Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Born This Way...

I've always had an inner battle within myself. A battle of accepting, understanding, and truly loving myself. A battle against beliefs, religion, and society. While the battle and struggle is constant, today i feel more inspired and more encouraged than ever before.

As soon as i saw Lady Gaga and heard her voice 3 years 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! heart was racing!!!!! Could this really be happening!? AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

During rehearsals i still had to pinch 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!



  1. Mark, You are BRILLIANT! I am soo glad that your dreams are coming true, especially with a person as remarkable and amazing as Lady Gaga. Thank you for this blog. It made my year so far. :)


  2. this is truly beautiful
    your words and perspective on life really touched me
    keep up all your amazing work, mark!
    i've been a fan since the beginning

  3. when i see you dance, i am truly inspired by your passion and dedication. this blog is so beautiful. proud of you, kid. here's to dreaming big, and realizing that you weren't dreaming big enough!! cheers!

  4. In a way Mark, I can relate, yet on a COMPLETELY different level. My entire life i've searched for what I want to make of myself. I know i'm meant to change the world somehow, and not just helping old ladies cross the road. I'm meant to do something big. 22 years later and I have FINALLY realized what I want. No longer am I following in the footsteps of my peers. No longer am I turning to others to ask "what do I want". I am here to help save the elephant population. In a way, i've always known it but now it's actually starting. I've got a volunteer job at the zoo in Houston, TX and in about 5 years i'll be headed to thailand to start the fight for elephant survival. And, like Gaga, i'm using my passion, my love, and my beliefs in humanity to help spread the word. So hopefully one day, with my help, everyone will know how much elephants need our help, and they'll be saved :)

  5. Thank you for being the movement, and for supporting the love evolution. You are an inspiration. :)
    Your proud supporter from Nova Scotia Canada,
    Keep Smiling!

  6. Mark this is amazing. I love these words. Truly inspirational.
    We were Born This Way and born to survive!

  7. Mark, you're amazing, Gaga's amazing, and this blog made my day. You, her dancers, and the mother monster herself are all so inspiring. People like you give me hope to achieve who I wanna be in life. And I thank you for that.

    Much love xx

  8. Mark, I feel the same. aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!
    Thank you for writing this, it's beautiful and I agree with every single word.
    I'm so happy that you're gonna be on tour again :') Goodluck!

    I love you. xx

  9. Welcome baaaaaack!!! I missed your blogging :) Thank you for the beautiful and inspiring words. No matter how often I tell myself that I am exactly who I want to be and don't care what people think, I am always reminded that I "behave" a LOT more often than I like to admit. Your words really touched me tonight, I'm going to read them again and again to remind me to keep my freak flag flying with NO exceptions. Love you!

  10. Mark, you inspired me more now than ever before. I've been a fan of you since SYTYCD and followed you in concerts and award shows. Your blog brought tears to my eyes, tears of happiness, tears of acceptance, tears of freedom. Continue your amazing journey as i will with mine. You are such an inspiration to many who are born this way!

  11. One word: Beautiful

  12. hi mark,

    i love your attitude, your values, your confidence. it's so wonderful that you have evolved into someone that can accept themselves and furthermore promote acceptance and equality amongst other. though i'm still trying to come to terms with myself i absolutely share you're views. i want you to realize that people like yourself and gaga impact the lives of some many people. and we thank you for that. for the courage and inspiration you guys give us.


  13. Mark, I nearly shed tears reading this blog. I almost screamed when I saw your tweet mention your return to touring with Gaga. I hope one day to see your talent (as well as Gaga's and the other amazing dancers) with my own eyes when The Monster Ball comes to the UK again.

