Festival All-Star: Lady CasaArticle by: Alexa Smith
Thu February 26, 2015 | 00:00 AM
Michelle Casares, known to her followers as Lady Casa, isn’t your everyday average dance music fan. She’s an inspirational leader in the community, striving to enlighten our generation with her guiding force. Catapulted into fame by Kaskade, she saw an opportunity to use her fame for something more. Lady Casa travels all over the world to spread her message of love and light to the masses and serve as a role model to young people in the EDM community. With over 80,000 followers on Instagram and her own PLUR Warriors apparel line, she is easily one of the most influential leaders in dance music today.
Growing up in Miami, Michelle always felt the presence of dance music culture in her life. As a kid, she loved late 90s techno like “Sandstorm” by Darude. In 6th grade her curiosity was sparked even further when she'd hearing the older 8th graders talk about raves. In a time when the internet was just getting started, she began using Google to learn more, which helped land her at her first Ultra Music Festival at the age of 13.
Michelle has attended Ultra exclusively each year until around 2009 when the EDM scene in America began to boom. Traveling to major cities all over the US to attend the biggest and best dance music festivals, like EDC Las Vegas and Electric Zoo New York, became a regular part of her life.
Working as a go-go dancer in Miami’s hottest clubs, she was surrounded by performance art culture. As her presence at raves grew, she took inspiration from the elaborate costumes she performed in for new rave outfit designs. The outfits became more eccentric with each show she attended and Michelle began to gain recognition as “MollyCasa305” on Instagram across the US. EDC Las Vegas 2012 was the first time Michelle realized just how much Instagram (which was still pretty new at the time) could be used as a hub for uniting ravers across the nation when she kept getting recognized by handfuls of people from all over.
The Catalyst to Fame & Leveraging Social Media
The social media revelation awakened a passion within her, so she began plotting her next move. She spent hours dreaming up her most elaborate costume yet, Kaskade’s “Freaks of Nature” tour logo painted on her nearly naked body, to be worn at Kaskade's next show. Knowing people would definitely ask for pictures with her, Lady Casa brought contact cards to pass out that read “Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect – Miami’s Queen Raver” with her Twitter and Instagram handles on the back.
At the time she only thought of the contact cards as a way for people to tag her in photos so she could view them later. It turned out to be a huge marketing move on her part; the pictures exploded all over the internet. Kaskade eventually caught notice and was clearly impressed. The DJ reposted the photo on his Instagram, causing a ripple effect in the dance community that shot her to the top.
Life as an Inspiration
By the end of 2012, Lady Casa was getting recognized at shows as the “Kaskade girl” by hundreds of people. As her reputation spread, many young girls in the scene started calling her their inspiration – that's when Lady Casa knew she needed share a real message and be a true role model for the masses.
“I was like, all these 16 to 25-year-old rave girls are calling me their inspiration and are looking up to me," Lady Casa recalls. "I need to shape up. If I’m going to be an inspiration to people I’m not going to just be some hot girl in pasties and a wig. I want to share a message. I want them calling me an inspiration to actually mean something.”
On a trip to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Lady Casa attended a workshop festival held by renowned spiritualist where she learned about an indigenous prophecy that changed her life.
“I became more wise, I became stronger, and it really propelled me to be a leader and the inspiration that people were looking up to,” she says. "The Prophecy of the 8th Fire is based on a shift in global energy from 2012 to 2016 where humans will reach a crossroads in their development where they will have to choose the path of materialism and destruction or spirituality and love."
Lady Casa realized that ravers as a whole already possess qualities of the type of positive energy that the prophecy needed to pull it in the right direction. The dance music community has long identified with “PLUR” culture, representing Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect.
“We, as ravers and good light beings, are all in that energy of peace and love, spirituality and love," she says. "We’re pulling that fork towards peace and love. But look at the whole world. There’s still a lot of war, we’re still destroying the planet environmentally, politically, economically. There’s still a lot of direction to the destruction and materialistic side.”
The Birth of PLUR Warriors
Lady Casa knew the prophecy needed a warrior spirit to guide the tense energy to the light, so she created the PLUR Warriors lifestyle movement. Enlightened and full of new spiritual knowledge, she went to Ultra 2013 dressed in a warrior goddess headdress with the intent of carrying the message of the Prophecy of the 8th Fire to ravers all over the world. The image of Lady Casa in the native headdress is now one of her most widely recognizable outfits. Despite the backlash against the headdress as disrespectful to Native American culture, Lady Casa wants us to understand it represents much more than just a rave girl in a cool costume.
“This is a spiritual symbol. One person can’t even rock this. This is energy and it’s rainbow energy. Not one person can be the rainbow. We’re all the energy of the rainbow and it’s a divine feminine woman. Not a woman like you and me, it can even be a man who strongly carries divine feminine energy. It’s about all of us tapping into the right-brain, divine feminine, rainbow energy in all of us.”
Lady Casa has since traveled all over the US spreading that message across the EDM community at festivals, meet-ups, PLUR Warriors picnics, shows and through social media. She’s made an impact on countless lives and takes time out of her days and weeks to counsel her followers and help them through hard times. Truly selfless, Lady Casa does it from the bottom of her heart without any intention of making money off of ravers. It’s therapeutic for her in a way, and she’s happy to do it: “People need to understand I come with a message and I’m happy to be this face of the movement.”
Lady Casa’s journey through dance music culture has given her experiences that have genuinely touched her soul. Her most fulfilling moments by far have been the criers – the people who get so emotional thanking her for how much she has helped them. She recalls meeting a mother at EDC Orlando 2013 who broke down, telling her she helped her daughter overcome addiction. She wanted to introduce her, but the daughter wasn’t anywhere to be found. By pure coincidence, she ran into the woman's daughter on her way out of the festival. The daughter became incredibly emotional, explaining how much Lady Casa made such a lasting impact on her.
“I said, 'You have made such impact on me. To meet your mom, then to meet you, this is so special to me. It’s really been a highlight as my journey as Lady Casa because I made an impact on a family, I’ve inspired powerful women.' It’s a beautiful loop.”
Relying mostly on her intuition to steer her towards the future, Lady Casa sees herself taking on a bigger leadership role as spiritual healer at major festivals across the nation. She hopes to put together a full-scale performance art piece that fuses spirituality with organic sounds, chakra healing and meditation. She envisions this type of show being a scheduled performance on a festival lineup.
Lady Casa continues to inspire us all with her passion and fiery spirit. Though some may credit her with leading the entire movement in the dance community herself, she insists we’re all in this together.
“Yes, I’m a symbol, but I’m also Michelle as well," she says. "The symbol of Lady Casa and the PLUR Warriors exists in all our hearts collectively. I wouldn’t be this figure without the collective body of people who are feeling what I’m preaching, who honor what I’m preaching. What you see in me is often a reflection of you.”