We're thrilled for our Cover Model Search winner, Darriel Johnakin—but we also love our two runners-up, Diego Pasillas and Emma Sutherland! We talked to Diego about how life has changed since his NYC visit for the contest.
Diego performing his solo "Dive in the Water" at Radix Nationals (courtesy the Pasillas family)
Hi, Diego! What've you been up to since your trip to NYC?
Well, I got my driver's license, which was really cool! And I got a car. I spent a lot of time at the studio training for Radix Nationals, which paid off, because I won Teen Male Core Performer! That was obviously really nice. And I attended several intensives—DancerPalooza in Long Beach, and a program at my studio called Transform—and did some assisting with my mentor, Shannon Mather.
Turn sixteen, pass the driving test, get a car: check, check, check! (courtesy the Pasillas family)
You put on a really strong campaign. What strategies did you use?
It was a lot of posting on my Instagram story all day, asking people to vote and keep voting, and then posting pictures on my main social media pages so I stayed on everyone's radar. Lots of reminding people that they could vote every day.
What was your favorite part of the whole Cover Model Search experience?
I definitely loved seeing peoples' reactions to all the photos! I've never really done a dance photo shoot before—or at least not since I was, like, 7. And then to see all my family members and friends voting was really nice. People were super supportive—I really felt the love.
What upcoming projects and events are you excited about?
Mostly I'm excited about touring with Radix all this next season!
Diego with his Teen Male Core Performer award at Radix Nationals (courtesy the Pasillas family)
What are your goals for this upcoming year?
To get into more classes in L.A. and get my name out there, since I'm going to be graduating high school in a couple of years and beginning my professional career. I want to start to vibe with choreographers in the industry.
Do you have any advice for future CMS finalists?
Take in every single moment, because this is very special and such an amazing opportunity!
Photo by Erin Baiano
Dance Spirit family!
First of all, I wanted to thank God for blessing me and surrounding me with all of you wonderful people! And big thanks to everyone who voted for me and supported me on social media during the voting campaign. It was an honor to win Editors' Choice, and then to be a finalist was a dream come true. Photographer Erin Baiano made the shoot super-fun, and the entire Dance Spirit staff took great care of us. Darriel, Emma, and I hit it off immediately, and we had so much fun in such a short time! Finally, I'd like to give thanks to all the choreographers at Mather Dance Company—especially Shannon Mather and Addison Holmes.