Mariah Rivera: [00:06:38] Yep. Yep. Absolutely. Just like the girl, the boy Scouts, girl Scouts. Always be prepared. It’s it’s a, it’s a great, that’s a great quote.
[00:06:48] Dane Reis: [00:06:48] let’s move on to this next section 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.
[00:07:09]Mariah Rivera: [00:07:09] Many many,
uh, great moments of great auditions that I got, but really wasn’t until I booked fantasy that I was like, yes, this is my absolute dream. I had seen the billboards. The chauffeur for years, I had done little, um, little or shows, but I’d always set my goal on, uh, Fantasy. That was just, the girls were so beautiful and everything. I was like, if I could just be in that show than I’ve really made it. And I think everyone would be really proud of me from, from. Great junction, Colorado. And I would just, so that was my goal. When I moved to Vegas, um, Years before you actually even booked it. So the first audition that I had with that. I sent, cause I. I was dancing in Italy at the time. So I sent a video over at the time , um, to our producer, I need a man and didn’t hear anything back. So I was like, well, she must’ve hated me. And then the second I landed from Italy. Um, back into the States, I messaged her right away and was like, you know, I’m back in town tomorrow. Is there any way you could see me? I think you’re, you know, auditioning. New people. And, uh, Chris, John was choreographing. He was married to J-Lo at the time. And I was so it’s so, uh, And they were filming a reality show and they had a big film crew in, and I was just so nervous and just like, Oh my gosh, if I can really book this, this would be amazing. And then, uh, the dance captain came up to me and was like, okay, are you ready to audition? And I had literally just walked in and I was the only person there cause it was a private audition. And Chris Jones started teaching me this choreography super hip hop, which I’m not a hip hop dancer at all. And. Just thinking, I just completely blew this whole audition. Smiling, at least performing. And I was just like, Oh, they probably think I’m , just some silly, farm girl and. As soon as the audition was over our producer, Looked me up and down very quick. I mean, I think the whole audition was probably. Four or five minutes. And she was like, okay, you know, we’d love for you to start rehearsal next week. And I was like, Oh my gosh, are you serious? Like, I was just. Blown away. And it was really that moment that I was just like, Oh my God, all of my dreams are coming true. All of the hard work that I put in all of those auditions that I failed at, I finally, got the exact show that I wanted. And now I’ve been there 11 years and I have loved every single minute of it.
[00:09:03]Dane Reis: [00:09:03] Wow. I love that story . And I want to piggyback on that question real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment. 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.
[00:09:27]Mariah Rivera: [00:09:27] So when I moved to Las Vegas, my mom gave me three month’s rent to come out here.
Um, it was the summer in between my high school and uh, first year of college. And she was just like, go to Las Vegas, , try for three months, , if you don’t get anything, , no worries. Come back and go to school in Colorado. I was valedictorian. So I had a bunch of offers to go to pretty much any college that I wanted to. So that way we’re really, wasn’t a concern. Um, but I just wanted to, live my dreams. So I came out, I auditioned. Like I said 12 to 15 different shows at the time didn’t book. Any of them, it was towards the end of the three months was almost over.
[00:09:57] So I had two auditions last. I was going to go to UNLB. If I were to book a gig.
