SARASOTA - Each Monday we introduce you to an amazing Suncoast woman; someone in our community who has accomplished great things while overcoming personal challenges. Erendira Wallenda is our amazing woman this week.
Millions of people worldwide will watch Sunday as her daredevil husband Nik Wallenda attempts to walk a wire across the Grand Canyon. And as she awaits his triumphant arrival on the other side, few will realize what an amazing and talented woman Erendira is in her own right.
Her circus heritage goes back eight generations; she's been in the circus and known Nik all her life. "I was two weeks old and on the road already. And that was actually the first time -- I don't remember it -- but it was the first time me and Nicholas actually met, because our parents were performing with each other in Canada."
Her parents were aerialists. She started performing at age 5. "Anything aerial…I also do sway pole; it goes 75 feet up and I do hand stands and hang by my feet."
She and Nik were close at an early age. “We started going out when I was 15, and by the time I was 16 I was thinking I want to marry this guy."
Nik proposed when she was 17, but her mother said no. "As soon as I turned 18 we went to the courthouse and got married without my mom and dad knowing."
She then started walking the wire with Nik, and she's often a part of the act.
She says as he goes where no man before has gone, she completely trusts in his skill and his devotion to his family. “Of course I get nervous when he does these dangerous things, but this is something he's been training for since he was 2 years old, he's been on the wire since he was two years old. I know Nik would never do anything he's not capable of doing. He's a father and husband before he's a daredevil.”
And as she watches Nik on the wire, she knows just what he's feeling. "I know as a performer; I know I am who God made me to be, and I know he's feeling that as well."
Erendira doesn't get to perform often these days. She devotes all her time to the couple's three kids. But she stays in practice, and she'll be ready to take to the air again when the time comes. That's the Wallenda motto. "Never give up, just keep going, the show must go on in every aspect of life."
Both Erendira and Nik's circus heritage goes back eight generations, but none of their kids seem to be heading to the big top. The oldest wants to be a theoretical physicist, the middle son wants to be a brain surgeon, and their 10-year-old daughter wants to be a veterinarian.