The wonderful Natalie Gilmore is this week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY! This lovely lady has inspired so many people in her career thus far, and she continues to positively affect numerous artists around the world! She has an infectious energy of compassion, and she is the perfect example of how rewarding it is to keep pushing and fighting for the dreams you are so passionate about. She has a heart of gold and she’s never afraid to share it with the world!

Natalie has worked and trained with some of LA’s finest choreographers including Marty Kudelka, Aakomon “AJ” Jones, Mandy Moore, and Rich + Tone Talauega, and she has appeared on season 7 of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew as a member of Fanny Pak crew. You may have spotted her sharing the stage with artists like Jason Derulo, Joe Jonas, and Avril Lavigne, too. This kick ass woman has also recently returned from touring with Justin Timberlake on the 20/20 Experience World Tour. In addition to all her incredible work as a performer, we admire how dedicated Natalie is to her role as a teacher and mentor. Through sharing her love for dance and constantly training in her craft, she is guiding so many students on the right path.

We absolutely love how Natalie keeps it real and honest for our YGTGirls in this interview. This industry is not easy and she has some great words of encouragement for us all. Thank you for opening up to us and for being such a great source of inspiration, Natalie! We love you!

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

You moved to LA in 2005 to pursue your dance career and you have had incredible success... dancing with Justin Timberlake for example! What would you say was the biggest lesson you learned in your first few years of navigating through this city and this industry?

MAKE SURE YOU READ ALL THE PARKING SIGNS BEFORE YOU PARK THERE! I'm half kidding half serious haha! I have paid lots of money for not reading the sign completely.

But on a more serious note, I've learned that comparison is the only thing standing in the way of your happiness out here. And let me tell you there is a lot of it floating around in the dance world. You will be auditioning for jobs with other women that have your same "look" or ethnicity and the choreographer or casting director will have to compare you guys and choose which one he does or doesn't find right for the job. Even though I have always tried to keep that part of it not personal... sometimes when you are invested and really want a particular job all of that can sting quite a bit. Just remember that you are you and that is your power. You have to be resilient and bounce back quickly (or try to at least.) The right job for YOU will come when it's supposed to and in the meantime there's no use in comparing because we are all so unique and brilliant. 

I didn't always have a grip on this topic, but I feel I do now more than ever. I grow and shift every day striving for a better me, and those are some of the things I like to remind myself about daily. 

You are so unique and SUCH a joy to watch move. How have you learned to embrace YOU? Does it come naturally or is that something that you've worked on?

Going off of my last answer, I would say I have really learned to embrace all that is me over the years. It definitely didn't happen all at once and I most definitely still have crossroads with myself at times. But, every day I remind myself that there is only one ME and that I have a unique combination of qualities and likes from anyone else. I am enough just the way that I am. That to me is like giving myself a big hug and knowing that no matter what I always get to be me. Find the things that make your heart sing and do them often. Make time for yourself and your heart always. 

Who are some woman that inspire you and your work?

Teresa Espinosa on the Janet Jackson Velvet Rope tour DVD was one of my first HUGE hip hop/ freestyle influences. I felt her dancing from her heart when they announced her name. Till this day she is one of my favorites to watch and I've learned is someone who is an activist for dancers rights. She is a huge inspiration. 

I've had the pleasure of working closely with Lindsay Blaufarb multiple times in my career and she has taught me so much about the industry and just life in general. She's been a huge influence on my evolution as a dancer. 

I have to say THE BEATFREAKS! This group of extraordinary women embody strength and discipline ranging in various styles and not to mention they have been real friends for over a decade, now watching each other go into motherhood and new phases of life they're loyalty and friendships are truly motivating and inspiring. 

Tessandra Chavez was one of the first women to take me under her wing and train me out here in LA. She taught me discipline, detail and excellence. I am forever grateful that she saw my potential and invested in it. 

Candace Brown is a dear friend of mine and one of my biggest supporters while growing into my own. She exudes happiness when she dances and her choreography sits in my soul a way not many others ever have.

Sienna Lyons is also one of my best friends but she is my Sasha Fierce alter ego. :D She is educated in many styles of dance and it serves her in every angle of her career. She inspires me as a friend and also a professional.

What do you consider the greatest challenge females face and what do you believe we can do to overcome that? 

My topic of choice is a bit narrowed into the dance world, but I am passionate about it and would like to continue to shed light on it. In the "dance convention world" which is where I spent most of my growing years, I have found that a majority of dance conventions (8 out of 10  of the more popular ones) are male heavy in their faculty. I know the student/studio owner count is most often female dominant. I don't want to sound like I'm discrediting male teachers in any way, because I too had many amazing male mentors growing up. But what I do know is that just like young boys need male energy to develop that side of them, young women need to see and hear other women shouting from the rooftops about how awesome it is to be female, too. Currently what is cute and sassy in this day and age is also sexualization of the youngest kids with provocative choreography, costumes, and musical content just to get a high score. I could go on and on about this topic but the long short is that I think we need more women in the business who are wanting to give back to those younger generations with a different perspective on what can be cute, sassy, passionate, and womanly.  

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A girl who works on loving herself and embracing her light each day no matter what the outside world may throw her way. 

A girl who stays focused on love and positivity to uplift herself and in turn those around her in preparation to take over THE WORLD! <3