By Jacqueline Valdez

This year I was blessed when Mika Yoga Wear extended me the opportunity to go to The Pole Expo in Las Vegas! I also taught my fitness class from Cardio A Go-Go and had the incredible opportunity of representing Pole World News (PWN).

I am with Mika Yoga Wear as a Brand Ambassador. This expo, I worked as a vendor and in charge of the booth. It was my first time I have represented Mika at an event. I was working hard on channeling Mika owner Laura Whites beautiful and kind attitude. It was everything I dreamt it to be and so much more! You can find more of me on their website blogging and modeling.

As well, I represented the industries central media site Pole World News (PWN). I recently have been added to the PWN family and this was my first event representing them. I would be interviewing celebrities as well as sharing my experience with others on The Pole Expo. You can find me in the future on their website covering events, interviewing celebrities, modeling and blogging.

I was very fortunate to have one of my students Kelly Nenezian accompany me to the event and work the Mika booth. Kelly has been with me since January of this year. When she first started with me she was covered up in class and very shy. So to see her rocking the Mika outfits in such confidence was so rewarding.


The Arrival

I visited Vegas many times with my (now) deceased parents, so my arrival came with many happy memories. This trip I would be making new memories of my life that now includes Pole. Pole has truly changed my life and my career. This time I would be working for an amazing company who I have so much love and respect for.

As soon as we arrived into Vegas we took a shuttle from the airport and headed to The Palms Casino Resort. We were staying in the same building where the Pole Expo was held, making the trip so much easier.

The roads to the resort were lined with extravagant architecture and colorful lights. Everything seemed to sparkle and be bigger then life. We arrived to the hotel and were greeted by gorgeous chandeliers and slot machines with many more surprises ahead. We had a colorful spacious room, big comfy beds and a great view of the colored city and pool. We were lucky enough to have one of the best buffets and Italian restaurants served at our hotel, The Ghost Bar nightclub on the top floor and many restaurants and stores to visit throughout the day.

After checking into the resort, we visited the Expo areas to check in and the love was unbelievable. We were greeted with open arms. So many positive, fun spirited individuals were looking forward to meeting Mika Yoga Wear and myself. I already knew this was going to be an unforgettable weekend!


The Set Up

The Expo took place on two floors. Downstairs had the majority of the events while upstairs was the workshops with the celebrities. Our space was upstairs next to the workshops. In the beginning we were a little concerned others would not know we were there and would miss us with all the action going on downstairs.

We started immediately setting the Mika Yoga booth up. There was so much to do and honestly it was a little overwhelming at first. After deep breaths and positive thinking we went box by box and the space slowly started coming together. We must have rearranged the space 5 times before we came to a final decision on how the space would end up. Originally the space started out drab and dull but in the end turned out beautiful, relaxing and colorful. We wanted to have a special space that made everyone feel welcome and Zen.


The Competition

As soon as we had our booth set up we ran to the theatre to watch the competition and the celebrity showcase. You could feel the uplifting energy. You knew people were happy to be there. I could not believe we there, let alone watching everything in the front row of the jaw-dropping event. The stage was set up beautifully. Fawnia Dietrich and Leigh Ann Reilly were the gracious hosts of the Pole Classic Competition and Pole Star Showcase. X-Pole sponsored the event as well as the weekend.

The event opened with a group number, setting a fun and light-hearted tone, a couple of singing acts and then the top 9 female and male finalist competitors. The competitors were simply amazing. Such courage, strength and determination were exhibited by all the competitors. It was the most incredible pole show I have ever witnessed. Audience members were cheering them on and encouraging them to do their best. You could feel the support and love for the competitors from the celebrity judges. The judges were full of smiles, cheers and clapping away, it was very touching.

The overall and first place winner was Ashley Fox. Her routine was absolutely beautiful. Your eyes stayed glued on her dramatic piece the entire time. When she finished her routine I knew immediately she was going to win. I was very fortunate and had the pleasure of speaking with her right after her discovery of her win. She was smiling from cheek to cheek. She shared how amazing she felt, how much hard work and love she put into her routine and how unexpected her win was. She was so kind and sweet. I know she will go far in the industry.

Just when I thought it could not get any better, it did. The celebrities performed after the competition. They were absolutely breathtaking; they were all incredible. Some of my favorites were Michelle Stanek who floated gracefully along the stage, Steven Retchless who stole the audience with his fierceness, Evgeny Greshilov with his amazing strength and stage presence, David Owen with his unique quirkiness and shapes on the pole and Timber Brown who creatively moved with grace and strength among the pole. I had the opportunity with PWN to interview the celebrities throughout the weekend. All the celebrities were so warm, gracious and kind. I am so excited to share my interviews with everyone in future posts.

The Vendors

The competition and showcase took place the first night so for the rest of the weekend everyone could have fun and let loose at the Expo. It was so exciting to see normal hotel rooms transfer into something magical. There were so many amazing booths featured. Some of the celebrities even had booths. All of the vendors were helpful and kind. Just to name a few items there was pole wear, fitness wear, accessories, stilettos, various grips, jewelry, poles and photography items available. It was hard to not turn from one direction to another without seeing something fabulous you wanted to add to your collection of goodies!

There was also a playroom where you could play around on different apparatuses. Some of them were silks, lyra and various other types of poles. We had a few minutes to play around and that was such a blast. It was the very first time I had ever been on a lyra. It makes me want to buy one and learn it. I may have a new hobby! I really loved the X-Pole silks as well.

The appreciation for Mika Yoga Wear was incredible and our concern of not being seen upstairs was unfounded. We were lucky to have so much love from others as they made their way to us. A line formed before the booth was to open. The first day almost half of our items were gone! We also had so many lovely people come up and take pictures with us. We had a lot of girls that came back a few times for more goodies and just to hang out with us. I even had some girls that I met that said they would come to my Cardio Go-Go class. That was so much fun. We had such a great time with everyone. I know how much I love Mika Yoga but to see others love Mika just as much was so incredible. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the turnout. Such positivity and love from others all around us. I was so grateful.


The Cardio A Go-Go Class

On the last day of The Pole Expo and as things winded down I had honor of teaching my dance aerobic class from my own dance and fitness online site (launching at the end of the year, I was so excited and ready to get my groove on, especially since the hotel was very cold. We did a warm-up song, ballet, jazz, belly dance, salsa, meringue, stretches and yoga. The crowd was so supportive. I even had some girls that I met at the Mika booth that came down to take my class. It was super exciting seeing everyone’s faces in my class and those rocking their Mika Yoga wear. I was so thirsty from the dry Vegas air but luckily had a sweet girl give me some water and it gave everyone a chance to grab some water and get hydrated. I also told everyone to smile– they were having fun– and no serious faces. I am a huge believer life is short so just enjoy the moment! If you mess up its ok, you don’t have to be perfect. If you stumble that is fine, just get back up.

I could not be more grateful for the many blessings I have received over the year. I am so honored to have met so many fabulous individuals and companies. This was an event that inspired me. The pole industry is full of incredibly talented, loving, kind, generous, creative, fun loving and warm spirited individuals. I am beyond excited to have attended The Pole Expo 2014 and would encourage anyone to go next year if they want to have a one-of-a-kind lifetime memory.