#WhatMovesMe – We’re taking a different direction on the New Year’s Resolution. Who better to talk to than dance internet sensation, Charli Michelé?
We found Charliene Michelé Smith, better known as Charli, on the ‘gram moving and shaking to the beat like a pop dance goddess. After picking up our jaws from the proverbial floor we knew we had to learn more about this woman and what inspires her. We had the chance to sit down with Charli and find out in her words #WhatMovesMe.
Part 1 Life as a Dancer
GS LOVE: Where did you grow up?
CHARLI MICHELÉ: I grew up in San Jose, Ca (Yay Areaaaa) and now reside in Los Angeles!
G: Do you think the Bay Area affected your style? If yes, how so?
C: I feel like I’ve adapted the “bay swag” more so than Los Angeles simply because the bay has such a dope dance vibe. It’s all about community and having fun rather than showing out like Los Angeles is about. So I’ve made sure that my classes and dances I choreograph exemplify that feeling!
G: One of the things that attracted us to you was your unabashed self-confidence and fun for life seen in your videos. Every woman can use a little extra of that in their life — do you think dancing brings that to your life or do you bring that attitude to class?
C: I think dancing plays a huge factor in how my mood is day to day. I know if I am having an off day I can dance or teach and I instantly feel better. I love to enjoy myself when I dance and I feel like I use that in my teaching techniques as well. I am always telling my students that the difference between a good performer and a great one is a great performer shows me they love to dance through your movement.
G: In your her sweat interview you talk about having your mom walk you on stage for your performances because you were so shy! I think a lot of women can relate to that feeling. What changed? Was it a gradual process or did you suddenly wake up equipped with mega-watt confidence?
C: Oh my! I definitely had to work on my confidence. I didn’t become fully confident in myself until maybe 10th grade. And even now I still have my moments. I made the Varsity dance team the end of my freshman year of high school. By the time sophomore year had started I was way more confident. I started getting complimented on my dancing skills and I knew that if I continued to perfect my craft it will only get better!
There was a time, my freshman year of college, where everything went south and I lost my confidence and I felt like I was losing myself. It was because I stopped dancing. I wasn’t pursuing the path I wanted to be on and I became depressed. After my freshman year of college I came back home, got my mind right, and started dancing again. Since then, I haven’t stopped!
G: What advice would you give to someone who was interested in dance, but didn’t have the self-confidence to try it out?
C: I tell people to ask themselves all the time why they don’t feel confident enough to dance. I always hear it’s because of what someone else thinks or they’re afraid of what other people will say. Then I make them realize they’ve given someone else the power over their happiness, their goals & dreams, and how they feel about themselves. No one should ever have that power over you! You are in control of how sexy or confident you feel. If you are radiate confidence I promise you others will believe it too.
G: You recently made the switch from dancer to teacher — what are some of the things you would like to pass along to those who “follow in your footsteps” so to speak?
C: Making the switch from a dancer to a teacher was very difficult for me. I love to perform in front of audiences, it gives me such a rush whenever I’m on stage! However, I realized I loved the outcome of teaching students more. The main thing I would tell others would be just because you are now a teacher doesn’t mean you cannot be a student as well. Even though I teach, I am always learning, I figure out ways to better myself as a teacher and keep myself current as a dancer as well. I make sure I perform/choreograph at an industry show at least once a month. Teachers should never stop learning or taking classes.
G: Are there any underlying trends in the dance community that you would like to address?
C: I would like to break the stereotype that plus size women can’t dance! Just because I’m fluffy doesn’t mean I can’t get down!
G: Any projects you’re working on now?
C: Currently, I am working on teaching and traveling! I’ve been getting asked to teach at different studios across the states! I started a gofundme to help support me with it.
G: What is one move that you think every woman needs in her arsenal of dance moves?
C: It’s the step & smack! Hahaha, I don’t know how else to describe it! You sway side to side and smack your thighs on the 3rd count!
G: Everyone has insecurities – what would you tell someone who wanted to try something new, but were too timid to try?
C: If somebody is timid to try something new I always say just go for it. Especially if they have people who are doubting them, I feel like the best way is to prove them wrong and go in confidence. If you have confidence and you’re excited about starting something new, everybody is going to catch on to that and fill that confidence as well. And it will help you grow, it will help you not be so afraid to try new things.
Part II Fashion as a Personal Expression
G: How would you describe your personal style?
C: My personal style is all about comfort for sure. You can always catch me in a pair of fun shorts and a tee! I also make sure that whatever I am wearing, I can dance in!
G: Does your style different when performing?
C: I think the only thing that differs when I am performing is my color scheme. When I’m teaching classes or taking dance, I always wear crazy patterns or colors on my bottoms and then a solid top. However, when I perform I usually stick to wearing denim white & black.
G: Biggest trend you’re loving right this moment?
C: Oh I’m so ashamed to say that I couldn’t even tell you what trends are happening right now hahaha. I’m so bad with keeping up with the times it’s ridiculous lol.
G: Any parting words or advice you’d like to share?
C: Advice I always like to share is that if you believe it others will to. If you are confident and your actions match that you will be unstoppable!
Visit the exclusive #WhatMovesMe GS LOVE x Charli Michelé Collection on gslovesme.com for Charli Michelé approved athleisure styles. Learn more about our community in our Rad Girl Interview with Julie Lee.