Tag Archive for Interviews

Courtney Fagras: The Hooping Idol Interview!


Last night, in a suspense filled Hooping Idol 5 Season Finale Results Show, we revealed the winner of our fifth exciting season of Hooping Idol. If you haven’t already watched it, please do. It’s quite the reminder of just how exciting this season was! Two months ago, while watching 60 auditions, I clicked play and saw the smiling face of Courtney Fagras from Bellingham, Washington, USA. I vaguely remembered seeing an audition from her last year, but other than that she’d previously been totally off my radar. Given that she was giving it a second shot this year, I thought we should go ahead and include her in the mix. Little did I know, however, she was going to be the one to really capture our hearts and spin her way to win it all.

Consistently doing well with the judges from week to week, Courtney’s response from viewers took a big jump during Pop Music Week and kept right on climbing from there. But who is Courtney Fagras, our new Hooping Idol? Let’s find out! Join us for a very special Hooper of the Week Interview with our new Hooping Idol – Courtney Fagras.

Chloe McAfee: Our Hooper of the Week

CHLOE Stepping into the hooping limelight at age 9 and taking home our 2015 Hoopie Award for Youth Hooper of the Year, Chloe McAfee has already spun herself into the center of our community circle. But who is this humble, young hoop star from Hudson, Michigan, USA? What’s her hooping story? We sat down with Chloe to find out more about her and how the circle has been spinning her life over the past four years. From new friendships to glow stick hooping memories, hooping makes an impact on lives of all ages. So join us for an interview with Chloe McAfee, our Hooper of the Week!

Philo: When did you start hooping Chloe, and how?

Chloe: I went to the spring Badfish show at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garretsville, Ohio, for a little summer vacation with my mom and dad when I was 5 years old. When we arrived there, I noticed a lot of girls with hula hoops everywhere which caught my attention. I thought they were beautiful. I made a new friend there too, Lilly, who is my age as well, and she was a hooper too. She also sold me my very first hula hoop.

Philo: Awesome! What does your Hooping Life look like now?

Chloe: It’s looking pretty good I would say. I can say it’s only gotten better with lots of time and practice. I’ve improved my flow and skill a lot over these past 4 years. When I started hooping my mom [Jennifer Clair] got into it as well and we would watch tutorials together. She became my hoop mentor and has taught me so much throughout these past 4 years too.

Philo: Yay! We love your Mom! How has hooping changed your life?

Chloe: Hooping has become one of my many favorite hobbies. It has given me so much confidence and I’ve learned how to connect and become expressive with my hoop through the art of dance. It’s such a beautiful feeling getting lost with my hoop when I dance.

Carly Palmer: Our Hooper of the Week

carllypalmer by Philo Hagen

When it comes to stars of the hooping world, you may not have heard of Carly Palmer. Chances are, however, that she’s probably heard of you. Truly a star in our book, Carly joined the staff here at Hooping.org back in September of 2013 as one of our Visual Content Editors. She’s shared more than 300 hooping videos with the hooping community at large, and got the inside scoop on a few of our feature stories as well. But who is Carly Palmer? A melancholy office worker by day and an uber-obsessed, hyperactive hooper by night, from her home computer in Manassas, Virginia, USA, she has diligently been making sure the greatest hooping videos out there find their way on to our pages. She’s been shining the spotlight on so many hoopers that we knew it was time to shine it on her as well. A dynamic hooper with a truly wonderful spirit, join me as we take an up close and personal look at our very own Carly Palmer, our Hooper of the Week.

Hooping Idol Esmeralda Garcia: One Year Later

esmeralda by Philo Hagen with Lilea Duran

A year ago we were all anxiously awaiting the announcement of who would become our next Hooping Idol, the winner of our fourth exciting season of Hooping Idol and our Ultimate Hooping Idol Prize Package, the biggest one yet worth more than $3200! When the news finally broke and Esmeralda Garcia of Hularamma from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, emerged victorious, it was a well deserved victory, the perfect ending to her truly impressive season and her steady progress to the top all season long. With the casting call for Hooping Idol 5 rolling int next week, I spoke with Esmeralda amidst the whirlwind that her life has become to find out more about her Hooping Idol story of what being Hooping Idol was like for her this past year.

Brandy Hug: Inside The Hoop

Brandy Hug

Brandy Hug

Back in 2008 Brandy Hug was visiting a friend when she saw her pick up a hoop and start playing with it in her backyard. “At the time I was 265 pounds and miserable and had never touched a hula hoop in my life,” Brandy explained. While her friend, Dana Moore of Aura Hoops, tried getting Brandy to give it a spin, after several weeks of persuasion she finally managed to talk her into it. What happened over the next few weeks was simply magical. “I had found my new passion and outlook on life within a plastic circle! The first time I could only keep it up for more than a few seconds. In fact it took three weeks of practicing over and over again and learning my body’s natural rhythm to learn to hoop.” But learn to hoop she did, so much so that she ended up losing 120 pounds, going from a size 26 to a size 4, became a hoop performer and started a non-profit to share the healing power of the hoop with others. Pretty remarkable, right? Join us as we find out more about amazing hooping life transformation in our interview with Brandy Hug, our Hooper of the Week!

