Interview: Mickela Mallozzi

Mickela Mallozzi is a four-time Emmy-award winning host and executive of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi, a show that takes viewers all over the world through the lens of dance.

Season 3 of the show which takes her to destinations that she has personal and cultural connections to, a road trip of her own DNA. The new season premiered on June 6 on NYC Life and will air nationwide in October on PBS. It has about 11 episodes as Mallozzi goes from Italy and Ireland to Spain, Morocco and Uzbekistan.

The Travel Addict got the chance to catch up with Mallozzi who talks about her favorite travels, her passion for dance, combining the two, her love of plov and more. Check out the Travel Addict’s Interview with Mickela Mallozzi below:

What can viewers expect on this new season of Bare Feet?

Some tears, all for joy, but there are parts of this season where I get pretty emotional.  This entire new season has me dancing my way through my own DNA map, so there are some incredible moments where I feel especially connected to a place, whether that’s because someone looks like me or someone in my family or the people are just so incredibly kind to me that I am overwhelmed with emotion. 

It’s also such a beautiful new season, to be honest – Seasons 1 and 2 were shot with just 1 camera – now I’m traveling with a crew of 2 camera people, which makes such a difference.  We’re still telling the touching stories that our fans love so much, it’s just even more visually appealing – I’m so proud of these new episodes!

What has been one of your favorite places to film/visit either in this new season or in previous seasons?

I know this sounds cliché, but I feel so lucky in every, single place I go when I’m able to film for the show.  I really see it as a privilege to have this opportunity – I mean, really – I think traveling through dance and music is the best way to see the world!  But If I had to pick from this new season, I would have to say The Republic of Georgia because I got to live out my dream of dancing with the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet!  That is something I will never forget!  Also, dancing with Dar Gnawa in Tangier, Morocco – talk about tears, I was dancing and definitely had an out of body experience.

Describe one of the best dishes you have ever had on your travels and what country were you in?

Plov in Uzbekistan!  Plov is this amazing dish made of rice, meat, and yellow carrots and it’s almost like a pilaf – it is so delicious, and the most beautiful part is that you eat it communally with everyone at your table, all sharing the same dish together.  It’s just so wonderful!  Bekruz, my guide in Tashkent, said it best – “Plov is love!”

When did you know you wanted to combine your love of dance and travel?

I’ve been using dance to communicate and connect with strangers since I can remember – it’s how I travel normally, which is why I started the project in the first place.  But the very first time I was conscious that I could make new friends by dancing with strangers was when I was 18-years old in Edinburgh, Scotland dancing a Scottish Ceilidh at my friend’s father’s wedding.  I had a smile across my face the entire time, and that’s when I fell completely in love with the feeling of using dance to break down barriers when traveling.

What is a piece of advice would you give to young women who want to turn their love of travel into a career?

I would say be very clear with your intention and figure out from the beginning what it is that you love about travel.  For me, even when I worked corporate jobs, I had to travel a lot, which I loved!  And even when I traveled for fun, I was never just relaxing at a beach – I always kept myself busy and filled my schedule with dance classes, events, things to do.  So transitioning to making travel my career wasn’t too far off from what I loved about traveling in the first place.

 I know a lot of people who love to travel, but their definition of travel may mean something very different from what they picture building a career through travel would be – coming to terms with those definitions early on is very important.  For me, travel is work, which I love.  When I want to be on vacation, I actually like to stay put and be a homebody (probably because I never get vacation time!).

What is something you wish you knew before you started on this journey of dancing around the world?

They say ignorance is bliss – I’m actually really glad I had no idea how long it would take for me to get to this point, with our third season of the show on PBS (9 ½ years, by the way!).  But what I did wish I knew earlier on was to enjoy the moments as they happen – just because something isn’t captured on camera doesn’t mean it never happened.  I’ve really embraced that mantra now – I don’t overshare on social media, and I try to be in the moment as much as possible now that I’m working harder than I ever have before.  And it’s been quite liberating, plus I’m enjoying my travels more than I had been.

What is one place you would recommend people travel to?

Travel to the place you have always wanted to visit!  Just go there, make that trip!  I think a lot of people always want to know where is the next place to go, what the hot new spot.  We hit so many great destinations in this new season – Uzbekistan, Romania, Cyprus, Morocco, Puglia, and more.  But if there is a place that has been on your mind to visit – whether that is 50 miles away or on the other side of the world, take the steps now to make that trip a reality.

What is one place you would like to visit (that you haven’t been to yet)?

I would really love to dance with the Maori people in New Zealand to learn the Haka, and also dance the Haya in Tanzania.  I would also really love to step with a sorority at HBCU in the US – that has been a dream of mine forever!  I’m hoping to do all of these and more in our next season of the show and beyond!

Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi Season 3 will start airing nationally on PBS stations across the country later this fall!

Interview by Liz Ramanand.

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