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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Stefanie Millinger

Stefanie MillingerStefanie Millinger, born on July 14th, 1992, in Salzburg, Austria is an Austrian contortionist and self-proclaimed extreme sports star.

This amazing Austrian is an acrobat, a contortionist, a hand balancer and an extreme athlete, but this description seems to fall short of accurately describing Stefanie Millinger.

Millinger continually expands the limits of her muscular small framed body. She has created an unlikely niche for herself, performing feats of incredible strength and flexibility such as completing 342 L-seat-straddle-press-to-handstand (moving from a mid-air splits position, balancing on her hands, into a handstand in under 52 minutes - which earned her an unofficial world record.

She can support her entire body weight using only her mouth. But, you can often find her balancing on a rooftop, swinging from a bridge, or hanging off the edge of a cliff, or standing on her hands on a rocky mountain peak top - almost always with no safety net.

Her belief in herself and her abilities, Millinger says, is the only real security she has.

This applies in day-to-day life as much as it does on the edge of narrow cliff edge.

Even though she can make tricks like doing the ironing with her feet look easy, Millinger has spent a great deal of her youth doing menial jobs to pay the rent while devoting anywhere from six to10 hours every single day to training.

Stefanie MillingerAlways having to ignore the many critics who couldn't see a future in her unusual, mind-bending acrobatic displays.

But now she has more than 400,000 Instagram followers, numerous requests to promote big brands and high-profile fans including US comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan.

Millinger has proven she can forge her own path - even though while mostly being upside down, using only her feet.

"My mum could tell you a thing or two about my passion for acrobatics. When I was a kid, I constantly used to cartwheel my way around the house and dangle from branches, or climb onto anything up high."

"My father's an undertaker and my mother works for Austrian telecom, so no one else in my family is an acrobat or gymnast that inspired me."

"I started vaulting when I was only 13 - which is doing gymnastic exercises from horseback, including from the handstand position. I liked the position and the range of motion that comes with the handstand and I experimented with it at home."

"I enjoyed the sensation and I gradually increased the number of minutes I could stay balanced on my hands."

"Then, I simply could not stop. It's the same with tattoos - I wanted to stop when I got number 10, but then two weeks ago I got my 12th tattoo."

Stefanie MillingerDid you have an idol or a specific purpose when you started out? "No neither. I was just doing it for myself."

"I enjoyed the sensation and I gradually increased the number of minutes I could stay balanced on my hands."

"I cobbled together a training plan of core, strength and stretching exercises and I got up at four in the morning every day so that I could practise my vaulting before school."

"Both during and after attending school, I was just as clueless as most people about what to do in the future. In my career planning tests, I got 'something with animals', but nothing very specific."

"But, you've got to start somewhere, so I often played circuses when I was a kid. I'd build a circus ring out of chairs, make popcorn and then do all the acts for my audience."

"I was an animal, an acrobat and a clown. I took a look at the facts and realized I had found something I enjoyed and that I wanted to build on."

"In 2014, I spent three weeks with Cirque du Soleil in Canada. Since then I have been sent four requests from Cirque du Soleil. which is a huge honour for me, but I realised that showbiz isn't my thing."

Stefanie Millinger"I see myself as an artist and I need constant change. I want to reinvent myself every day. My body recovers quickly and is very forgiving. It's a miracle"

"I was quite successful at equestrian vaulting and in 2015 me and my partner, Evelyn Freund, won a bronze medal in the pas de deux at the European Championships."

"I gave it up because I was 25-years-old at the time and I needed to make a choice. Vaulting is a marginal sport. You can put a lot of money into it, but you don't earn anything from it. It was no longer working for me as a hobby. I don't do things by halves."

"Back then, I didn't know whether handstand artistry would be any more lucrative. So, in the early years, I just had to grin and bear it, and do jobs on the side. I'd deliver newspapers, hand out flyers. Anything."

People think I was born hypermobile, but I wasn't. I've just always been very ambitious. The fact that my anatomy is suited to all these contortions is down to hard training. I train six-to-10 hours a day, every day, and have done for eight years. No exceptions, even on holiday.

