When Cassey initially designed the pieces for this debut collection, she was drawn to the poetic and emotional world of ballet. I mean, doesn't every girl grow up wanting to be a prima ballerina?! There's just something so magical about it! So when the garments were finally in production over a year after her sketches were turned into first samples, Cassey knew that she had to shoot with a real life ballerina who embodied everything that this line was about: passion, beauty, strength, and POWER.
There was only one professional ballerina Cassey wanted to work with, so we crossed our fingers and toes when we reached out to her. It turned out the two were fans of each other's work, so at that moment, we knew that this project was going to be INCREDIBLE.
We want you to meet Kylie Shea. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kylie started training in classical ballet at the young age of 8. Her career eventually took her to Seattle where she danced for the Spectrum Dance Theater and was named Principal Artist. Beyond being a talented dancer, she is a humble, introspective, and beautiful soul.
Let's get a peek inside the world of Kylie Shea - a woman who is living the dream for many young girls out there who are putting on their light pink slippers for the very first time.
Kylie! The way you move tells such a story. We can tell dance is in your blood. Please tell us how you got started.
My parents first put me in gymnastics when I was very young, and I knew right away that it was not for me, so I asked to start ballet classes. I studied both tap and ballet, and at age 9 had to decide between the two. I chose ballet, and joined Dance Peninsula Ballet soon after where I would remain a company member until my move to Seattle. I always knew that I wanted to dance professionally in a company, as it is what Mrs. Stander trained me for since I was 8. In addition to the ballet company, I also danced on the high school Girls Choreo team, where I was captain my junior and senior year. When I was a sophomore, I told my parents that I wouldn’t be taking the SAT’s or applying to any colleges because I knew I wanted to dance and had to pursue it sooner rather than later. Clearly they weren't thrilled with the idea, but I am incredibly stubborn about my passion and they have been incredibly supportive every step of the way.
There are so many disciplines of dance...why ballet?
Although I love all forms of dance, classical ballet will always be my heart. There is a purity in ballet that cannot be touched, and the training and discipline it requires is like no other. Ballet is such an integral part of who I am as both an artist and a woman, and my teacher will forever be one of the most important and influential people in my life. The lessons I learned in the studio have carried over into every area of my life, and I am who I am because of the discipline, determination, and respect it instilled in me as a child. When my teacher passed away, I tattooed something she used to say to me every time I would cry. She would wipe my tears away and say “Don’t cry my darling. Save your tears for the stage.” This is my mantra and a message I continue to spread with young artists around the world.
Wow. Is that the quote tattooed on your foot?
Yes it is actually!
So how would you describe what dance means to you?
Dance is the universal language. No matter what language you speak, dance can speak to you, and I want to be able to speak to people around the world through movement and make them feel something, be it joy and pain and everything in between.
The dance world often gets a bad rap for pushing girls towards unhealthy extremes in order to achieve the "ideal" ballerina body. Have you ever had an unhealthy relationship with your body?
For me, dance makes my body feel at home. Ballet is just as physical as it is mental, and when I leave the ballet studio, I feel connected with myself. I crave that connection constantly. I believe having a healthy body starts with a healthy mind, and dancing helps me find balance within my soul which makes me feel balanced within my body.
You clearly have your mind in the right place. Digging a little deeper, maybe tell us about another area where you find "struggle."
I think one of the greatest struggles I’ve faced is finding the will to actively pursue a career where you are constantly being told “No”, “You’re not tall enough”, “You’re not the right look”, “Not enough experience”, “We love you but you’re just not right”, etc. The reality of this industry is that not everyone makes it, in fact, most people don’t. And for the people that do, “no one ever tells you about the 15 years it takes to become an overnight success”. I have been extremely fortunate for the opportunities I have already been given, and I continue to push forward in pursuit of even bigger goals. I am as stubborn as a Taurus can be, and I will fight every single day for my dreams to make a positive impact on the world through my work as an artist.
YES! You go girl! Lastly, please tell us what inspires you Kylie.
What inspires me more than anything, and what is most important to me, is inspiring others. It is what drives me daily. I want to inspire others to feel, to connect, to create, to believe in themselves, and to grow, no matter what, every single day!
See more of Kylie on instagram at @kyliesheaxo