Sunday, April 14, 2013

I was always the 'bad girl' | An interview with Lucky Hell

Who is "Lucky Hell"?

Lucky is my legal name and when I moved to Finland (2008) and started out playing with burlesque and fire. I needed a cool alias, but I feel it's become a case of life imitating art, imitating life.  I don't have a stage persona anymore, Lucky Hell is just me with my makeup on, usually with a sword in my hand.  A mix of glamour and danger.  Saucy dare-devilry.

What was growing up like for you? Did you always have an affinity for danger?

I grew up in Perth, Australia and all I remember was wanting to leave, to explore the world.  I knew there was something out there for me.  I didn't feel I belonged there, or anywhere for that matter.  And I can definitely say that I was always the 'bad girl'.  Which was fun, but it's lonely. Back then I was a true outcast.  There is nothing romantic about being a misfit, in reality.

How did you get involved in performing and more specifically sword swallowing? And how do you discover you can swallow swords?

 I grew up dancing and performing but never reached any professional level and had to quit it all once I was living on my own (13-14yro).  It wasn't until I moved to London, re-connected with my now husband (Jussi Paradise - of Circus Mundus Absurdus fame & co-owner of Paradise Tattoo & Piercing Helsinki) that I got inspired to do something performance wise again. 

 I moved to Finland in 2008 and learnt some basic fire play from Jussi.  I began to experiment with burlesque, fire eating burlesque etc and I did do some fun shows but I never really found any passion or relevance there.  Some years later Jussi was planning on training to Sword Swallow.  I wasn't too supportive of that, it's extremely dangerous and it had never crossed my mind that it was something you could just 'learn'.  I was right, it isn't.  I watched my poor husband try in vain, but his efforts only left him dangerously close to vomiting all over our floor.

It was then that the thought popped into my head 'I wouldn't gag like that, I wonder if I could do it?'  It was as simple and nonchalant as that, so I tried and discovered that I have a hidden talent.  It just so happens to be one of the most unique talents in the world.

What is it about sword swallowing that you love and what is the number one misconception about sword swallower's?

Sword swallowing changed my life.  I was about to give up my 'hobby' of performing, head back to high school and pursue a Uni degree - but as soon as I swallowed my first sword I was flooded with inspiration, vision and passion.  I began creating acts/shows unique to my own skill set and aesthetic and began booking solo shows around the world.  Less than 2 years later I was contacted by the number one name in high end entertainment and modern circus, Franco Dragone (creator of modern day Cirque du Soleil) and within a month he had flown me to Macua (China) to star in his newest show 'TABOO' billed as 'the most exclusive cabaret in the whole of Asia.' - this is the very highest level of modern entertainment... Dita von Teese was aguest artist in our show last year.  It's a pretty big deal.  

It is very inspiring at the same time it is humbling. 
I realise now, why I never felt like I 'fit in' anywhere with anything. 
This is a very unique talent, and the way in which I do it has gotten me noticed by the right people that have brought me to experiences that have totally opened up my world.  I live to travel, I am living my dreams.

Beyond that, this is a century old talent, perhaps one of the oldest feats of human ability.  
The biggest misconception would be that the blades are sharp.  No, they are not sharp.  Think about it.

You are the only female sword swallower in Finland. What does that feel like and what is the response from most people when you tell them what you do?

 In English and in Finnish, sometimes I have to explain several times for people to understand that yes, I really do swallow actual swords for a living.  Many times I have to show my dagger tattoo on my throat and give the sword swallowing motion with my hand (and yes, it looks like I'm motioning to swallow something much less pg).

Aside from sword swallowing, what other talents do you have?

 I am also a fire performer, am surprisingly nimble (I'm naturally very flexible, I was born with my left leg wrapped around my left ear), I am an animal activist, I write poetry and short stories, I can cook amazing hunted meat and vegan meals and I am a great listener.

When your not on stage what are we most likely to find you doing?

 Emailing, cooking, reading, laughing, waiting for my plane at the airport.  I prep a lot of food so I can be sure I am eating the right stuff all the time, and eating enough of it.  I am working really hard at being healthy for the first time in my life.  Plus, I love food!  Laughter is the single most important thing in my life.  Closely followed by traveling. 

Have you ever had any accidents or bad experiences during one of your performances?

Of course!  Just last night in our first Lion's Den there was a squished grape left of the stage from a previous scene (there are a lot of quick set changes during the show), I slipped on it with fire fans in my hands!!  I stuck my arms out in front of me, smashed onto my knees, got up and rocked the rest of my number like nothing happened.  Shit happens.

After people see you live what are generally the first thing they say to you?

Wow!  Oh my god!  How do you do that?  Is it real?  Are your tattoos real?  I've never seen it done in that sexy, glamorous style!  But you are funny as well!  You are like a sword swallowing Marylin Monroe/Dita von Teese!

What are we likely to see from Lucky Hell in the future?

I'm currently back in Asia as I was requested to return to the Dragone show for another season.  I am currently working on a couple of big projects, of which I contractually cannot reveal anything about, but I will as soon as the ink is dry! 

Plus - tours! I'll be hitting Australia, Europe and USA in the next 12 months. I am tentatively planning a tour in Australia (Return to Oz Tour - my first time back since leaving over 6 years ago!) in October 2013 - if you would like to inquire about my dates to book me for a show/guest appearance/hosting/photo shoot - please contact me direct - / or to