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  • Hey, it's Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business

  • and life you love.

  • You know, if you've ever been in a position where people have told you that you don't

  • have what it takes to go for your dreams, this episode is a must-watch.

  • Amanda LaCount is a professional hip-hop dancer, choreographer, actress, singer, model, influencer

  • and body positivity advocate whose videos have received over 70 million views.

  • Amanda has her own movement #BreakingTheStereotype, which promotes body positivity and the belief

  • that any body can be a dancer.

  • She's been on The Ellen Show, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, and alongside Meghan

  • Trainor on The Radio Disney Music Awards.

  • She has choreographed and danced for Ryan Blythe's “Raise a Glassmusic video,

  • appeared in Katy Perry's “Swish Swishmusic video and helmed her own national dance

  • tour Amanda LaCount Live.

  • Amanda, thank you so much for being here.

  • Yeah, of course.

  • I am very excited.

  • We are excited to have you.

  • Obviously, I stalked you for awhile on Instagram.

  • You are so inspiring.

  • I love your dancing and I loved our connection.

  • I'm thrilled that you're here.

  • I would love you to take us back to the beginning.

  • When did you start dancing?

  • I started dancing when I was two, so pretty much like my whole life I've been dancing.

  • Do you feel like...

  • When you look back, whether it's video or images, like did you just kind of pop out.

  • I remember when I was a kid I see old home videos of like spoons and like moving in my

  • diaper.

  • What that kind of like how you were?

  • I think, yes.

  • But, there's one picture I have, I think I was like a year and a half, like very little,

  • and I had big sunglasses on and I was like posing.

  • I look at that picture and I'm like, "Oh."

  • I didn't know I was going to be a dancer but I knew I was going to be a star, something

  • in the entertainment industry because I love being the center of attention, I guess, even

  • when I was a year old.

  • So, I read that part of what inspired you was seeing your sisters on stage?

  • Tell me about that.

  • So, I have six siblings, so big family.

  • My two older sisters they were into dancing.

  • I would always go to class with them but I wasn't dancing with them.

  • I'd be looking through the window and I would just be bouncing up and down.

  • My mom would see that.

  • I think she just realized that I really wanted to be in there with them.

  • She enrolled me in like the combo classes, the ballet, tap, jazz, and I've been taking

  • class ever since.

  • Yeah, so you knew it.

  • So you felt it.

  • Once you got in there it was like, "This is my life's passion."

  • Definitely.

  • So, I also read that one of your earliest teachers shared that you have this ability

  • to memorize choreography fast.

  • I'm so curious because, as I shared with you when we were DMing back and forth, I started

  • my dance journey...

  • I never took a class until I was 25 which, as you know, very, very late for the dance

  • world.

  • One of the things I used to beat myself up about was because I couldn't memorize choreography

  • fast.

  • I have a feeling it's very different for you.

  • Yeah.

  • It's not something you can kind of...

  • You can practice it but it's either like you have it or you really have to work on it.

  • Luckily for me I kind of have always just been really good at memorizing choreography.

  • One year, actually, I was maybe like 10 or 11, or maybe even younger, I had 17 numbers

  • in one show.

  • I memorized them so easily and that's when people were like, "Okay, that's like not normal.

  • I don't know how you're memorizing that much," because my sister who was in the same recital

  • was freaking out over having five routines.

  • I was like, "That's nothing.

  • That's nothing.”

  • She was like freaking out.

  • I've kind of always just always had that ability to memorize really quickly.

  • That's so cool.

  • So, when you're in a class is it almost like you see the teacher do the moves and it just

  • feels like it downloads like it's so...

  • Not quite like that.

  • I think what happens is...

  • I mean, after I do it like two or three times I have it, but really helps is when they play

  • the music, because then when I hear the music with the steps it just like connects and matches,

  • and now every time I hear the music I think of those steps.

  • Interesting.

  • So, it's not like I can forget the step if the song's playing.

  • It's weird.

