When you first meet professional dancer Kiara Gudgeon, it’s easy to understand why she’s a performer. She has an infectious smile and radiates positive energy — it’s impossible not to feel good when you’re around her. As it turns out, she’s got a lot of reasons to smile these days. She just appeared in Descendants 2, the sequel to the Disney Channel’s original movie Descendants (she was also in the first), which aired on July 21st to a record 9 million people across multiple Disney channels.
Gudgeon stopped by Beautycon HQ last week to talk about dancing for Disney, how Britney Spears inspired her and why it’s important for her to be a role model for the kids who watch her on TV.
KG: Well I started dancing when I was only 3, but I specifically remember the first time I saw Britney Spears on TV and I was like, “That’s what I want to do!” I would sit in front of the TV watching her music videos and memorize her dance moves. It’s like muscle memory…I still remember those moves to this day. She wasn’t the first pop singer to who was also a dancer but I think she was the first one that I really connected with. I idolized her!
KG: Definitely how to have confidence, have discipline, accountability, working by yourself but also with a team. Because there are times when you’d do big group numbers and there are times when you’d do solo dances…so knowing when to switch your focus on yourself or a team. But definitely confidence and self-esteem because there’s a competition aspect, you might come last, or even second or third, and just being ok with it and not getting down on yourself.
KG: If someone were starting out, I’d say “Stick with it!” It’s not something that comes with instant gratification, it’s something that you really do have to work hard for… but if you want it, you’ll really reap the benefits of it. And me, being a bigger girl in this industry, there is a place for everybody. They’re always looking for something different; short, tall, bigger, skinner…you will always find something. So if you believe in yourself enough, you will make it work.
KG: I’m very happy that I have a good mindset. Mindset really is the biggest aspect of it because I think that in this industry, even someone who could be the same size as every other girl and is eligible to book every single job, they still get told no. I might get told no more often, but it’s really a mindset. So if I’m on an audition and I get cut, I just tell myself “it wasn’t meant to be”. I’m a big believer in the universe––and I’ve always said that what is meant for you will not pass you by. So if I get cut from an audition, I keep it moving; I go about my day, I don’t sit at home and cry about it and have a tub of ice cream…I go take a dance class or go to the mall, next time I’ll know better. For me it’s about progress and growth. If you get down on yourself, if you can’t believe in yourself, then who’s going to believe in you?
KG: I definitely want someone to be able to look at me and feel like they can do anything. I’m very happy that I got to be in something like The Descendants. It’s catered to kids and they will watch it and see me doing something that they aspire to do. I’m very happy to represent on something like that, because it’s for the younger generation and it helps them see that anything is possible. They’re not only seeing one type of person represented; they’re seeing all shapes and sizes and different colors. So I’m very happy that I’m able to help open the minds of the younger generation. I’ve gotten messages from people telling me that I’ve inspired them and it makes me so happy that I can be that role model for them.
You can follow this inspiring young woman at @kiaragudgeon