Perfect 10s – Mistress Kali

How did you get started in fire dancing?

I started in 2002. A woman that I was doing belly dancing with did poi and she started teaching me. At the time I was working graveyard shift at a rehab center, so I would go on-line and search for information on it to keep me up until I got off work at 6am. It quickly became one of the most important forms of release for the stress I encountered in my work and has remained that way throughout the past 10 years.

Any pre-show rituals?

Does running around like a chicken with my head cut off count?

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?  Onstage, that is…

Oh lord! Not sure if I can narrow that down. Most recently I was driving up to Nashville and realized I’d forgotten all of my costumes in New Orleans. This resulted in me stuffing a (very large) roll of cookie dough down my pants for a draglesque act that I then got to feed to people.

The costumes you wear onstage can be pretty elaborate.  What’s your favorite thing to wear offstage?

Aw, thank you! I LOVE costuming. In terms of comfy-wear it’s all about dance pants and tank tops – especially ones from my various friends’ shows. I geek out way too much on how many amazing performers I’ve come to know. In terms of going out I wear my corsets off stage quite a bit – probably more often than most.

If you were to have a signature cocktail, what would it be?

When I lived in New York, there was a bar above a sushi restaurant that served a drink – The Lady in Satin. It was a martini made with Grey Goose Vodka, sake, and a violet liqueur. I think if they added a float of Absinthe, that would be my signature drink. A bit of East meets West meets the green faeries.

What’s on your nightstand?

My reading lamp, the three books I’m reading right now, loads of change because I don’t know where to put it, tiger balm, and my cell phone aka alarm clock.

If you weren’t a performer, what would you like to do?

Photography. That was originally my major in college.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

It really depends on the context in which people know me. If it’s in the context of me being a performer, I have two Master’s degrees from Tulane – one in Social Work and one in International Health and Development. My job I work at was my internship when I was going to Tulane and falls in line with my degrees. I think people are generally surprised by the duality of my life.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Tator tachos from 13 (also my favorite post-show meal). God, I love them….

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

When I lived in Berlin, I once got a job doing product quality surveys over the phone with American medical professionals. I left early my first day and never came back. I spent the rest of my time there doing street performance.