  • Yeah.

  • Once I hear the steps with the music it like clicks.

  • Interesting.

  • Okay, so something happened quite significant when you were about 10.

  • Tell us what you experienced.

  • When I was about 10 years old this certain studio director in Colorado where I'm from

  • he begged me to come to his studio, like begged me because he had seen me perform at competitions

  • and stuff like that.

  • The dance world in Colorado is pretty small, so everyone knows each other.

  • We see each other all the time.

  • He begged me to come to his studio.

  • My mom and I were like, "Okay, we'll give him a chance."

  • Like why not.

  • I had an amazing year.

  • I won this, this, this, whatever.

  • It doesn't matter about that but I did really good that year.

  • He asked to have a meeting with my mom and I. I don't know about my mom, but personally

  • I thought it was going to be a check in type of meeting.

  • "Oh, you did this this year and this is where I see you going next year, and things like

  • that."

  • But, that was not the case, and he sat down with my mom and I and he goes, "Hey, I'm sorry

  • but Amanda's body type just doesn't fit my vision for my team," and kicked me off my

  • team.

  • Oh, off my team, and kicked me off his team.

  • I was...

  • People always ask me like how I felt in the moment and, yes, I was sad but I was more

  • like shocked that he even said that, that came out of his mouth.

  • I was like, "I did nothing to deserve this.

  • I worked so hard.

  • I did so good and he's kicking me off just because I don't have the right look, I guess,

  • to be a member of his team."

  • It was very hard to hear that, obviously, because that was kind of my first experience

  • of someone telling me that like my body isn't right for dance, like face-to-face.

  • It was really hard to hear that from someone that I kind of looked up to.

  • I was training with him for a whole year.

  • I mean we got pretty close, and to hear that from almost a friend was like, "Whoa."

  • Really devastating?

  • Yeah, definitely.

  • But, I left, obviously, and my mom encouraged me to keep going.

  • It was hard.

  • I wanted to stop at some point, stop dancing.

  • Close in, like was it close to that experience?

  • Do you feel like if you wanted to stop dancing it was because of that comment?

  • Yeah.

  • It was like if he thinks this then is everyone going to think this?

  • Is it even worth me investing my time and effort and all this if no one's going to give

  • me a chance?

  • It was like, "Do I try or should I try to find something else?"

  • Tell me about that exploration in yourself at 10 or 10-1/2.

  • How did you...

  • Because anyone of us, anyone watching, if someone said that, or something similar, to

  • you at that tender age about your dream, or even as an adult.

  • If you're in your 30s or your 40s or your 50s, and someone who you trust, who you've

  • worked with, comes in and has a comment like that, any one of us would understandably pull

  • back.

  • Yeah.

  • What turned it for you where you were like, "mm-mm"?

  • I think it turned from me being like devastated and feeling so down and bad and all that to

  • me feeling like confident.

  • I think it was just I realized...

  • There was like a switch in my brain that went from like, "Oh, my god, I'm terrible.

  • I should stop dancing," to "Oh wait, no he said that but I want to show him that I can

  • do it."

  • So I don't know what happened like in my head but just one day I think it just like clicked

  • for me and I realized, "Wait, I can't let him just like make me stop dancing.

  • This is what I love to do.

  • It's the only passion I've ever had."

  • So, it's like, "I can't just stop because one person that doesn't even matter said that."

  • Yes.

  • So you kept going.

  • You've also shared this.

  • You've said, "The media tells us that if you aren't skinny you aren't beautiful.

  • This is especially true in dance where the underlying stereotype that is to be a dancer

  • you must be tall and skinny and Caucasian."

  • You were told by many people, peers, parents of peers, dance teachers, studio owners, strangers,

  • even Richard Simmons, that you were too fat to be a dancer.

  • "But I am here and I've proved them wrong."

  • You're so dedicated.

  • You work so hard.

  • I think for any of us, no matter how much we believe in ourselves to consistently hear

  • hurtful words, it's tough.

