I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on November 25, 1970. The math is really easy to do so no need to guess my age. I have nothing to hide. I grew up on a ranch in South Texas and that is really where I grew up. Even though my time was split between the city and the country, many of life’s true experiential lessons occurred on the Ranch. We had cattle, horses, and plenty of acres for me to explore. I enjoyed a lot of freedom to explore those acres and I thank my parents for allowing me that freedom and nurturing my adventuresome spirit. I also thank my parents for being amazing role models who dedicated their lives to a partnership of almost 56 years; an example of true devotion and undying love which I hope someday to share with a partner.
Left: How insanely cute am I? Seriously!!! 4 years old. That owl dress was one of my favorites.
Above: Dad teaching me how to ride a horse. I loved riding around the ranch and had a wonderful, loving horse named Red.
I lived in the same home most of my life. And even today when I return home, I RETURN HOME. I count myself as one of the luckiest people in the world. I was born to an extremely loving family. There are 4 siblings; 2 boys and 2 girls. And we all get along and enjoy spending time together. I’m the baby, several years younger. That makes me special. At least that is what I was always told by my father.
Above: The best siblings anyone could ever dream of being the youngest of. Left to Right: Chuck, Patty, and Andy.
Above: Mom and Dad, an endearing love that took hard work, but it was worth it.
I was born and raised in a Reform Jewish home and still consider myself Jewish. I went to Sunday school, Hebrew school, was Bat Mitzvah, and Confirmed. I love the study of Judaism and that you are taught to question everything; to form your own opinion, and think for yourself.
Left: Dad and Grandpa Oscar looking over as I pose like I am reading my Bat Mitzvah Torah portion. They were both so very proud of me. One of the best days of my life. May 27, 1983 Photo by Sam Gold Photography
During those years I never considered myself part of the ‘cool’ crowd or a popular kid. I never saw myself as beautiful or even pretty. I was a tomboy who loved dresses. I hung with the geek crowd and in many ways I still do. I love geeks. I played flute in the band and was even band president my senior year in high school. I was part of a Temple youth group and was even president of that for a year. Oh and let’s not forget Campfire Girls. I did that too. And drama. Since childhood, I performed in several theatrical productions where I developed my passion for acting. From 2nd grade through my senior year, I did at least one production each year. I love the stage.
Left: A little Blue Bird who broke her wing. But that never stopped me. 1979
Above: President of King High School Band, performing at a Pep Rally. We loved our football. Sept 1, 1988
After grade school, I went to Austin and attended the University of Texas. Well, I was enrolled, but I really did not attend class. I spent most of my time there partying and not studying. And this was also the beginning of a very long period of my life that was very unstable. My high school sweet heart moved up to Austin and I moved in with him. I went from job to job trying to make ends meet. Then I came up with the crazy idea that we could move to Lake Elsinore, CA to be closer to his mother that he was never close to. I see now that I was trying to repair their relationship, and that responsibility was not mine. Subconsciously I thought that if his relationship with his mother was better then maybe his relationship to me would be too. This would become a pattern in my life that I would not identify till 20 years later.
Well, that did not last; my relationship and his relationship with his mother. I returned to Corpus Christi, Texas, back home, and back to school. Enter new man in my life, only this time he is abusive and Im terrified. This is a long story which I will expand upon in my vlog at some point. Ultimately I needed to run away and hide from him as I feared for my life. A very wise professor advised me to go to Huntsville, TX and finish college there. He made a few calls and made my transfer very quick, painless, and relatively undetectable. I packed up all my stuff on a Friday, moved into my dorm over the weekend, and started class on a Monday. I checked in with campus police to make sure they had the Protective Order and photographs of my ex boyfriend in between my 1st and 2nd class. And that was the beginning of my new life at Sam Houston State University. It was 1992.
