From Julliard to Beyoncé’s Dance Captain Ashley Everett Slays
Posted On Mar 10, 2016
Ashley Everett has captivated audiences with her riveting dance moves, hypnotizing onstage performances, and infectious style while gracing universal stages alongside the world’s biggest superstar, Beyoncé. With an insatiable appetite for success and tenacious spirit, it is obvious this redhead beauty was destined to reach greater heights. In 2007, Everett was chosen as one of only 12 students accepted into the prestigious Julliard School Dance Division. Not to mention, she has also held the coveted title of being a Radio City Rockette, danced with Usher during his #URXTOUR, premiered in Jennifer Lopez’s Good Hit video, has been featured in the pages of Essence, Nylon, and Ebony Magazines, as well as graced the stages in front of millions at distinguished events including the Super Bowl, Grammys and Glastonbury.
It doesn’t stop there because the accolades keep rolling in! You can add actress to the 26-year-old’s quite extensive and ever growing resume as she is “Devil Girl Peyton” on the popular VH1 series, Hit the Floor. An influential force both in and out of the spotlight, her overall exuberance perfectly curates and truly embodies the definition of Flawless.
The astute characteristics of being a dynamic dance captain and lead choreographer professionally transcend beyond the bright lights and curtain calls. As she unapologetically gives credence to living life to its greatest potential, full of spontaneity, happiness, and a sound peace of mind. It’s quite possible, we all should take a page from this leading lady’s book in regards to designing a trailblazing template by being the headliner of your own destiny for others to follow suit.
As a proud and elected member of the #Beyhive, Ashley Everett has been on my radar for the last decade. After New You had the opportunity to chat with the dancing Diva about her career highlights, personal inspirations, staying true to yourself, plus much more, we fell in love with her larger than life, fun-loving personality.
Growing up, who were some of the women you either looked up to or were inspired by?
Of course, my mother because she has always been a huge inspiration and a great role model in my life. A mother’s love and support is unwavering and I have always looked up to her and admired her since I was a little girl.
Within the industry, I absolutely loved Janet [Jackson] from a very young age. I vividly remember watching Janet’s musical catalog and wondering who were the people dancing in the music videos alongside her. Initially I believed the people in the videos with Janet were her close friends (laughs). I thought to myself, I guess I’ll never be involved in a music video because I don’t personally know any famous people (laughs). Obviously later on I learned that wasn’t the case at all. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the entertainment business or that dancing with an artist could actually become a career.
Walking into an audition, there are a million women fighting for a spot and it can become quite intimidating. How are you able to maintain your sense of self-confidence and not become timid or fearful against the competition?
I’ve been doing this for quite some time but even still until this day I do not like auditioning! I honestly feel as if most people don’t like auditioning. I can’t really say I know a lot of people who are excited and state, “Yes, I love to audition! This is awesome!” (laughs). When you enter an audition, there are so many expectations. You have to show up, deliver, and prove yourself while everyone is watching. It is extremely nerve-wracking and despite the endless auditions I have participated in, I still get very nervous.
Of course, we all have to remain confident at the end of the day. I have noticed that I personally do my best when I approach it [an audition] more like a rehearsal or just a class, instead of really trying so hard to impress. That’s when I perform my best because I’m not so much in my head that I get super nervous or don’t perform to my greatest potential. I’ve learned I have to approach it this way. Although I still don’t like it, [auditioning] it is part of the business and it’s something we all have to take part in.
With that being said, what piece of advice can you offer other women who possibly struggle with dimming their light around others because conversing about their dreams makes people uncomfortable?
I know it’s cliché to say, “who cares what everyone else thinks and has to say about your dreams, goals, and aspirations.” Sometimes you have to be selfish with your goals and ambitions because there is no one else who is going to look out for you but Y-O-U. At the end of the day, there are only a handful of people who will [look out for you] whether it is close family, friends, or loved ones but you are responsible for chasing your own destiny. Unfortunately, it is natural that you will have doubters and naysayers who will think your ambitions are unrealistic, but you have to be strong-willed and fight for yourself. You will notice everyone else is constantly looking out for themselves by making sure they reach their goals and fullest potential. Ultimately, it is easier said than done but you can’t let the negativity discourage you.
On a typical day, how many hours of practice would you say go into a live performance?
I would say anywhere from four to roughly ten hours a day of rehearsal. It also depends on how large of a performance it is, as well as how many days of rehearsals we complete leading up to it [the performance].
What do you believe is the biggest misconception people may have or not know about what it takes to be a professional dancer?