  • How, at this stage you're at now, where you've had success, you're building your success,

  • you are such a role model.

  • How do you respond, whether it's in person or even on social media when people have hurtful

  • comments, or do you just move past them at this point?

  • Most of the time I don't answer, just because the reason they're doing that is for the attention,

  • so I try really hard no matter how bad it is not to answer.

  • But, every once in a while if I see something I'll comment back but not as like an attack

  • to them.

  • I'm never like mean and like, "Oh, my gosh, how dare you."

  • I never go that route.

  • If I do comment it's always a witty comment or like a funny comment.

  • So, for example, someone put, "Oh we all all no one's ever going to book her."

  • I was like, "You're right, only Katy Perry, Meghan Trainer and Ellen."

  • That's what I said.

  • I love comments like that because it's not like I'm attacking them or their character

  • or anything like it.

  • It's just like, "Well, you're kind of wrong."

  • It's just like, "Um, well..."

  • Factual, and you're responding through your own heart and through the hard work and the

  • success you're creating.

  • Yeah, so make sure you know your facts before you try to come for someone.

  • This is why I love you so much.

  • So, following your dreams no matter who you are takes tremendous dedication.

  • Tell me about when you guys were still living in Colorado and you and your mom would take

  • these 16 hour round trips to L.A. every weekend.

  • What were you doing and what was that for?

  • So, when I was about 12-13, I want to say, so two years after the incident with the one

  • guy happened, there was a dance crew called Latin Flava, and my mom was going through

  • Instagram and saw that.

  • She was like, "Oh, Amanda would be perfect for this."

  • I don't think she realized that...

  • Like this is weird but she sent the producer my videos and my resume that had nothing on

  • it, like nothing.

  • It was recital 2010.

  • I was like, "Oh my god."

  • That is not a resume.

  • I don't know how she had so much confidence but she sent in my stuff and was like, "Hey,

  • my daughter would be a great asset to your crew," or whatever.

  • This crew had some of the best kid dancers.

  • They had Kaycee Rice and Jordyn Jones and Lexee Smith.

  • These were all big kid dancers at the time.

  • Then she's sending me, like this nobody from a small town in Colorado.

  • I was like, "Okay, Mom, sure send it in.

  • Whatever."

  • But, the producer actually came back to us, and she messaged us and said, "Hey, I love

  • your daughter.

  • I would love for you guys to come out and rehearse and perform with us."

  • I was like, "Oh, my god."

  • Me and my mom I actually have a memory.

  • We were in the kitchen and we playedCelebrateand we were dancing and we were like, "Whoo,"

  • because we were just so excited that I get like an opportunity in L.A., because that's

  • a big deal.

  • But, the rehearsals were every weekend, and sometimes we had performances, too, every

  • weekend.

  • We would drive 16 hours each way, so 16 hours to California and then 16 hours back.

  • And, I was not home-schooled.

  • Many people think I was home-schooled.

  • I've never been home-schooled in my entire life, and I just graduated last year.

  • Wow.

  • I've always been in...

  • Well, I was in private school til sixth grade, but after that I was in public school the

  • rest of the way.

  • It was very hard trying to manage homework, and then dancer teams, and then practicing,

  • and then a social life...

  • A 16-hour each way commute.

  • It just speaks to your dedication, and it speaks to your passion, and also your beautiful

  • mom.

  • Yes, oh my god, she is so supportive.

  • She would like do anything just to get me on a stage for one performance.

  • She would do anything.

  • Well, she loves you so much and it's clear because you're so talented at what you do.

  • Let's talk about...

  • I also love...

  • Actually, I want to put on this for your mom for a minute.

  • I love that she said, "If you ever got a big head that she would take you right back home."

  • Yeah, she says that all the time because being in L.A. so many people get one big break and

  • they think like they're the best dancer to walk on the Earth.

  • I'm like, "Okay, where were you a year ago?"