We had the good fortune of connecting with JoJo Guevara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi JoJo, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I truly believe our greatest accomplishments as human beings have been from the results of taking risks. I personally use it as a sort of muse for my art, my career moves, my relationships and partnerships, and my overall life journey. That’s not to say we’re 100% successful from every risk we take, in fact one could argue the majority of risks you take will fail; however, the ones that don’t, and you actually beat the odds, THOSE are the winning risks that make all the other ones worth losing. I see it as an opportunity to be catapulted into a greater space, out of our comfort zone, and forces us to face our fears and doubts in order to witness and experience the impossible happen. One example from my own experiences, was when I took the biggest risk of flying to Canada by myself for 3 days to audition for Cirque Du Soleil. I continued with that wave when I fortunately got booked for a temporary role and had to fly out to Saudi Arabia in 4 days notice, quit my job, move out of my rental room, put school on hold (which I was 1 semester away from receiving my degree), and live across the planet for 2 months, uncertain if I’ll ever be able to get back any of those things when I returned. The most recent risk I took was leaving behind my Los Angeles life and move to Hawaii to live off grid in a tree house; talk about uncertain! Whether things work out or they don’t, every risk and chance I’ve taken in my life, both great and terrible, has allowed me to discover all that I am capable of doing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A handful of years ago, I created my own multimedia visual art production company called “Hobo Circus.” I incorporate various artistic and creative mediums, such as dance, film, photography, fashion, etc, to produce abstract and avant-garde storytelling, Hobo Circus is the world where mystery and magic dwell among the bizarre and outcasts. My idea was having a platform that uses the grunge and grime by highlighting all that’s enchanting about it. I would say I’m most proud of how my team and I keep pushing the boundaries of how unique and peculiar we can materialize a concept, growing more towards the unknown of what’s genius or a total disaster, both being welcomed. We just released our latest experimental short film called “Home,” which has been receiving awards at various film festivals across the world, including Best Experimental Film, Best Director, and Best Sound Design. My career as a storyteller really began during grade school when my friends and I would come up with little dances, songs and skits to perform for family and friends. The main practice that held my hand and led me through it all was definitely dancing. Dance is what motivated me to move to San Francisco to join a company, then to Los Angeles to work as a professional dancer. That’s where I enrolled into film school and received my BFA in Film Production. From dance, I’ve been able to travel the world and meet the most amazing people who then all get involved with Hobo Circus in one way or another, which grows the brand as well. My journey has been an adventure but it was also filled with a lot of hardships, a lot of rejection, betrayal, breakups, abuse, toxicity, actual blood, sweat and tears. It was never easy for me to achieve anything because I have always been the underdog that would be bet against and the opportunities that did come easily were nothing short of miracles. I had to work hard through adversity, doubt, insecurity and just plain ol’ mistakes. Being a woman of color also added an extra layer of hardship and validation that I was forced to seek in order to feel significant. I told myself that no matter what I just had to keep going, even if I had no idea where I would end up, but quitting was never an option even if I really wanted to. I also had constant encouragement from my parents and loved ones who never stopped believing in me. I went through a very dark phase of my life a few years ago and felt as if I lost the love and passion I had for art and dance because of all that had transpired being in the industry; it’s not all lights and glitter like they make it seem. If it weren’t for a solid foundation with my support group and my faith being kept afloat by God, I really don’t think I would have gotten this far. My career path has shifted a bit from what I thought I would be doing, but I’m finding my genuine voice and my souls purpose in the most beautiful and genuine way. Now, I’m able to work full time on my company and work on myself as a person at the same time. At this point in my life, the most important lessons I’ve learned so far are to never let anyones negativity grow in your heart and to never ever doubt yourself or what God can do in your life. I’ve learned to always stand up for what you believe to be right and true, especially standing up for those who need your voice, even when it’s scary. Even now, when we still pursue what makes the spark in our eyes, don’t forget to enjoy the simple moments and the process of getting to your goals. Whether you’re a successful artist, athlete, doctor, chef, zookeeper, astronaut, circus performer, stay at home parent, florist, technician, architect, teacher, officer, representative of the law, firefighter, beach bum, couch surfer, explorer, scientist or just doing absolutely nothing except for hanging out all day at home with your friends and pets, you’re still alive right now and this is your adventure, so do whatever makes you happy and be a good person to yourself and others while you do it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Although I just recently moved to Hawaii, while I was in LA, my favorite spots to go to was this little area in Burbank that had a strip of vintage shops, an all year round Halloween store and the best coffee in town. If one of my best friends came into town we would definitely eat at Pinocchios in Burbank, the lasagna is a must. I would take them to Good Times at Davey Wayne’s in Hollywood for drinks where you walk through a refrigerator to get to the actual bar and lounge, they also have the best grilled cheese sandwiches that are amazing after you’ve danced for hours. I would want to take them to a museum, one of my favorites is the Museum of Death (it’s as gross as it sounds) but it’s so unique and has become an iconic LA visiting point. On Sunday we would go to Venice Beach to sing and shout at the drum circle that happens every week.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to first give all glory to God for all the accomplishments and success I’ve been able to have in my life; I don’t believe I would have been able to even come close to achieving what I have without Him. Although I’ve had my fair share of doubters and those who discouraged me as an artist, I will say that I have been extremely blessed to have such a large support group that constantly surrounds me with love, advise and encouragement. One person in particular I want to dedicate my shoutout to would be my boyfriend Camron Verbarg. He is not only one of my best friends, but a real teammate who is always eager to help me in every crazy and spontaneous endeavor. Cam is one of the hardest working people I know and extremely talented in multiple faucets, so the fact that I’m able to unconditionally receive his support is such a humbling realization. He pushes me to always be the best version of myself and teaches me that life is really beautiful because of the people in it. Someone else who I want to give major credit to in my story is my best friend and soul sister Grace “Thug Muffin” Rizzo. She’s a powerhouse of artistry and creativity, with such a strong voice of her own. Grace has been my partner in crime for years and I simply can’t imagine my life without her. She’s also one of those rare hearts that goes after all she desires and motivates others to do the same, including me. Any project, story, idea, random thought or out of nowhere decision I have, Grace immediately is on board with it and does all she can to help me bring it to life. Even though, her and I share incredible memories of our craft, the most impactful times I have with her are the ones where we’re just hanging out in her living room, being kids and shutting out the outside world for a bit, while we get lost in our own weirdness. Those moments I believe have been what has inspired me to always be myself and to love the unique individual I am.
JoJo Guevara Camron Verbarg Grace Rizzo Fabi Jimeno De Chabert Dani Fontaine Tiara Rapp David Rucker Macayla Loomis Michael Utahs Rawny Sasser Mase Tremaine