Um, if not, I was going to go back to Colorado and go to school. So I, you know, it was just like, okay, tomorrow additions, I’ve got a couple more days before school actually starts and I’m just gonna give it everything I’ve got. Um, I auditioned for showing this guy at the Rio. Um, they were looking for stage dancers and float dancers, which I didn’t care, which one. You know, I would take absolutely anything. So the audition process, they, , call everyone into the room and that was probably. At that time. We were probably a hundred girls and I was like, Oh, this is, this is a really big audition. Um, but most of the girls were looking for, for the stage dancers. No one wanted to be a float dancer. So I was like, You know what I think if I stand into float line, it’s way smaller of a group. So I think I’ll have a better chance if I just say I want to be, , one of the float dancers. Um, so that, I mean, that cut me into like a different category of girls. So there was only, uh, Six of us that wanted to be float dancers, which was us. A smaller salary , um, Then the stage dancers. That was completely fine with and, uh, ended up finding this a girl that it was super nice to me. And now she actually ended up being my best friend, but we ended up both booking the gig that day. Um, they were like, no, can you start rehearsals next week for this job? And I was starting school at school. And I was like, Oh my God, like everything in my life fell into place. So it was like, this is what it’s supposed to be. Um, I enrolled in school. I got. This guy. And I started both of those on the exact same day. Um, and I was just blown away. I remember calling my mom and then, uh, My whole family drove out from my, our first show. We did eight shows a day and my parents and my sister stayed. At the real all day and watched every single show eight shows in a row. We’re on the hour, every hour. Just cheered me on. Um, Oh, it was such a special, no moments. That was definitely like, Wow. I can actually do this and it was fun and it’s just, there’s nothing like that. First time being on stage and performing. And I mean, I still, I guess every time you go on stage is just amazing. Um, if it’s in your blood, And Oh, that was such a special moment that I, I actually didn’t think I was going to get it. I was definitely defeated and I was like, okay, I’m gonna go back to Colorado. No, I tried no big deal. , uh, it was just so, so excited to book that.
[00:11:59]Dane Reis: [00:11:59] Yeah, I love that. And you’re right there. It’s always wonderful to be on stage and book those shows, but there’s something to be said about that first one, when you show up somewhere new and you’re like, yes, there we go. I got myself hooked into this place. Love that. And I also loved that. You said that, you know, I started UNL V and I started that show on the same day, and I think that’s something that’s really wonderfully unique about. Las Vegas is that there’s so much entertainment in Vegas, but you can really kind of have it all here. Can’t you, you can, you can get your degree. You can go to school. If that’s something that you want to do and you can also pursue and be a professional entertainer.
[00:12:38]Mariah Rivera: [00:12:38] . Absolutely. And the cost of living is so much cheaper than New York or LA. I remember buying, I think I worked a year and then was able to buy my first condo.
Um, yeah, Vegas has just a really, really special, unique town. That’s very special and it treats the entertaining years very well, which is always really nice. And that’s why I’ve been here so long.
[00:12:56] Dane Reis: [00:12:56] Yeah. 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 look, it’s a weird time. We are amidst this. Pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:13:13]Mariah Rivera: [00:13:13]
uh, luckily I’ve been with fantasy for a long time. Um, I’ve been assessed. Producer. And company manager for, uh, five or six years now. So I’m definitely loved being on that other side of, of it too. And. Our producer and I, we talk a lot about, , what the future is going to be and how it’s going to change. I just, I really think entertainment is so necessary and so essential to people’s. psyche and happiness and just a staple in Las Vegas. So I know what’s going to come back. I know we’re just waiting for the right time for all the safety precautions for the numbers to go down. But I really believe that that entertainment will come back to Las Vegas and kind of just trying to see the trends and trying to fit in. So, uh, It’s really been, uh, My job in the last couple of months to just kind of. Keep keep our CAS positive. Keep everyone informed of what’s happening and just try to keep everyone safe. And luckily, um, MGM and fantasy have such a great relationship that, um, they want us back as soon as possible back on stage. So we’re really just trying to, you know, stay in shape, stay on top of our numbers. And so the second that the clearest to come back, we will be back on stage performing and entertaining again.
[00:14:20]Dane Reis: [00:14:20] I love that. And, you know, I love that you said we’ve been discussing, , Seeing what we have to do, how do we have to change things? And I think that’s also something quite unique about the Vegas market that. Is maybe different than other places that. I think a lot of shows and, you know, people will produce a show. They’re like, I’m going to do a show. And because I’ve had this great story to tell, and it’s going to be, I’m going to put it out there and see, you know, the world will enjoy it. And I think Vegas is very unique in the sense that. The whole city kind of evolves as a whole. And. Is much more in tune in a way to what people want and creating that and adapting the show in changing things to always be fresh, always be updated. , even when you think about the big, big, big, big shows, like the circus delays and things to how they purpose built. , all of these, showrooms, which is crazy, right? Hundreds of millions of dollars in these things. And that’s something that’s so cool and so unique too. I think Vegas as a whole.
