Remember when you were a little kid and people would ask you: What do you want to be when you grow up? I do. I remember saying things like a clown, a teacher, an actress. Yes, naivety ruled my world then however my passion and belief in achieving these things were genuine. So much so that, when I grew older and began to hear things such as, “starving artist” or “what’s your backup plan?” or “that sounds like a hobby… what’s your real job?” I was unfettered and even more determined to succeed.
And guess what? I am not alone! Recent studies show that “Millennials” (those born in the ’80s and early ’90s) consider personally fulfilling work to be just as important as a high salary. Simply put, ladies nowadays are choosing passion over paper. Does that mean we are happy and broke? No! The best part is, new research also shows that when passion and purpose are your biggest drivers, your bank account often ends up thriving too. So everybody stand up for the Millennial chicks and check out this real life “working” and not “starving” artist!
Millennial Girl: LaShawn Breyona Jones
Hometown: Monroe, NC
Current Playground: Brooklyn, NY
Millennial Girl Prep School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA in Exercise Sport Science)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MPH in Community Health Education)
Passion Chasing Career: Dancer
How Her “Passion” Chose Her: LaShawn Jones was born to be a dancer! She began her dance training at the mere age of three, studying tap, jazz and ballet. What else did she spend her childhood doing? Collecting trophies. Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition?! Please. LaShawn was the true epitome of junior professional dancer in NC. So much so that while in college she joined not one, but two dance groups! Eager to share her passion and expertise, after graduation LaShawn began teaching Hip Hop at Ninth Street Dance in Durham, NC and various other community centers while working full time at a public health organization named FHI (she still does contractual work with them).
She also taught the first hip hop class offered at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC and (grab your passport) Korea Dance Festival in Seoul, South Korea. Watch out now! Then, with international street cred under her belt LaShawn made her NYC debut during the summer of 2010 at the prestigious Broadway Dance Center. Shortly after, she took the ultimate artistic leap of faith and traded in her southern biscuit for a good ol’ NY slice. This time NYC greeted her with a dance company membership! In 2011 LaShawn joined Kelly Peters Dance Company and has performed in several dance showcases in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard ever since!
“I’ve been dancing since I can remember…what I do every day for a living is nothing less than amazing!”
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Not Back-Up Plan Gig: Group Fitness Instructor
How Her Not Back-Up Plan Gig Came About: LaShawn became a group fitness instructor in 2005 in Durham, North Carolina. She began by teaching a Hip Hop dance class with a strength component and added Zumba to her class repertoire in 2007. Upon relocating to New York, she began teaching Zumba at Equinox, Z Club NY, Pfizer, Time Inc and Helen’s Pilates…averaging 13 classes per week. Wowzers! LaShawn has also recently certified in a new dance fitness workout called BOKWA, and is in the process of expanding her group fitness offering to non dance formats such as sculpt and rebounding, just to name a few.
“I was determined to do what I loved and had been fighting for so long…I AM doing it!”
Why She Loves Her Dual Passion Infused Career: “The best part of working in both professions is that I get to do what I am passionate about all day, every day. Whether I am in the dance studio or a fitness facility, I absolutely love every minute. I encourage everyone to follow their dreams while focusing on the process, not the result, learning and applying those lessons throughout your journey. You must stay resilient!”
Where can you catch this Millennia Girl?
Shaking and grooving at various fitness facilities and dance studios in NYC. Follow her to keep up with her schedule. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you!
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