Sharkbait: An Interview With Our New Hooping Idol!
Last week in a suspense filled Hooping Idol 7 Season Finale Results Show, we revealed the winner of our seventh exciting season of Hooping Idol. If you haven’t already watched it, please do. It’s quite the reminder of the wonders our new Hooping Idol brought to the competition, and just how fierce our other two finalists were. It was clear in the end, however, that Sharkbait had emerged victorious. The 21-year-old’s gorgeous slow flow hoop dance style, her multi-hooping marvel moves and a personality that captivated our hearts it’s no wonder she spun her way to win it all. But who is Sharkbait, otherwise known as Sarah Harke? We needed to find out, so join me for a very special interview with our new Hooping Idol – Sharkbait!
Philo: OMG, you just won Hooping Idol! Congratulations! How does it feel?
Sharkbait: Wow!! Thank you for this opportunity, Philo. I am so honored to be named 2017’s Hooping Idol and it feels amazing to know that I have inspired so many hoopers out there. The comments I’ve received from people this season really touched me. I am extremely grateful for my wonderful friends in New Mexico that helped make this dream come true too. It was a roller coaster ride – for sure, I learned so much from this competition and I am excited to see what the next year brings!
Philo: What was it like for you being in the competition from the very beginning to the very end?
Sharkbait: Well, I can definitely say I will never forget this journey! I had just returned from a long camping trip with my dear friends when I found out that casting was open for Hooping Idol. There were only 2 days left to complete the video and with the help of my friends Ian, Danielle and Kalan I was able to submit the video just in time. These three people were such a huge support throughout my time in Hooping Idol. Each week was challenging for different reasons, and there were times when I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to finish my video, but with the support of these three I was able to keep on pushing forward. Thank you guys!!
Philo: Your team made it happen! What other challenges did you experience?
Sharkbait: One of the biggest was the weather in New Mexico. It gets so windy around this time of year and it made hooping outside nearly impossible! If you couldn’t tell the impact of the weather before, check out my Sinatra and Goth week videos again. We were getting 50 mph winds during filming for those two videos, but I was determined to work through it because the judges shared that more shots outside would help improve the quality of the videos.
Philo: You’d never know it. How about a best part?
Sharkbait: The best part about being a contestant of Hooping Idol was the opportunities to grow along with my fellow competitors. Each week, I looked forward to watching the others bring out new tricks, impressive story lines and splendid acting. Congratulations to all 21 contestants of Hooping Idol season 7. It has been an honor working alongside all of you!
Philo: So what made you decide to enter this year?
Sharkbait: There were many reasons! I have been watching Hooping Idol for some time now and I wanted to challenge myself, and in addition to hopefully inspiring others. I was also inspired to audition by FireFox of Hooping Idol 6. I was lucky enough to be a small character in a couple of her videos last year and it was so exciting to see everything that went into making her Hooping Idol run happen.
Philo: It seemed like you really took to heart what the judges had to say and just kept improving every week. How was it having the judges critique you? Is there something that was said that didn’t sound right, or something you really took to heart?
Sharkbait: This is a great question! Another reason I joined Hooping Idol is that I wanted to push myself to grow as a performer. In my performance troupe, Odd Lab Entertainment, we always do group critiques before a piece is put on stage so it is the best that it could possibly be. I was very excited to put out my videos every week and receive critiques from other talented performers that had never seen my work before. I appreciated all of the comments made by Anah, Babz, Lisa and Lila. These ladies know what they are talking about so I tried to make sure that I used their advice to improve every week. An example would be my presence on camera, they mentioned that I wasn’t making enough eye contact with the camera, so I made an effort every week after that to work on my interaction with the camera to better engage the audience. I want to thank the four of you for your honest and constructive feedback, with your help I am a better performer than when I started Hooping Idol!
Philo: Do you have any thoughts or comments for fellow Hooping Idol finalist Hoopful V?
Sharkbait: Yes! Hoopful V, you are such a talented artist and I have enjoyed every one of your videos! You have some really amazing original ideas. One of my favorite moments was the opening scene of your Sinatra video when you hooped with an umbrella. Wow! And of course the story for your finale video, I did not see that coming! Great work! I am so excited to see what you put out next. Keep doing what you are doing because you are such an inspiration to all hoopers out there. I would love to work with you if we ever meet!
