Ashley Everett Ashley Everett

Vixen Chat: Ashley Everett on Dancing With Beyonce and Lessons The Superstar Taught Her

If you've ever been to a Beyonce concert then you've seen Ashley Everett on stage hitting every move in unison with the performer.

At the tender age of 17, the red-headed beauty made her first adult decision between two life changing paths: Going to one of the biggest schools (Juilliard) in the world, or staying on tour and focus on being a professional dancer. She doesn't regret her decision for a second (could you blame her?), but when she recounts her choices, she often says "my life would be so different."

This is just the beginning for Ms. Everett. The dancer starred in the pilot episode of Hit The Floor and will make more appearances once she's done touring. Get to know the lady who spends almost as much time with BaddieBey as Jay and Blue Ivy, and lean in as she talks about working with H&M, juggling a long distance relationship, and advice for dancers.

VIBE Vixen: How did you begin your dance career?
Ashley Everett: I started dancing when I was three, my mom put me in ballet classes when I was just a baby and from day one I loved it. I was so serious with it. As I got older I practiced jazz, tap, and hip-hop. I moved to NY when I was 16 to pursue it in a more professional place [other than] my small town—I'm from Chico, a small town in Northern Cali. I trained at Alvin Ailey and was going down the concert dancer world but then I randomly went to the Beyonce audition and the rest was history.

That's dope! I hear you were supposed to go to Julliard. How hard was that decision?
I was enrolled and everything. It was a really difficult decision. I felt like it was the first adult decision I made, being technically an adult and on my own. I had to choose between going to one of the biggest schools in the world or staying on tour for a couple more months and trying to be a professional dancer after that. I asked a lot of my friends and mentors what they thought and they told me to follow my heart. I [figured] if I'm a working professional now, I can keep doing that after, I don't need to train anymore.

Do you ever regret it?
No, I haven't regretted it. I do think what would it be like if I did go. My life would be so different.

What was your first day like working with Beyonce, if you can remember?
I was so young, I was like 17. The first job I did was when Bday came out and she was shooting all these videos for a video DVD for the album. They asked me to come to LA and I was there with all these dancers who were shooting  videos in 10 days. It was really overwhelming for me at 17. I was looking at [the dancers] like "wow, omg that's really that person!" I felt like I was at a big convention of professional dancers and I was trying to keep up with everybody. They asked me to do two videos, I did "Greenlight" and "Get me Bodied".

Photo Credit: Joe Wesley

Ashley Everett

What's the hardest part in keeping up with Beyonce? 
She's definitely a hard worker and that forces us to work hard. All that woman knows is work.

Do you ever sleep?
Not really. sleep is definitely a blessing.

How has she changed since she's had Blue Ivy?
Now she has had the baby her priorities are different. She wants to spend more time with her family, because she used to not take days off. But she still works so hard. Even on tour in Europe, we'd have shoots for a video or a song she wanted to release. Nothing has really come out yet, but we've been doing shoots and re-shoots for music videos. We're always doing something.

How was it working with Beyonce when she was pregnant?
When she was pregnant, she was trying to keep it a secret but [we knew]. Everybody had a clue and when she revealed it we were all like "yay!"

Do you guys get to hang with her?
Yes, she hangs out backstage and runs around at rehearsal, she's just adorable.

How far in advance do you have to learn the dances.
Every process is different. Sometimes we know exactly what we need to learn and we have a day or two [to perfect it]. But most times they're creating it as we're learning, so we don't know what it's going to be and that process could be weeks. We worked on the new song "Standing on the Sun"  for weeks but we're still changing things til' this day. We worked on "Single ladies" for three weeks trying to master it before the video shoot.

Did you ever think "Single Ladies" would be as big as it became?
No, absolutely not. I had no idea, I was just going along and I don't even think she knew it was going to be as big as it was.

Does it ever become surreal that you're working with Beyonce?
People ask me that all the time. She's still a human being, still a person, she has a heart, emotions, and she's cool. She's actually become like a big sister to me. Of course it's surreal in the sense that she's one of the biggest superstars that we have out right now. But I've gotten to know her; to me she's my boss.

