Danielle Polk is living more lives than you and I, and she won’t stop.
The Oklahoma native, who arrived in Las Vegas in 2009, shines bright as a member of the city’s emerging creative class. She’s doing everything she wants, while deciding what she wants to do.
“I figured I would somehow merge my left and right brain someday,” she says. “I’m still trying to figure that out.”
Right now the computer engineering grad is on the entrepreneurial path, delicately balancing careers in fashion (she co-founded a clothing label named Melonhopper), web design, acting, modeling, singing/
songwriting and DJing.
You might know Polk by her turntable alias, Carouselle.
“It’s kind of the embodiment of my love of cute things,” she says of her DJ handle. “I’m heavily influenced by Japanese fashion and subculture—the Lolita subculture—and so I was trying to think of a name that sort of [represented] the cuteness of my visual sense.”
Her style is on display even on a gray, 44-degree Las Vegas day: candy-colored pastels, blue-green tints and pink lipstick.
She is anime, and she’s right at home.
“I feel like I fit in a little bit better [in Las Vegas] than I do in L.A.,” Polk says. “I appreciate the way that people here talk to each other. It feels a little more direct and authentic.”
It’s also the ideal place for an entrepreneur, she says, citing the city’s all-around affordability and a commute that doesn’t leave you “tired when finally you get to where you’re going.”
That’s a good thing, because today Polk is in crunch mode. She and her husband, who works behind the scenes for Cirque du Soleil, are putting the finishing touches on another project, an immersive show production titled Heartcorps: Riders of the Storyboard, for the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibition.
Described as a “digital-light poem,” the show combines projection mapping with live acrobats and break-dancers.
For those unfamiliar, projection mapping involves putting an image or video onto an object rather than a screen, creating an augmented, interactive reality.
It’s an evolving technology that Polk and her husband would like to see more of in Las Vegas. She envisions a Downtown theater space immersed in visuals with no chairs, allowing a person to explore and interact with the show.
“Like a storybook or graphic novel that’s come to life,” she says.
After Sundance, Polk is set to record and release her debut EP, which is inspired heavily by Italian disco and electronic-music pioneers such as Kraftwerk.
She has no plans to slow down.
“I’m on the search for truth, beauty and goodness,” she says. “Although I do a bunch of cool stuff, I’m actually more interested in just existing than I am in doing things. I’m trying to find some presence in my life and a creative outlet for my feelings.”