THE MXA INTERVIEW: NITRO CIRCUS STAR AND ALL-AROUND CRAZY WOMAN JOLENE VAN VUGT

May 5, 2011
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This is Jolene Van Vugt. She’s probably crazier than you are on a dirt bike, BMX bike, street bike, lawnmower, etc. Photo: DC Shoes.


Canadian sensation Jolene Van Vugt, known more specifically as “that crazy girl from the Nitro Circus,” can make a strong case as being the most exciting female action sports star. Jolene etched a name for herself by joining the ranks of Travis Pastrana, Andy Bell, and a slew of daredevils that are fit for straight jackets. In her tenure as a Nitro Circus member, Jolene became the first woman to backflip a full-size motocross bike off a ramp to dirt, BASE jump into the Grand Canyon off a motorcycle, backflip BMX bikes, and rag doll her way into superstardom (that little show on MTV didn’t hurt, either).

Upon hearing the news that the Nitro Circus is going to do a live show in Las Vegas on June 4th we couldn’t contain our excitement. We called up Jolene to find out more about it. In the process we learned that the Nitro Circus crew is working on a full-length feature film (in 3D!). While on the mend from shoulder surgery, Van Vugt filled us in on all of the Nitro Circus happenings.

And, should you be interested in seeing Jolene and the rest of the crew at the live Las Vegas show on June 4th, click here to buy tickets.

MXA: Jolene, what’s the latest news in the Nitro Circus world?

Jolene: Well, we just started filming the Nitro Circus 3D movie. Right now I’m headed to Andy Bell’s wedding in Cancun. After the wedding we’re going to Panama to continue filming. We’ll be filming the next two months straight. Then we go to Las Vegas for our live show as part of the movie production. This will be our introduction to North America for the big live Nitro Circus show. It’s a one-off event to get people interested and show America what it’s all about. Then we continue filming the movie until July.

Is the Nitro Circus 3D movie going to be made for large scale audiences across the world?

Yes, we’re going for the big theater production. It’s going to be a Hollywood-style feature film. We’re doing all that we can to make this the biggest and best of the Nitro Circus. We saved up all of our big stunts and ideas that we’ve had over the years that we weren’t able to put into reality, based on constraints and budgets. We’re bringing all of those stunts out for this 3D movie. We want to show everyone what we’re all about. The movie is going to have a little bit of the feel from the TV show and we have the same cast. We wanted to bring it back to the grassroots of the Nitro Circus. We’re doing it all our way as a Nitro Circus and Godfrey Entertainment independent project. The movie will be completely the way that we want to do it.

How is it working with 3D technology?

It’s a little bit of a different monster for us [laughter]. However, the footage that we’ve already captured is amazing! To be able to see the stunts in 3D brings everything to life.

Can you provide a teaser to some of the ideas?

We’re actually locked in to deep secrecy for the movie. We’re under heavy constraints, and we want to make sure that photos and videos don’t get leaked before the movie comes out. There aren’t any surprise visitors on set, and everyone on set has to be cleared to even be there. We want to make this movie spectacular and amazing, and also make sure that no one will know what’s going to come at them. I do think the movie is going to be worth the wait! It should blow minds.

Do you have any idea when the movie will be released?

I do believe we are hoping for a February 2012 release.


In the Nitro Circus live shows Jolene does her part by doing backflips on full-size motocross bikes. Photo: Courtney Crow.

The biggest news in the not-too-distant future for the Nitro Circus crew is the live Las Vegas show on June 4th. Why the decision to bring the live show to North America after only doing it in Australia and New Zealand in the past?

We wanted to bring everything to Vegas and introduce it to everyone. We got such a great response from Australia and New Zealand. We thought it would be cool to bring it back home to where we have all come from. There’s also going to be a stop in Canada, which I’m super excited about! I’ll get to perform in front of my friends and family. As for Vegas…Vegas is Vegas! It speaks for itself. The show will be at the MGM Grand, which is a really nice place for people to come stay at and watch the show.

What will people see at the live show?

We’re bringing in all of the same ideas that we did when we had the live shows in Australia and New Zealand, but in Vegas the show will have a little more flair. We’re able to tap into the athletes and celebrities in our industry and bring them into play. We’ll have some big name guests make appearances. We’re going to push them and see what they can bring out for the Nitro Circus.

The word on the street is that you’re recovering from a nasty injury. What happened?

I had a little mishap back in Australia. I banged up my shoulder. It’s been fixed up and I’m almost ready to go. I need to get rid of the sling so that I can get back to action. I’m going insane sitting out and watching everyone else. It drives me mental! It’s the hardest thing to do. I hate standing there, smiling, trying to look pretty, and saying something witty [laughter].


BMX backflips? That’s not a problem for Jolene. This girl has a screw loose, just like the rest of the Nitro Circus crew. Photo: Jeff Crow.

What is the craziest thing that you’ve ever done? You’ve backflipped a dirt bike, jumped into the Grand Canyon…

The Grand Canyon was huge for me. Also, being the first woman to backflip a dirt bike is something that I’m proud of. I think the craziest thing is waking up every morning and choosing to stick with the Nitro Circus [laughter]. The Nitro Circus is my family though, and I think that every other member can attest to that as well. We’re a group of friends that get to share amazing experiences. I know that it would be so much easier and safer to have a normal job, but why the heck would I want to? I pinch myself quite often because I realize that I’m one of the chosen few who get to share in the Nitro Circus experience and the unique and crazy world that Travis has created.

Chosen is one way to put it, but you’re able to stick with Travis Pastrana and the rest of the crew through all of their wild and insane stunts. You’re probably the wildest woman on the planet!

Thanks! I do the best that I can to hold my own in a really crazy environment. However, I couldn’t ever do it without the support of the guys. They’re big brothers to me. Sometimes when I think that it’s something that I can’t do they cheer me on and help out. I do feel lucky to be chosen for the Nitro Circus and live the life that I do.  

Thanks for your time, Jolene. Heal up quickly and good luck with your show on June 4th in Las Vegas.

Thanks! Again, people can buy tickets to the show through Ticketmaster. See you there!

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