This week we have the incredibly talented and ever so special Amanda-May Wilson as our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY! Amanda is a professional dancer and aspiring choreographer, born and raised in Toronto, Canada. As a naturally gifted dancer and born performer, you can’t help but become enthralled by Amanda when she is in her element! With a unique movement quality and effortless style, Amanda’s aptitude for dance is a true gift. What we admire most about Amanda is how she organically blossomed into the dancer she is today by following her intuition. No matter the circumstances she faced, she continued to feel guided by her deep connection to the art form and pursued her dreams with unrelenting faith and perseverance.

Having been self-taught for many years, Amanda began her formal dance training at 14 years old. She began to study hip-hop, jazz, contemporary and musical theatre through several collectives, companies and troupes. As her training progressed, she had the privilege of dancing with THE PULSE On Tour's Elite Protégé Scholarship Program and The Monsters of Hip Hop Show, as well as working with global industry heavy-hitters such as Brian Friedman, Gil Duldulao, JaQuel Knight and Parris Goebel. You can catch this superstar onscreen in Full Out (Family Channel/Netflix), Heartbeats (Myriad Pictures/Das Films), Disney's Zombies (Disney) and The Next Step (Family Channel/Disney). Not to mention, Amanda has had the opportunity to work with world-renowned brands such as Nike and Roots and revered artists such as Deborah Cox and Janet Jackson! Amanda’s choreographic work can be seen in Make It Pop (Nickelodeon), Firefly (TIFF), Utopia Falls (Hulu) and Black Bodies directed by Kelly Fyffe-Marshall.

Needless to say… Amanda is a queen! What makes this girl so badass is her fearlessness to be herself. Sometimes being real means being brave and Amanda is always up for that challenge. She has proven that when you have a strong sense of who you are, nothing and no one can get in your way. More importantly, she reminds us that a strong woman will always empower other women to be strong. She encourages all of us to be the writers of our own stories, and to ensure we set the right example for the future generation of women by allowing ourselves to be seen and be heard. Thank you Amanda for showing us that our destiny has been designed in the stars!

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

We love watching you dance! Can you tell us about your journey as a professional dancer and how you discovered that this was the path meant for you?

My relationship with dance blossomed unexpectedly. I grew up surrounded by music, but dance didn’t truly settle with me until I was about 14. The thought of doing it professionally didn’t even cross my mind until I was almost 18. I always felt like I was steps behind, but what kept me exploring was a never ending curiosity, and a growing passion for being my best self. No matter what setbacks I faced, financially, physically, or emotionally, dance continued to invigorate me more than anything, and that’s how I knew I was falling in love with it. 

What does having confidence mean to you? How did you learn to cultivate your own self-confidence?

Confidence is ownership. The acceptance of self and circumstances, within and outside, of your control. It is the commitment to honour your integrity regardless. I’ve been through some life, and the lesson would always resurface. After God, my greatest salvation is my rawest self, and that is always more than enough.

Why is it important for women to be seen in positions of power and influence? 

I think it’s crucial for women to freely drive their own narratives. In positions of power, we can always make sure that what is important to us is considered & that safe spaces continue to exist for us to cultivate success with absolute freedom from prehistoric societal standards. When our voices are heard, we are telling generations of girls that they have the power to lead in whatever setting they choose. Our representation is absolutely necessary for change and growth in our society as a whole. 

What challenges have you encountered simply because you are a woman? How did you handle the situation and what did you learn about yourself in the process?

I’ve been undermined & underestimated more times than I haven’t. Being a woman of colour especially, I am often devalued before my abilities are fairly assessed. I have to work twice as hard to get halfway through the door, and that’s if I’m going to even be given the opportunity to approach the door. Through many unfortunate situations, I’ve been forced to create my own opportunities for success. I’ve learned to be resilient in my beliefs, and patient with this process. To appreciate the journey, and remind myself that what is destined to be mine, is already mine. God has it all pre-orchestrated, so I can always choose my peace and worth over doubt.

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A YGTGirl is a powerhouse of a woman. Fearless, passionate, rooted and true to herself. The only way to be.