Not only is she one of the few women to hold the illustrious title of Circus Director, but she is also the youngest in the world! Ronja Gujord is the Circus Director of Cirkus Zorba in Norway – a small circus with the biggest heart (and show). This 2nd generation Circus Girl is rocking the circus world by storm with her career being nothing short of a tour de force; we can expect to see great things from this Rising Star. We ask Ronja about her life and how she handles the pressures of holding such a heavy-weight title!
CGM: Hello, Ronja! It’s so good to chat with you. It has come to our attention that you might be the youngest Circus Girl to hold the title of Circus Director. How old are you?
RG: I am now 21 years old.
CGM: How old were you when you became a Circus Director?
RG: My father passed this big role over to me when I was 18 years old.
CGM: How many generations of circus do you have?
RG: Only two and I am the second one. My father started the business in 1991 and became the “smallest-biggest circus” in the world. Before he started his own circus he worked at Circus Finlandia in Finland and Cirkus Merano and Circus Arnardo here in Norway.
CGM: How much responsibility is there in being a Circus Director?
RG: There is a lot of responsibillity coming with this job, but in the same time I’ve been helping with the business in all kinds of ways since I was very little. I knew already [by the] age of 13 how everything worked with the economy, paperwork and so on. Of course, this is not the easiest job you can have; at least not as a woman. Many of our workers have known me since I started walking and for them to suddenly take orders from me can be a challenge. We also had some cultures here that refuse to take money from a woman on pay day. It’s also a big responsibillity to put together the “perfect show”, hire all the artists, make the travel route and fix all the problems that occur during [the six-month tour]. But these are all challenges that have made me grow and learn more.
RG: Well, I’m not gonna lie and say that I wake up at 7 [am] to start work. I wake up at about 10 o’clock in the morning and by then the workers [have] already started putting up our 24×26 meter tent. The days are never the same for me but normally I start calling to book places, calling the media and doing paperwork. We are a family runned business and we make much of the work ourselves, meaning me and my father; who is still travelling with the circus. I also use a little time on practicing with our animals, mainly my horse. We are the only circus in Norway that doesn’t have exotic animals, only dogs, cats, goats, horses and so on. I am a person who has to follow the time very well and because of that I always start putting on my makeup at exactly 4 o’clock [pm]. Then at 5:30 pm I open the [concessions] where my father and I sell to the public. Then at 6 [pm] the show starts and for the next 2 hours I’m doing what I like the most: standing in the crowd telling everyone welcome. After the show we [tear] down and go to the next place.
CGM: Is this something you’d like to do for the rest of your life?
RG: Yes, I could never and have never imagined myself living outside of the circus world. I have grown up here and I have always known that this is my reason of life. When I was a little girl and the teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up everyone answered that they wanted to be a policeman, a fireman or a doctor. But my answer was always the same: I wanted to be a Circus Director just like my biggest hero – my father! ■