Dancing. It’s in the genes for gorgeous Rhylee Hensler.
“My grandma loves to dance,” Rhylee says. “She used to take my twin brother and me along to rock-and-roll classes with her, and I also studied classical dancing from the age of 10.”
Growing up, it wasn’t all pliés and pirouettes for Rhylee though – she also enjoyed playing soccer, Aussie rules, touch football and basketball.
“I loved growing up in little old Cairns – my two brothers and my older sister, and I were always playing in the backyard together,” Rhylee says. “The boys mainly played Rugby League while my sister and I tried everything soccer. My parents gave us four kids the world.”
The resilience built up from playing sports came in handy during the intense audition process for Moulin Rouge.
“I remember getting halfway through the audition and half of the girls had been cut,” says Rhylee, who was one of only three dancers to be offered a contract from the Australian auditions.
“When I woke up to an email offering me a contract in Paris, I was so excited I ran downstairs to tell everyone. Mum almost cried; she was so proud.”
After only three months of working at the Moulin Rouge, Rhylee scored the coveted can-can solo.
“I absolutely love performing my can-can solo on the Moulin Rouge stage,” Rhylee says. “One day, I’d love to dance with the snakes in the pool.”
Dancing the can-can looks effortless for Rhylee but, in truth, the shows take a lot of preparation.
“It really takes the whole day to prepare for the show,” says Rhylee, who eats nutritional foods throughout the day, so she has lots of energy at night.
“I like to go to the gym for an hour before I start work at 7:30 pm and it takes me to about 8:20 pm to finish my make-up.
“I also like to stretch and warm-up before being on-stage at 9 pm for the start of the show.”
But when Rhylee hears the crowd’s applause, the effort is all worth it, especially when her family is in the audience.
“The best show so far was definitely when my parents and godparents were in the crowd watching me,” she says. “It meant so much to me for them to come all the way from Australia to see me on that stage. The look on their faces will never leave my memory.”
And although the audition for Moulin Rouge was cut-throat, the experience of being in the show isn’t as competitive as Rhylee imagined.
“The girls at the Moulin are all so lovely – I really didn’t expect that,” Rhylee says. “I’ve made some amazing friends, and the Moulin has so many Aussies.”
Although she’s been living in Paris for nearly two years now, Rhylee still struggles with the language barrier but is taking French lessons to help conversations run more smoothly.
“I love living in Paris – my favourite thing to do is look for the best coffee by trying out all of the beautiful little cafes. There’s a charming area called Montmartre that’s very Parisian – it’s filled with cafes and coffee shops, so I love it.”
As for what’s next, the talented North Queenslander sees herself staying at Moulin Rouge for some time but would one day love to do a musical in London or even some back-up dancing for professional singers.