Michelle Hackett is an illusionist.
You’ve likely seen her without knowing it if you’ve attended Summerfest this year or last. Coated in bronze, she stands tall on a box, usually inspiring a double-take.
Is that a person? Is that a statue? Just to be sure, how long can I stand here before it moves?
Becoming a human statue is not easy. Remaining motionless, oftentimes for six or more hours at a time, requires a mindset shift. You become the character you’re projecting to be.
"Even though I stand completely still, I am watching everyone around me. I watch as they come to this revelation of 'is that a person? Is that not a person? I don't know.'"
The transformation involves multiple layers of paint, baby powder and ice packs under the costume for particularly hot days.
Hackett has been a performing artist for over twenty years, though this is only her second year doing human statue work. She attributes much of her knowledge of this particular art form to Alice Wilson, an award-winning human statue who has been featured at Summerfest for a few additional years.
Hackett has done everything from improv to fire-eating to recently learning the craft of bubbleology.
Yes, bubbleology. See for yourself below.
Watch Michelle’s transformation into the bronze Amelia Earhart in the video above and listen on-air to producers Laura Kezman and Vianca Fuster talk about their two-hour trek to Lodi, WI to film Michelle create her costume.
Have you seen a bronze statue at Summerfest? Her name is Michelle. See her transformation into Amelia Earhart.