    What you say here, it touched me so much and I found myself nodding in agreement with your reflective words. You inspire me a lot and I really fell in love with you when you were an allstar on SYTYCD (I'm a latecomer to the series as you can see but I did dedicate some time to watch season 4 - yay for internet)

  14. You are truly an artist mark. You just don't only dance, like dancing is the easiest thing in the world, but you are also a writer, an artist who can move us just by the power of words.
    Thank You Mark
    Brice from France

  15. Hey Mark (: I'm such a big fan of yours and its always exciting to watch you dancing, be it for an artist or for yourself. (: Coming from someone whom I think is the LUCKIEST person on earth (to be dancing for Gaga, Katy Perry and SYTYCD), your words are very inspiring and very humbling as well! There's so much honesty coming from your writing and I just want to tell you how AMAZING you are in every way! I've always felt like there's something holding me back, like I always have to conform myself to society's conventions. Then I realise that the only thing that's holding me back is myself. THANK YOU MARK, for everything. (:
    I'll always be supporting you from the other side of the world :D :D

    Love, GADIS M. A.

  16. Super cool. Even though you don't know us we feel connected. We were watching the Grammys in Japan going..."There's Mark!" like we were your relatives or something. We are happy for you and it's cool that it is something deeper than just a job for you. Aloha from your fans in Japan!

    Greg and Ken
    Tokyo, Japan

  17. Seriously, you blew me away. your writing is beautiful, just like you. :) sooooooo excited for you ... much love!!

  18. You say so much with your dancing, but I love to hear you say it out loud in writing as well. You were born this way, and I'm so glad you were, because you are beautiful in every way.

    <3 Diana

  19. As one who loves words, I've always loved your writing, and this is just...ugh...*chest clutch* Thank you for sharing! You are so unique that people are just drawn to you. It hurts me to think that you would not always have known how special you are! As one who could only be described as "normal," which feels boring sometimes, I appreciate your accepting everyone--even those of us whose freak flag might be a tad undersized. I've always prayed for you and will continue to do so on your new journey. God loves you just the way you are, and so do I!


  20. I just love what you wrote veryyyyy much :)!

  21. Great, you made me cry!!! WOW!! Through your dance and your words, you are an inspiration to the "freaks" in this world. You are one A-MAZING person Mark. Thank you for being you!!! Love you!!

  22. That was absolutely beautiful Mark! Us as your fans are truly inspired by you and love you for exactly who you are. You have always been a shinning light and it shines even brighter when you are with Gaga so I am so excited to hear you are returning to the tour. Watching Gaga on the Grammys the moment I saw you I literally screamed. I was so happy to get to see you dance but on top of that to see you dance with Gaga was just such a joy for me! Thank you for being you and being an inspiration to so many! Love you so much!


  24. Don't know you personally but I feel so freakin' proud of you! So thrilled you've been so successful in your profession! Any time you're going to be on tv, I watch. Just for that few minutes of pointing, "Mark!"

  25. What a beautiful message, Mark. I've followed you since your first season on SYTYCD. I was so impressed with your dancing and spirit. It was truly inspiring. After the show I noticed you here and there dancing in performances for various artists. You were amazing and I was so happy to see you get those opportunities. I recall seeing you perform Paparazzi with Gaga on the VMAs and literally jumped out of my seat with joy. That performance was EPIC and I was so proud to see you part of that moment.

    I saw The Monsters Ball show in LA in Dec 2009. It changed my life. And seeing you perform with her on stage made it even more satisfying. So to hear you're going to rejoin her on the last leg of the tour fills me with so much happiness because I'll get to see you perform with her again in San Diego!

    Congratulations to you, Mark. You have such a beautiful spirit and exquisite talent. I wish for you nothing but love and fulfillment in all of your future endeavorers.

  26. Loved reading this, know that you are an inspiration to many of the lives you have touched as well...we are better for having you in the world! LAHV you, Brandy

  27. Very Inspiring & well written blog, enjoyed every part of this blog!

    Your second last paragraph is really touching and really sums up the challenges you come across in this world that we live in. Society is very cruel, there is nothing we can do but to fight back every possible moment.

    Ive been a fan of yours after watching your performances on SYTYCD, most favorite and memorable piece would be the routing you did to the song the garden choregraphed by sonja. Just loved it and your quirkiness!!

