This week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY is the inspiring Jasmine Rafael! Coming from a musical family, Jasmine has always loved to perform. This passionate girl knew more than anything that she just had to keep performing and dancing! Today, Jasmine strives to cultivate a sense of community in her own classes. She continues to create a space in which her students can take risks and express their true selves in a safe environment. She believes that class is a sacred place where we can connect to one another, release emotions and become inspired.

When Jasmine first moved out to LA, she worked incredibly hard until she made the cast for Monsters of Hip Hop. The following year, she was given the opportunity to choreograph for the show! Dancing is Jasmine’s biggest love, however, choreographing and teaching are also other ways she loves working in the industry. Jasmine has been teaching at Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles for four years too, and you can catch her teaching Contemporary Hip Hop Fusion every Sunday at 1:30 p.m. This talented girl is represented by Go 2 Talent Agency, and some of her dance credits include Nicki Minaj, Tori Kelly, Jojo Siwa, Ty Dolla Sign, Nickelodeon, and MTV. She’s had the privilege of choreographing for ESPN, Comedy Central, as well as a film called “Summer Forever” where she was the lead choreographer. Most recently, Jasmine was the assistant choreographer for Jojo Siwa’s performance at the Kids Choice Awards. What we love most about Jasmine is how she is always taking on new artistic challenges. This year she is involved in the #50DanceProject, which consists of 50 collaborative dances, choreographed and improvised, with 50 different people! And that’s not all… Jasmine is co-creating an improv group, which she is excited to introduce in July. What a superstar!

We love how Jasmine continues to spread joy and positivity through her journey with dance. In a world that can often feel disconnected, Jasmine reminds us that we are all here for one another and that we all belong to each other. So, what keeps this powerhouse girl moving forward? The three key principles in Jasmine’s life are courage, patience and imagination. She is a beautiful spirit driven with the purpose to love and to serve. We admire how Jasmine always finds the silver lining in tough situations, and she reassures us that growth comes from believing in yourself and tackling the hard stuff head on. Thank you Jasmine for showing us how to find and share joy in everything we do. You are a STAR!

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

You are just bursting with so much positive and joyful energy! It’s truly inspiring. How do you keep your vibes high on a daily basis?

Thank you so much! Joy is actually literally my middle name! Man…daily is definitely a key word. Daily practice is necessary in my life to keep my vibes at a high frequency, and stay focused on the amazing things in life. I take time formyself every morning, whether it is praying, meditating, journaling, or gratitude walk. I’ll do this to ground myself, and also visualize my goals for the future. I also make sure I talk to a loved one every day, just to connect and contribute to meaningful relationships and to the communities I am apart of. Physical well-being is extremely important, and so I am active everyday, training and caring for my body. Finally, like many women I admire, I create every single day, in some way. Whether it is through my art, which is dance– or creating opportunities to connect, collaborate, and be inspired. I believe that living creatively has actually saved my life…I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety in my life and creating has been a way for me find healing, grace, and even gratitude, for everything that has happened. All of this leads to my joy! Also, a smile goes a long way. Smiling is my favorite. :)

When you’re confronted with an obstacle, what do you tell yourself? How do you push through that?

The obstacle is the way. My mom always told me to not run away from my problems, and through life’s ups and downs, I’ve found that to be good advice for growth and development, though it seems almost counterintuitive. To not run away from it is very hard sometimes, but the obstacle always has something to teach you. I remind myself that I am strong, that I am capable of absolutely anything, that I am loved, and that I have gone through so much. What also helps me pushthrough is remembering that my purpose is to spread love and joy, and I can’t do that if I just give up.

What do you think is the most important thing for young girls to hear right now? What advice would you give to them?

I would talk to young girls about the importance of self-love. I would tell them how important it is to cultivate love and respect for yourself, to be able to look in the mirror and say, “I am beautiful. I am important. I am a vital part of this Universe, and I am connected to every single being out there.” Others can, and will, help us see the good in ourselves, but until we fully accept how amazing we are, the story is incomplete. You deserve happiness! Find what you love, and do that. Surround yourself with people that love you for you.

Share with us a part of you that you’re working to improve. How are you currently bettering yourself to grow into an even more badass femme?

I am still working on many things, every single day! But currently in my life, I am continuing to work on balance. Balance between work and rest has been difficult, especially with my passion being connected to my artistry, whichthen in turn, is directly connected to how I make a living. Grinding myself to the ground is almost completely acceptable, sinceit is already what I love to do. But what can sometimes happens then, is that I work too much, and then am forced to rest as a necessary way to recover, instead of finding that daily balance. It will never be perfect, but as a (sometimes overly) passionate person, I know that balance is a quality that redeems my true self.

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A YGTGirl is a girl who creates a positive life for herself, and for those she encounters. She is generous, confident, strong, and the hard times make her even stronger. She is opportunity focused, and is unapologetically her unique self.