Fat People can Dance, Move, Live : Meet Amanda : A Kick Ass Dancer

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I was browsing Instagram and found @amandalacount , aged 16

years old, who dances professionally, she moves her body and has broken so many stereo

types about Fat people.  I don’t like the term “fat” it is derogatory, just as

the words  “gay” or “black”, so I will call her Amanda a Kick Ass Dancer.

 

You can read about her and watch her video, she is very inspiring

at the age of 16, she has endured prejudice of all sorts, but continues

to live her dream and persue what she loves! I wrote to her and she sent me one of her

interviews. . .

 

 You can view the I Heart My Body video I am featured in here:

https://www.facebook.com/1507333669570495/videos/1617568201880374/

Hi Amanda!

> Thanks so much for agreeing to participate in this video! We really think it is going to have a huge impact on females across the globe. When you have a second, can you please send me your responses to the following questions:
>
> 1. Please give a brief bio of yourself.  I turned 16 on the 16th of Jan.!  I am from Fort Collins, Colorado where I was raised with my 6 brothers and sisters by my mom.  Dance is my passion and I started when I was 2 years old.
>
> 2. How did you get started in dance?  I started dancing when I was 2.  I had 2 older sisters that danced and I wanted to do it too!
>
> 3. How long have you been dancing? WOW!  It has been 14 years this month.
>
> 4. When did your career really take off?  Two years ago when I made the big move from Colorado to Los Angeles and I signed with Bloc Talent Agency, things really started to happen professionally for me.
>
> Another big break was when Matt Steffanina put me in a class video last year.  He has more followers on Youtube than any other dancer/choreograper in the world with over 5 million subscribers.  He put me in his “Dessert” video which has over 25 million views and over 75% of the comments are about me.  “The girl in the neon shoes.”  It led to Matt putting me on his TV show “Dance Off Juniors” last year.  This was also a turning point because I learned that I didn’t have to reply to any hater comments.  Whenever anyone posted anything bad, there would be a big group standing up for me just the way I am.  It felt great to know I had this support out there from people I had never even met.  This is when the negative comments quit making me feel bad. 😊
>
> 5. Have you encountered any negativity during your career? (Body shaming, gender bashing, etc.)  I had a performance at Taste of Soul with a hip hop crew “Latin Flavah” before moving to LA.  That night I attended a red carpet event with a friend.  I was dressed up and looked nice.  Afterwards we asked to take a picture with Richard Simmons.  He said yes, but then proceeded to point at me in front of all the celebrities and say I had to lose weight.  Then he went on to point to my mom and say she should be an example.  She said to him that once he had given birth to 7 kids, then he could talk to her about weight.  He said he gave birth to 8???  I told my mom I changed my mind