"The advice I would give to others who want to follow their passion is to persevere and don't give up, even when things look bad. Give everything and live for the thing you love."

Stefanie Millinger"So, when do I give my body and mind time off? When I sleep. My body recovers quickly and is very forgiving, which is very special. It's like a miracle how quickly my body recovers. Scientific tests have shown that it takes much longer for most other people."

"In January 2019, I broke the scaphoid bone in my right wrist. It is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a handstand artist!"

"I have a very strong mindset, though. I push myself very hard. I was able to push beyond my limits; doing the seemingly impossible - which is what makes me unique. I can switch off the pain."

"For six months I could only do handstand training in a relieving posture – on my fist – and there's still chronic pain, but hey, at the time, the doctors said I'd never do a handstand again. Only five days later, I was performing again."

"I define myself as an artiste and extreme sportswoman. As such, I constantly challenge myself and part of doing that, for me, is extreme kicks."

"The worst thing for my job is routine or habit - it doesn't get you anywhere and it makes you incautious."

"The first second of a stunt is where you have to have the greatest reverence for what you do."

"If I then, when I am completely high on adrenaline, repeat it too often, I risk losing the sense of danger. As for my stunts, don't try them yourself. I’ve practised them for years."

Stefanie Millinger"My ambition slips into stubbornness quite often – that's my big weakness. I perform unsecured. Why is that?"

"Because it's the only way I want to experience this feeling, this specific feeling of freedom. In these situations, you're in your own world and extremely focused. Your senses are totally sharp. You know you can't make a mistake."

"If circumstances beyond my control get in the way, I can live with that and forget about it. But, if a stunt fails because of my ability, I'll persevere until I get it right."

"I don't want to accept that you can't access the highest level of performance every day. Then, I get angry because I can’t go flat out and I'm angry that I'm angry. It's a total block. I definitely have to work on that."

"I don't begrudge others success. Back when I did vaulting, winning was important, but not any more. As an artist, it's not about winning, it’s about finding myself and maintaining my own style."

"Art is not about competition, it's about creating something special. Having said that, of course I want to improve. Aiming deliberately high is what motivates me."

"Winning an Olympic medal used to be my goal. It was my dream, even though vaulting isn't an Olympic discipline. Achieving a world record used to be on my bucket list, also."

Stefanie MillingerStefanie set an unofficial record in July this year: 342 handstands in 52 minutes without her feet touching the ground. Congratulations!

"I trained for that for many years. Guinness World Records kept turning me down, so I decided to film it for myself under regular competition conditions and then upload the video."

"Then, the Record Holders Republic ( an alternative register of exceptional feats ) approached me and recognised the record."

"The absolute belief in myself I possess comes from the fact that I don't compare myself to others - that only distracts you from the path you want to take, or brings you down."

"I focus on what I've achieved and what I still want to achieve. If I've put my mind to it, I do everything in my power to achieve it."

"Many of my family members still say I should learn to do something respectable. My mum is the only one who's supported me from the outset."

"She's the best - she's always understood how hard I'm working on myself and she's always let me be the person I've wanted to be."

"I would be lying if I said that criticism doesn't affect me. It's hard when people I don't know insult me just because they don't like me or my art."

Stefanie Millinger"I get strength from people who believe in me and support me, like from my mother and my friends. Getting hate on social media is what really unsettles me."

"I've even considered deleting my social media accounts, but I'm happy to have 400,000 Instagram followers and it really is amazing when someone like Joe Rogan posts on Twitter that my account is one of the most inspiring out there."

"The very best moments are the ones in which I achieve something really special, though; moments in which I'm fully myself."

"In those seconds, the only thing that matters is that I've mastered something and that I'm aware of it, regardless of whether or not someone else has seen it..."

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Source of information from an article on the Red Bull website.
Written by Pauline Luisa Krätzig






Stefanie Millinger Stefanie Millinger Stefanie Millinger
Stefanie Millinger Stefanie Millinger Stefanie Millinger
Stefanie Millinger Stefanie Millinger Stefanie Millinger
Stefanie Millinger Stefanie Millinger Stefanie Millinger
Stefanie Millinger





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