Calgary resident, but Prince Albert born performer Carisa Hendrix has set a new world record.
It started when Hendrix was invited out to the Italian TV show Lo Show Dei Record in Rome, Italy.
She was given a list of world records she could attempt to break and she eventually picked “longest duration fire torch teething”, which refers to a fire stunt where one uses their teeth to grip a flaming torch while holding it upright in their mouth, without using their hands.
The stunt is both dangerous and incredibly difficult because of the immense pain from the fire on the mouth and teeth.
Hendrix said she spent the month before heading to Italy training for the attempt.
“I was training every couple of days because what happens is you kind of build up a tolerance and you work on your technique. It’s a trick that’s really delicate, like those slightest little things, those little variables are very important,” Hendrix said.
“The problem with a trick like that is that if you practice too much and you hurt yourself then you’re out for a week. So as the date approached, you actually have to practice less and be more careful. It’s pretty scary, kind of a nerve racking thing.”
Hendrix described the pain like having extremely painful cavities in your front teeth.
“The best way to explain the pain is that it doubles every ten seconds. It feels like the worse cavities you’ve ever experienced all in your front teeth.”
She explained that during the attempt her thoughts were on her technique, her breath and posture. She said as the time went on she ended up not thinking about anything cause her body was fighting that “flight or fight” reaction and was trying to ignore the build-up of pain.
“It almost becomes a meditative experience. It’s amazing how separate you can feel from your body in a moment like that where you think, ‘ok there’s my brain who is trying to hold my arms at my side because all my hands want to do is float up and grab the torch.”
The stunt was previously held by Wendell Gray in Mumbai, India, with the record time of one minute 32.72 seconds.
On Apr. 12 while on the show in Italy, Hendrix broke that record with a time of two minutes and one second, but the record wasn’t announced until Oct 19.
“It feels very validating to be told that you’re the best in the world at something,” Hendrix said.
“I’m just pretty happy that it all worked out. Everybody was really surprised when I came back cause I wasn’t allowed to announce the news until the TV show came out but when you come back with a giant smile your face, people figure it out pretty quick,” Hendrix said laughing.
Hendrix said she was pretty nerdy growing up and didn’t have a lot of friends and she realized early on that she’d have to make them outside of school.
This eventually led her to volunteer for different programs and to become an assistant to a number of local magicians, which is how she eventually began working with fire.
“I remember growing up loving magic and there was a guy on stage who did sideshow, which is kind of like magic, but it’s real. He was sword swallowing and walking on glass and fire eating. It was the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Hendrix said.
She eventually worked up the courage to approach this individual and the rest is kind of history.
She said fire eating was the first time in her life that she’d done something that felt natural and easy, she said it came to her really fast and that it was just “satisfying and awesome.”
Eight years ago a friend of hers had asked for Hendrix to perform at a show, which she did, and since then she’s been putting herself through college and paying rent through performing.
Hendrix plans to attempt more world records in the future, but right now she’s looking forward to getting back to performing, finishing school and spending time with the friends she loves
To see the video of Hendrix’s world record breaking feat, as well as more information about the performer, check out her website.
On Twitter: @sarahthesquid
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