"So...Wait...how did this happen?"
Updated: Feb 13
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It happened VERY quickly, let me tell you! And not in a very traditional manner, LET ME TELL YOU!
If you had to know one thing about me, it's that I would be the head of Cold Callers Anonymous, if that were an organization. Seriously, ask any of my friends! I thrive off of cold-calling. It's nerve-wracking, don't get me wrong! But that's how my best opportunities have happened. And this opportunity was definitely worth the cold-calling nerves!
Ever since I was little, I dreamed of working with the Royal Ballet; I watched their videos on Youtube, I checked out their books and DVDs from my public library. And I fell in love with the visual aspects of the ballet, especially the costumes. They floated and sparkled, had beauty and mystery to them, and combined historical with fantasy.
When I watched their version of 'The Nutcracker ' , I was mesmerized. There was so much tradition and innovation simultaneously. It was also exciting while I was growing up to see dancers rise through the ranks and cheer them on throughout the years.
When I decided to pursue tutumaking professionally, I made it my goal to work with the Royal Ballet in some capacity. That childhood dream has never died and has stuck with me through the years.
During my sophomore year at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, I started to realize my passion for entrepreneurship, specifically creative entrepreneurship. I wanted to open my own dance costume shop, and make tutus for anyone and everyone!
So I started putting together a spreadsheet; how much would that cost? I concluded...
It costs A LOT. More than I had!
Okay, well...what about moving over to England and doing something there? Is *that* possible? I concluded... It costs A LOT to move overseas. And with Brexit, not really possible!
But I didn't want to give up on this dream. A shop wasn't possible right now. But could I still make collaborations possible? Maybe? My brain started grinding the gears. There's gotta be a way...what am I missing? And then it clicked.
Social Media! No...Instagram! I could reach out to a dancer through Instagram! And work with THEM. Individually! Maybe I could do something through my school? There's gotta be a grant somewhere for this.
Turns out, there IS a grant for that at UNCSA! It's called the Semans Art Grant Fund. The fund focuses on more unique projects that are independently pursued by students at UNCSA.
So, there was financial support available. It was worth a shot! Now I had to reach out and see what dancer would be willing to work with a student in the United States whom they had never met. Maybe I was crazy. But I knew I would regret not trying.
Yasmine Naghdi is one of my favorite dancers right now (ever? let's be honest), and I've followed her journey throughout the years. Yasmine is currently a Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet! I really wanted to work with her specifically. Fun fact: we're the same age! She's accomplished so much in so little time. You go, gurlfrand!
I decided to take the plunge, and risk it all one night before bed. I sent her an Instagram message, told her who I was, gave her the link to my website, and asked if she'd be interested in collaborating on a tutu. I said that I would be applying for grants, so it would come at no cost to her, and would be an educational experience for me. I didn't think she would see it, but at least I took the shot! And I went to sleep.
The next morning, I saw that I had a message from her, that was sent two hours after my original message. Aaaaand...
SHE SAID YES!
I cried some happy tears, and got right to work on that grant application. My dream was possible, and could actually benefit an artist, not just have another art project. Cold calling works, you all! In two hours, my lifelong ambition had started becoming a reality. A few months later, I got the grant, and I bought my plane tickets to London, England.
Pretty great, right?
Next week, I will be sharing about:
the financial needs for this trip,
how you can donate to it, AND...
a VERY exciting opportunity that would be made possible through your generosity!
Comment below with any questions you have!