Ringling Bros. Circus Chooses First Female Ringmaster in Its 146-Year History

"It was absolutely thrilling," Kristen Michelle Wilson said on "GMA"

ByNICOLE PELLETIERE
December 15, 2016, 9:32 AM

— -- The famed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has chosen its first female ringmaster in its 146-year history.

Kristen Michelle Wilson, 35, of Florida, beat out 100 applicants who auditioned for the job in Orlando, Austin, Dallas, New York and Las Vegas.

Tonight, Wilson will be leading her second show on the company's Circus XTREME tour in Huntsville, Alabama.

"It was absolutely thrilling," she said today on "Good Morning America" of leading her first show Wednesday night. "I'm so honored and excited to be the first female ringmaster of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and that is just a thrill to even say it."

Wilson said she's dreamed of directing a show for as long as she can remember.

"Ever since I was a child, I have loved performing and entertaining," she said. "So, to join the 'greatest show on earth' is truly just the biggest thrill of my life. It's a bucket list-level opportunity I never even imagined."

Wilson added: "I definitely have a larger-than-life personality and I'm really excited about it because that's really one of the best things about being a ringmaster: You get to be yourself, but you get to be the grandest version of yourself. I get to guide audiences on this incredible journey around the world with the Circus XTREME so it is really such an excitement."

Wilson sings, speaks and rides on a float in her opening number but does not perform stunts during her act.

Ringling's Circus XTREME show features 107 performers and 50 animals, including 16 tigers.

"I'm so honored to join this incredible tradition," Wilson said.

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