Young snake charmer Emily Sobel, aka Serpentini.
You know how most people generally want to stay away from snakes? Well not 7-year-old Emily Sobel! Emily’s hobby is dancing with partner Rajnesh, a 3-foot-long Indian Trinket snake, making her the world’s youngest snake charmer. Emily was born into a house that loved snakes, as her father Heath had snakes before she was even born. Currently the Brooklyn natives have five snakes in their home – Rajnesh; Ghostface, the corn snake; Baller, the bull python; King Venom; a Reverse California King Snake; and two Florida Amel King Snakes named Moe and Icicle. As far as how to handle serpents, Emily said she came up with her own technique after watching her father “20,000 times.” “I keep them calm by just moving them around,” she said. “It’s like I take their cues and I just go the way they are. And you don’t hold them too tight.”
This natural ease and affinity for snakes at such a young age was noticed by Serpentina, renowned snake charmer on Coney Island and good friend of Stacey Sobel, Emily’s mother. The Sobel family had often frequented Coney Island and after Emily saw Serpentina’s stage performance, she decided that was what she wanted to. When she was five, Emily had her first go on the stage after Serpentina suggested she take a turn on the stage. Emily loved it, so much so that not even a snakebite by Rajnesh at the age of five could stop her from doing what she enjoys most.
Since making her debut, Emily has performed the opening weekend of the annual Coney Island summer, the Mermaid Parade, the motorcycle show, and the final weekend each year. She also performs with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Cavalcade of Youth, a traveling circus for performers under 21 years old, when that group is in town. Emily’s first major gig however has been recently where she appeared as her stage persona, Serpentini, and worked 16 shows, eight each on Saturday and Sunday, at the annual Super Freak Weekend put on by the Congress of Curious People at the Sideshows by Seashore in Coney Island. This girl is so brave and with the loving support of her parents, no doubt will keep doing what she loves. “I love this,” Emily said. “I just love snakes, so it’s fun. It’s my favorite thing to do in my free time.”
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