When dancer Akira Armstrong sought representation in Los Angeles so she could book more jobs, she was turned away from agencies because of her size.
“I kind of got the side eye. People behind the desk were like, ‘what do we do with her’?” Armstrong tells The Scene.
Armstrong was already an established dancer at that point, even starring in two Beyoncé music videos, so she knew that she was being seen by these agencies as a plus size woman and nothing else.
In response, she took it upon herself to create the Pretty Big Movement, a New York City based full-figured dance company dedicated to destroying body stereotypes of dancers.
Armstrong’s experience in LA certainly wasn’t the first time she’s come across body shaming in the dance community.
“Growing up in the dance environment, I did think my body was a negative. I couldn’t fit costumes, my costume was always different from everyone else’s. I wanted to wear my stomach out.”
Armstrong’s company strives to embrace all dancer’s bodies, appreciating them for what they can do, rather than what they look like.
“It’s about uplifting and empowering women to feel like they can be confident to do anything, not just dance.”
It’s safe to say that all women, not just dancers, have had experiences similar to Armstrong’s. Her company is here to turn stereotypes on their head and help make a positive change for all women.