Lee Gumbs, courtesy Ginestra

Janelle Ginestra Writes a Letter to Her Teenage Self

Janelle Ginestra's mind lives way outside of the box. You've probably seen her in some of your favorite dance class videos, touring the world dancing next to P!nk and J.Lo, or on the stages of the world's most watched award shows. And if not, there's still a good chance you've seen her somewhere on the big screen. Her uniqueness is evident in her movement, personality, choreography choices, and creative visual concepts that give you a glimpse into her eccentric imagination. (Seriously, her YouTube channel will have you mesmerized for hours!)

As a dancer, choreographer, and creative director, she's been making legendary moves and leaving her mark in the dance world, choreographing for top artists like Halsey, J. Balvin, and JoJo, to name a few.

If you've ever taken one of Janelle's classes, you know that you've gotta walk in with an open mind. You never know what to expect. It's a mystery every student looks forward to. But the one thing you'll definitely get every time is a push, and that just might stem from her love for fitness. Now a super-fierce fitness instructor, her out-of-the-box approach to dance continues through her strength and cardio program with a dancy focus on self-love, confidence, and fun: Naughty Girl Fitness!

Be sure to follow her on Instagram and TikTok @JanelleGinestra for content that's sure to inspire you to get up and get moving.—Nyamekye Smith

To Teenage Janelle,

Your teenage years will bring big life changes—a new stepdad, a stepbrother and stepsisters, a new place to live in a different town, so you dance. You dance in your garage that has a wall of mirrors. It is your studio. It is where you dance with friends and create choreography for a local artist. You are trusting your instincts and doing what you love. In fifteen years, you will turn your garage into a studio where you'll dance with friends and choreograph pieces for artists. So, keep dancing. Dance is your happy place. It feeds your soul and is the essence of your being.

Janelle, you are built differently than most of your friends. I wish you knew the biceps you are trying to hide are so beautiful. One day you will love your biceps, so embrace them. They are part of your strong and fit body, and one day you will combine your love of fitness with dance and create a passion project that becomes your business. You will call it Naughty Girl Fitness because even though "naughty" literally means "behaving badly," it is you not behaving badly, but being your unique, fun self.


Teenage Janelle leans her face up against the back seat of a car, staring into the lens. Janelle as a tweencourtesy Ginestra

Janelle, listen carefully to what I am going to tell you. Everything seems like such a big deal to you right now. Your life is easy, so please, girl, stop being so dramatic! I promise you things are going to get way more complicated. Life is going to bring you bigger and deeper issues. So, just enjoy being a teenager, and try to be nicer to your parents.

I am going to end this letter with one last piece of advice that I want you to remember every day: "Life is a gift!" In fact, these words will be tattooed in Italian on the left side of your ribs by your heart as a permanent reminder.

From Grownup Janelle

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