I didn’t expect it to happen this soon, but it seemed like the right time when I was approached by Simon and Schuster, based on the way it was presented to me. It wasn’t going to be an end-all to me career, like “This is what I’ve done.” Rather, it’s more focused on how I feel about all my experiences in life and what I’ve learned from them, while I’m still in the midst of my career. So, it’s almost like I’m sharing that, inviting people into my world and bringing them along on a journey that I’m still on.

I didn’t expect it to happen this soon, but it seemed like the right time when I was approached by Simon and Schuster, based on the way it was presented to me. It wasn’t going to be an end-all to me career, like “This is what I’ve done.” Rather, it’s more focused on how I feel about all my experiences in life and what I’ve learned from them, while I’m still in the midst of my career. So, it’s almost like I’m sharing that, inviting people into my world and bringing them along on a journey that I’m still on.

I believe I am yet to dance my favorite role, but I am pretty open to adapting to different characters. Right now, I’ve really enjoyed doing the role of Swanhilde in Coppelia. I’ve had a great process so far finding the character and learning the steps. But I would love to be Odette/Odile in Swan Lake one day. I think that would be the ultimate role.

I think that’s most people’s expectation and ideal, because that’s what they’ve always seen in ballet. It’s almost a subconscious thing that makes them think that only a white woman could portray that role. But she’s a swan, she’s a character, so I believe she can be any color.

I feel like I represent every young dancer, and even non-dancer, who felt they were not accepted by the ballet world. I’d like to think that they can see themselves in me. So, every time I made that statement, I was sort of saying, “I’m doing this for you, so it will be easier for you.”

I think I always felt a connection to music and to movement. Growing up, I was surrounded by R&B and Hip-Hop, and the closest thing I could find to dance was gymnastics which I watched on TV. So, I just used those avenues I found available right in my milieu to express what was inside of me. Ballet was exactly what I was searching for, but my environment definitely made me the dancer and the person that I am today. And the Hip-Hop culture was a big part of it.

I felt isolated because I didn’t know what the reason was at that age. My being black had never been talked about in the studio where I trained in California. I was just another dancer. When I moved to Manhattan, I first thought I was being singled out because I had trained for such a short period of time. But I was the only black girl.

The Company was interesting. I didn’t love it, although it might be compelling to someone who isn’t a dancer. There wasn’t a lot of dialogue, and you were just kind of observing the creative process of choreography and in class. My reaction to the film was, well, this is my everyday life which is not that interesting to watch up on the screen. However, Black Swan, I did enjoy. It was super theatrical and over the top. Plus, I’m a Natalie Portman fan. I wouldn’t say it was realistic, but I found it very entertaining.

I love Philip Glass. It’s so complicated, if you really listen to it. There’s so much happening in his music, yet there can be movement created that’s such a contrast to it, that makes for a very pleasant experience when you see dance with it. Yes, I’m definitely influenced by the music. We dance to music, and you have to listen to it, and phrase your dancing and movement in a certain way to compliment the music. We have to work hand in hand, the dancer and the music. It depends on how I’m listening to the music to make it work not just with the music but with the character I’m playing, because when you’re dancing, you have to act out mime, which tells the story. And the music reflects that mime. So, they kind of work together.