It’s fitting that we’re featuring Marawa first on this site, as she is actually one of the professionals who inspired Occupy Me. You might have seen her yourself, either on TV in Britain’s got Talent, Australia’s Got Talent or, currently Arab’s Got Talent. She holds 5 world records, including the world record for spinning 160 hoops at once. We are in awe of someone who has taken such a niche skill and created a completely unique career for herself. Through her work she’s travelled to places like North Korea, worked with brands like Kenzo and Nike, and has used her powers for good, training an army of hoopers as well as regular folk like us who can attend the classes she runs when she’s in town.
As with all jobs though, being a professional world conquering hula hoop master still involves admin. So we caught up with Marawa to hear about the reality behind the sequins and glitter.
OM: Can you describe an average day at work?
Marawa: Emails ! Good coffee, good food and maybe a show or two.
OM: Have you always wanted to be a professional Hoola Hooper ?
Marawa: No – it sort of just happened. I had graduated from circus school actually specialising in trapeze – but even going to circus school wasn’t really planned – I wanted to do something that moved my body and thankfully it kind of worked out.
OM: What was the hardest part about becoming a professional hula hooper ?
Marawa: Realising that as much as I was happy about not being tied to routine – I had become tied to NOT having a routine !
OM: And what’s the best part of the job?
Marawa: Freedom. I am my own boss – so I can do what I want when I want. And travel – it’s taken me to some great places.
OM: Do you feel you’re treated differently in your industry because you’re a woman?
Marawa: Mmm, yes and no. A lot of people want to speak to my agent or manager – and then are suprised when I explain that I handle my own bookings. People are also really uninhibited around performers – they assume that you are really wild and that therefore they can be super open about stuff that you might not actually want to hear about.
OM: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given? And what other advice would you give to anyone looking to become an X ? What qualifications and experience do you need?
Marawa: Ask your elders! If you think you want a certain career – talk to people who are already doing it. See what their experiences have been, what their days are like, what their life is like. Sometimes the reality of a job can be very different from what you imagine.
If you want to be a full time performer – email me! It is a tough industry to be successful in- it’s not all glitter and sequins. You need experience on stage, for sure – good routines, a good website and showreel – but also skills in negotiating, planning, invoicing and all the less glamorous stuff.
OM: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in the workplace or in your career?
Marawa: Accepting contracts at face value – NEGOTIATE !
OM: What does success mean to you?
Marawa: Achieving what you set out to do. This is different for everyone. Some people want to build a million dollar empire, some people want to improve other peoples’ lives, some people just want to party – as long as you are not hurting anyone else – go for it! Each to their own I say.
OM: What’s your feminist wish for the future?
Marawa: No more FGM. Ever.
For a behind the scenes look at Marawa’s life, follow her on Instagram.
To start hooping with her world-record-holding majorettes, sign up here.
Buy hoops from Marawa’s Hoopermarket here.
Other hooping resources:
Tweet Marawa here.