I had several very interesting jobs while at Sam Houston. I worked for 1 month at Whataburger, which is my full extent of food service work. I worked for a while at the dollar store, and owned a ton of crap absolutely no one needs but you just can’t resist for some reason. And then I found nude figure modeling and stripping. I was on stage, with nothing to hide, and making lots of money. How did I get into taking my clothes off for a living? A friend of mine from school was teaching an art class. His model did not show up and he was in a bind. He knew I would be home and I had the body he needed for his lesson plan that day. He called me, offered me money, and said all I had to do was take off my clothes and sit still. I’m a student. I always need extra funds. From that one class, I met several other teachers and got a lot more work. Most of my work was in Houston, a 45 min drive south of Huntsville. Then about a month or so later my roommate came home one night at 3am and jumped on my bed throwing loads of cash at me telling me about her success at stripping. The next night I went with her. This is where Athena comes from. The manager of the club picked the stage name of Athena for me. I liked it, too. Demos is a shortened version of a much longer Greek last name of one of my customers. The two names went well together. So that became my stage name, actor name, and once I moved to Los Angeles, my legal name. My parents named me Carol Marlene Wilk.
Above: Speaking at a debate when I ran for City Council in Huntsville, TX. 1994
I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the renowned school of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. While attending Sam Houston, I ran for political office (city council) honing a skill for public speech and debate and igniting a fire for all things performance. After graduating in the spring of 1995, I decided to focus my attention on acting full time. I moved to Houston and booked several commercials and films, and a year later, packed it all up and moved to Beverly…Hills that is…swimming pools… movie stars. Well actually Sherman Oaks. Not as glamorous but affordable and a total adventure. Since that time I have appeared in several horror films, television shows, and lots of infomercials and reality tv shows. You can visit my ACTING SITE for a full-ish list of credits or go to my IMDB page.
While pursuing acting, I worked as a figure model and continued stripping only now in Las Vegas. I still figure model from time to time for artists I enjoy working for, but no more stripping. I did that for a decade and that seemed like plenty. It’s exhausting both physically and emotionally. I’ll have some great vlog stories about my stripping days and modeling experiences.
In 1998 my life was changed forever when I adopted a furry companion named Simba. Actually he adopted me. I met him when he was only hours old on March 23rd, 1998 and for almost 16 phenomenal years he was a living teddy bear of love. He died in my arms on December 29, 2013.
Above: Simba at 8 weeks old. Day one of my life with this furry companion. May 1998
Above: Simba loved being around me, guarding me. He treated our home like his palace and I like his precious queen. 2002
Above: Scene from The Halfway House. Every scream queen dreams of being eaten by a giant monster, which is really rubber with several puppeteers inside and buckets of slime. 2004
I came to LA to follow my dream of being in horror films and I did just that. I’ve been murdered 13 times in 12 films. I was even Miller Lite’s Ms. Scream Queen 1998. In that same year I went to an event in the upper Nevada desert that changed the course of my life…Burning Man. Look for my vlog post of the story of my very first Burning Man experience. In 2001, I met the man who asked me to marry him at Burning Man in 2004. And he brought into my life a beautiful and very talented little girl who would become by step daughter. I also joined a troupe called The Mutaytor in 2001 and performed with them and then managed the merchandise till 2011. My fiancé was in the band as well, writing the music, performing and following his rock star dreams. In 2005 we bought a house together and married in 2007 with all the fanfare of fire and circus I could muster. My wedding was on Bridezillas and at the same time my home was on Back Yard Nation. I have a permanent Alice in Wonderland theme camp in my backyard.
Above: The 9′ tall smoking mushroom created by Back Yard Nation. Jan 2007 Photo by Pixie Vision Productions
Above: Walking down the isle Jan 13, 2007. Zinc and Copper Flame Bouquet by Rev Gadget. Dress by Faabrika Creations (Teresa Shea). Photo by Pixie Vision Productions.
Above: My father and mother walking me to the alter. Jan 13, 2007. Hand painted train and dress by Faabrika Creations (Teresa Shea). Photo by Pixie Vision Production
Mutaytor was a very large part of my life from 2001-2011. We were a troupe of doers. Everyone helped set up gear, load it into trucks, move to the next location AND perform on stage. I also managed the merchandise for a few years. From 2006-2008 I was part of a circus performance troupe called Cirque Berzerk. The two troupes had a lot of overlap. In 2008, we did a big top show in the LA State Historic Park in downtown LA which was more fun then that barrel of monkeys everyone keeps telling me about.
