The dancer and contortionist who was bitten by a snake while rehearsing for Nicki Minaj's Anaconda performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last month (Aug14) has spoken out about the terrifying experience, revealing she had to bury her fears about the reptiles to perform in the first place.
Genise Ruidiaz, 25, who has also appeared on TV shows like Glee and True Blood, was taken to hospital for treatment after a boa constrictor, named Rocky, sank his teeth into her arm two days before Minaj's performance.
The caring R&B star refused to replace her talented dancer, but also insisted on using snakes as part of her VMAs act, which left Ruidiaz with a difficult decision to make.
She tells MTV, "When I was in the hospital I got a text from the creative director asking if I was still down to do the job with no snake, which I was. Then I got a phone call, saying that Nicki didn't want to replace me... but she still wanted the snake. When that happened, I cried. I'd just overcome one of my biggest fears and it actually happened, so I told them I needed some time to think about it.
"I called my mom and she said, 'You're a professional dancer, and you committed to something, you have to be brave, you have to do this'."
But the new snake also proved to be a little temperamental and he bit a trainer while Ruidiaz was holding him.
She recalls, "I told the trainer that I just needed to know where his face was at all times, especially if he comes near my face or neck, and literally 30 seconds into the snake being on me, he went ahead and bit the trainer standing next to me.
"He was still on my body when he bit her. After that happened, they took him off me faster than I can even remember. At this point, I was thinking, 'I don't know if I can do this, it's the second time that it's happened'.
"The safety guy hit up the executive producers to let them know what happened and they finally said no to the snake.
"I think the performance would've been a major hit if the snake was in there, but at the end of the day I'm just glad that they were thinking more about my safety."
The brave dancer admits the scary encounter with two snakes hasn't put her off working with the reptiles, adding, "I would definitely say that I overcame a huge fear... I see myself working with a snake again. I don't see why not."