What life is like for this 16-year-old, self-taught contortionist and YouTube star

Sofie Dossi's unique abilities have brought her around the world to perform.

April 3, 2018, 12:45 PM

If you ever come across a girl running like a spider, twisting her body like a human pretzel or eating a hamburger with her feet, there's a good chance it's Sofie Dossi.

Sofie is a contortionist and YouTube sensation with more than 1.4 million subscribers. The 16-year-old has the unique ability to fold her body like a jackknife, spin from a hoop suspended in the air and shoot an arrow with her toes -- hitting the bull's-eye -- all while she's upside down.

She first showed off her moves two years ago on "America's Got Talent," quickly winning over the judges and earning the coveted golden buzzer, which then catapulted her into tween stardom. Sofie has since performed on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and appears on billboards and at gigs around the world.

She's also become a family business of sorts for the Dossis. Her older brother Zak, her YouTube co-star, also shoots, edits and co-produces her videos.

"My brother and I play off of each other sometimes and it helps, because my brother and I get along really, really well," she told ABC News' "Nightline."

Sofie's mom, Abir Dossi, home-schools Sofie to accommodate her busy travel schedule. Her dad, Mike Dossi, is not only her road crew and stagehand, but also her prop builder.

"I'll come up with, like, a design or think of, like, a cool design or something, and I'll go to my dad and be like, 'Wouldn't that be cool if there was, like, maybe these canes that spun or something like that?'" Sofie said. "And my dad and I will sit down. We'll think of all the technology to go with it, and he will just go to Home Depot and just build it."

"Nightline" met up with the Dossis in New York City, where Sofie was the halftime show for a college basketball game at Madison Square Garden.

"So from here to the performance, normally, [I] warm up, imagine my routine, get super excited, go out there, just perform my heart to the audience," Sofie said. "Once I'm up there, it's almost like everybody's there, but at the same time, nobody's there."

What's amazing is that Sofie is completely self-taught. She trained in gymnastics and dance as a kid, but soon realized she had a different calling.

"I always loved gymnastics and dance and it was like combine those two together, plus my unique skill of having a flexible back, a little bit more flexible than the average person," she said. "I realized I was unique when I saw the contortionist from Cirque du Soleil online and I was like, 'Wow, I can do that.'"

Growing up, Sofie said, she used to watch TV with her feet on her head because she thought "it was fun."

"I'd watch 'SpongeBob' or 'Tom and Jerry' and just have my feet over my head on the couch and just chill like that," she said.

Fast-forward a few years and her family's living room in their Southern California home has now been transformed into Sofie's training area.

"We don't have a couch anymore," she said. "It's just all my mats and my equipment."

The tricks that she performs have a lot of "trial and error," she said, "and I'll fall a lot."

But Sofie doesn't just practice moves, she invents new ones, including those she performed on "America's Got Talent" in 2016 when she was 14 years old.

During her performance on the show, she lifted an apple to her mouth, raising her feet over her head, and shot a bow and arrow with her feet.

Her work has brought her so much widespread recognition that she gets stopped on the streets of New York City, and she's not done yet. The place she dreams of performing? The top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

"When I was actually younger ... I had written down on a dream board, 'When I grow up, I'm going to travel the world and do what I love,' and it's happening," Sofie said.