It all started with a desire…..that lead to action….
Of course I have watched multiple episodes of the tv show American Ninja Warrior throughout my later childhood and I even used coach children on ninja warrior obstacles at a gymnastics facility I used to work at before becoming a full time artist, but it wasn’t until last December (2022) I seriously started considering trying out for the show.
Back a few months ago I was messaging with one of my artist friends and that friend expressed wanting to compete on the show sometime in the future and I responded something like “yeah, I’d be interested in giving it a try too.” Then it dawned on me…. “Why wait a year or a couple years?” We aren’t promised years or even days to live. Really all we have is here and right now in the present moment. So I went and looked up applications for American Ninja Warrior. I remember it was December 18th when I went on their application portal and saw that the application deadline was December 16th! DANG! I thought to myself “I’m 2 days too late ” So I clicked on the application anyways just for fun and to see what info I’d need to prepare when they opened back up again, but wait a minute.. it looked like the submission portal was still open! 😱 Maybe they had a website malfunction that forgot to deactivate application submissions after the 16th, but I saw that as my opportunity to give it a try!!! On the application it said I needed to submit an audition video demonstrating some of my skills and why I wanted to compete on the show. I think this is where my professional dance background of auditioning for many, many dance auditions/ companies came in handy. I know the show industry gets tons and loads of application submissions, so I knew my video would need to stand out and grasp their attention within the first 2 secs…😉 haha I have a couple tricks up my sleeve I could use.
So I went out to the barn studio where I paint (I can’t remember the exact temperature it was out there in the barn but it was cold enough to have snow on the ground and I could see my breathe fog up the air 🥶) anyways me and my bright ideas 🤣😏 I was like “oh I will be warm enough in a sports bra and leggings for a few minutes” 😳 haha yeah I was totally wrong as a few minutes turned into 25 minutes of me setting up the space, getting some props, and videoing the audition reel 😅. I can now say though… IT WAS WORTH IT!
So I had to grasp their attention and my first idea I had was to start in a headstand and introduce myself… haha and you sure bet I did just that 😂 The 2 photos above and below are actual snapshots from my video audition. Anyways, I pushed the record button on my phone, ran out to the middle of the studio floor and popped right up into a headstand and said “Hi my name is Briana Fitzpatrick” Then as you can probably tell from the blue thing in the bottom right corner of the photo above that my Doberman puppy Hope wanted to join in on the action 😆 She walked right in front of the camera, while it was still recording and I said “Hopey can you get out of the camera for a just a moment sweetie? You can join me in just a minute” She obeyed and backed up out of the camera frame 🥰 I chuckled 🤭 then I continued again by saying “ok hi! My name is Briana Fitzpatrick” and I went on sharing a bit about myself, a bit about Hope, and why I wanted to compete on American Ninja Warrior.
After finishing recording the video in the cold barn, Hope and I eagerly ran back to the warm house to unthaw 😅 I then had to edit/ trim the video down to 3 minutes and finish filling out all of the required info on the application then… dun, dun, DUUUUNNN!!! It was time to click the SUBMIT button. Was it going to work? 😬 I clicked it and BAM! It went through…. OOOOOOH YEAH! 👏 I received a confirmation email, then it was going to be a waiting game to see in a few weeks or so if I would get selected. Alrighty it was time to get back to some artwork until then.
A couple months later…. ⬇️
FEBRUARY 6, 2023
I remember I was working in art studio when my phone started to ring. It was from California and normally when I receive calls from outside my state I think they are scams, but something was telling me to answer this one. I answered and said “hello” and the response was “Hi I’m (so and so) from the casting of American Ninja Warrior. How are you today?” And then I started getting really EXCITED on the inside, like OH MY GOSH did I get picked? But I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high since I’ve gone through many auditions before and have been given the answer “No. At this time you have not been selected”. I was hoping this wasn’t going to be the case. So I replied “I’m doing very well. Thank you. How are you today?” And to cut to chase and skip the small talk, she eventually told me the news…. “You have been selected to compete on Season 16 of American Ninja Warrior!” And I was ecstatic! Thank You God for this opportunity!!! I couldn’t wait to tell my parents, younger brother, and my older siblings 😱. That was such an exciting and grateful moment. Then it got serious. I realized I really….like really, really needed to start training. I would be heading out to California to compete on the show in about 1.5 months from when I received the call! YIKES 😳 that wasn’t much time, but I know if I put my mind to it and dedicate the time and effort to train then I will at least be better prepared and more confident in my skills.
