Michelle Gaftoi,Featured Dancer
and "Helena" Understudy
Michelle Gaftoi was born in Las Vegas in the Silver State but that doesn't necessarily mean being born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she had to work hard beginning dance classes at age 5 and now she is a dance in "The Fashionistas."
She hails from a show business family that moved to Reno when she was age 2 where she grew up. He mother and late father were an adagio team at the defunct MGM Grand in Reno and performed in `Hello Hollywood Hello' and at on time they had 130 people in the cast. My parent's names are Mitch and Jillian Hrushowy. I grew up backstage and started with jazz and ballet and later on I learned jazz and tap."
Michelle's hard work ethic continued and she received her BA in Hotel Management at UNLV. She said, "I've always liked Las Vegas and I came back here to go to college.
She said, "I'm 5' 10 1/2" and am an understudy to a dominatrix Helena. I'm a dancer in the show. There is a love triangle between a dominant a submissive and a male character named Antonio."
Michelle said, "I was in `Jubilee!' and in `Moulin Rouge' in Paris. My first dance job at age 17 was in `American Superstars' at the defunct Flamingo Hilton in Downtown Reno. They say it was the biggest stage in the world."
She exclaimed, "So far I like `The Fashionistas.' We're ready to open after rehearsing for quite awhile. We've had a great chance to get to know what we're doing. We have a good time with the submissive and dominant character role-playing."
Asked about her most embarrassing moment, she said, "I don't really have one but I did go to my knees and got back up on closing night of a show I was in. I had friends and family in the audience."
Michelle said, "There isn't anything to compare `The Fashionistas' with in Las Vegas. There are over 100 shows in Las Vegas but nothing like `Fashionistas' It's in its own genre. Some people know about the award-winning movie. It will be interesting to see what people's opinions are. I would like to go to Broadway someday."
She said, "I was a principal dancer in `Jubilee!' at age 21 after joining the show at Bally's at 20. I married a principal dancer in `Jubilee!' and we married a year ago after meeting in France doing `Moulin Rouge.' We were dancing together. The choreographer Billy Goodson of the `Moulin Rouge' let me know about `The Fashionistas.' I was in `Feerie' in the Moulin Rouge in Paris as a soloist from '99-2000. I was the lead dancer in `Heartbeat' at the Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul and a dancer in "Showgirls" at the Rio Hotel from '03-2004."
She spoke of her showbiz family, "My mother Jillian Hrushowy is the company manager at `Legends in Concert' at the Imperial Palace."
Reflecting on Las Vegas' newest show "The Fashionistas" she said, "`Jesse's Blues' is an intricate series of movements which flow beautifully together because of talented people. I haven't seen the four-and-a-half movie yet. Nobody has acted differently to me because the show's concept comes from an X-rated film. I'm surprised at how many people know our producer John Stagliano. His adaptation of the film to stage is great and those who are 18 or older will enjoy it. There will be less nudity than `Showgirls.' We have a very diverse cast. They are a wonderful group of people. We all blend very well professionally and personally."
She advised, "Anyone wanting to get into show business should takes classes, audition, experience as much as possible by traveling. I always had a good time being a principal and an understudy. My half-sister is a singer but is a Mom in LA for now. This was in the stars for me. My husband is my life. We just camped out to buy a new house near Maryland and St. Rose Pkwy. So it's being built now."