As soon as i saw Lady Gaga and heard her voice 3 years ago...my heart skipped a beat...a light flickered inside of me. She was different, she was passionate, she was a freak. Immediately, i connected. Ever since that moment it was ALWAYS a dream of mine to work with this woman!!!! It was something i just HAD to do, something i HAD to experience. Sometimes when we dream, our dreams can actually fall short of what can really happen. A year and a half after my "introduction" to Gaga, something magical happened, something incredible, something that still excites me to this day. After working with Gaga's choreographer, Laurie Ann Gibson, on a project for another artist, i got a call booking me on Lady Gaga's infamous MTV VMA performance of "Paparazzi". Now to say i freaked out when i got the call is really doing the moment injustice. I burst into tears, ran up and down the street, called my mom screaming, bounced off the walls and bed in my room...i was in SHOCK!...my heart was racing!!!!! Could this really be happening!? AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
During rehearsals i still had to pinch myself...am i dreaming??? I was still in shock! Now the day she came to see the number and rehearse..i danced harder than i have EVER DANCED IN MY LIFE. I had my asthma inhaler on hand as a precaution...and while i didnt end up needing it, the moment literally took my breath away. It was surreal. I was dancing for Lady Gaga! HOLY MOLY!!!!! While the performance was a HUGE moment for me, unbeknownst to me it was actually just the beginning of my amazing journey with an artist that would touch my life.
The Monster Ball World Tour followed that performance, along with award shows and music videos...all with an artist i respected, admired, and appreciated. The journey was challenging and hard but beyond words in its amazement and fulfillment. I was always so inspired and in awe of the crowd she attracted. I always felt a connection with them. We all wore our freak flags proud. I was and continue to be beyond grateful for those experiences!
Last year, i left the tour to return to So You Think You Can Dance for Season 7 as an all star. Touring can be extremely tiring, so this was a nice break and a great challenge for me. I wanted to try new things and continue my growth as a person and as an artist. I got to work on some really fun projects after the TV show but felt like i was searching for something.
In January, i got a call to work on Gaga's new music video for a song entitled "Born this Way" It had been almost 8 months since working with her, so i was very excited. Now when i first heard the song, i did not dance, i literally stood there, tearing...shaking. In my eyes, this song was major, this song was full of love, this song had an incredible message...a message i believed in, a message i was touched by, a message i wanted to help spread. So much passion and love in her art and in her message. I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO inspired. After filming the music video, i did not sleep for 2 days. I was on this high. I felt challenged, inspired, passionate, ignited, refreshed. I began looking at things in my life. Really looking at what was important. Looking at where i wanted to go, what i wanted to do, what i was doing. I wanted to be a part of this "movement".
The thing i love about Gaga is that she is not just an artist, she is a leader. She is the "mother monster" to the "little monsters", she is the light for people that are in the dark, she is the voice for people who feel afraid to speak. She researches and fights for equality. She accepts us EXACTLY as we are and encourages us to do the same. Never once while working with her have i ever been told to be someone i'm not. And i thank Laurie Ann Gibson for this as well. For allowing us to be the artist and the people we are. To encourage us to find our inner superstar and shine. This can be hard to find in an industry that has a lot to do with physical appearance and status. I truly do feel at home when i am working with Gaga and Laurie Ann...i can be me.
While all this seems simple, its not. We are also in a world that is filled with judgement, criticism, and hate. We live in a world where people feel they need to take their lives because it is just too hard. They feel they cannot be themselves, they cannot be loved, and they cannot be accepted. These are difficult things to deal with on top of all the other challenges we face during our lives. I was very much affected by the numerous suicides that have been happening lately. It really struck a chord in me and saddened me. I was always different from the rest. People would tease me, call me names, and put me down. I knew how it was to feel extremely low. I knew how it was to feel completely alone. There was a period in my life when i questioned my existence too, a period that didnt seem to matter whether i was here or not.
To be given the opportunity and to be able to dance with an artist that promotes and spreads the message of love, acceptance, and equality is everything to me at this moment in my life. I want to be a part of this movement. I want teens, adults, aliens, and monsters to know there is a world of love and hope. Through everything, i think thats what it all comes down to...L.O.V.E. Loving each other and loving ourselves. This is why i am returning to the last leg of the Monster Ball World Tour. I want to encourage people that are just like me, that are different from me, that it is ok, actually its more than ok...Its amazing to be who we are. We are filled with so much love and power and uniqueness. Our own individual potential is so powerful and so unique that we ourselves are the only ones who can truly tap into it and shine.
Rejoice and love yourself today, cause baby, you were born this way!