Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Hello. My name is Claudius Shropshire a.k.a. “The Snake Father” and am the FIRST and currently the ONLY African American snake wrangler to be featured on National Television and Mainstream Media. My goal in life is to share my knowledge and passion for reptiles to the masses, erasing the negative stigma attached to these incredibly misunderstood creatures. I utilize my resources to raise awareness and provide my audience with both an informational and enriching entertainment experience through hands-on interaction.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
Instead of being the stereotypical khaki outfit wearing image that society portrays of animal experts, I carry myself with my own quirky style and swagger. What makes me unique from everyone else in my industry, in addition to the fact that I am a minority (in every sense of the word), is my approach, and my approachability. I offer the public the opportunity to interact with exotic animals that they would normally only see in zoos or on television, giving them the ability to develop a more personal and direct relationship with them that they otherwise wouldn’t have. I place myself and my animals in positions that draw attention and invite inquiring minds to explore! I bring animals to uncanny and eyebrow raising places such as upscale Hollywood clubs, exclusive red carpet events, and even celebrity parties!
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
There have been many “moments” that reassure me that I am doing what I was born to do, but one that stands out above them all was with Wayne Brady on the Fox television show “Game of Talents”. Our interaction was unscripted, and I was able to introduce him to snakes for the first time, authentically, to an audience of MILLIONS! I was able to showcase these animals in a positive light, with both he and I handling the snakes as we interviewed after my performance. I felt that this moment epitomized my goal of becoming a voice for these misunderstood creatures to a broader audience.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge that I have faced time and time again has been society’s unwillingness to accept snakes. Many people who have not yet had a positive experience or interaction with snakes are quick to believe the stereotypes and stigmas that mainstream media portrays of them without knowing the truth. The most common response that I have received from the general public has been that of fear and misunderstanding, sometimes even that of disgust. But I have not allowed that to deter me or cause me to sway from my goals. I accept these interactions with faith in knowing that if these people are open minded enough to approach my animals, then they are almost certain to leave with a more positive understanding of them, and at the very least have gained knowledge and respect for them. I take each individual interaction as an opportunity to grow within myself and improve my ability to communicate my message effectively and engage with my audience on a deeper level.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
The TOP 3 people that I would want to meet that could potentially elevate my career would be Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ellen Degeneres. These three people have utilized their celebrity status and influence in many philanthropic and humanitarian ways. I honestly believe that they could not only elevate me, but also elevate the public’s awareness and perspective on snakes with just a simple interaction because countless people from all walks of life look up to these individuals and value their opinions highly.
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