Nicole Loeffler: Hi Gabriella! How was your summer?
Gabriella Stilo: It was great! I ended up coming back to NYC because dancers from my studio had the chance to perform in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue. We were in the city for three days and spent two days performing. It was really cool because all these people on the street would stop to watch. Some even took selfies with us in the background!
Performing in NYC (photo courtesy Gabriella Stilo)
I spent the rest of my summer working hard at my studio's intensive.
Nicole: How did you campaign during the CMS voting period? Did you have any special strategies?
Gabriella: I reached out to different studios and dancewear stores in my area—and of course I got all my friends and family on board. But I was really blown away by the people who helped without being asked. I received so much support from people on social media, like photographers and people who run dance accounts. It made me so happy.
Nicole: What was your favorite part of the CMS experience?
Gabriella: My favorite part about the CMS experience was just coming to NYC—but I especially loved our photo shoot! Everyone involved was so encouraging and supportive. Meeting Michelle and Jordan was so fun because they're such kind and cool people.
Nicole: How have you grown since the CMS trip, and what are you looking forward to in the next year?
Sweet summertime (Photo by Chris Reilly Photography)
Gabriella: I'm focusing on working for exactly what I want. And I've learned to surround myself with people who are positive and supportive. This year, I'm really looking forward to competing at Youth America Grand Prix and American Dance Competition—and probably a few more!
Nicole: Do you have any words of wisdom for future CMS hopefuls?
Gabriella: Yes! Research past finalists and learn about them. But also, stay true to yourself!
I want to give a big thank you to everyone who supported me throughout this journey. I was blown away by the people who helped me through all the campaigning and voting. The best part was all the encouragement I received from people and the wonderful comments people posted and told me! And thank you so much for all the support from my wonderful friends, family, and teachers. I couldn't have done this without all the wonderful editors, amazing photographer, and everyone who was apart of this amazing journey. And I was happy to have shared it with wonderful friends like Michelle and Jordan. I am so blessed and happy to have been a part of this amazing experience!