What's your favorite video you've done?
"Single Ladies" is a favorite because it was so major and it did so well. I really like "Ego", but what's your favorite?

My favorite is "Run The World". I watched the documentary, and my hat goes out to you guys because I couldn't imitate it. I can imitate "Single Ladies" and "Get Me Bodied",  but "Run The World" is difficult.
It was a long process, it was a three day shoot.

How long did it take you to learn the dance?
That's another one that it was like a workshop for weeks. Kimmie and I are usually there for the creative process with the choreographer. We workshop it, try it out, show it to her. If she likes it, she likes it, if she doesn't she's like "ehh, try something else" and then we keep doing that.

Was that the hardest dance to learn?
There's different levels of hardness. We have choreography that could be hard and situations that could be hard. It was hard to dance in the sand for "Run The World". The H&M commercial was hard because of all of the different elements.

Really?
Yes it looks all pretty and fun, but it was hell on that set! We had sand in every crevice you could think of in our body, our ears, our eyeballs, in my hair for weeks. It was a mess and we had four different elements to shoot. We had earth, which was the sand. For water, we were in the salt water and it was in our eyes. We had wind, and the wind  felt like we were about to get blown off a cliff. Then you had fire, and fire's just fire of course.

And you had to make it look effortless and beautiful at the same time.
Of course but meanwhile, nobody knows that it was painful and hard.

How do you remember all the performances?
You definitely need a good memory after all these years. We rehearse a lot but we do make mistakes, maybe we just cover them up well. Every night while on tour, we get the show after we do it. We watch it and we correct ourselves, fix our spacing and fix our arms, or whatever needs to be fixed. Beyonce does the same thing.

Photo Credit: Joe Wesley


Ashley Everett I see that your in a relationship. How is it juggling being in a relationship with traveling the world?

It's definitely difficult. I think for me and my man, we have great communication and trust. He's in the same business too. He's a dancer as well, he travels and he gets what I do and I get what he does. We have a really good understanding and Skype is the best thing ever [laughs]. It's definitely hard and after a month and a half or two months of not seeing him, I'm like "you have to come to me or I have to come to you."

Do you ever watch Jay-Z and Beyonce's relationship to help you out with your relationship?
Of course, they both are always working and they have crazy schedules and they make time to see each other. That's really what a relationship is about, making time for each other.

Do you go to her for any advice?
We've had talks like that, but for the most part I don't get too personal with her and Jay. But they have a really solid relationship, it's beautiful and Blue, she's so cute.

What's the greatest lesson you've learned from her?
I love her work ethic, it inspires me to keep striving to be better because she never settles for anything and she never feels like she's reached the top. I love that about her and it makes me want to be like that. It drives me to be better and push myself harder. She knows what she wants and doesn't settle for things that aren't going to make her completely happy and satisfied.

Do you want to start your own venture?
I definitely want to and I want to explore acting and some other elements of entertainment other than dance.

I saw you on Hit The Floor, are you going to pursue acting?
I shot that pilot with them so I was only in the first episode, but I definitely want to come back. The only reason I couldn't was because I was already doing Superbowl stuff with Beyonce but I stayed in touch with them and they want to bring my character back. Hopefully I'll be making a return on Hit The Floor in the next season.

Do you have any artist you would like to perform with?
I always say I want to work with Janet one day, which I have not. I wish I could have danced with Michael and I want to work with Justin Timberlake.

Whats your advice for any up and coming dancers?
The best advice I can give is to train in as many styles as you can. The more diverse you are, it gives you more options for jobs because you're a versatile dancer. Take as many classes, from as many people as you can so you can start building relationships and get to know people. Half the time they say it's not what you know but who you know and  that's true. But it's also what you know that gets you there.

