Instagram : @philbelan | TikTok : @Philbelanger
Philippe Bélanger is a model, a Cirque Du Soleil performer, a dancer, a designer, an owner of a clothing brand, and a content creator. Philippe is so sexy, funny and talented, that it’s easy to understand why he has so many followers on Instagram. HUF Magazine seized the opportunity to speak with Philippe and discover more about him.
Where do you live and work? What’s it like there?
I currently live in Las Vegas. I love it here, although it’s a really new city for my fiancée Alanna Baker and me, as we just bought our house here in January and only moved in at the beginning of the pandemic.
You are an incredibly talented and creative person. Growing up, had you always been a creative talent?
Yes, growing up, I was super creative and athletic. Even if I was super agile in general, I was never really good at sports. I think it’s the competitive aspect of it that I didn’t like.
As a Cirque Du Soleil performer, does it help when you model in front of the camera? What do you find is the biggest difference between modeling in front of the camera and performing on stage?
Well, performing on stage and doing a photo shoot is very different for me. There’s something so magical about doing a 5-6 minute act alone with my partner on stage. My act that I always sell to big productions like Cirque Du Soleil is Duo Unicycle, which means I’m on a unicycle, and I carry a girl around, twirl her around my neck on my head or in a handstand in my hands. I’ve been doing this act for ten years now with my partner Marie-Lee Guilbert while only modeling for three years. Both crafts hold a special place within me, giving me a lot of happiness, that’s for sure!
We’ve heard that it’s incredibly challenging to get into Cirque Du Soleil. Can you tell us how you did it?
Yes, it is tough to get into this company. For us, Marie-Lee Guilbert and I, we both studied circus together at L’école de Cirque de Québec in Quebec City for three years to get ready for this kind of job. We have a very unique act and a reputation in the industry that allowed us to be scouted quickly by the company back in 2012.
Unfortunately, Cirque Du Soleil had to shut down due to the pandemic, and 95% of their employees were laid off. However, they vow to return “Brighter than ever.” How did you feel about their shut down? Did it affect you in any way?
Everything happened so quickly in March, one day we were performing, and then while we were transferring to the next city, from Los Angeles to Costa Mesa, everything shut down. After a few weeks, we all realized that this would be our new reality as stage performers; the stage wasn’t going to be available for a while. It did affect me a lot; that’s for sure, but I like to see the positive side of everything, and it did allow me to focus on other aspects of my career and my personal life. I now live with my fiancée Alanna Baker in our house, which was a significant change in our relationship as she was on another tour from Cirque. I have to say I don’t miss the long-distance relationship that we were living in…!
It takes a lot of courage and confidence to perform in front of a huge audience. From what we can see, you obviously very much enjoy performing. How do you feel when you are on stage? How did you build that courage and confidence?
My confidence is all built on my skills and my trust in myself and my partner. I don’t fear stepping on stage as I know that this moment is only filled with happiness and pride. Being myself on stage and owning responsibilities at that moment makes me realize that I should enjoy every second of it. I have to say I truly miss it!!
You are a co-founder of Design Kontrol – a sportswear brand designed by circus athletes. Can you tell us more about Design Kontrol?
I started Design Kontrol back in 2015 with my unicycle partner because we needed a new challenge and something different to work on. We are super creative, and we felt like having a clothing brand would fulfill this thirst. We had no idea what we stepped into!! We didn’t know how to sew, create patterns, and didn’t have any relationship with any manufacturers… we slowly had to learn it all! So we did! We basically created dope sportswear apparel, and we are now the biggest/most trending brand within the circus community. We wanted to make this brand the image of the circus community. We’ve been building a community of circus artists who support one another and want to build a strong foundation for their social media platform. We also want to bring more awareness of the circus arts to the rest of the world. We have an Instagram account called @circus.international with over 110k followers, where we feature circus artists from all over the world. As much as we are proud of being where we are within the circus community, we want to expand outside of this community, but we want to do it with our community.
You are a model, a Cirque Du Soleil performer, a dancer, a designer, an owner of your clothing brand, and a content creator. How do you balance your time between so many roles?
Clearly, I’m a workaholic. There isn’t a moment in my day that I’m not doing something for either of these projects in my life, which I love to do.
How do you stay fit? What’s your training routine?
I don’t have a strict diet or workout routine. I do stay active a lot because I’m trying to keep up with my super fit fiancée.
You are always full of energy, joy, and happiness. What is your secret?
There’s no secret, really. You have to be comfortable in your own skin and proud of who you are, which I am.
Photography by Wander Aguiar