The “Princess of the Wall of Death” defies stereotypes

Carmela Borba goes in bicycle under the lights of a nightclub in Indonesia, following a horizontal path inside a cylinder-shaped barrel called “Devil’s Barrel”.

Smiling Borba goes in bike in a barrel in Bogor, West Java, and opens his hands to collect treats from happy onlookers from above.

Borba is one of the few women to perform stunts of this type in Indonesia. The 23-year-old told AFP before reviving a show that very few women perform in bicycle to the “wall of death”. He adds: “At first I was unique in reviving the performances within this facility … so I wanted to do something different and do an activity that no one else was doing.”

For decades, the “devil’s barrel” has been a major attraction at carnivals in Indonesia, in particularly in rural areas where the options for affordable entertainment are very limited.

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By acting on the centrifugal force, the cyclists inside the cylinder travel at high speed without protection, while the rubber smell of the tires fills the air.

Borba has grown in poor environment, making a living by begging on the streets of the island of Sumatra in western Indonesia, and then eight years ago she found a job that provided her with a better income, receiving around six million rupees ($ 410) per month. The young woman can earn up to 400,000 rupees ($ 27) per day as she tips her for her acrobatic act.

But early in his career, he faced questions about his choice of this business as a profession. “People used to say to me ‘You’re a woman, why do you do this job? It’s not suitable for women,'” she says, adding, “I’ve been criticized a lot.” Fans of her are finally starting to enjoy what Borba has to offer and have nicknamed her the “Princess of the Wall of Death”. She now she is one of the most important stars of the carnival.

“See a woman in bicycle on the wall of death is interesting and this show has become a main attraction in this night sector because people are curious, “viewer Sumarno told AFP while watching a Borba show.” They didn’t believe a woman could do such a dangerous job, “he added.

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