The lovely CLAUDE RACINE is our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY this week and we are so pumped to share her story with you! Claude is bold, beautiful, intelligent, and brave, and there’s no stopping this powerful woman. She is an accomplished performer, teacher, and businesswoman, and she exudes confidence wherever she goes. Originally from Montreal, Canada, she has paved her own path and boldly chased down any dream she's desired. Claude is truly an inspiring light who spreads positive energy and who constantly encourages others to be passionate and stand in their truth.

Claude was on scholarship at the notable Edge Performing Arts Center in 2003, and she began her illustrious career soon after graduating from that program. She’s danced for Chris Brown, Erika Jayne, Carmen Electra, Toni Braxton, Tinashe, the Jonas Brothers, and Zendaya to name a few. She’s also worked on The Voice, Glee, and #RealityHigh and she is an original Las Vegas Pussycat Doll. Claude is actually one of the Dolls in their music video “Don’t Cha”! In addition, she’s started a choreography company called Cloah Movement with her fiance Noah Valinsky, and their credits include Will and Grace, Snoh Aalegra, Netflix, Hard Rock, and many more.

Claude has also found a passion for teaching, and she thoroughly enjoys sharing her love for dance with others. She has a heels class every Thursday night at Edge Performing Arts Center, and she teaches her students how to explore emotion and expression through their movement. She encourages others to be fearless and confident, and she instills strength in everyone who comes into her class. Claude is a freaking rock star, and she’s a badass woman who isn’t afraid to go after her goals wholeheartedly. She’s got a fiery soul and we absolutely adore her ambitious spirit! We can’t wait to see what else is in store for Claude because we know it’s nothing but bright and abundant. Much love and gratitude to you Claude for taking time to chat with us!

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Girl, you exude confidence and feminine power on the daily! What do you think it means to be a strong and powerful woman?  

Being a strong and powerful woman, to me, means a woman who knows who she is and knows what she wants. Self-determined and confident in each step she takes. She knows how to be a leader but also knows how to follow and allows and helps others shine their brightest. She's comfortable with being vulnerable and accepts her "flaws". A powerful woman knows not only how to love, but also how to be loved. She loves herself first and confronts every situation with integrity and self-respect. A strong and powerful woman is fearless. 

What do you feel is your greatest strength? How has that strength helped you on your journey?

My greatest strength is, and always has been, my ability to be myself. I've always known who I am, what makes my heart smile and what doesn't, and no matter how much adversity I faced, I always unapologetically followed it. There are so many stereotypes and societal agreements on how a woman should look, behave, sound, move, dress, talk, etc., and I have always given zero fucks about all of it! My main purpose in class is to free my students of the things that hold them back from truly being themselves and fully experiencing life as they feel. To release them of the fear and teachings that keep all their YUMMINESS hidden away. There are emotions and characteristics that are a part of each of us that we have been taught to suppress and my goal is to show that it is ok to unscrew the lid and let that shit out! Be angry, be soft, be hard, be sad, be happy, be graceful, be aggressive, be shy, be unreserved, be crass, be sweet, be lady like, be slutty, let it all at out, keep it all in, MAKE YOUR OWN RULES about how you walk through life. If you do everything with self-respect and love first, and you always know exactly what you're doing and why, you're free. And freedom from all that squishes us under this made up umbrella, is what will allow us to shine and REDEFINE what WOMAN is!

Why do you think it’s important for women to use their voices? Can you think of a time where you felt it was absolutely necessary for you to stand up and speak your mind?

I think it's important for women to use their voices because each new voice that is heard brings us more light! We need more and more women every day to set a new pace for us and lead by example. The strength in us is already there, sometimes we just need someone to show us, someone to help us find it. And I believe once you have found it, it is important to help other women find it. So use your voice in whatever avenue that is and help women rise up and love themselves and get to know their true capabilities.

There is one time I can remember when I was on a job with all women and our “boss” (who happens to be a man) was treating us all with disrespect. He came in to our dressing room before the show and started cursing at us and making unnecessary threats.  I had had enough of it as he had been treating us this way for two months and most of us were on 1 year contracts! So, I gathered the ladies and insisted we walk out. They agreed and out we marched! He came running after us and I explained why we left and what would be required for us to come back. I couldn’t bear the condescending remarks and the expectations he had over something he knew nothing about. I spoke up and demanded respect and we got it!!

Where do you find inspiration? 

I find inspiration in women and men all around me. I find it in music. I find it in my soulmate, Noah. I listen and look for truth. True emotion, true feeling, true expression. One of my biggest inspirations, believe or not, is food!!!!! Food can make you feel so many things and I use it as analogies in my class all the time!! #BEYUMMY #FINDYOURYUMMINESS

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A girl who knows who she is and isn't afraid to be her under any circumstances! She leads by example and walks a life based in staying true to HERSELF!