Akira Armstrong is a woman you notice. She is a body image activist and a dancer – yes, yes, she’s the dancer in Beyoncé’s “Green Light” and “Get Me Bodied” videos. She was also a makeup artist (she’s responsible for Salt-N-Peppa’s looks) and she founded the dance company Pretty Big Movement to band together dancers who don’t fit the stereotypical dancer body shape. Recently Penningtons and the women of Pretty Big Movement surprised Akira with the #iwontcompromise song. But, here, she tells us about her motivation for making societal change and how she let’s go of the negativity that can be placed on women.
Why is Pretty Big Movement so close to your heart?
“Pretty Big Movement is close to my heart because it was created out of genuine concern of other plus-size professionals dancers that did not have a platform to express their true talent for the art of dance.”
How has working with Beyoncé affected you?
“Working with Beyoncé has affected me in such way that has forced me to realize that I am talented and deserve equal opportunities in mainstream media, just as much as a non-plus-size dancer. Which in turn, brought me to create Pretty Big Movement – a full-figured professional dance company to empower women, men and children. They matter and have a purpose to shine in the dance industry.”
You are such a great role model for women. Who is your role model?
“My role model is my mother. The reason my mom is my role model because of her strength and willingness to forgive others even when they were not in her corner. I admire her her transparency to allow people to experience her true genuine self. That to me is the true essence of a queen.”
The message in your video is that anyone can dance. Do you have a tip that will help people feel more confident on the dance floor?
“Be you. Dance is about expressing who you are and being free no matter if you are a professional or not.”
How do you take the negative energy and turn that in to a motivation for yourself?
“How I usually deal with negative energy is to not feed into it. I found that when you do, it breaks your creativity and blocks your blessings.”
What’s your MO for dealing with those who have nothing nice to say?
“What I say to the haters and the trolls is simply nothing. I don’t let it consume the space in my mind. However, if you don’t have haters, then your not doing anything right. In my case I know for sure I have haters but what they don’t realize all their doing is helping the Pretty Big brand elevate.”
What is your Best Health Moment, your #BHmoment?
“My #BHMoment is when I almost losing my mother due to a stroke and brain aneurysm. I couldn’t imagine life without her. Although death is apart of life, but where I was in my life at the time of her illness I needed her the most. Pretty Big was going through a major transition and I was ready to give up completely.”
What is your daily mantra?
“My daily matra is: ‘I am enough, no matter what.’”
What’s your favourite body part?
Anything else you’d like us to say?
“I would like readers to know is to always trust your intuition.”