Exclusive: Foot Archer Talks About Setting Herself On Fire
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Go-Big Show semifinalist Orissa Kelly is no stranger to talent shows. She previously appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2016, showing off her unique talent for foot archery.
Orissa began her career as an artistic gymnast, then trained in aerial silks before creating her foot archery act in 2015. She even worked as a stunt performer on the 2017 film Wonder Woman. According to her website, Orissa is the only foot archer in the world to perform while on fire.
Orissa was inspired to move to the United States following her experience on Go-Big Show. She recently told Talent Recap about her time on the show, how it compares to BGT, and what it was like to be lit on fire during her semifinals performance.
Orissa Kelly’s ‘Go-Big Show’ Journey
When Orissa Kelly first received an email about appearing on Go-Big Show in May 2020, she didn’t believe it was real. “An international TV show wanting to film during the height of the pandemic?” she said.
Orissa was contacted a second time, and this time she responded. And she’s glad she did, saying that the show “gave me the opportunity to perform when all stages were dark and to travel when the world was at a standstill.” She took a selfie to remember the day of her interview, saying that “somewhere deep down I knew it was the start of something special.”
“As the pandemic hit I had my career halted, my passion torn away and the years of training became irrelevant,” Orissa told Talent Recap. “Understandably it was a risk to travel at this time, but after I had hit the lowest point in my career I saw the show as a light. I didn’t want to just survive this pandemic, I wanted to thrive!”
In the first round of the competition, Orissa shot a flaming arrow with her feet, earning a score of 89 from the judges and moving on to the semifinals. For her second performance, she set her legs on fire while shooting, bumping her score up to a 95.
Orissa Talks About Being On Fire
Orissa’s semifinals performance involved a dangerous fire stunt. She wore protective gel on her legs, which were set on fire as she shot a flaming arrow with her feet. After making the shot, an assistant put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
“Performing foot archery whilst on fire is one of the most surreal experiences,” Orissa told Talent Recap. “There’s no room for error when your body is on fire — one slip and the rest of my body which does not have the protective gel can completely go up in flames.”
“At the same time I’m also holding a loaded weapon and trying to hit my target,” Orissa continued, adding, “It’s a lot to focus on whilst remembering millions of people will be watching you! Despite how crazy this sounds, I love it – I always wanted to make a living doing what makes me feel truly alive. It’s these moments that become the most memorable!”
How Do ‘BGT’ And ‘Go-Big Show’ Compare?
In 2016, Orissa Kelly auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent, showing off her archery skills in various poses — without the fire. Judge Amanda Holden called her “a really bendy, hot Cupid.”
Orissa told Talent Recap that her act was “brand new” when she appeared on BGT, and called it “a world away” from Go-Big Show, in terms of how experienced she was.
“When I watch my audition back it feels like I’m looking at high school photos!” Orissa shared. “My act was not ready and I was brand new to TV, unaware of how intimidating the camera can be, let alone Simon Cowell. Having grown so much since then, the Go-Big Show was much more enjoyable, especially as I was more comfortable as a performer.”
Although Orissa didn’t make it to the Go-Big Show finale, she told Talent Recap she isn’t ruling out other talent shows, saying, “It has always been my dream to showcase my talent on TV, so whether that comes through talent shows, talk shows or stunts for films, I would be grateful to take such an opportunity!”
How The Show Inspired Orissa’s Next Step
One of Orissa’s favorite things about appearing on Go-Big Show was meeting the other acts. During filming, they stayed at the same hotel, and Orissa said there was always “something unusual” to witness.
“Whether it was watching Dejion Taylor flip on a scooter down the hotel hall,” she recalled, “or Jackie Bibby turning up to the swimming pool with his tarantula (real life tarantula!), what went on behind the scenes was just as entertaining as the show!”
Orissa Kelly’s time on the show inspired her to stay in the United States afterward. She said she was receiving opportunities that she wasn’t getting in London, which was still in lockdown.
During the show, she became “best friends” with fellow contestant Grace Good, who happened to be looking for a roommate. Orissa agreed to move in with her.
“I left London with no work and almost no hope, but since moving to the USA I was able to revive my career and showcase my passion to millions of people on TV,” Orissa told Talent Recap. “Even in 2021 the American dream is still possible. I’m grateful to be living it every day!”