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Community Highlights: Meet Olivia Wong of Ily-girl

Today we’d like to introduce you to Olivia Wong.

Olivia, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
After graduating high school in 2016 back home in Louisiana, I made the big move out west in hopes of starting my dance career while also continuing my education. I received my BFA in commercial dance last May during the pandemic. I wasn’t able to walk across a stage, but finishing this was a major milestone for me and my family. I am the first to graduate college. My mom is French and my baba is Chinese, so getting an education and actually finishing meant so much to them!

I trained extensively between my BFA dance program at Studio School Los Angeles (now renamed Hussian College in Studio) and KreativMndz Dance Academy, where I was able to connect with some of the industry’s top choreographers. By my second year in LA, I started booking jobs on my own and soon after got signed with Bloc Talent Agency. After being signed, I went to my first big cattle call as a signed dancer for Austin Mahone and actually booked it. This is when the momentum really started picking up for my dance career. Since moving, I’ve been hired to dance for artists such as Justin Bieber, J Balvin, Becky G, JLO, EXO, Black Eyed Peas, and more. I’ve also had the opportunity to dance and model for brand campaigns such as Champion, American Eagle, Nike, and Gymshark.

I was highlighted in Cosmopolitan magazine by being named one of “Instagram’s buzziest dance stars” (csmo.us/xfbYyeg). This was big for me because I really felt like I was representing more than just myself. I was repping and aiming to inspire the other underdogs, minority’s, students, small-town dreamers, and the artists constantly improving their craft, just like myself. I’ve always known that dance is not just the end goal for me but will lead me to something greater. I’ve always used my platform to help motivate others when it comes to self-love. This January, I had the pleasure of launching my company ‘ily-girl’, which is a brand that stands for empowering young women and lifting each other up. It is an online space where young creators from all over the world can share their work, get advice from professionals in their field, and feel supported in every aspect of self-care. Our official app will be launching this summer!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
This journey has been a challenging yet very rewarding one so far. When you’re completely self-made and move into a foreign area to basically just get thrown into an industry, it can feel very harsh. My first six months in LA, I felt lost, home-sick, and very overwhelmed. Adjusting to a new city, school, dorm life, and trying to fit dance into it all seemed inconceivable. It wasn’t until I auditioned for KreativMndz that I was reminded why I really moved out to LA. If your choosing to move away from your family and be fortunate enough to continue an education, you have to start taking your time seriously and making it worthwhile. I became hungry for progress and how I felt about myself. I was so down that I forgot my purpose of being here in the first place. Growth became my priority and I began discovering self-love along the way. I would spend my mornings at school and then would sit on the 101 freeway to KM training during rush hour traffic so I could train with everyone from 5-11pm. This became my routinely schedule for the next two years. I also worked at a Poke Bar on the weekends to help support myself. It wasn’t until I booked my first big dance job in 2018 that I finally got to leave my regular job and completely support myself off of dance. I learned so much from doing all three of these things during my hardest years in LA and it has forever instilled gratitude and dedication in me.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Ily-girl?
During the pandemic, I was talking to my mentor (now business partner) about how damaging social media can be for young women. We also discussed how time during the pandemic has been for a professional dancer. Work was scarce and many jobs were becoming all about reach and social media. Quality and substance is everything to me when it comes to internet consumption, but how algorithms work now, you never really know what type of content ends up on your ‘for you’ page. That content was usually creators I didn’t know and also featured content that wasn’t necessarily for me. On my personal platforms, I’ve always strived to implement self-love, daily affirmations, and being authentically you. Keeping all these things in mind came the birth of my company ily-girl (@ily-girl.co). The creation of this was solving two problems in my eyes: having a safe inclusive space for young women and creating job opportunities for professional creators. This has also created a bonding community within our ily-girl creators through exclusive trainings, events and more. We live in a time of self-comparison, high beauty-standards, and lets be real…internet trolls. ily-girl aims to create a judgment-free zone and share content focused around empowering young women everywhere while doing the things they love. I encourage our generation to take part in this movement and come together to support one another. It is important to remember there is enough room for all of us to succeed!

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Finding a mentor was pivotal for me in my career. My advice on finding a mentor is just to be genuinely you and eager to build. Making real connections and being open to learning from others is where you will see the most growth. My motto is that you bring others to the top with you. (Those being the people that were always there for you). I am grateful for all the guidance that I can get and am excited to share all that I have learned so far with those who want to know. Now I have the ily-girl space to do exactly that!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Black Chinese new years shirt photos: Grid V 70s shoot yellow top: Keenan Reed Champion : Perla Diaz white fuzzy: Brent Yoshida Set Jean Photo: Sierra Stone Inside Set (all white and all black outfit photos: Bre Jones Set Screen photo: Q Burdette

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