Most family portraits don't involve skin-tight Lycra, juggling pins and an upside-down mother, but for New Zealand's Got Talent contestant Matthias Goed's family, there couldn’t be anything more fitting.
Matthias, AKA Alfred the Circus Nerd, bowled the judges over with his “Roller Boller” act at the show's auditions, but his mum, Irene, and stepdad, Damian, weren't surprised by his gravity-defying skills – together with daughter Artemis (11), they run Circus Aotearoa, one of the country's only animal-free circuses.
Matthias (16) grew up in the circus, making his debut at nine, when his family was travelling with the Whirling Bros Circus. ”I've been doing it for a while now and I really love it,“ he grins.
With Damian occupying the role of chief clown and juggler, Irene performing as an aerialist and trapeze artist, and Artemis hula hooping, it’s truly a family affair, and has brought their blended clan closer together.
”A lot of families don't have something everyone loves to do, so that's pretty cool,“ says Matthias. The family has even set up a purpose-built training area at their Raglan home, so they can practise their skills together when they're not travelling the country with the circus.
”Damian is on the road for about six months of the year, and the kids and I join him during the holidays and on weekends,“ says Irene, who started juggling almost 20 years ago. Despite the danger, Irene has no qualms about her kids performing some of the more risky acts, such as the trapeze.
”You could fall down the stairs and hurt yourself, so you might as well have fun,“she says. ”I wouldn't do all this stuff if I didn't feel safe,“ adds Matthias.
”My parents wouldn't let me either. Although, there are times when I'm up high and I'll look down and think, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But it is so much fun.“
While Matthias has his sights set on the NZGT crown, a future in the circus is almost a given – after he finishes school. ”I'd like to make a career out of it,” he says. ”We'll just have to see what happens!“