Colleen de la Huup: Inside the Hoop

Colleen de la Huup

Colleen de la Huup

Back in 2007, two poi spinners made a New Year’s Eve resolution to exercise more, not knowing where it would end up leading them. “My friend Jennifer was surfing around the web one day and read that hooping could be really good exercise, so we ordered a couple of hoops and started wobbling around in that funky way you do when you start as an adult.” Despite Colleen and Jennifer’s backgrounds in poi and object manipulation, hooping still took some getting used to. “I had a slow summer for my freelance work that year, so I did a lot of hooping in my backyard – just the basics: walking, turning and trying to dance.” Unlike today, there were very few hoop teachers or classes back in 2007, so they turned to the internet for help. “Once we found other hoopers on YouTube, that opened up an entire world for us! We tried to figure out how to do the tricks from different videos, and I actually broke a pair of glasses learning the duckout!” Five years later, Colleen is the co-owner of Hyperbola Hoops and our Hooper of the Week – join us as we go inside the circle with her!

Jewelz Hanssens: Inside The Hoop

Jewelz Hannsens

Jewelz Hannsens

Back in 2006 Jewelz Hanssens’ sister, Lisa, was doing trapeze classes and she went to see her end of term show. Inspired, she decided trapeze would be a fun way to build up her upper body strength and she started taking beginner classes. “I was working casually as a tour leader and would often go overseas for two to three weeks at a time, so I would lose any strength I built up, but sometimes we warmed up with a hula hoop and I picked up a few tricks and thought this would be easier and I wouldn’t have to go to classes regularly!” She then set out on her own hoop path which led her to classes with Bunny Hoop Star. “I loved it! Before I knew it I was hooked and six lessons later did my first performance for a local Women on Wednesday (WOW) night and ‘WOWed’ the audience even though it was very basic.” These days Jewelz continues to wow Australia reaching out to less fortunate kids while being responsible for Hoopy Happenings, the first and only Australian hoop gathering which is now in it’s third year. Always entertaining, we knew we had to find out more about her, so join us for our interview with Jewelz Hanssens, our Hooper of the Week!

Jo Mondy: Inside The Hoop

Jo Mondy

Jo Mondy

Five years ago, Jo Mondy’s best mate told her about a hooping class she was going to. Living in Sydney, Australia, at the time, her friend told her the class was taught by a woman named Bunny Hoop Star. Jo explained, “I was intrigued and we headed down to Bondi Beach to see what this hooping thing was all about.” At the class Jo picked up a hoop for the first time, spun it round her waist and watched it fall to the ground. She tried it again, and again, and again, and again. She said, “It took me at least an hour before I could get more than a few rotations around my waist, but by the end of that first class I was hooping and keeping it up and I was excited. I learned a few turns that day too, learned how to spin the hoop on my hand. I was addicted!” And now, five years later, we find our beloved hoop addict living in Brighton, England, where she keeps busy spinning up a living as a full-time hooper, the owner of Live Love Hoop. With her performances and classes and other instigations, it’s clear the hoop has made quite an impact on her life – so join us in finding out more about all of that in our interview with Jo Mondy, our Hooper of the Week!

Luna Breeze: Inside The Hoop

Luna Breeze When Luna Breeze was 14-years-old, her sister Shakti Sunfire took her to Red Rocks Amphitheater near Morrison, Colorado, to see a band called The String Cheese Incident. Luna explained, “At the time she was simply an admirer of hoopers, and I remember her saying to me with raised eyebrows ‘Just wait until you see a hula-hooper! They’re sooooo amazing. They do things with hoops that I could never do!'” When the concert began everybody started dancing and Luna, feeling rather shy and reserved, confessed, “I don’t know how to dance. I’m not good at it.” She replied with a smirk, “Nobody here cares how you move or what you look like doing it, this is family.” Luna trusted her and tried shakin’ her booty confidently for the first time. While neither of the famous hooping sisters thought they had it in them starting out, in our 2012 Hoopie Awards both scored themselves major awards with Luna being honored as Instructor of the Year. So how did Luna go from being a shy and awkward kid who couldn’t dance to a professional mover and shaker? Find out in our interview with Luna Breeze, our Hooper of the Week!

Olive Oyl: Inside The Hoop

Olive Oyl

Olive Oyl

It all started for Olive Oyl, aka Olivia Pizzo, at an electronic music festival. “It was May of 2008,” she told Hooping.org. “I saw a small group of hoopers at DEMF here in Detroit and I was mesmerized! I was definitely the ‘Can I play with your hula hoop?!’ girl. I tried it out, the hoop stayed up and then I was hooked!” And now, just four short years later, Olive Oyl’s one busy hooper who is dazzling audiences with her performances, the hoop has become her livelihood with her own hooping business called Harmonic Hoops, and she even scored herself a 2012 Hoopie Award as Fire Hooper of the Year. With so much going on in her hoop world we wanted to know more about her, so join us for an interview with Olive Oyl, our Hooper of the Week!

Shortly after her first hooping experience, she got busy trying to figure out how to make hoops for herself. She explained, “I ended up making my first hoop with my grandpa. I learned off Youtube for awhile until hooping began to grow and there were more and more hoopers to play with out here. I started hooping publicly when I felt comfortable and was getting noticed and asked to do actual performances.”