From dancing in music videos (including Katy Perry's "Swish Swish") to performing on reality TV shows (including "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Voice"), 17-year-old Amanda LaCount is already conquering the commercial dance scene. If you've ever seen her dance, you understand why: She's a hard-hitting phenom with major stage presence. But in an industry where not having the "right" look can jeopardize your career, Amanda's also blazed her own path by accepting her beautiful curvy body the way it is.
Amanda's never let body-shamers discourage her from going after her dreams. She hopes that by breaking the "dancers are skinny" stereotype, she'll give others the courage to highlight their own unique features rather than hiding them or changing them to fit repressive industry standards. She's even started a campaign, #breakingthestereotype, to inspire artists of all shapes, colors, and sizes to dance for themselves.
We caught up with this dancing maverick to get her advice on cultivating body confidence in a world that's obsessed with the "perfect" body.
Why do you love dancing?
I'm a natural-born performer, and I love to be onstage. I feel so good when I'm able to tell a story through movement and make people feel something through dance.
Why do you think your #breakingthestereotype message is important for the dance world?
Showing her moves (photo by Jordan Matter, courtesy LaCount)
How has your message been received in the dance industry?
What's your dream dance gig?
That's easy! I'd like to go on tour as a dancer with Meghan Trainor. I like what she represents, and her music, of course. I was so excited when she recently started following my Instagram.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I see myself touring with a major artist or dance convention, and teaching hip-hop classes around the world.
LaCount posing in tap shoes (courtesy LaCount)
Have you always been as confident as you are today?
It was actually hard for me to learn. A few years back, I realized that my life as a dancer would be "easier" if I was tall, skinny, and blonde. But that wouldn't be me. I had to figure out that part of what makes me special as a dancer is the fact that I don't look and dance like everyone else. A studio owner once told me that my body type didn't fit his vision for the competition team I'd tried out for. I was really upset until my mom reminded me that my goal was not to fit into a group. My goal was to shine. I'll always look different, and now I embrace that.
LaCount with Katy Perry on the set of Perry's music video "Swish Swish" (courtesy LaCount)