Orissa Kelly is an amazing talent and an exceptional foot archer. Born and raised in Watford (England), she’s taking the world by storm with her contortionistic and aerialist skills. She is now a social media phenomenon via Instagram with her dynamic performances. Legendary recording artist Snoop Dogg states that ‘She’s the real life Wonder Woman!’. Having studied gymnastic since the age of 3, she incorporate those well taught disciplines into her epic routines. The sensational Orissa talks to Industry Rules about her buzzing career.
AF: How have you been since the world’s COVID-19 pandemic has subsided?
OK: Thankfully I’m good! During the pandemic I took my career online, downloading Tiktok and putting effort into my other social media pages. Somehow my career blew up! I have over 2M followers across my platforms and now I work with brands such as Zippo and Crocs to create entertaining content using my unique skills. It’s also boosted my visibility across the world, with some of my videos reaching over 45 million views and in return increasing bookings for live entertainment. I’m grateful that the pandemic forced me to get creative and open up another avenue to entertain the world
AF: How did you get into archery? What was the inspiration?
OK: I began my career as a gymnast at the age of three and throughout my life I was always attracted to doing something different and standing out. I took up aerial silks at 17 and started my performance career which took me to Beirut, Dubai and Mauritius. I even won the ‘European Aerial Silks Championship’ but after a couple of years I noticed that my career was lacking in some way. I decided – why be the best if you can be the only one? Be so different that no one else even compared to you. I came up with the crazy idea of taking a bow and arrow and turning it upside down! I had no archery knowledge, no teacher and no place to train. I simply bought a bow and arrow and went to a cricket field in England and taught myself to shoot foot archery (upside down in handstand, using my feet). After practicing 6 hours every day for 6 months I finally began consistently hitting my target. That was in 2015 – performing to an empty cold cricket field. Now I get to travel the world and perform for stadiums of 20,000.
AF: What are some of the challenges you’ve face when you started in the industry. How did you overcome those said challenges?
OK: In the very beginning many people were afraid to book my act because (unsurprisingly) they considered it dangerous. I was inexperienced but the only way to improve that was to get on stage and practice! I’m so grateful for everyone that took a chance on myself and my act in the early days – as I found my feet (or hands) on the stage, I also built a solid showreel which boosted my career and confidence. Now I always try to encourage new performers and new acts, often when we find success we forget that all of us began with a struggle.
AF: Who has been your hardest critic? What did you learn from that person?
OK: Without a doubt my toughest critic is myself. I come from a gymnastics background with a Ukrainian coach shouting at me to hold a handstand until my arms collapsed! I grew up with this tough love so I thrive with it. Over the years I’ve had to really work on ‘the voice inside my head’ – I would be training and telling myself ‘you moron how could you make such a stupid mistake!’ Until I realized how inefficient this negativity was to my productivity. As I gained respect for myself, this reflected within my self talk – I would thank my body when I succeeded and accept that ‘I am just a human trying a difficult task’ when I would make mistakes. I made this change around 2018 and the success rate during training multiplied – not only was I more productive but I was able to train longer hours because the space I’d created was much more welcoming and positive.
AF: What’s next for you career and how can people find you for business opportunities?
OK: My goal this year has been to continue focusing on my content creating career, which is now at 2M followers across my pages. I’ve also written my first book ‘The Online Stage – a Performer’s Guide to Social Media’ which is releasing early March. This book aims to educate the entertainment industry on social media, using it to boost your visibility, book more gigs and create an additional income. Since I began utilizing social media, I was booked by the NBA for halftime shows, I ended up on several talk shows in LA and raised my performance fee 5 times more than my original rate. It’s my goal to help others do the same!
The best way to contact me is via email – firstname.lastname@example.org or any of my social media platforms (Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, LinkedIn) – which can all be found under my name – Orissa Kelly.