    You did an amazing job for Born this way at the grammys !Looked really good!Cant wait to see more of your performances.

    Dont ever change.


  28. You have evolved from that little kid standing on a rock with open arms by the sea (the picture in your momma's pink shirt in Tampa ;D) To this AMAZING, INSPIRING, HARD WORKER, CARING, LOVING, TALENTED, and KIND Human being!

    Words fail me to express "how much" your aura brightens the lives of the ppl around you, it certainly brightened my wednesdays and thurdays that summer of 2008 =).... and to have the chance to talk to you, and receive one of those AMAZING Marky Huggs.. .SIGH!.... THEEE Best!! haha

    In the words of Mark Darcy in the greatest movie ever made (Bridget Jones Diary) ;D "I like you Marky, very much. Just as you are." xD

    You truly make us MARKERS proud! ;D

    Besos y Abrazos!!!

    -- Yadira_1436 =)

  29. There's no need to say it, because I'm sure you know I love you just the way you are. :-) Sandy, Air Force chic formerly from Hawaii.

  30. You inspired me to write a post on my blog about being different. I'm not as eloquent, but I am just as sincere.

  31. Mark you have a wonderful outlook on life. You probably saved some lives by sharing it. <3

  32. loved you on dancing with the stars. love you more that you are an amazing artist as well as surrounding yourself with equally amazing artists. gaga...supreme.

  33. Thank you for the beautiful blog. I saw you posted on twitter (@gareedwards) and so glad I checked it out. I have been a fan since SYTYCD and remain a fan through your journey. Love and adore you kid!!

  34. Mark, your difference is exactly what makes you stand out from the crowd and why people respond to you in such a strong, positive way. I'm so happy that you've come into our lives, sweet boy. Rock on!

  35. ...and this is why we adore you.

  36. ...and this is why we adore you.

  37. Mark, you are a beautiful dancer and an inspiration. Thank you for this blog post! I went to the Monster Ball Tour in July and had a blast, I'm so excited that you're going to rejoin her for the last leg of it!!

  38. Mark! :)) Yay, you have a personal blog. so excited! ^^
    I was such a big fan of you in SYTYCD and freaked when I caught a glimpse of you in Lady Gaga's video...!

  39. *Tears* Beautifully written and said. Mark I love you! You inspire me! I'm amazed at how I can always find you on stage. Your energy just speaks to me and is beautiful! Thank you for all you do and all you are! I look forward to watching you for YEARS to come! *HUGS*

  40. Mark, you really do have to love yourself and own your greatness. Live life for you and learn and grow. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks because if you can't see who you are and feel comfortable doing it, no amount of adoration is going to make a difference. We all have challenges and yes there is a lot of hate and judgment, but I chose to tap into love and my highest potential. It doesn't matter what my family thinks etc., because you have to live in your own truth. Keep Dancing. You shine out there and it's so fulfilling to get to do what you love. You are an inspiration!

  41. I'm your biggest fan. Mother Monster is the best person that has ever come into my life. Despite people saying she is a bad influence for me. Mark you have opened up many doors for me. You have made me realize that no-matter what anyone thinks I should just be myself. And I want to thank you for that.


  42. You made me cry! Thank you Mark for giving Gaga's Monsters the insight in2 the joys and challenges of working for The Haus. We love you! xx

  43. Hi Mark, I've been fan of yours since SYTYCD and I'm sooooo happy that you're blogging again =D

    Just wanna say that you were my Gaga before I even knew about Gaga. You are one of the gutsiest dancers I've ever seen on the show. You didn't need Gaga to be brave enough to be yourself or to inspire others to feel the same way. But now that you're with her it's like one explosion of fantabulousness. I love that she's affirmed everything that you ever were even though there're always haters out there who might tell you otherwise.

    It's really poetic how your journey on SYTYCD ended the very night they showed Gaga perform on the SYTYCD stage in all her weird glory. Now you're both on this amazing journey together.

