Cheerleader and adventurer may not be two words you see put together often. But Dr. Mireya Mayor wants to change that. She believes, “You can do everything.” That includes hiking through the jungle by day and sporting a little black dress at night. “I’m an adventurer at heart with an insatiable curiosity for the natural world…I’m also an unashamedly self-confessed girlie-girl,” says the primatologist and conservationist. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is proud to host Mireya Mayor for one night only, September 16, as part of “National Geographic Live” touring events.
Mayor has a unique background. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she was brought up in the typical American suburbs. As an adult, she became an NFL cheerleader and then proceeded to machete through stereotypes as an explorer.
During her adventures, she has done it all, from drinking cow’s blood in Tanzania and surviving poisonous insect bites, to being charged by an angry silverback gorilla (as well as elephants!) and sharing a raw goat kidney with Maasi warriors in Africa. She has survived plane crashes and swam with great white sharks too. She has even co-discovered a new species: While on expedition in Madagascar, she helped discover the rare mouse lemur (Microcebus mittermieri), thought to be the world’s smallest primate. Her discovery inspired the prime minister of Madagascar to establish a national park to help protect the new species, conserving the 10% that remains of the African island nation’s once vast forest.
And no discovery is too daring or unique for her…she currently stars in Travel Channel’s hit series “Expedition Bigfoot,” where a team of four explorers searches for the elusive Bigfoot. Though tales of sightings abound, there is no hard evidence of their existence, will Mayor and her team find it? She has also been the host on dozens of documentaries, including her own National Geographic Wild! Series, “Wild Nights with Mireya Mayor” She also hosted Mark Burnett’s “Expedition Africa” for the History Channel.
When she is not traveling the globe in search of the next big discovery or starring in a TV series, the Emmy award-winning TV host lectures at schools and universities, and spends time with her family, including her husband, six children, 11 chickens, a dog, a rooster and many exotic animals.
It’s no wonder she has been given the nickname “the female Indiana Jones.” And it’s a nickname she embraces as she encourages youth to not be limited by what society expects of you and works to foster STEM interest in youth. As a Fulbright Scholar, National Science Foundation Fellow and Director of Exploration and Science Communications at Florida International University (FIU), in collaboration with National Geographic, Mayor teaches kids about endangered species, the threats that have diminished their natural habitats and what they can do as the next generation of scientists and caretakers to reverse the problems.
Somewhere in there, she finds time to write as well! “Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer,” is Mayor’s autobiography, published by National Geographic Books. For one night only, September 16, her book will come alive as Mayor thrills Thurston County residents with her adventurous tales in person at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts. If you have ever wanted to sit in the front row of one of Dr. Jones’s classes, now’s your chance! You are not going to want to miss this incredible, behind-the-scenes look into the life of a National Geographic explorer, coupled with incredible imagery from her many travels. You will be on the edge of your seat the entire time, guaranteed! At the end, it will be your chance to ask Dr. Mireya Mayor your questions, it truly is a rare opportunity. Maybe you want to know what raw goat kidney tasted like or ask her about the softness of the mouse lemur’s fur. Or how about what leaves she ingested to calm the charging gorilla? You’ll have to attend to learn the answers!
Tickets for “Pink Boots and a Machete” are on sale now. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, September 16, 2021, at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts. This event is good for all ages. Current COVID-19 regulations are in place. All attendees must have proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Purchase your tickets on The Washington Center for the Performing Arts website.