“Finding the hoop and the community surrounding it gave me a much-needed creative outlet in the at times dull, 9-5 office life I lived back then. It also introduced me to some of my now closest friends. I knew I had to make it a bigger part of my life.”
Not many people can say they have as an interesting job as Dana Ricci. Starting as a hobby and turning into a career, Dana has used hula hooping as a way to express herself along with helping others alike. I was lucky enough to snag an interview with Dana, making her our second candidate for Miss Millennia’s #LikeaGirl Interview Series
Miss Millennia Magazine: Talk a little about yourself and what got you into hooping?
Dana Ricci: A few years ago a couple friends and I made plans to go to Burning Man 2013. Having no idea what we were getting ourselves into, we watched YouTube videos shot at Burning Man to get a peek at what that world was like. In one of the videos we saw a bunch of girls hula hooping. The video struck a chord. One of my girlfriends and I decided that we had to learn how to do it, so we Googled “Philadelphia Hula Hoop Class for adults.” I took
classes regularly and practiced a lot on my own. Finding the hoop and the community surrounding it gave me a much-needed creative outlet in the at times dull, 9-5 office life I lived back then. It also introduced me to some of my now closest friends. I knew I had to make it a bigger part of my life. Right after I got back from Burning Man, I moved to Madrid where I spent a year completing a Fulbright scholarship. As part of my project I made a bunch of hoops and started teaching my very first hoop class. I also got my first taste of performing while living abroad. I decided to develop a business around my teaching and performing once I got back to the United States. I now teach regular classes and do hoop and fire performances all over the Philadelphia area.
M3: What’s your favorite performance that you have done?
DR: That’s a tough one. I recently performed in a 4-person fire hoop act in a show called the Ghostly Circus. My three friends and I spent a long time putting the piece together and rehearsing. We were all very proud of our work in the end. It was a great experience to perform at the Laurel Hill Cemetery, one of the most beautiful locations in
Philadelphia, with such a talented company of circus artists. I also love the performances I do for children because I often get to see them become inspired. We as circus artists do amazing, unique things, but at the end of the day we’re just people. I think children see that.
M3: What have been some of the hardships of working for yourself?
DR: Time management is a big one. I’m also a freelance writer, so balancing that with training, act building, costume design, client communications, and working on my web presence is tricky. It’s like I have a dozen jobs.
M3: Do you think that being a Millennial helps you or hurts you in your work?
DR: I think it helps. This may be true for other generations too, but I feel like people in our generation have been beaten over the head with the idea that there aren’t enough jobs out there for everyone. Because of this, many of us decided to forget finding a job and blaze our own trail.
M3: Do you think it is possible to make a living doing what you love in this day and age?
DR: I do, as long as you’re willing to put in the work and accept being really busy and/or a little bit broke in the beginning.
M3: What’s your favorite part of hooping?
DR: I really enjoy getting lost in the flow of it while I’m practicing or performing. I also love introducing new people
to the art of hoop dance. I love it when I’m teaching a first timer and they get all excited and say something like “Now I remember why I did this all the time when I was a kid! It’s so fun!”
M3: Any tips for beginners?
DR: Keep practicing and don’t give up! Many of us couldn’t keep the hoop going around our waists for more than a second the first time we tried—myself included. Don’t get frustrated, just keep practicing and know it will come.
M3: Top advice for a millennial girl trying to make it on their own?
DR: Believe in yourself, tell yourself you’re going to make it happen. Then tell everyone you know. Make it real. Hold yourself accountable for achieving your goals.
Have someone who you believe is a candidate for the #LikeAGirl Interview Series? Comment below or shoot me an email at [email protected].