    Keep on keeping on. Love you! XOXO

  44. i can say you 're an inspiration for to many people around the world, from here the old continent to there, i can say you are one of the greatest dancer i've ever seen before and you've a lightful soul.

    my best wishes for you. write again asap


  45. I'm not a Lady Gaga fan - I fly my freak flag with other artists - but I'm glad she's there, messing with the mainstream and giving hope to the people who need her music.

    Enjoy the ride, you deserve it :)

  46. MarkiArki :) you bring tears to my eyes....i truly love you.. just because you're diffrent,beautiful and so loving. LOVE from Romania. MikiLiki :)

  47. I just feel so great when I saw you dance. I also love the way you express yourself on the social network. You're so adorable! You inpired me to do + pratice + love dancing more & more!

    sometimes I dream & hope that I can dance like you in the future :)

    wish you the best

  48. Mark, thank you for being you.
    You are deeply inspiring, more than words can express!
    Much love,

  49. I found your blog last weekend and read through it. It must be amazing for you to have your dreams realized.

    You looked so happy on the Monster Ball HBO special, and were totally awesome on Graham Norton + all the other videos.

    Good luck with all of your passions, you truly have a beautiful heart.


  50. Mark,

    Ever since I saw your first audition on SYTYCD I was memorized with your talent. So, I rooted for you the entire season. I even got a picture with you after your SYTYCD performance in Kansas City!

    Then, I saw you on the VMA's with Gaga; I recognized you and your dancing immediately. From that moment on, every time I saw a Gaga performance I looked for you. I was even disappointed when I saw Gaga's Monster Ball Tour in KC and you weren't there. :(

    All that aside, I am so happy that you are dancing for my favorite artist. I love what you do, how you do it, and what you stand for. Congratulations on your success, and bless you for all of your passions!


  51. Watching you dance Mark, gives me courage. Not just to be the person I'm meant to be, but to love doing it, without any fear.

    I could watch you dance forever, because I know you love every second of it, and that passion shows through. I'm grateful for you :)


  52. From Chile, a country long and far you post, to send a big hug and tell you you're a man blessed with a beautiful gift you have brought and carried away, I am simply a fan of your art, and as is as you say in your post in a way that we were born there to love and succeed.

    I hope someday to see you in my country, I humbly here you have a guide that can show you some of chile if you travel.

    A big hug


  53. Hi Mark!
    I'm Marta, I'm 21 and I'm from Spain
    I've been a fan of you for being a long time and I finally decided to write to you.
    When I have read your blog entry "born this way ..." I thought I should tell you how I feel since I saw you dancing for the first time
    I love your look, you are attractive mysterious different ...
    I love the way you dance and perform, is amazing !!!!!
    And I love that you use all that to make people happy when we see you dancing
    I hope to see you someday live because I've seen you in all your videos on youtube and it would be a dream to see you in a performance, really!
    Thank you for being born this way !!!!!!!
    Mark you're the best! we'll see ;)
    kisses and good luck!

  54. Hi Mark!

    You don't know me ... but I've seen your work with GaGa and "So You Think You Can Dance"
    and I really have to say I'm delighted to see your dance steps, your body language. You're an inspiration for me, I have a GaGa's Cover Group in Brazil, and All the time I see you on the videos. If you just say hi to me would be something incredible.
    Keep doing your delightulf Job!!!!!!!!
    A big hi from Brazil!!!


  55. Hi Mark
    I discover you in the Gaga clip Judas and i was petrified by your beauty !
    I knew hawaian guy are cute but you are superb !!!
    If you come in France, please i can receive you

  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

  57. Você sempre foi meu dançarino favorito.
    Like the way you act on Monster Ball Tour, all the faces and the whole performance you do. You are a FANTASTIC Artist.
    You've done an amazing job.

    Hope i can get the chance to meet ya some day.
    XOXO ^^

  58. "I've always had an inner battle within myself. A battle of accepting, understanding, and truly loving myself. A battle against beliefs, religion, and Society."
    This is me now.

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  60. Her "leadership" disappeared when she wore flesh on her body and the skin of tortured animals. Fuck Gaga.