Grace Good is the world-famous circus anomaly. After falling in love with the art of fire and circus 10 years ago, Grace has dedicated her life to entertaining the masses and pushing the limits of her art.
As a teenager, Grace ran away from business school to join the circus–and she has never looked back. The girl who launched her career as a street performer amid the country musicians on the sidewalks of downtown Nashville now co-owns her own circus company and sells in person and virtual lessons to people who want to learn her mad skills and makes bank as an influencer.
Snoop Dog says she’s “bringing the heat!” Go-Big show producers call her the “daredevil cirque performer.” Wayne Brady was jaw dropped by Grace’s one-of-a-kind feats on Fox Network’s Game of Talents and Thrive Global calls her the “fire-eating, free-falling, record-breaking, hula-hooping … girl next door … .” She’s toured internationally with Cirque Dreams and appeared nationally on multiple TV networks. Her fiery videos often go viral on social media, where she has more than 2 million followers on TikTok alone.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Grace to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I’m an entertainer—but I’m not your everyday actress or singer. When Snoop Dogg says “This is a show right here, baby!” he’s talking about the act where I spin fire hoops while balancing on a giant red ball. The Go-Big show dubs me a “daredevil cirque performer.” Wayne Brady calls me a “fire hooper.” In all reality, I’m a girl from Nashville who ran away from college to join the circus and never looked back. I’m a self-taught performer who has toured nationally and internationally with Cirque Dreams. You can find me performing almost anywhere people who want to be entertained, from celebrated stages worldwide to network TV shows to TikTok, where I have more than 2 million followers. I also perform for private parties of the rich and famous and large-scale corporate meetings, live, virtual or hybrid. Oh–and thanks to augmented reality, you can find my pic on a soda bottle, scan the QR code and see me perform there as well. Perform dizzying acts, spin more hoops that you can count, drop for aerial silks, and eat fire. I live to bring the excitement of the circus to life for audiences wherever they are. I’m an entrepreneur, producer and circus owner, and entertainer with Grace Good Cirque Entertainment and here to make your dreams come true! You can follow me and learn more on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter @gracegoodcirque.
How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
I’ve always loved to make people smile! When I was 18, I discovered hula hooping. Then I began fire dancing. A couple of years later, I ran away from college to join the circus. I’d become so passionate about entertaining that I knew there was nothing else wanted to do with my life. Like most entertainers in Nashville, I started as a busker on Second Avenue, only instead of singing country songs, I was wowing tourists with my fiery hula hoop routine. It was when I auditioned with Cirque Dreams that my professional career took off. I went from performing on the streets to touring internationally. I think the founder of Cirque Dreams, Neal Goldberg, saw a spark in me and wanted to help me ignite my dreams. I love paying that forward and inspiring others to pursue their dreams.
What do you like most about entertaining?
When I do impossible things – like floating through the air while hula hooping – I get to blow people’s minds and inspire them to think again about what we can do when we put our heart and soul into something. Not everyone wants to be a circus performer, but everyone has something that sets their heart on fire. When I entertain, I get to encourage people to think bigger, to find the courage to tackle something important to them and the world. We’re all capable of way more than we think we are. I hope that by spinning an impossible number of hoops while balancing on my big red ball, or doing death-defying aerial drops, or performing with my fiery dragon staff that I create the kind of wonder and delight that inspires.
Some people have performance anxiety. I’m exactly the opposite. I have struggled with anxiety my whole life, but when I’m entertaining, I’m completely at peace. It’s my zen place. When I’m performing, I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose. I love to spread joy and positivity.
Can you tell us more about the most recent projects you’ve worked on?
When stages closed because of the pandemic, I began growing my audience on a new stage – social media. My viral videos on TikTok, where I have 2.3M followers, caught the eyes of TV show producers, My backyard circus appeared on NBC News, and I appeared on TBS’s Go-Big Show in January and Fox Network’s Game of Talents in May. I also began offering virtual performances and companies like Morgan Stanley and others are hiring me as they find creative ways to navigate our temporary new normal. I established a residence in Las Vegas during the slower moving time of the pandemic and recently performed in a huge outdoor cirque performance there this summer. With things opening back up, I’ve been performing in Las Vegas, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and even Montana. I’m also rehearsing for Christmas shows set for November and December. I’ll be doing a one-of-a-kind act that involves aerial straps and hula hoops. During the pandemic, I focused as much as possible on my art. It was my outlet. And I created all sorts of crazy tricks and techniques. I’m excited that stages begin to open back up and live performances are back. I love watching my calendar fill again with destinations around the country.
What are your weak points when it comes to entertaining?
I don’t like to admit it, but I care too much about other people’s opinions. I love making people happy. That’s why I’m an entertainer. My biggest weakness is dealing with hate. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it even affects me mentally and emotionally from time to time. Hate comments feel brutal. Becoming an influencer on social media can be especially hard too. I both love it and hate it. People will post things that they would never speak.
How do you try to improve them?
I love that I’m able to share my art on social media, so I’m getting stronger. People will accept you, or they won’t—and that’s okay. Someone is always going to hate you, and there’s not much you can do about it. I’ve also learned to be authentic no matter what. I seek mentorship in both my personal and professional life. I also try to surround myself with people who are different from me–people who are outside of the entertainment sphere. I love to talk with people and hear their stories. Everyone has such a unique perspective on life. I try always to keep an open mind. And although I’m pretty extroverted, I spend time alone journaling, daydreaming, and training. My alone time centers on me and keeps me aligned with my purpose and goals.
