This Friday, we have the pleasure of introducing an amazing lady and dear friend AGLAE KOUNKOU as this week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY! This beautiful woman hails from Montreal, Quebec, and she’s well-known in the dance industry for her work ethic, drive, talent, and passion. She is a strong force of nature whenever she dances, and she truly commands the stage every time she performs. Aglae also has a kind and giving heart, and she always tries to make the people around her feel loved. Her unique spirit and bright energy are absolutely infectious, and she’s a shining example of a woman who’s inspiring, captivating, and unapologetically herself.

Aglae has experienced much success as a performer since moving to Los Angeles, and she’s worked with Katy Perry, Hilary Duff, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Nicki Minaj. She's also travelled the world and performed on Chris Brown’s “One Hell of a Night” tour, Drake’s “Boy Meets World” tour, Selena Gomez’s “Revival” tour, and J Soul Brothers’ “Unknown Metropoliz” tour in Japan. Clearly Aglae's incredible artistry and talent as a dancer has been recognized by people all around the world, and it is truly amazing to watch her perform!

On top of Aglae’s incredible resume as a dancer, she’s recently explored a few new paths, too. She's felt her huge love for music and she bravely followed her intuition to pursue DJing by signing herself up for classes in Los Angeles. As she explored this craft, she realized how empowering it felt to expand your knowledge on something you love and to dive head first into something new. In addition, she’s also discovered a deep passion for helping the women in Congo who suffer from extreme sexual abuse. We love that she’s connected with this deep need to help and serve others, and that she fearlessly listens to her heart and follows it. Living with passion is something Aglae does easily, and it’s so incredible to watch this woman bloom into a powerful and kind-hearted human. Thank you Aglae for being such a badass and for answering these questions! We love ya!

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

We love that you’re exploring new avenues and are pursuing a career as a badass DJ! Tell us about that process and how it feels to explore a new passion. Was there fear involved with stepping into a brand-new world?

There was definitely fear involved when I first started to DJ. Music has been a passion of mine for so long but I’ve been mainly focused on my dance career. Now that I have accomplished a lot of what I wanted to do in the dance industry I thought it would be great to challenge myself to try something totally different. I started last year so it’s still fresh and still feels like I’m walking on egg shells, but the thrill I get when I mix is as satisfying as being on stage!

When was a time where you felt insecure and unconfident? We all have times where we feel down about ourselves, so we’d love to hear how you push through those moments. What did you do to lift yourself back up?

There were and still are many times when I feel insecure/unconfident. What helps me go through those tough times is to first and foremost love myself unconditionally then secondly, to accept myself for who I am. It’s so simple but it really works for me! Growing up, I always felt like this was one of my biggest issues. With time, I’ve learned to be ok with the person I’ve become. It’s a daily challenge and a lot of times it’s tough but the minute I remind myself of how far I’ve come and how proud I should be, then those feelings fly away and I go on with my day.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a woman?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a woman is to not feel as though I can’t do certain things BECAUSE I’m a woman. For example, going into the DJ world knowing that it’s a male-dominated area. I remember being in my DJ classes and being one of the only girls there, and I was really intimidated by it. I still went to all my classes and I didn’t let it affect me at all. In the end, I was so proud of myself for graduating while being a minority.

Growing up, I definitely felt like there were some jobs that were only for men and that I couldn’t do those jobs because I was a woman. No one told me that I could achieve anything I wanted and that my gender would not be an issue. Today, I want to share that with other girls and let them know that whether you want to be a dope ass DJ or the smartest scientist, well, nothing can stop you from that, and certainly not your gender.

Tell us about your desire to help the suffering women in Congo. How has this will to help changed you in other areas of your life?

I turned 25 this year and I do feel like I’ve accomplished a lot of my dance goals. And so, with this came the feeling of wanting to do more for myself but most importantly for others. Leave a mark. Do something more meaningful for the world I live in. I wanted to use the platform that I have as an artist to bring awareness to what’s happening in the world that most of us don’t really know about. That’s how I started to work on a project, with my best friend, to help women suffering from sexual assault in the Republic Democratic of Congo. 

This project has opened my eyes in so many ways and the first one is to never take anything for granted. We are so incredibly lucky to live the life that we live in free and democratic societies. When you get to see and understand what those women are going through every single day, it’s barely impossible to not feel as though we are very fortunate in the Western world. I’ve learned to be stronger, to stand up for what I want, to speak up, to never be a spectator of horror and most importantly to fight for those who can’t.

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

When I think of a YGTGirl, I think of every women’s friend. She’s all around us and within us. She’s strong, powerful and incredibly talented. She might not be perfect, but she loves herself for who she is. She has big dreams and wants to change the world and be different. She wants to be a voice and inspire others. She has her ups and downs like everyone else and she can kick ass when needed. She’s not afraid to speak up and tell others like it is. She’s the cool girl, she’s the nerdy girl, she’s the sporty girl…. she’s a woman.