Left: Im the twin on the left. Jesster is on the right with Deidre as our ring master. This is the craziest apparatus. 3 legs for 2 stilt walkers. Yes, our inner legs were bound to ONE stilt. May 2008
In 2002, I, along with 4 of my friends, started a local Burning Man regional event called the LA Decompression festival. It has grown from an 800 person event with about 15 installations and one stage to an 8000 person event with over 100 installations and 13 stages. In 2009 I was formally recognized by the Burning Man organization as one of their regional contacts. That same year, I helped found the LA League of Arts (LALA). LALA is the public benefit corporation for LA Burning Man. We received our 501c3 designation in 2011. It is still a 100% volunteer organization. Even I as its acting Executive Director do not take a salary. Since 2010, to make a living I work as a production coordinator for Moriah Films which makes archival documentaries.
Above: LA Burning Man Decompression Arts and Music Celebration October 2009. Photo by Curious Josh
Above: At LA Decom 2013, we awarded the first LALA Humanity awards to Councilman Ed Reyes (district 1), Councilperson Jan Perry (district 9), and Mayor Antonio Villariagosa (his daughter accepted on his behalf). The award was a connector block designed by Gregg Fleishman. Also in the pictures is Shawn Woods, Superintendent of California State Parks.
In 2010, LALA completed the Carver Middle School community garden, its first Burners Without Borders project. Major Antonio Villariagosa attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Above: Mayor Villariagosa and I at the ribbon cutting for the Carver Community Garden. October 31, 2010
Above: The beautiful educational food garden at Carver Middle School in South Central LA. October 2010.
We are currently in the process of getting approval for our newest most ambitious project, the aquaponic educational garden at Santee Educational Complex. And I continue to speak at festivals and lead open discussions on the Principles of Burning Man. Many of the vlog posts are about the principles.
In 2010, I suffered my 4th miscarriage in 2 years and my marriage ended. We were divorced in 2011. I was completely crushed. I devoted myself to his dreams. I put my entire soul into our marriage. I was following the example of my parents. For better or worse, we were married for life. Dishonesty and infidelity made it extremely difficult for me to respect my husband and that more than anything is what makes a marriage last…RESPECT. I had none; none for my ex-husband and none for myself. I felt my soul ripped out and there was no hope for humanity, no place for me in it. I had lost everything important to me. In the process of rebuilding my soul, I turned to the principles of Burning Man. These became and are the building blocks of my soul and very much my way of life.
Left: I led an open discussion at the Lucidity Festival on the Principles of Burning Man and how we incorporate them into our everyday lives. April 2014
Right: Marian Goodell, Larry Harvey, Jennifer Riser and I doing a presentation at the SOHO House about Burning Man. April 2014.
Then in 2012 I was introduced to PAX Programs. Here I learned about the female brain, how we think, and all the ways in which we think differently than men. I gained a greater understanding of a much easier way of being in the world. Hindsight is incredible. Remember that pattern I wrote about in the 5th paragraph above? This is when I figured it out. And then I saw all the ways I sabotaged my marriage. I thought I was being supportive and helpful. But to a man it looks controlling and emasculating. I had no idea and I vowed to never treat any man that way. It is not enough to be a human being. You must be a humane being. And this is how I plan to live the rest of my life. I forgave my ex-husband for his actions which ended our marriage. He is not a bad person. And I have a better understanding of his motivations. I also forgave myself for my relationship patterns and all the ways I did not productively serve my marriage. It is not fair to punish myself when I did not even know I was doing anything wrong. And now I can progress in life from a place of happy by choice. And for the first time since childhood I finally feel a bit of stability coming back.
Above: I’m standing in front of the Seraphim aftermath with Human Spirit in the background. Photo by Tom Varden. BEquinox March 2013