What are your strong points as an entertainer?
I think my strong points are charisma and confidence! I am not afraid to break a rule or take a risk. I live for the adrenaline rush of life. I’m never afraid of a “no.” I will always ask the question, make that call, stand out in front of the crowd. These are the things that have helped me stand out as an entertainer.
What have you learned from the producers that you have worked with throughout your career?
So many things!! Neil Goldberg was an amazing mentor for me. I learned standing out is extremely important in this industry. He once said to me, “There are hundreds of hoopers out there–what makes you stand out?” It sounds harsh, but it’s true! You have to stand out to get the work. I was determined to stand out in my authentic way after that.
I also learned that it’s not about performing the hardest stunts—it’s about resonating with the audience. The people in the audience are not circus performers. They have no idea what is hard and what is easy. They want to see an amazing performance with cool tricks. I perform what I’ve mastered, and I do it flawlessly. I still train the hard sh*t, but I don’t force it into my show until I perfect it and consistently execute it with ease.
What are some of the difficulties of the entertainment business?
The entertainment business is confusing, and the circus world is confusing on steroids. Many people are born into show business. Others have coaches. And then there’s me. I never even had a gymnastics lesson. In fact, I first learned to hula hoop by watching YouTube. The difficulty is that there’s no directions manual. I’m just figuring it out as I go.
What’s challenging about bringing an act to life?
Typically, I think the most challenging thing about bringing an act to life is getting into character, but for me, I feel more myself, more alive, when I’m performing than at any other time.
What do you do when you’re not performing?
I honestly love what I do so much and I spend a lot of my downtime playing with hula hoops and training. It doesn’t feel like work to me. But I recently found a new hobby I love! Since I started dating a professional BMX and mountain biker, Kurtis Downs, I have fallen in love with mountain biking. The thrill and adrenaline rush are similar in many ways to what I do on stage. I enjoy going on trips with Kurtis and seeing amazing views. I am also a huge social bee and I love to host. During my downtime from performing, I’m usually going out with friends or hosting gatherings at my house. I recently turned my townhome into a roller skating rink for my 28th birthday!
What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
There have been so many life-changing, amazing moments in my career, but truly the most memorable was my time on the Go-Big Show. Not only was it my first time performing in front of 20 million people on national TV, but I was also on TV with Snoop Dogg, Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Nettles, and Cody Rhodes! Because it was during the pandemic, we performers were quarantined in a hotel for weeks during filming, which means I spent a lot of my downtime hanging out with artists of all sorts–including my competition on the show, BMX adrenaline junky Kurtis Downs. I fell for Kurtis before we even made it to the stage, and after the show, we began dating. I also met Orissa Kelly, a foot archer from the UK, and we became best of friends. She decided to stay in the US after the show and moved into my house with me. Now we often perform together. The icing on the cake was what Snoop Dogg exclaiming, “You’re Vegas Ready, Baby!” I took that to heart. I’d been contemplating a move to Vegas for a while, and his compliment spurred me on. I have a second home in Vegas now. So GO Big gave me my first chance to perform for 30 million people on national TV, a boyfriend, a best friend, some of the most fun I’ve had in my career to date, and encouragement from Snoop Dogg, who always looked up to. What an experience!
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
Being in the circus industry, I meet extraordinary people all the time. Some of my favorites have been artists I met on the Go-Big Show! But if I’m honest, the most interesting of them all to me is Kurtis. He’s intriguing to me because we are so different – he’s flipping bikes and I’m spinning flaming hoops – and yet we are so much the same. And he is just an amazing human being. He’s definitely the most interesting person I’ve ever met.
If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
Well, I doubt she would want to, but I would love to see Ellen Degeneres do it! She’s known for delivering a jolt of joy, which is exactly what I set out to do in every show. She’s playful and she loves to dance, so I think she’d be a natural. She said that as great as the Ellen show is, it’s just not a challenge for her anymore. So what’s she going to do? And I would love to teach her how to hula hoop!!
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
Inside my career, I hope to one day soon create my own production, a spectacular circus show that tours the world featuring other acts and my own. I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart and that’s on my professional bucket list.
Outside of my career, I would love to have a family one day. I envision taking them with me on a world tour.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Mitchells vs. the Machines.
2. What do you consider beautiful, and why? To me, beauty is anything that sparks a positive emotion. It can be physical, emotional, or spiritual–the Virgin Mountains, special moments with my loved ones, or a piece of art that leaves me awestruck.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? I haven’t been to Spain! It’s huge on my bucket list. There are so many places I want to experience. I haven’t traveled the world yet! But I WILL.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” Fly a plane! Or jump out of one (Totally want to try skydiving one day!).
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? Being self-taught and starting “later” than others. I used to think it was a limitation, but now I realize it’s my superpower. I am confident in who I am and where I came from. The “flaw” that made me wonder if I’d ever fit in–now I see it as part of what makes me one of a kind.
To learn more or book a show, visit Grace Good Cirque Entertainment, email me at Hi@gracegoodcirque.com or connect with her on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter @gracegooddcirque.