With a smile and no apparent fear, the acrobatic biker traces horizontal circles and spreads her arms to receive tickets thrown by the delighted public above her, in the Indonesian city of Bogor, in the province of West Java.
The intrepid, gravity-defying figure is part of a very select club in Indonesia of women performing this number, also called the “wall of death”.
Women who dare to drive into the “wall of death” are “very rare”, the 23-year-old told AFP.
“When I started, there was nobody else (…) I wanted to do something different, something that nobody else was doing”.
The “barrel of Satan” or “Tong Setan” in Indonesian has been the main attraction of fairgrounds in the Southeast Asian archipelago for decades, especially in rural areas where shows are rare.
Bikers use centrifugal force to spin their speedster around without protective gear and fill the air with the smell of tires.
Karmila Purba grew up in poverty and lived from begging on the island of Sumatra before starting this career eight years ago, which allows her to earn around 6 million rupees per month (385 euros).
She also receives up to 400,000 rupees (25 euros) in tips on good days.
His beginnings, however, were difficult in the largest Muslim country in the world with conservative values.
“People used to say to me, you’re a woman, why do something like that? It’s not for young women”.
“I was criticized a lot.”
But fans eventually started liking the biker and dubbed her “the princess of the wall of death.”
She has become one of the stars of the funfair.
“A female conductor of the wall of death, it is very interesting and it is one of the main attractions of this night market because people are curious” to see her, explains Sumarno, a spectator.
“They can’t believe a woman would do something so extreme,” he told AFP.