Briar Nolet is Your 2016 Cover Model Search Winner!
Briar's your 2016 CMS winner! (Erin Baiano)
As soon as 17-year-old Briar Nolet hit her first pose (a stunning full layout, no big deal) at her NYC photo shoot, the Dance Spirit staff knew she would go far as a Cover Model Search finalist. Her presence is simply magnetic. So it's no surprise Briar's fierce talent, combined with her mature spirit and acting chops, completely stole our hearts—and yours. In addition to her already loyal fans, Briar's gained plenty of new admirers in the process, and loyal they are, too: Voters loved seeing Briar as a finalist and voiced their support on social media every step of the way. One reader commented, “She's a strong and independent girl who could rule the dance world" (we agree) and another said, “All of her moves seem effortless. She's now my role model."
Since coming to NYC, Briar has been busy filming “The Next Step," a Canadian dance show in which she plays the sassy Richelle, and performing with her cast mates on their latest world tour. Ultimately, though, this Canadian has her sights set on a full-blown Tinseltown takeover: Briar hopes to expand her acting resumé and work toward attending the University of California, Los Angeles, for the following academic year. DS caught up with her to get more details.
Dance Spirit: So what have you been up to these past few months?
Briar Nolet: I've mainly been filming Season 5 of “The Next Step." In August, we went on a Canadian tour and right now we're headed to Europe, Australia and New Zealand for three months on another world tour. I'm so excited to visit Australia—I've never been!
DS: What was your favorite part of the CMS process?
BN: The photo shoot was awesome and I had
so much fun on the trip to NYC. Kerrynton and Tatiana are amazing—we've even been able
to keep in touch! We got so close over those three days and they really inspired me because we're all so different. The whole trip was a growing experience—that was the best part.
DS: You put on a really strong campaign. Did you have any strategies during the voting process?
BN: I asked a lot of my friends and family members to share about the contest and kept them updated with what was happening. I also posted on social media often to keep people up to date and remind them that voting was still open.
DS: What are your goals for this upcoming year?
BN: Definitely to keep acting, so I'm finding some other opportunities in that area, like movies or shows. Next year, my big goal is to attend UCLA.
DS: Do you have any advice for other CMS hopefuls?
BN: Train a lot. And always do your best to keep a positive mind-set. It's the best way to think about everything, even if you think something's impossible. It's definitely not if you just put your mind to it.
Briar's Letter to Dance Spirit Readers
Wow! Did this really happen? It's been a dream of mine for so many years to be featured in Dance Spirit and finally the day has come! I'm speechless about how grateful I am for this opportunity.
Many thanks to everyone associated with DS for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to all of my family, friends and fans for their continuous support. Goals are everything, but you can't get anywhere without the support of your friends and loved ones.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Samantha Figgins (Andrew Eccles)
Samantha Figgins is currently in her fifth season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (and was a Dance Spirit cover girl back in 2013!). But what many people don't know is that the gorgeous dancer suffers from single-sided deafness. As a baby, Figgins contracted spinal meningitis, which caused her to lose all hearing in her right ear. She never gave up on her dance dreams, though, and fought her way through uncomfortable situations, never missing an opportunity to learn and grow. Now, after getting her first pair of hearing aids, she opens up about her path to success. —(As told to Courtney Celeste Spears)
Sara Esty as Maggie in "A Chorus Line" (courtesy Esty)
Sara Esty's ethereal grace and sophisticated charm have won over ballet and Broadway audiences alike. The bunhead-turned-Broadway-baby began training near her hometown in Gorham, ME, at the Maine State Ballet's School for the Performing Arts (with her equally fabulous twin sister, Leigh-Ann). She enrolled full-time at the Miami City Ballet School in 2004, and joined Miami City Ballet as an apprentice in 2005. In 2006, Esty won the Princess Grace Award, and she was promoted to soloist at MCB in 2011. After leaving MCB in 2014, she made her Broadway debut in An American in Parisas the understudy for Lise, and went on to share the role of Lise with her sister on the show's national tour. Most recently, she was seen in 5th Avenue Theatre's production of Marie, Dancing Stillin Seattle, WA. —Courtney Bowers