Teenage contortionist from Lawrence bends one-time hobby into a future career

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan.  -- This week's Reaching 4 Excellence young achiever will probably leave you feeling one of two ways: Shocked and squirming in your seat or blown away! Sixteen-year-old Rose Reilly is a contortionist who can fold her body up, back, and pretty much inside out!

"People always think, 'oh my gosh, that must hurt so bad.' But it really doesn't," Rose said.

The teenager has turned a hobby into a future career.

"It makes me feel like I can do anything. My body is capable of doing these amazing things that I didn't know it could do prior," she said.

At the age of 13 she saw a video of a contortionist, and decided she too, was going to be one.

"I kind of want to perform with a traveling company like Cirque Du Soleil," Rose said.

That kind of goal requires lots of time and hard work, something Rose is seeing first-hand. She's now home-schooled through the Lawrence Virtual School, and devotes her free time to perfecting her craft at Lucia Aerial Arts in Overland Park.

"That's all her. I didn't teach her how to do that, she figured that out by herself," Coach Ariana Ferber-Carter said.

Rose's coach says she has natural talent, she's just there to fine tune.

"She's driven. She's driven. She knows what she wants to do," she said.

Rose keeps a great attitude and hopes others will one day follow in her footsteps.

"Anyone can do it if they put their mind to it, but obviously it helps if you were born naturally flexible, kinda gives you a jump-start where you don't just start from square one," Rose said.

She became a gymnast at the age of 4, hence the flexibility. The junior currently performs in Lucia shows around town.