In February I was working on quite a lot of art stuff and commissions, so I told myself I would get as much art tasks done as I could in February so I can dedicate my time, energy, and focus to ninja training in March. When March 1st came, I bought a 1 month membership to a local ninja gym and started going every day (except there were 4 days I used as rest days for my body) anyways all of the other days I went to train for a minimum of 1 hr per day and then I’d go to a regular gym to focus on increasing cardio and strengthening more specifically my shoulders, back, forearms, and pull-ups.
23 days flew by then it was time to pack my bags and head to LA! The adventure to California began on Friday March 24, 2023 ✈️ 🏝 🥷 🇺🇸
My brother decided to come along with me to support me on this journey 🥰. I love traveling with him and am so grateful to have him in my life. He doesn’t want photos posted of him, so I will respect him, which means you won’t get to see him until the show airs 😄 …maybe if he makes an appearance 😉 depends on how the producers will edit the show.
On the flight I did this quick sketch ⬆️ and watched the movie “Wakanda Forever” haha I like some Marvel action movies 😉
OH WAIT! I almost forgot this funny part!….. So I was in boarding group 4 and my brother was in boarding group 5. As I was waiting in the tunnel aisle thingy, you know the aisle thing you walk in after scanning your boarding pass and it’s right before you step onto the plane? Ok, anyways as the line was slowly moving forward there was this really nice gentleman probably around his late 50’s with a hearty deep voice greeting/ welcoming people onto the flight. I heard him talking with a group of younger men probably around college age. The older gentleman asked why they were traveling to LA and the younger men replied by saying they were traveling with their competitive frisbee team of 23 men to go compete in the Nationals. And the older gentleman was excited for them, cheering them on as they boarded the plane, and wishing each one of them well. Then when I was about to step onto the flight, the older gentleman said to me “Good morning! Why are you traveling to LA?” And it was nice to see someone doing their job with so much joy, love and enthusiasm and also genuinely caring about the passengers. I gotta say most of the employees I encounter at the airports are usually grumpy, rude, and irritated. So to see his bright light shining was a nice highlight of the trip. I responded “I’m going to compete on American Ninja Warrior.” And as I finished that sentence, I remember seeing his eyes get really wide and a smile grew on his face 😃 he responded with something like “Wow! No way! That’s awesome! I wish you the best of luck.” And he just brightened my morning even more. I thanked him and boarded the plane.
Once everyone got buckled into their seats (side note: my brother was sitting a few rows behind me) There was an announcement on the plane’s speakers. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen.” I recognized the voice of the speaker. It was the older gentleman who greeted me before I boarded. He continued the announcement, “Welcome aboard flight number xxxx. I wanted to announce that there is a team of 23 young men traveling on this flight to go compete in the frisbee nationals, so can we all give them a big round of applause and cheer them on!” Then we all were clapping, hooting and hollering to show the team some support 👏 Then the older gentleman continued speaking “Also there is a young lady on this flight, I didn’t catch her name, but she is traveling to go compete on American Ninja Warrior. Can we cheer this young miss on too!” Then there was clapping and cheering. Wow! What a nice surprise! I was not expecting that ☺️😅. Haha then my brother immediately texted me “How did they know that you were competing on ANW?” And I texted him the story of the man that greeted me on the plane. And my brother replied “Oh nice. As that guy was making that announcement I was thinking to myself, hey I know that girl. That girl is my sister.” 😆
When we finally made it to bright, sunny California, we took a shuttle to the hotel where the casting/ producing teams of American Ninja Warrior had us staying. It was the Sheraton at LAX and when we walked into the hotel lobby there were these beautiful large pots of orchids!!!!! 😍 In case you didn’t know already, orchids are my favorite flower! Someday when I get a bigger studio with large windows, you can bet I will have plenty of orchid plants on display 😉
After getting situated in our room, I went back down to the lobby where I had to go to a conference room to check in with the casting team, get my run number, my photos taken, and give them my signed contract paperwork copies. After all of that. Our friend that lives in LA, who we traveled with in Greece last year during The Outstanding Artist Show, came to pick us up and take us to the beach to hang out. It was 10 months since we’ve seen her, so it was nice to catch up and spend time with her. She even took us on a sunset scenic drive along the coast. It was beautiful ☀️
On Saturday March 25th… My brother and I spent most of the day resting from the travels, except for in the morning we went to the hotel’s gym to workout. Then I chilled by the pool and did a drawing of this guitar ⬇️ . I made it as a gift for my Daddy 🥰 He plays the guitar and when I was a young little girl he taught me how to play a little bit.
