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Meet Trailblazer Evelin Carvajal

Today we’d like to introduce you to Evelin Carvajal.

Evelin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Dancing and performing is my deepest passion. I was born in El Salvador and moved to California when I was four years old. Since the age of five, it had always been my biggest dream to perform on television. By the time I was 17, I discovered my love of salsa dancing.

I was introduced to the world-famous Mayan Theater in downtown Los Angeles by a family friend. I convinced my Mom to get me a fake ID in order to get into the club! The experience was so exciting, feeling the energy and the music with everyone dancing, that I became inspired to perform on-stage there. I later won 1st Place in the Mayan World Salsa Competition!

During college I trained in jazz, modern dance, and ballet. I loved those classes so much and found incredibly hope and inspiration from them. During my spare time I would dance with local salsa groups while working full-time at Wachovia bank. Going to salsa clubs and participating in club competitions with all the amazing LA salseros were some of the best times of my life.

Salsa dancing was a passion that I had been keeping at bay as a hobby until the 2007 financial crisis, when the bank I worked for went out of business. I recognized that this was a crossroads in my life and chose to follow my heart, take a leap of faith, and pursue my passion and talents as a professional dancer in order to make my childhood dreams come true.

I trained with dedication at various dance schools and with different partners. I became engrained in the local salsa community and performed, competed, taught and traveled at different salsa festivals and events all around the world. With the help of friends, I was also able to get started in television and was featured on several TV shows and commercials under official representation with a dance and commercial agency. The things I dreamt about as a 5-year old girl performing on a stage fashioned out of a cardboard box in my grandmother’s back yard had come true.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The journey wasn’t an easy one, however, and there were many challenges and roadblocks along the way, the first of which were my parents. I grew up in a very strict, narrow-minded household with family members who did not encourage or support my artistic pursuits. In fact, they actively discouraged them. They feared a career in the arts was not sustainable and tried to enforce their will on me as a teenager, which created lots of frustration, confusion, and setbacks.

Because of this, I did not truly begin my career as a professional dancer until I was 28 years old. This was a new challenge in and of itself and took lots of courage to do. Everyone close to me telling me I couldn’t and shouldn’t try to do it. Especially early in my journey, when faced with initial rejection and doubts. In order to overcome these trials, I viewed them as tests that propelled my forward and pushed me out of my comfort zone!

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an actress and a performer. I specialize in Latin ballroom, commercial, and specialty dance styles. I am known for my dynamic and acrobatic style of salsa dancing. Some of my television work has been on the Latin Dancing With The Stars show “Mi Sueno es Bailar” I’ve worked with brands such as Mango Clothing, Korres Skin and Levi’s. I’m currently studying everything from history, acting to meditation. I’m an artist discovering all my talents. Pushing these boundaries and conquering my fears on a daily basis is a point of great pride for me, both as a brand and as an artist. I strive to create meaningful and powerful performances, images and soon film . I love creating my own content, from dance videos to short films. Currently, I am working on a sci-fi series called “UNO”, so stay tuned!

Which women have inspired you in your life?
My greatest inspiration has been my grandmother. She personifies the strength, energy, and unconditional love I strive to incorporate into my life and my artistic expression every day. She is a well-respected local healer and midwife in El Salvador and was the one to deliver me when I was born. I’ve also found inspiration in the life and achievements of Oprah Winfrey, Frida Kahlo, Isadora Duncan and Maya Angelou. Women like Madonna, Jlo and Cher have also been great inspiration! I also find inspiration daily in many of my girlfriends for many reasons including the fact they share their life and creative work with me.

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Image Credit:
1.Jon Saw 2.Joshua M Shelton

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