Philo: And Pocket Monster?
Sharkbait: Pocket Monster, you are such a ray of sunshine! Your personality shines through in all of your hooping videos and you always make me smile. I looked forward to seeing your videos every week. Your two hoop tech is on point and your chest rolls are so smooth! My favorite video of yours was your finale video. I can tell you gave it your all and it turned out great. I can’t wait to see what you do next and if we ever meet I would love to work with you too!
Philo: When did you start hooping and how did it happen?
Sharkbait: I started hooping about 7 years ago when I was introduced to this art by a lovely lady named Lindy. At the time, I was in high school and we spent many days hooping at the parks in Michigan. It was just a hobby then and I never imagined that I would be able to take it this far and turn it into a job. Lindy and I hooped together for 3 years and she was the only other hooper I knew until I went to college. In my first year at this new school I discovered 2 groups, Tree Love Artist Collective and a circus arts club. I started doing my first real performances with these groups, was introduced to fire spinning, and after one year with these amazing people I decided that I wanted to travel and work full time as a performer. I left college in 2014, moved to New Mexico with my partner, and joined a professional troupe – Odd Lab Entertainment. I spent 3 years traveling the southwest with them performing at places like Burning Man, IJA, and Neon Desert. They’ve taught me to reach for the stars, thank you Odd Lab!
Philo: What does your current hooping life look like then?
Sharkbait: You can find me in Michigan now! My current hooping life is filled with lots of hiking and hooping and I’ll be taking students soon. Now that Hooping Idol has concluded, and I have more free time, I will also be working on some tutorials for my YouTube channel.
Philo: Can you share a favorite hooping memory?
Sharkbait: One of my favorite memories is from March 2015. I heard about the Bataan Memorial Death March from Odd Lab. Bataan is a marathon that Odd Lab had done in previous years and when I heard that they were going to do it again, while flowing the whole time, I knew I had to join. It was an insane 26.2 miles of hooping, but it is one of my favorite hooping memories because even though there were times I thought I wasn’t going to make it, I pushed through. Because of this experience I feel I can do anything I put my mind to. There were times during Hooping Idol when I was feeling defeated and thought I couldn’t keep going because of how exhausted I was, but I would think back to the day of that marathon and remember that if I pushed through, it would all be worth the struggle!
Philo: That’s amazing. What are you currently working on?
Sharkbait: I am currently working on new performance pieces with hoops. I am going back through all of the judges comments on my videos and using them to continue improving my hooping routines. My next big challenge is mastering foot hooping and handstands!
Philo: Yay! What are you going to be doing now that Hooping Idol is over?
Sharkbait: I am going to continue challenging myself! This past week I moved back to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and my goal is to start setting up workshops and begin my own performance troupe here. I learned a lot out in New Mexico, and from Hooping Idol, and I am hoping to start up my own business, a one stop shop for flow artists and travelers. I have been designing fire safe costumes, I create circus arts paintings, jewelry, and props. Eventually I hope to open a studio here and hold regular classes too. So if you are a flow artist in Mount Pleasant or anywhere close and are interested in working with me, please get in touch!
Philo: Awesome! So in closing, what advice would you have for someone just picking up a hoop for the very first time right now?
Sharkbait: My biggest piece of advice is to always push through the hard times. Hooping is tons of fun, but I’m sure we all have times that it seems frustrating. Try to get in at least one 2+ hour practice a week. My hooping breakthroughs seem to happen after one hour of solid hooping practice. Watch tutorials, but also step away from them for a while and explore your own flow. And if you are ever feeling lost, reach out to your fellow hoopers! I am always open for questions, just as others have been there for me.
Philo: Awesome, best wishes and congratulations!
Sharkbait: Thank you so much, Philo! It has been great to be involved in Hooping Idol and I’m looking forward to seeing you and everyone at Hoopcamp this year! Thank you to all of the sponsors and viewers that make this whole thing possible, and I’m already looking forward to watching Hooping Idol season 8 next year!