Cover Model Search Finalist: Zoey Anderson

On the streets of NYC, 18-year-old Zoey Anderson is a head-turner. She’s an all-American beauty with platinum blond hair, a radiant smile accented by dimples and a bubbly personality. But the moment this Utah native steps onto the dance floor, it becomes obvious she’s much more than a pretty face: She’s a versatile powerhouse with a vivacious stage presence.

Zoey started dancing and competing when she was 3 and immediately fell in love. She did it all, taking ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical—even cheerleading. When Zoey was 15, Kim DelGrosso, one of her teachers at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio, told Zoey there was a boy looking for a ballroom partner. “I’d never done ballroom before,” she says, “but we took one private lesson together and that was all I needed—I knew I was going to love it.” And that’s clear at the finalists’ NYC photo shoot. When Zoey slips on a pair of heels, her feet fly into a cha-cha and her face comes alive with a flirtatious smile. She manipulates her body into perfect S-curves as her hips move in time to the music. “I love the personality I get to put into my ballroom dancing,” Zoey says. “I can be hot and sassy, but still fierce.”

Zoey’s passion is in her genes. Her grandmother was a member of the University of Utah’s first dance company. Her mom earned a BFA in dance from the U of U and went on to apprentice with Alvin Ailey in NYC. Plus, Zoey’s dad was part of the Young Ambassadors, an elite singing and dancing group at Brigham Young University.

With her family’s support, Zoey put her heart and soul into her training, and her dedication has paid off: She’s placed in the top 10 at every national competition she’s ever attended. She can be seen as a dancer in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and in commercials for Coke, Pepsi and the Discovery Channel. She even shared the stage with Jennifer Lopez and P. Diddy at the Macy’s Passport fashion show, where she danced in a piece choreographed by Brian Friedman. Oh, and did we mention that Zoey and her ballroom partner, Justin Ascione, are currently the world’s top couple in American Smooth for their age division? “It’s a mix between Latin and the standard technique,” she explains. “I love it because you can break off the frame and be more artistic by adding all sorts of tricks.”

Now, Zoey’s after the one thing she doesn’t have: a BFA in dance. This fall, she’s moving to NYC to start her freshman year at Marymount Manhattan. “I thought about moving to L.A., but after talking to my friends who took that route, I knew I needed to go to school,” she says. “There’s still so much for me to learn. I want to grow and continue training.” And after graduation? “I’d love to join a professional company like Cedar Lake or Complexions. Or be on Broadway—in Hairspray!”

Fast Facts

Birthday: April 26, 1993

Dance idols: “Mandy Moore was the first choreographer I really worked with and she’s choreographed a lot of my solos. I also love Andy Pellick—he’s a work of art. He teaches classic jazz and is really bringing it back. Oh, and Justin Giles!”

Dance crush: “Let’s be honest, we’re all in love with Tony Testa. But secretly, it’s Travis Wall—I’ve always thought he was so cute!”

Dance mentor: “Janalyn Memmott, my teacher at home. She’s given me such great support. And Kim DelGrosso, artistic director of Center Stage Performing Arts Studio, who’s an amazing woman and has given me so many opportunities.”

Three words that describe your dance style: Artistic, technical, passionate

Three words that describe your personality: Giggly, kind, happy

Non-dance hobbies: “Cooking. My dad loves it and has always made the best meals. It’s rubbing off on me. Every Sunday we make dinner and a dessert together. I also love singing and acting.”

Favorite food: “Meat—I love all meat.”

What People are Saying About Zoey

Janalyn Memmott, Zoey’s Teacher at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio: “Although Zoey is blessed with amazing ability, she remains humble, teachable, grateful and kind. I’m profoundly impressed with her honesty and innocence, as a person and as a performer. She takes a sincere interest in her fellow dancers and understands how to be a team player, always willing to share and contribute. Her integrity and generosity will serve her well in life and in her career.”

DS photographer Erin Baiano: “Zoey is a bubbly mass of energy with a mega-watt smile. (Her dimples are adorable!) She was completely at home in front of the camera and is a dynamic performer.”

Natalya Stavro, ballet teacher at Broadway Dance Center: “She’s very capable, but she has to be more confident with what she does in class. She has strength, she has good potential, but she lacks a little bit of experience in classical ballet.”

Photos by Erin Baiano

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