AMC's "Freakshow" is the new unscripted series that follows Todd Ray's quirky family business -- the Venice Beach Freakshow. Leaving behind a successful career in the music industry, Todd was finally able to realize his true passion: bringing together all things bizarre and unique, including two-headed animals, strange artifacts, eccentric performers and human wonders.
Todd and Danielle’s vivacious, charismatic daughter, Asia Ray is a charter member of the Venice Beach Freakshow stage troupe and recently celebrated her 21st birthday. Asia was 13 and a freshman in high school when the Venice Beach Freakshow opened its doors as a museum of natural oddities and curiosities. In a time-honored ploy to lure curious passers-by, Todd hired a female contortionist to perform on the stairs leading to the museum. And that got Asia thinking. "I’ve always been very flexible, since I was a little girl," she explains. "So, I was like, 'Hey, Dad! I can do that, and I can bend really far!' I showed him how I could bend my leg over my head and do other things. The contortionist and I began doing an act together, and then I kept pushing myself and learning new things."
As a performer, Asia is largely self-taught, and has developed her tricks through experimentation. She performs as The Rubber Girl and The Electric Lady, and also has a fire-eating act. She cuts a distinctive figure onstage, favoring glamorous, retro-tinged costumes and the sleek hairdo of a 40's movie star. "I’m fascinated by the female performers in early sideshows; they had such style and grace," she says. "To be a woman that can dress and behave with class, but also do extremely badass, crazy stunts - that’s what I’m striving toward. I love to surprise people: 'Oh she’s so cute, but she can eat fire and get electrocuted!'"
Though she had considered a teaching career after graduating high school, Asia has come to realize that her heart lies in the Freakshow. "I’ve always loved working here, but recently I’ve become completely passionate about what I do and I’m driven to learn more," she says. "A lot of my inspiration comes from my dad - he’s so dedicated to the idea of embracing uniqueness and difference. The Freakshow is my family, too, and we all have each other’s backs. It’s very special, and it’s definitely different than the average job."
Asia Ray Photos
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