You might not guess it to watch me type, but once upon a time, I was pretty flexible. This is in large part due to a class I took (more years ago than I care to admit) at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts called Acrobatic Stretching. At the time, I didn't realize that the teacher, Professional Contortionist Leslie Tipton, was in the Guinness Book of World Records and had performed in more countries than I had been to, but I did realize that she knew what she was talking about, and that stretching hurts. When I heard recently that the former competitive gymnast and 20-year circus arts veteran was starting her own contortion school in San Francisco, I went to her studio by Ocean Beach to get the lowdown, and meet her beloved cat Bean.
By Devin HoltWed.
Dec. 12 2012
1. Obviously, I have to ask about how you made it into the Guinness Book of World Records?
The Guinness people and another contortionist invited me to try and set a record for the most contortionists in a box. The other contortionists were Daniel Browning Smith and Bonnie Morgan, and that's how I set my first record. When we set that record we went to Europe and did several TV shows. A producer from a show in Spain called and invited me to set another record. I think the technical name is "Most eggs in eggcups using the feet," but I like to add "in a handstand." While I was in a handstand I arched my back, brought my feet in front of my face, and put the eggs into the cups with my feet.
For my third record I was in London in 2007 promoting the Guinness World Records book and while I was there they asked me to attempt the record for the world's fastest time to get in a suitcase and zip it. You've gotta zip it yourself, and my original time was 27 seconds, but I've broken that three times. My current time is 5 seconds. It was 7 seconds for a long time and then when I was on Regis and Kelly they asked me to break it on TV and I did it in 5 seconds.