06 OCT 20 QUESTIONS WITH HUMAN CANNONBALL NITRO NICOLE
Imagine that when someone asks you what you do for a living, you say “I get shot out of a cannon.” That’s exactly what our very own Nitro Nicole gets to claim! We had the pleasure of chatting with Nicole to learn more about her life both inside and out of the circus ring!
1. How did you get started as a human cannonball?
The circus world is small. I was touring with another circus as an aerialist when my friend told me Brian Miser (Guinness World Record holder as a legendary human-cannonball and former performer with Ringling Bros.) asked her other friend if she wanted to train to be the cannonball, which she expressed reservations about. But I thought about it for a good 15 min. then friended him on Facebook, and he messaged me the next day inquiring if I had any desire to do it. We talked about the logistics and I remember how excited I was. I went to an audition and a bit later went to train with him and his wife, who are veritable cannon legends. The rest, as they say, is history!
2. What kind of training goes into being a human cannonball?
Years of intense circus aerial training prepared me for the cannonball. And now it’s all about conditioning and cross training to maintain myself for physical demands — because this rigorous career will accept nothing less than your best.
3. What does it feel like to be shot from the cannon?
It is unlike any other feeling I know! But I would equate it to an extreme roller coaster ride where you are not harnessed. I think human cannonballs come the closest to experiencing flight like the birds. Even if it is only for mere seconds!
4. Finish the following sentence: The world needs more circus because ___________
Everyone needs to witness the spectacular.
5. What’s the one thing you could not live without while traveling by train with The Greatest Show On Earth?
Coffee. The answer will always be coffee!
6. What is your favorite Ringling Bros. memory?
Seeing the whole stage being assembled for the first time. People get to see the work that goes on on-stage every day, but rarely realize the amount of effort and skilled workers it takes to transport and set up an entire circus. It’s just amazing.
7. What’s one thing you love to do in every city you stop in?
I always like to check out the local gyms and coffee shops.
8. Who inspires you?
All the women athletes who continue to pave the way for gender equality.
9. What’s your favorite thing to eat in the Pie Car?
I love the sesame encrusted tuna salad!
10. What’s one thing you miss from home while you’re traveling with Ringling Bros.?
My mother. If I could miniaturize her and fit her in my bag I would. She is pretty small….
11. What is your spirit animal?
Wolf… And a chipmunk… As best friends
12. What’s one thing most people wouldn’t expect about circus life?
For me personally, the amount of sleep that’s involved: hint, it’s a lot!! It also surprises people to know we have our own nursery and skilled school teachers that travel with the show.
13. If you weren’t a human cannonball what do you think you would be?
A counselor or nutritionist
14. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
When people highlight my character. Because all else fades, but character is both lasting and memorable.
15. Do you have any pre-cannon shot rituals?
I always do my cannon warm-ups and wipe my shoes on a wet rag to remove dirt.
16. What did you want to be when you were little?
A professional ballerina, and doctor
17. What do you hope that anyone attending a Ringling Bros. show leaves with?
Pure enjoyment. Whether it be the live music, extreme acrobats, flexible aerialists, dramatic pyrotechnics, skilled lighting, engaging singing, energetic dancing, or beautiful costumes, there is something for everyone that comes to this show.
18. What’s your favorite movie of all time?
19. Who would you love to have dinner with dead or alive?
Queen Elizabeth I
20. What is your advice to anyone that wishes to be a circus performer?
Hard work, determination and commitment will get you where you want to be, and passion will keep you there.