and didn’t want to move to LA anymore.  I felt really bad. 😣
>
> Later my mom emailed his manager for a public apology.  Eventually he sent a private apology saying it had been a bad day.  I had performed on stage right before Stevie Wonder and had danced 8 hours that day at a dance convention.  Richard assumed that since I was not skinny that I must be lazy.  What’s funny is that he was taking pictures with some big name overweight actors that night, but he never commented on their weight!
>
> People assume all the time that I must be lazy and/or eat junk food  all day.  I eat healthy most of the time and usually dance 50+ hours per week.  This is just me and I won’t become anorexic or bulimic to fit society’s mold.  I like me and I like that I don’t look like everyone else.  I am very healthy and often dance 8 or more hours straight!
>
> 6. If so, how have you handled it?  After I moved to LA, someone told me that if you have haters you are doing something right because people are talking about you.  It doesn’t really bother me any more.  Dance is my passion and my goal is to inspire others.  I am actually the Spokesperson for The Inspire Campaign.  My personal tag is #breakingthestereotype
>
> 7. Explain the story and meaning behind your hashtag #breakingthestereotype
>
> When I was growing up dance teachers and other mothers told my mom I couldn’t be a dancer because of my body type.
>
> At my competition studio after I competed for a year, won 3 dance titles, and was awarded over $11,000 in dance scholarships (just that year alone) . . I was told that my body type didn’t fit his image for the team.  He also said as I was leaving that I was bad at tap and hip hop.  This is funny because for 2 years I have been on immaBEAST (which is the premier world wide hip hop crew led by Willdabeast) and I also just auditioned and made the #Unfiltered Sole Talk Company which is Syncopated Ladies’ (under the direction of Chloe and Maud Arnold) new youth tap crew.  Can’t get much better than that!!
>
> I went to another big name studio and they looked me up and down and refused to even give me a tour of the studio.  There was no one else there at the time.
>
> The next big name studio said I could dance there, but I would have to wear booty shorts and a sports bra on stage like everyone else.  I don’t think so.  Since when did dance require that you wear a bra and shorts to perform?!
>
> I took dance classes at another studio in Colorado and the ballet teacher said I was too heavy to dance on pointe, even though I had already been on pointe for 4 years.  She said because of my weight I would get hurt.  To this day I have never had a dance injury, not even a blister from pointe.
>
> When I moved to LA I was living by Debbie Allen Dance Studio.  I wanted to dance there, but when I went to a level placement audition with the Academy Director, Karen McDonald, she told my mother and I afterwards that I was too fat to be a dancer.
>
> Then I joined a crew at a big name professional studio in LA and I was asked to sign a contract saying I may not be placed in performance numbers based on my size.  (After I complained they changed the contract.)
>
> Before moving to LA I asked a well known LA dance teacher if I could make it as a dancer in LA.  She facebooked back that I should take her diet pills and drop my caloric intake down to under 1,000 calories a day.  I was 13 at the time.
>
> 8. How do you feel about being a role model to other females?  It is very important to me and I take it very seriously.  I never had any good role models in dance when I was growing up so I would like to think that I can be that for other dancers that don’t fit the traditional mold.  A recent role model for me is Misty Copeland.  I really admire how she ignored what everyone said and made her own path.
>
> 9. How do you hope to influence females in the future?  My goal is that anyone that wants to dance (or do anything else) won’t listen to what others say, and will just go out and have fun.  You don’t have to be the best in the room.  Just have fun and dance from your heart.  That is what matters most!
>
> 10. Please include anything else you’d like us to know!
>
> Some fun facts –
>
> * Raised with my 6 older brothers and sisters by a single mom.  My brothers and sisters are all back in Colorado and Wyoming working on a PhD in Physics Engineering, an MD, a PhD in Psychology, a BS in Physical Therapy, graduated with a BS in Accounting and graduated with a BS in Electrical & Mechanical Engineering.
>
> * I attend CHAMPS Charter High School of Performing Arts in the Dance Academy as a Junior.  I hope to attend Loyola Marymount as a Pre-Law and a Dance Major.
>
> * I used to be a competitive figure ice skater and qualified for nationals 3 years in a row.  I was also a competitive allstar cheerleader for 6 years as a flyer and was on 4 National Title winning teams.
>
> * I have 3 dogs.  Two miniature dachshunds named Bella and Barney (they are brother and sister that I have had for 9 years) and a chihuahua named Bailey.
>
> * I performed professionally in musical theatre before I moved to LA from the age of 5 and I performed in the National Tour of the Wizard of Oz.  Some of my favorite shows include 4 runs of Annie, Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, Christmas Carol, and The Wiz.
>
> * When I was younger I played most sports such as baseball, softball, soccer, ice hockey, and inline hockey.
>
> * My family used to own a Tae Kwon Do studio and my mom and all my brothers and sisters hold black belts.  I hold an International Tae Kwon Do sparring title from when I was 6.
>
> * I normally dance between 45-50+ hours per week between school, dance classes, and company rehearsals.
>
> * Along with dance, I have been acting in LA where I have been in 8 movies, 34 TV episodes, 6 national commercials, and 14 music videos.  See
www.imdb.me/amandalacount
>
> * I also like to draw and ride horses.
>
> * I am very thankful and humble for the gift of dance that I have been given and my greatest joy is dancing for others to inspire them and to make them smile and/or feel emotion.
>
> * Favorite food is broccoli.
>
> * Favorie color is lavender.
>
> * Last summer I shot an impromptu video of me dancing with some street performers at Santa Monica Pier and it has over 25 million views on Facebook and Instagram.
>
> * Last acting shoot I had in December was a Steven Spielberg movie coming out in 2018.
>
>
> Let me know if you need anything else.
> Amanda

 

THANK YOU Amanda! for your email and sharing your story!

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