[00:15:16]Mariah Rivera: [00:15:16] I think it’s so important for, I mean, everybody, I mean, you know, Vegas. Is the entertainment capital of the world. People come here, they expect, they want to see that, you know, the newest things, you know, we’re a topless show. So most people haven’t seen topless shows, but , they think of like the 1950s or they think of, Jubilee, you’re Follies and at as a fantasy where a smaller show. So it’s our, you know, we like to kind of keep always up where we change our numbers out every,
uh, Every year we do new calendar. We always change five or six new numbers, and it’s really important to kind of always have a fresh, updated music and what roll with the times. And. I think that’s why, especially our producer, I need a man has been so successful. We’re celebrating 21 years on the Las Vegas strip. And it’s really a Testament to Anita Mann and her, her vision of, . Knowing the trends and, the different changes in the market and being, with the times and changing and evolving and. I think that’s the biggest thing to success in Las Vegas in general, we’re resilient. We can, , take some punches and we’ll just figure something else out. And then, just keep, just keep going and. And that’s why I know Las Vegas will be, uh, As soon as, you know, everything else opens back up what we’re going to be just fine. We’re going to be, we’re going to be ready to go. And, uh, Hopefully setting. New trends in the world on how to do everything safely and but still being able to have fun and. Lay people enjoy themselves because I think everyone in this world is ready to, you know, Hell a little fun.
[00:16:32]Dane Reis: [00:16:32]
Uh, yeah, I absolutely agree with that. And it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections of the interview. I call it the grease lightening 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
[00:16:51] Mariah Rivera: [00:16:51] Okay.
[00:16:53]Dane Reis: [00:16:53] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:17:00] Yes. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:17:07]Mariah Rivera: [00:17:07] Learn as much as you can and then forget it all.
[00:17:09] Dane Reis: [00:17:11] Great. . 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.
[00:17:22]Mariah Rivera: [00:17:22]
Um, being kind to people and always being ready
[00:17:26] Dane Reis: [00:17:26] Love it. 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.
[00:17:40]Mariah Rivera: [00:17:40] Social media. Instagram, tick tock, Twitter, Facebook. I love staying up on, you know, Staying out there. And I feel like that’s the best way to,
[00:17:50] Dane Reis: [00:17:50] Absolutely. 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?
[00:18:07]Mariah Rivera: [00:18:07] I really love how my life turned out, but I would probably have tried,
uh, LA. In New York when I was younger. Cause I didn’t have anything to lose, but I’m really, you know, I don’t think I would change a thing. I’m just very happy with where I’m at.
[00:18:20] Dane Reis: [00:18:20] 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 our listeners?
[00:18:30]Mariah Rivera: [00:18:30] Don’t tell yourself no, let the industry tell, you know, and even when they do just keep trying.
[00:18:35]Dane Reis: [00:18:35] Perfect advices so important. And to wrap up this interview, Miriah it is time to give yourself up plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:18:50]Mariah Rivera: [00:18:50] I,
uh, like I said, I love Instagram and Twitter and now tick tock. I’m at Moriah underscore Rivera, one on all my social media platforms. Um, so please find me. I love chips. Talk to anybody. So just send me direct messages and, uh,
[00:19:05] Follow me on
[00:19:09]Dane Reis: [00:19:09] Brilliant. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to all of her social media handles in the description of this episode. Mariah. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to join me here. It’s been a pleasure to speak with you.
[00:19:25]Mariah Rivera: [00:19:25] enjoyed every minute of it.