A plethora of performers will keep people entertained during Ferndale Pride on June 2, but no one will be hotter than Alexa Rae.
“I do fire breathing and fire eating,” said Rae, who will manipulate fire at 9:30 p.m. on the Genisys Credit Union DJ Dance Stage. “I also do fire contact staff, which is like with a staff that’s lit on both ends. So I roll the staff over my body. And then fire fans. They have five wicks, and they look like a fan you could fan yourself with them, but they’re metal, and they have wicks on the end. Then you spin them or make shapes with them.”
How does one get into such a trade? In Rae’s case, she stumbled into it.
“One of my ex-partners, she was very much into the fire-spinning thing,” Rae recalled. “I went to support her and I ended up falling more in love with it than she was. I did competitive cheerleading for four years in high school. So when I found circus and fire – I do more than just the fire stuff – I was able to tap into that, the competitive aspect and the routines and performing in general.”
Rae learned the art of fire performing in part from the Detroit Fire Collective.
“I studied there a little bit,” she said. “That’s when I first began to play with fire on a weekly basis. They meet on Mondays. But also, I kind of immediately fell in love with it and I found other friends who did it and we’d go to each other’s houses.”
But Rae’s enthusiasm was at times risky and came with a price.
“Obviously, you don’t just go into fire hooping,” said Rae. “You need to learn how to hoola hoop. I kind of did everything backwards. I saw fire and I was like, ‘This is it. I want to play with it.’ Then I learned how to do the other things because it was fascinating.”
Now Rae is such a professional fire performer that she’s even insured.
“If you want to get better gigs you have to get insured,” Rae said. “It’s specialty insurance. It’s $300 to 400 a year. A lot of corporate gigs will require you have insurance.”
Behind the Flames
If Rae’s professional life sounds fascinating, there’s more to her than just fire.
“I call myself an experience creator,” she said. “My business is called Alexa Rae Creates.”
Rae has worked as a festival coordinator and organizer for such festivals as Kinetic Fire and the Great Lakes Flow Festival. She’s also worked at the Electric Forest and the Theatre Bizarre.
“Theater Bizarre is very special to me,” said Rae. “You get to tap into a dark side that everyone has but you don’t always get to see it. So with Theater Bizarre I get to get in there and be a deep, dark character which is fun.”
As if all that weren’t enough, Rae’s muggle job, as she calls it, is bartending.
“I’m a TIPS certified bartender,” she said. “I am proud to work at Danny’s Irish Pub and Pop’s for Italian.”
When she’s not doing any of the above, Rae spends a lot of time messing around with Mary Jane. That’s not a euphemism for marijuana, but rather the name of her pit bull/sharpei mix.
“She is going to be 10 years old on June 1,” said Rae. “She sounds like a pig. She snorts like a pig when she talks. She snores louder than any human you can imagine. I have to put her under the covers to sleep with her. Otherwise I couldn’t sleep with her.”
Mary Jane aside, Rae has a love for people – especially creative ones.
“I just love to watch people’s brains work,” she said. “Seeing someone get so creative and learning and taking their training and having dedication is super sexy. I love seeing how every person has a sort of different type of creativity. But seeing people tap into it is super sexy.”
In all that she does, Rae said she strives to take a positive approach.
“I hope to lead with love in all areas of my life,” Rae said. “And then sprinkle it with a little sass.”
Check out Alexa Rae online at facebook.com/AlexaXORae or facebook.com/AlexaRaeCreates/. Visit ferndalepride.com for event information.