I believe a lot of people only see the glitz and glamour, bright lights, beautiful costumes, gorgeous makeup, and the overall amazing outcome of the show or performance. They forget these elements are only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many various components that go into all of the shows and performances. It involves an immeasurable amount of hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears. Honestly, we don’t sit around doing our hair and nails all day, then suddenly jump on stage and perfectly have it all together.
A lot of times, professional dancers can be looked at as replaceable or considered as the bottom of the barrel in this industry. Due to this we are constantly going hard and challenging ourselves. We are physically exuding an immense amount of energy but you have to be willing to put in the work. You also have to be determined, and super-strong with a high-level of thick skin. Sometimes, people often forget about the behind-the-scenes because they are only privy to the end results.
You started dancing with Beyoncé at a young age. What are a few key takeaways you have learned from working with the megastar for nearly a decade?
Let me tell you something, that woman is a hard worker. That is the exact reason why she is, who she is and where she is today. It is absolutely inspiring to be around her because I am constantly learning something new and absorbing a wealth of knowledge.
I personally love the fact that she is constantly challenging and pushing herself to greater heights. She [Beyoncé] never settles and never becomes complacent. As a result, the entire team surrounding her has to match her work ethic and willpower. Let’s be real, you can’t have one hard worker in your camp and everyone else is just chilling (laughs).
This is why she is continually making a difference, breaking barriers, and creating history and I definitely love being a part of it. Of course, I’ve always been a hard worker myself, as well as very determined, and dedicated. I have made several sacrifices to be in the position of where I am today, but ultimately that is what you have to do especially if you want to be on top. Being that I am able to experience and witness it [dedication, work ethic, strength, etc.] firsthand, it keeps me grounded to continue pushing forward, never give up, and only strive to work harder.
Professionally, what has been your favorite routine that you’ve ever performed and why?
Gosh, I don’t know because there are so many fun ones that I love performing. One of my absolute faves that I definitely love performing is Crazy in Love because it’s iconic and such a huge hit. The same applies to, Single Ladies. Literally when that song is played the entire crowd goes insane. Honestly speaking, there are so many fun and amazing dance routines I love to perform because we have the ability to channel many roles, characters, and a wide range of emotions. This is all part of the performing process and it is what makes everything beyond amazing.
Your favorite video you’ve danced in?
Of course, Single Ladies because it was life changing and a huge video, for our time. I’m also very, very proud and happy to be involved with the Heaven video. Not only did I have a chance to dance I also had the opportunity to be looked upon as an actor. All the while building many wonderful, fun, and incredible memories.
What is your personal definition of Flawless?
Gosh, well it’s funny because I totally feel as though the flawless term is being used to convey the message that we should love and accept our flaws and all. No one is completely perfect and in a sense, that is the meaning of the word “Flawless.” It has started to become associated with being completely perfect. The reality is, none of us are perfect. Each and every single one of us possesses flaws but loving and accepting our flaws is what truly makes us individually flawless.
With your hectic schedule, busy lifestyle, and no signs of slowing down, how does this affect your dating/personal life?
Well, it’s actually very hard, but luckily I have a boyfriend who also works within the industry and because of this he understands my hectic schedule. Not to mention, his schedule is all over the place too! Truth be told, it can definitely make or break any relationship, whether it is with your significant other, a close friend, or family member.
It’s extremely difficult to make plans or set a schedule because you never know when you are going to be free. Often times, you are on-call or just have to stay ready to possibly jump on a plane tomorrow, who knows! However, along this journey I have learned the importance of maintaining my relationships and to make time for the people who are important in my life. I will admit I have lost some of my relationships here and there throughout the years, but honestly that is just part of life. You will know who the real ones are because they will stick around, make time for each other, and thug it out (laughs).
Outside of Ashley Everett the dancer, please tell us something about Ashley the person that people may or may not know?
I’m a very fun, spontaneous, and outgoing person. I do not like to take life too seriously because in my opinion, life is too short. I would rather spend more of my time smiling and being happy about the big or small things that life has to offer instead of constantly being negative, stressed out or, beating myself up. Of course, this does not mean I am unprofessional or anything of that nature because I know when it’s time to be serious and handle business.
What are your favorite go-to snacks while on the road?
I mean, are you asking my favorites or just my go-to snacks (laughs). When you are touring it is very restricted because you can’t always have tuna tar tar, which by the way, I love! We don’t have the option of getting that [tuna tar tar]. When we are on tour we eat peanut butter and jelly, a cup of noodles, or hot pockets on the tour bus because salads and other similar foods will not last long and will go bad very fast. We try to bring in healthy snacks here and there, but our options are limited. It is hilarious when people ask, “wait, so this is what you guys eat on the road?!”
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