One of the most requested episode is here with Cirque du Soleil hand balancer, Instagram sensation, Gasya Akhmetova-Atherton (@Gasya on Instagram).
This is not only one of the very few long-form content with Gasya Akhmetova-Atherton, it is also a rare podcast interview with her.
The last name, Atherton, may sound familiar to you. Gasya is married to Andrew Atherton, one of the Atherton Twins from Cirque du Soleil. Andi and Kevin together have performed for Cirque for 18 years, and they have appeared on an earlier episode of Feisworld Podcast. Since then we’ve interviewed many more circus artists and Performing Arts one of the most popular categories on our show.
Joining Cirque at the tender age of 17, Gasya is now mother to two beautiful and adorable children – Kamali and Kaysen. Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve grown much closer to the entire family and watch the kids grow up. In between that time, something magical happened.
One day when Gasya was just practicing her handbalancing movements at home, Kamali, her 3-year old daughter, bravely jumped on her mom’s back and a short video was captured. Together they were having so much fun, not knowing that they would soon become an overnight Instagram sensation.
I am always careful about the use of the words – overnight, viral success. It was true for Gasya.
Within days, I saw Facebook feed updates from colleagues and friends with Gasya and Kamali’s videos. Then more stories were produced and widely shared on major channels from Cosmopolitan to Daily Mail, Mamamia, Shape, Life Buzz, etc. Most of the videos had over 1 million views. Gasya went from having a few thousand followers to today (February 2018) over 200K engaging fans on Instagram.
I waited a long time for this recording because Gasya said she’d be more comfortable doing this in person. I traveled from Boston to their home in Vegas. Gasya went above and beyond what I had imagined her stories would take us.
The hardships she endured while training as a young teenager in Kazakhstan to become the artist she is today. Andi (husband), Kevin (brother-in-law), and her two kids, have transformed her life, surrounded her with love, and fueled her creativity.
This episode is for those of you who want to learn more about Gasya as a person, a mother, a wife, and a friend.
If you like this episode, make sure to tune in the week after, when we invite Gasya, Andi, and Kev Atherton to join us on a brand new episode of Feisworld Podcast – revealing the very exciting project we’ve collaborated on as a team.
Photo Courtesy of Gasya Atherton
- [06:00] How did those videos with your children become popular?
- [09:00] This phenomenon wasn’t long ago. How has this experience impacted your life and your family’s life?
- [10:00] How did your audience grow (Facebook, Instagram) after the video?
- [11:00] Why do you think the public enjoys watching your videos with Kamali so much?
- [13:00] How did you start in gymnastics and sports?
- [15:00] Do you remember yourself practicing at 4-5 years old? What was it like?
- [16:00] Tell us a bit more about your sports life and final competitions in 2006.
- [18:00] How were you discovered by Cirque Du Soleil?
- [19:00] How was your transition from Kazakhstan to Montreal?
- [20:00] How much did you weigh at the time you moved at Cirque Du Soleil? Is weight an issue for flyers?
- [25:00] What are some of the mistakes or things you’ve learned?
- [27:00] How do you balance your work and life? How do you achieve a good balance between being a mom and a performer?
- [36:00] You live a quite minimalistic lifestyle. What are some of the essential things you can’t live without?
- [38:00] Who takes your Instagram pictures? What’s your strategy and brand messaging on Instagram?
[08:00] Every time I practice I have to feel myself. That’s how I perfect my movements.
[12:00] I inspire her, and she also inspires me, and people enjoy watching those videos because it is so much of good energy. There is something special that she gives.
[13:00] For me, it’s something where I spend time with my kids, but also I’m teaching them in a certain way, without being pushy.
[21:00] Circus is the big sport. It is a professional sport. It can kill you, but it can make you stronger.
[24:00] I know I am a very strong person. I’ve been struggling with this illness for quite a long time. I couldn’t share with anyone, with my mom or friends. I want people to not make the mistakes I did.