Photo Credit: Joe Wesley

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Kylie Jenner Doubles Down On Being Crowned A "Self Made" Billionaire

The premise of "self-made" and its interpretation when it comes to privileged celebrities has been a huge debate. When Kylie Jenner was named Forbes' youngest self-made billionaire, debates were raised due to her timeline in the limelight and her wealthy family. The 21-year-old defended her title, explaining how she doesn't fall into any ofter category.

"There’s really no other word to use other than self-made because that is the truth," she said in Q&A with Interview Magazine's German edition. "That is the category that I fall under," she started.

She acknowledged how her fan base equated to her success but refuted claims that she used her family's money to jump-start her wildly successful Kylie Cosmetics line.

"Although, I am a special case because before I started Kylie Cosmetics, I had a huge platform and lots of fans. I did not get money from my parents past the age of 15. I used 100 percent of my own money to start the company, not a dime in my bank account is inherited… and I am very proud of that."

Earlier this month (March 5) the mother-of-one officially surpassed Mark Zuckerberg as the youngest person to reach billionaire status, when Kylie Cosmetics hit a billion dollars in revenue.

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'Boomerang' Episode 7 Recap: Family Matters And Pride

Bryson and Simone are a thing, like for real for real. They can’t keep their hands (or tongues) off of one another. As the two of them get steamy in the jacuzzi, a sexually riled up Simone tells her new beau that she wants to treat his face like a bean bag. They are in it, y’all. There’s just one problem — they may be half-brother and sister (insert vomit emoji here). The excitement of finally landing the girl of his dreams is shut down when he reveals that his mother, Jacqueline, informed him that Marcus Graham may be his papa. (Wait. Does that mean Marcus cheated on Angela back in the day? Regardless, what a way to ruin a mood.)

As they wait for the DNA test results, Simone and Bryson still try to be business as usual, you know, chillin’ like they used to. Speaking of business, Bryson is all that. Ari may be his boy and all, but when it comes to directing Tia’s music video, Bryson wants an Italian dude to shoot it instead. He just doesn’t believe Ari can execute. All great directors have vision and through Bryson’s eyes, Ari has none. Simone can’t help but agree. It’s obvious that Tia and her bae are not at all pleased with the video production of her single. Bro gotsta go. Tia has never been one to hold back and in a fit of frustration, she does what Simone couldn’t verbalize; she fires Ari.

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That frustration instantly births inspiration. Instead of dryly shooting Tia performing with Pride weekend just happening around her, Ari points out how the world needs to see all black people not caring about what anyone has to say about them, especially when the world includes women rocking $12 jewelry. Sashayers, milly-rockers, and twerkers galore, the video shines on the culture, highlighting Kings and Queens of all shades, ages, genders, and sexualities. It’s a good time. Even Bryson can give up his props and that lead director credit to Ari. You see, Bryson? You gotta have a little faith like David always has.

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Well, folks, the results are in (insert Maury voice). In the case of Bryson J. Broyer, Marcus, you are NOT the father! But, you may still have some ‘splaining to do. Now that they are officially not related, Simone can finally go ahead and have that seat. We know, sis has been tired all day. Ow!

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Yvette Nicole Brown and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses who were vocal about the treatment of actors of color when faced with beauticians in Hollywood.
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Celebrities Use #ActingWhileBlack Hashtag To Point Out Pitfalls Of Hollywood's Beauty Scene

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"Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others?” she wrote. “It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

The hashtag #ActingWhileBlack began to spread on social media over the weekend, and people of color chimed in to share their stories.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she often carries her own hair extensions and clothes for shoots, and that having stylists who are untrained in black beauty often runs the risk of them looking bad later on. Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe shared a similar sentiment.

Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell hit the nail on the head in her tweet about the issue with not hiring the right people to work with ethnic hair.

“If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair,” she wrote on Mar. 11. “Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.”

Check out some tweets from celebs on this issue below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:07am PST

#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubby https://t.co/gl3b64Omtj

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or senegalese twist.

— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) March 11, 2019

PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.

Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion! https://t.co/A1Q9ZpvXmH

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019

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