‘Actually a blessing’: Oshawa’s Dancin Wayne is heart stage at FIFA World Cup video games in Qatar
More than 700,000 people know Dancin Wayne on TikTok, but now fans at World Cup games will get to know the hyperkinetic Oshawa native.
He wouldn’t say his real name, but that doesn’t matter as everyone will know him as “the guy behind the mic” getting the FIFA soccer fans in Qatar on their feet.
FUN FACT: Dancin Wayne has more than 800 million social media views, and that number will continue to grow in the coming weeks.
He lives in North Vancouver, but still remembers his Oshawa roots. We spoke with Dancin Wayne in an email exchange and asked him nine questions as he embarks on this life-changing experience.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME DANCIN WAYNE? AND WHAT IS YOUR REAL NAME?
Coming up with the name “Dancin Wayne” was easy because it’s me. It’s always something I’ve been doing, and all my friends and family knew me for; I’m pretty sure I moonwalked out of the womb! lol
ARE YOU FROM OSHAWA? WHERE DO YOU GO TO SCHOOL?
Yes! I grew up in Oshawa! I was born in North York, then moved to Oshawa when I was one! I went to St. Hedwig Catholic School, Monsignor John Pereyma, and even Durham College! Oshawa through and through! ??
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP IN THE DURHAM REGION? WHAT MEMORIES DO YOU HAVE?
Some of my best friends still to this day are all from Durham region! I have fond memories of hanging out at the old Oshawa Centre, doing shows at the Regent Theater and the Oshawa Music Hall and putting on events at Durham College. The memories I have were a lot of my self-discovery. The first show I ever did was dancing in front of my school at Pereyma’s talent show. To this day, that was the scariest moment of my life! I still get goose bumps when I think of it. But that moment changed my whole life. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that talent show.
WHAT GOT YOU STARTED ON TIKTOK?
boredom. Haha! I started during the pandemic because I was working from home, and my office day job just got creatively dull. It wasn’t pushing me enough, so I decided to make content, and then one day I quit my job and decided to pursue it full time, and it all worked out!
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN YOUR SUCCESS ON TIKTOK? WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE ARE DRAWN TO YOUR VIDEOS?
I talk a lot about things we all go through as humans. It makes people feel less alone, knowing they are not the only ones going through it and to be honest, it made me feel less alone, especially at a time of uncertainty (the beginning stages of COVID-19).
HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR GIG WITH FIFA?
When I quit my job and started full-time content creating, someone representing FIFA at the time slid into my DMs and asked if I was free to do some hosting and social media for the Concacaf Gold Cup event in Las Vegas — I was like, YUP!, without a doubt, I’ll get there. So I made it work, and the phone didn’t stop ringing! What sealed the deal for the World Cup this year, I believe what the opportunity I had to host the Arab Cup in 2021 in Doha. It served as a big test event for the World Cup the following year. I had impressed enough people to get the callback to host.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO COVER A WORLD CUP? ARE YOU A SOCCER FAN?
I’m a big soccer fan! My family brought me up on the World Cup! Well, it’s honestly surreal. Stepping into the stadiums makes me feel like a little kid again. The fact that I get to make people laugh and smile and bring fans from all over the world together for a moment is truly a blessing.
HOW DO YOU THINK CANADA IS GOING TO DO?
Canada will shock people here, and I also think they will surprise people back home. I’m excited about Canada’s return to this stage! Get ready to celebrate!
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT AS THE WORLD CUP STARTS?
I’m so excited to see the fans! They are so passionate and full of energy – I’m going to bring the hype and love they deserve. I cannot wait to be surrounded by all of them from around the world!