Morgan (Miss Mo’Jangles) is a Los Angeles-based hoop performer, international instructor, and was named the 2016 USA Hooper of the Year. She is Known for her sassy Hoopography performances, creating the Hooptown Hotties, her cinematic hoop videos (Despondence, Worth It, Halo, Ready For It, Bang Bang, Portal, Flowmance, Dark Paradise, LUCID ), and her role in Showtimes original TV show, “Roadies”. Morgan loves teaching others how to express their personality & creativity through hoop dance, and encourages hoopers to #hooplikeyou in her unprecedented hoopdance intensive: Hoop X
1. Tell us your roots - where were you born and raised? I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. I graduated college (UNCSA) in 2005 with a BFA in Filmmaking, and shortly after, headed west to LA where I still live and work in the film industry today! LA has officially become home, and I live here with my fiance and our two dogs. I work as a camera assistant on TV shows, and of course….also work as a professional hoop dancer. Merging my cinematography and hooping has been my passion since I started hooping in 2012.
2. Why hooping? How did the journey begin? My journey with hooping actually began when I went to visit my friend, Stacey, at her workplace. She is a film editor, and was editing a film about hooping! The film she was working on was…..you guessed it... “The Hooping Life”. After watching a scene or two with her, I remember dismissing hooping as “cool” and thinking “I don’t get this whole hooping thing!” She actually gave me a giant hoop, and it went straight into my storage... untouched….until…..
In 2012 I was at an 80’s/90’s mashup dance event called “Bootie LA”. I saw a girl dancing on stage with an LED hoop, and I was mesmerized. It was like what I had seen in all of the movies.....when girl sees boy and everything becomes slow motion and time slows down. THAT is what happened when I saw that hooper, Ellen Phillips, hoopdance on stage. I asked her for a lesson, and she told me to meet her in Venice Beach that weekend for a hoop sesh. When I went to meet her that weekend, it turns out that my first “lesson”, was also street performing on the Venice Boardwalk with her. So, I think that’s when I realized that it doesn’t matter how trick savvy you are...when people see you having fun with you hoop, THEY have fun. I got the performance bug right then and there, and haven’t looked back.
Why hooping? Because I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s my happiness, its my inspiration, it never stops challenging me and I never want to quit rising to those challenges. It makes me a better person, and I feel that my life’s purpose is circling around the hoop.
3. What has the hoop taught you about life? Most importantly, that individuality is everything, and should be celebrated. I have always resonated with that statement, but hooping really drives that point home in so many ways. Also, hooping has consistently showed me the importance of community, and the goodness of people. I am forever blown away at the kindness and generosity I have seen in hoopers, and I am always inspired to be a better person by the simple acts of kindness from our community.
4. What's next? How is your hoop life evolving? My hoop journey has taken me on so many different paths! I think my next personal step, is to carve more time out of my schedule to hoop for me. That means, turning off teachers brain, turn off the part of me that is scheming new videos and ideas...and turn ON music and hoopdance.
As far as what's next with my bigger plans for my impact on the community...I plan on continuing my Hoop X tour, with the eventual goal of a small retreat. I have some ideas, that I think are unique and will bring something entirely different to the hoop scene. I also have a few “bucket list” videos that I want to produce, some involving as many as 50 hoopers. My creative wheels are always turning, so we will see what comes next!
5. What aspect of the hoop community do you value the most and what do you hope to contribute to the future of hooping? I love how the community as a whole is so supportive of everyone, no matter where they are at, on their hoop journey. I feel like I see this magnified when I sit in the audience of a hoop showcase at a retreat or hoop event. In these showcases, the cheers are loudest when someone drops their hoop, and the tears of joy pour out when someone nails a trick they just learned, or brings their emotions into their performance. It’s beautiful, moving, and this is just a small example of support which is the binding force between hoopers worldwide. I plan on taking the inspiration I have received from these moments, and letting that drive my ambitions and goals. Hoop X is the first step in my contribution to the community, focused on that feeling of support and belonging. I also plan on contributing more cinematic hoop videos with messages, and I hope to inspire other hoopers to tell their stories through movement, cinema, and hoop love.
Fun Fact...the name “Miss Mo’Jangles” was never intended to be my performance name. On a camping trip in Arizona, and friend of mine was singing a song, but replacing the lyric “Bo’Jangles” with Mo’Jangles. The nickname stuck, and although I was hooping at the time...I never imagined I would have an Instagram hoop-presence or a “hoop name”. I made my IG account @missmojangles, thinking “here is a new app I will probably never use”. Once I started posting hoop videos...I racked my brain for a good performance name. Miss Mo’Jangles just stuck, and now...I feel like her...especially when I’m on stage!