Beth Sykes is a 21-year old circus performer who has appeared at festivals and on stages all over the world with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Kimberly Wyatt and Chase & Status. Her job description includes contortionist, hand balancer, acrobat, aerialist, dancer, fire performer and stilt walker. Before jetting off to Dubai to performing a stint with Cirque Le Soir, Beth answered our questions about her amazing life.
You have a super interesting job. How did you come to do what you do?
I’ve been a gymnast since the age of four and when I retired from competing at the age of sixteen I utilised my skills to become a contortionist. The other skills were picked up along the way as I joined different companies and agencies.
You have so many skills – what is your favourite thing to do?
I don’t really think I have a favourite skill. I love them all but I guess I enjoy certain ones more than others when working at different venues or in different situations.
What do you find the biggest challenge in your job?
The biggest challenge of this job is that you are working completely freelance, so you can never judge where you are going to be at financially. The more skills you pick up and the harder you train for them, the more work is available.
A lot of your jobs include incredible make-up and costume. Am I right in saying that must be one of the more time-consuming or tedious parts of the job?
Depending on the costume or theme that is required, it can take anything from a matter of minutes, to a matter of hours to get ready! When I am fully body painted for promotional stunts, it can take between 4-6 hours to get the makeup right.
You’ve worked many diverse jobs; what has been your favourite?
My favourite jobs, in no order, were probably working in the Maldives on a celebrity packed island (on five occasions!), Bestival and Camp Bestival, and spending four months performing in Marbella over a summer season.
How long have you been an Ad Hoc guardian?
Around six months.
Can you tell me about the space you are living in?
I live in an old junior school.
Does being a guardian have an impact on helping you with your work? Do you find there is a community among guardians?
The school is amazing because my room is a classroom and has lots of space to keep my costumes and equipment; it also has a huge gymnasium which is perfect to train in! I even hang my aerial apparatus from the rigging points that the ropes hang from. I live with two other performers who love the space for the same reason.
What is your dream gig or performance?
I have many dreams, but that would be telling!