By 7:15pm I had to meet in the casting conference room to wait to be called back for b-roll and interview filming. It ended up being around 9:30pm when I finally got called back. When I stepped into the film room set up, I was amazed by the professionalism, the lights, the freaking amazing high quality cameras like you’d see being used in the Hollywood movies….and aaah I don’t know what else to say other than it was just AMAZING 🤩 I can’t share or say too much about what I did/ what they asked me to do, because all of that will be a surprise for when the show airs, but I can let you see these 2 photos below ⬇️
(Hahaha… let’s just say this painting ninja had some fun on set 🎥 😉)
Interview filming ended around 11pm, and back up to my hotel room I went. My brother was already asleep when I entered. 😏 Makes sense though… because to us 11pm actually felt more like 2am from the east coast to the west coast time change. I texted my family goodnight and went to bed 😴
Sunday morning, I woke up to the sound of my brother opening the blinds and the bright sunlight came shining in. He looked at me and said “Rise and Shine” with a big joking smile on his face. He looked all “bright eyed and bushy tailed” with the extra sleep he got 😏
It was the big day! Well technically the following day was the big day, but it all blended into one day, let me explain. The call time for all of us ninjas was to meet in the lobby at 3:30pm so we could all travel together in shuttle buses to the Ninja Warrior Course. And my time to actually run the course was around 2am! 😮 Sounds like a fun all nighter challenge to me 😉
I did a 1hr online ballet class and then went down to the gym to do 20 minutes of cardio to get my body moving and feeling good. Then it was time for lunch, then a nap after, because I knew it was going to be a very late night. I tried to nap. I am not a napping person. I might have dozed off for about 30 minutes then my alarm went off. Yayyyy!!! It was time to get ready!
I put on my “Painting Ninja” shirt I designed specifically for this. And 036 was my run number. I was #36 out of #60 ninjas that were selected to compete on Season 16.
After getting ready, all of us ninjas hopped into the shuttles for the 1hr drive to Universal Studios (which is where the set of the ninja course was)
I remember us driving by Los Angeles Times building and thought it was a neat landmark to add to the photo gallery. 📸
WOOOOHOOO! We made it to the course!
We first went over course rules, then we headed into a tarp tent they set up for us. They had snacks, tables, and chairs, oh and 1 heater (it got quite chilly once the sun went down 🥶) Glad I wore an extra layer! Then we all waited till it was time to start the show. I occupied my time by fueling up on some protein and snacks as well as journal, read, and sketch. If you are curious to know which book I read it was “The DNA of Relationships” which was recommended to me by a dear close friend. It’s really good and I’d recommend giving it a read if you haven’t already. Below are just some photos I took throughout the night.
Unfortunately at this time I can’t share with you how/ what I did on my course run or anyone else’s until the show airs which it is expected to air sometime in 2024. I’ll most likely be able to share with you when it is supposed to air once the producing team tells me the air date. 😉 Please be sure to subscribe to my email list or follow on social to stay updated on when it will air. Email subscribers will know first before social.
After filming we all arrived back at the hotel around 6am. It was time to finally get some sleep.
When my brother woke me up at around 9:40am, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tired. It was Monday and we both spent the day relaxing and took like a 3hr nap. We ordered some dinner. He had pizza and I had a veggie flatbread.
After dinner, I felt guilty for not working out yet, so I decided to head down to the gym and spend maybe like 20 minutes on the elliptical and after finishing the elliptical my body was actually feeling less tired so I kept working out until my brother texted me “You good?” and I replied “Yep! Just workin on my summer body 🤪”. I ended up spending 1hr in the gym, before heading back up to our room to get some more sleep.
Tuesday, March 28…It was our last full day in LA and our friend picked us up again to take us to see more of LA. She drove us by the Warner Bros Studios, took us into Hollywood where we got to drive by the Dolby Theater and the Chinese Theater, then we parked the car in West Hollywood to take a hike up Runyon Cannon. The sky was clear that day and the sun was beaming brightly with the wind gently blowing, keeping us cool on our hike up. Here are some pics from the hike.
There were some beautiful views and a I’m so grateful our friend took us on this adventure. It will be a memory we both will remember and cherish. We finished our site seeing by hanging out at the Santa Monica Beach until our skins were toasted and we felt chilled by the ocean breeze. It was time to head back to the hotel before dark, because my brother and I had to wake up at 3:20am the next morning to check out of the hotel and catch our flight. We said good bye to our friend for now and thanked her for the memorable LA experiences.
We certainly were hoping to bring the sunshine with us to the east coast but ended up coming home to rain and snow! Oh well, that’s alright, because seeing our Mommy at the airport gave us plenty of light and love💛🥰
It felt good to be home again with the family and to greet Hope, my Doberman at the door and play ball with her. I certainly missed her.
I want to take a moment here before I finish the blog by doing some shoutout thank you’s….