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Conversations with Arpege Lundyn

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arpege Lundyn.

Hi Arpege, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly how I got to where I am today, yet, without knowing the specifics, I always knew I would get here. I had many interests growing up and I was fortunate enough to have parents that were supportive in all of my dreams. They told me I could do anything, so I wanted to do everything. With all the options I saw available to me, my most prominent influence was in creation and art. It was the most abundant life source you could find in my home and I knew it had to be a part of me forever. My first love has always been dance. I know I wouldn’t be here today if not for it being my main source of light. As a shy child, it allowed me to open up and express different sides of me. From there the inner creative was unleashed. I started singing and acting in elementary school, teaching myself guitar and dabbling in music production in middle school, and by high school I started visual arts, editing, and directing. Since then life experiences have allowed me to dive deeper and branch out not only in those fields but in more creative ventures I never thought I was capable of. What I love about art is that even in the insanity of it, it always has a way to keep me sane. It sees all sides of me and never allows me to hide from myself; I have no choice but to meet me where I am and face it. It comes with its ups and downs and sometimes I need space, but when it’s good, it’s absolutely amazing. It’s those moments of freedom and ecstasy that keep me coming back and fighting harder for it.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
***Trigger warning***

It would be nice to say I that this journey has been easy but the truth is it’s been full of heartache, doubt, and error. It’d also be nice to say they’re fully issues of the past but even now I struggle, I just manage better. Before I was 20, I was sexually abused, struggling with undiagnosed depressed and ptsd, and dealing with the two traumatic losses of my Nana and dad. What should’ve been fun and innocent periods in my life were filled with a lot of pain, and majority of the time I felt alone. I felt ignored, misunderstood, and burdensome but on the outside, no one could ever tell I was cracking. As a Black girl from South Central, with old school parents, I was raised to be “strong”. I was also raised in a time where many Black people didn’t believe in therapy or mental health. Because of the untreated trauma, by the time I got to middle school, I started struggling with depression. I then went from the model little girl to the attitude-filled b*tch.

No one bothered to see it as a cry for help and love. What kept me strong in those times was dance. It gave me a distraction, a place to actually feel strong and beautiful. It was the one place that felt structured in my life. When the depression hit harder though and stopped making it a peaceful place to be I found other outlets. If dance wasn’t doing it for me I had music. I started my days off with MTV music videos, stayed up hours downloading music illegally, and found a passion in singing and writing. When music failed me I turned to TV and movies, watching and rewatching until I had all the lines memorized. Those little joys in artistry kept me going for years until I was old enough to get therapy for myself. Now, I can say I’m grateful for my experiences. Without them, I wouldn’t be where or who I am today, and it’s who I am today that keeps me excited for who I’ll be tomorrow.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My biggest asset is how multifaceted I am. Most people wouldn’t know though because it’s not something I feel the need to speak on. Most people refer to me as a dancer which I own proudly. However, the truth is I do everything. Whatever I don’t do, I can figure out how to in 10 minutes. My life recently has been all about school. I’m double majoring, studying psychology and dance at Alonzo King’s LINES BFA. Through the past few semesters, I’ve directed and edited films for dance. Recently, I was brought on to help create and direct a short film titled “Deserve”. I’ve spent time as well performing on award shows and major network television productions. I also have a deep passion for astrology, numerology, and tarot and have started my own business doing readings.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The biggest lesson I’m still learning is how not to let myself get in the way of my own success. This world can definitely play mental games if you let it, and I’ve fallen victim to umpteen times. But the goal for me is to always learn and get smarter and stronger. If I let issues of yesterday control my tomorrow then I’ll never get to where I want to be. It’s about taking power over the fears and doubts and trusting myself above anyone else. I did have to do a lot of growing alone and as tiring as it was, it also instilled this willpower that can’t be knocked down by just any unbelieving entity. It’s also in that tiring and lonesome journey that I’ve learned how important it is to have a community I trust around me. People that aren’t going to tell me what I want to hear and that are willing to be there with me when I can’t be there for myself. Trusting others is one of the harder lessons for me to learn but it’s that reassurance that reminds me that I don’t have to do it alone.

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Image Credits
Cover photo and additional photo 5: edited by @wallysnapd additional photo 1: @prolificphew additional photo 2 & 4: Steve Disenhof additional photo 3: Fabian Aguirre

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