We could hardly wait to introduce you to the lovely and ever so sweet Jennie Pappas as our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY this week! Jennie is truly a special soul and her heart-warming presence always fills the room with joy and laughter. A born dancer, Jennie strongly believes in spending time figuring out what it is you really enjoy doing and pursuing that without hesitation. We are so grateful to have strong and confident women like Jennie who encourage girls to embrace how special they are! What makes Jennie so inspiring is her can-do attitude and determination… there is absolutely nothing that could ever hold this girl back.

A professional dancer, teacher and choreographer, this incredible woman spends most if not all of her days dancing. You might recognize this superstar from the Family Channel’s The Next Step where she played the character of Chloe. She was also an assistant to esteemed choreographers Mia Michaels and Stacey Tookey on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Currently, Jennie is a faculty member with OnTheFloor: The Ultimate Dance Experience, an amazing event that has also allowed her to participate in many fundraisers supporting Child Life at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. Additionally, Jennie is a Manager at Millennium Dance Complex Toronto.

Jennie encourages us to dig deep and follow what really speaks to us. We admire how beautifully she demonstrates what it means to have courage in a world that often tells us to be a certain way. This girl has found fulfillment in creating her own path and has grown into a self-assured woman as a result of any hardships along the way. She absolutely embodies what YGTG is all about: women helping other women recognize their endless potential and unparalleled strength. Thank you Jennie for reminding us that at the end of the day all that matters is that we fight to stay true to who we are.

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? What have you gained from facing challenges?

The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is to do what makes you happy. For several years, I found myself trying so hard to please everyone. Especially after working in TV, tons of people had opinions and advice on what I should be doing, the classes I should be taking and where I should be working. It left me in a sort of limbo and I wasn’t even sure what my own path and vision was anymore. There was a point where I was so unmotivated and uninspired, that I felt like I had lost a part of me. I felt so exhausted and empty because I was trying to do what other people thought was best for me. Once I sat down with myself and really narrowed down my passion, I was finally able to start working towards goals that excited me. I realized most importantly, that I needed to do things that fulfilled me, things that I’m excited to work on when I wake up in the morning.

Tell us about how it felt when you booked your first dream job?

Booking my dream job was a whirlwind! I still look back and think that maybe it was all a dream and I’m going to wake up one day. At the time, I was 17 years old, fresh out of high school. I had taken a year off to get the competitive dance “bug” out of my system. I had dreamed of booking a dance job, something where I could be sharing what I absolutely love to do with others. I wasn’t exactly sure in what capacity that would be, but I hustled to try and nail something down. It was all I wanted! 

When the auditions for Family Channel’s The Next Step first popped up on my radar, I was skeptical. Was I auditioning for a reality TV series? I wasn’t sure if that was really the path I wanted to go down. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go out and audition; at least I would get some of my questions answered. Once I stepped foot into the audition room and began dancing, I remember feeling like I had killed the dance portion. They began to start asking me questions, like “When did you start dancing?” and “What’s your favourite style of dance?” I felt so confident and comfortable in front of the panel. They were able to get emotions and energy out of me that I had never tapped into before – it was insane (in the best way!). Several months went by after the initial audition day. I was in Buffalo, NY at a dance competition when I got the call. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, all I knew was that they believed in me and they wanted me as a part of this new project (Oh and also that I was named Chloe - that’s it!). It wasn’t until my first day on set that I realized this was WAY bigger than I had anticipated. Since then it’s been a crazy, exciting and fun rollercoaster! 

Why do you think the world needs females to be empowered right now? What do you think women have to offer to the world?

I think the world needs females to feel empowered because we can do ANYTHING. We live in a world where we are always being torn down, whether it’s our body, our job, or anything else. It’s up to us to help build each other up! We are invincible, and imagine if we actually, truly believed it? Imagine if we were able to use all the strength and power we had without worrying what the world thinks? We can and will do anything. That’s what we have to offer the world. The possibilities are ENDLESS! 

If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I absolutely LOVE this question. I think I would tell myself to listen to your heart. There will be people in your life who think they know what’s best for you, but if you listen to heart, you’ll find your way. I was the kid who wanted to please everyone. I thought that by taking their advice and opinions, I was doing the right thing and they would be happy with me. I started to realize that what works for 99% of people, might not work for me. And that’s totally okay! I’m happy to be that 1% that is following my heart! 

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

My definition of a YGTGirl is someone who exudes passion and determination. As I said, women are seriously invincible! A YGTGirl is someone who can tap into that powerfulness and not care what other people think. She supports and encourages the women around her.