Jen Bricker is a talented Circus Girl who always had a passion for tumbling and gymnastics. Throughout her life she competed in power tumbling, volleyball, softball and basketball. Impressive for just about any average person, except… Jen is not average. In fact, she is quite the opposite. Jen was born without legs due to a random birth defect, but that didn’t stop her from becoming everything she dared to dream. Jen moved from her small community in southern Illinois to Orlando, Florida, to work for Walt Disney World, performed around the world under the direction of Heidi Latsky and performed at The Circus Starring Britney Spears World Tour. Jen is a true inspiration and a great reminder that nothing is impossible! We are thrilled to speak with Jen about her successful career and ask her a thing or two about her life as a unique Circus Girl.
JB: I was born without legs due to a birth defect. It was not directly related to anything, you could say it was just a random birth defect. It is not hereditary, so when I have kids they will not be affected in any way.
CGM: When did you begin your circus training?
JB: I started learning and performing circus acts in 2008. I moved to Orlando, Florida, from my small community in southern Illinois to work at Walt Disney World. There I met Nate [Crawford] and he taught me everything on silks. Both my silk & trampoline acts were created in Florida and since then I have performed silks, trampoline, tumbling and speaking all around the world.
JB: Ever since I was old enough to know what gymnastics was, I was HOOKED! I was glued to the TV and couldn’t get enough. As I grew up and became old enough I told my parents I wanted to start taking classes. Our town was so small we didn’t have a gymnastics facility, but we had a power tumbling gym. My parents took me into the gym & signed me up for classes. I remember at first the coaches being a little curious with how they were going to teach me to tumble without legs but they were fearless and exactly the kind of people I needed to help me. They saw I actually had talent and could tumble well & asked me if I would join the team & start traveling and competing. Of course I said yes and that was the start of 4 years of competition that ended with one State Championship and 4th all around at Jr. Olympics. I also competed in softball, volleyball, basketball; all against able-bodied athletes.
CGM: Do you have a favorite circus act?
JB: It’s tough to choose which act is my favorite, they bring such different elements to the table. The trampoline gives me the biggest rush & the most high energy!! I love silks because they are so graceful and artistic, you truly are performing inside and out.
CGM: I see you’ve performed in The Circus Starring Britney Spears World Tour. What was that like?
JB: Performing on the Britney Spears Tour was one of the most exhilarating, crazy experiences of my life! We would walk through the crowd in our black robes covering our costumes, go underneath the stage, get on the lift and be risen up into a sea of thousands of people screaming and cameras flashing! My heart pounded out of my chest every single show. I’ve never felt so alive! The big question everyone asks is, “How was Britney?” You could tell she definitely has not led a normal life, it was extremely interesting to see how someone that famous goes about a regular day. She kept to herself most of the time, but when I did interact with her she was very nice & sweet. Like you would picture a girl from the south to be.
CGM: So, what’s next on your agenda?
JB: I am currently living in Los Angeles and have several projects going on aside and along with performing. I am breaking into the television, speaking & hosting market. In the future I hope to connect with big companies such as Nike, Powerade, Dove Beauty and several other major companies. I hope to motivate & inspire others through performing, working out and my everyday life. I want to show people that anything truly is possible.
JB: I would say to anyone struggling with performing, rehearsing, creating, etc… to remember WHY you are doing this, because you love this art! Keep it fun! Remember, we are blessed to have the ability to flip, twist and fly for a living. A motto I try my best to live by is “If you can dream it, you can do it.” After all, who would of thought a girl without legs could be an acrobat/aerialist?
Keep dreaming & creating beautiful pieces for the world to see! ■