Breaking into any creative industry is tough. You need skills, determination and a helluva of a lot of passion, and our #Girlboss babe this week has a lot of that and more.
Alexandra Carson is a dancer. She's been dancing for 12 years and after a lot of hard work, work and pretty much more work, she landed an epic job as a professional hip hop dancer for a tiny* (jokes) American star called Janet Jackson.
And now Alex is travelling around the world and living the dream. Her dream to be exact and it's inspiring.
We sat down with Alex recently to chat about her journey, what it takes to reach her professional level, and of course, ask her a bunch of sneaky questions re. Janet Jackson and what it's like to work for her.
How did you get into dancing? Did you always want to be a dancer?
As a child I always just loved performing in general. First I wanted to be a singer, then an actress, but eventually ended up falling into dancing. It kind of combined the best of all worlds for me.
How long have you been dancing for now?
It’s kind of crazy to think about it, but it’s been about 12 years since I first stepped foot into a dance studio.
Where in the world has dancing taken you?
Oh gosh. Dance has literally taken me all over the globe. Not only for performances but also to train. I’ve covered the U.S., Canada, Europe, U.K. Europe, U.A.E., Indonesia, New Zealand and of course Australia!
Tell us about your big break. When and how did that happen?
Well it definitely didn’t happen overnight. It literally took me the entire 12 years to gain training, knowledge, and the ability to be able to land this job. Dancing is kind of crazy like that. It may seem like just a bunch of moves to music but it takes years to perfect each element required. It’s not just movement to music. It’s fitness, strength, technique, and above all mentality. And by no means am I past being a student!
How did you get to be a back up dancer for Janet Jackson? What was your audition like?
It took me one video submission, two trips to L.A., three auditions and five routines to land my job with Janet. It was the most daunting, exciting, tiring and nerve wrecking experience I’ve ever had. But at the end of the day it was also the most rewarding. I never thought I’d be able to say I work for an artist like Janet Jackson. Especially growing up in little old Canberra.
What is Janet Jackson like to work for?
It’s definitely inspiring. I don’t think there has been one day where I didn’t want to wake up and go to work. It's been hard yes. But at the end of the day I was working for such a huge icon and an idol of mine since I was a little girl which made it all worth it. She has the ability to make you want to work hard. She is very compassionate and caring about her team and just hands down the best boss!
What does a typical day on tour with her look like?
Typically on a show day our call time is around midday. This allows us to run through notes, make changes, eat, do our hair/makeup and of course limber up for the performance.
What is your typical 9-5 style while on tour? When will the tour be likely to end?
Oh honestly, when it comes to being on tour I’m all about comfort. Days off are definitely a different story. But you’ll usually find us rugged up in hoodies and tracksuits when it comes to show days. The tour is currently postponed till 2017 so who knows when it's set to end….hopefully never!
What food do you reach for on the road?
To be honest you’ll only catch me eating a range of my favourite foods. I love avo toast, acai bowls, smoothies, kind bars (numbers) and my absolute fave, SUSHI!
What are your fave. ways to stay fit and workout while travelling? Is dancing it?
I definitely try and utilise gym facilities while on the road. I love running on the treadmill! I also love cycling. In most cities I’ll hire a bike and just ride around to discover the town, so I suppose that counts as an extra bout of fitness.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now what else would you be doing?
If dancing didn’t work out I always wanted to be involved in fashion. Styling was the main goal. I actually even studied fashion with Alicia in Sydney!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Yikes. I truly have no idea. I barely know what I’m doing on a day to day basis let alone five years. However I can only hope it's a progression of where I’m at now. I hope to still be travelling and still be passionate about my work. That’s probably the most I can ask for at this point. I’m an open book!
Do you have any advice for other people wanting to pursue a career in a creative field?
My main piece of advice would be to always work hard on what you’re trying to achieve. You honestly never know when you’re time is going to come….especially when you’re in the arts. By continuously working and staying focused you will always be prepared and then there's no way your opportunity will slip past you.
Images: Alex Carson; Words: Yadira Galarza Cauchi
Tell us, are there any other ladies in creative fields that are inspiring you at the moment? Share them with us below!