Makayla is a professional dancer and budding choreographer based in Los Angeles, California. At only 21 years old, Makayla holds an impressive resume with almost two decades of experience, with her most recent years being trained and mentored under some of the industry’s most prestigious and famed choreographers such as Marty Kudelka, Nika Kljun, Diana Matos, Lindsay Ducos, Natalie Gilmore, Misha Gabriel, and Kenny Wormald.
Makayla began her career in dance at the ripe age of three, taking classes in technical skills in dance such as tap, ballet, and jazz at the Pacific Coast Academy of Dance. Makayla continued developing her skills in dance for the next thirteen years while actively competing in dance competitions through both the Pacific Coast Academy of Dance and West Coast School of the Arts before she graduated from Orange County School of Arts. This highly selective institution holds an acceptance rate of only 11%.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I’ve been dancing since I was three, but it wasn’t until I was performing on stage that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in dance. This developed further when I joined choreographer Marty Kudelka’s School and mentorship program in 2017. His program blew my mind and inspired me to realize I wanted to tour with artists for a living.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Each day looks different. I’ll typically spend the entire day rehearsing if I’m on a project, but most days begin with company training. I’ll start with grounding training and warm-up before getting into dance. Then I’ll get a good meal in, stretch and roll out outside under the sun, go to the gym or for a walk depending on the day, before going to another class at night.
To make my days productive, I prioritize my health over everything.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have to be inspired by a song first; then I’ll dive deep into the lyrics and envision a routine that brings them to life. After that, it’s all rehearsal and fine-tuning until I’m happy with it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I wouldn’t say I like trends, not gonna lie. As an artist, I like doing my own thing. It’s what allows me to keep my individuality.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m never satisfied. I spend most of my time learning everything I can about all assets of the industry, taking classes, and watching videos of myself to know what’s working and what’s not. Besides the physical aspects, I’m intrigued by training my ear for music. I’m constantly working on bettering myself.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My younger self was so confident and carefree and didn’t really need advice, so maybe I’d tell her never to lose that. I’d also tell her to stay in the present and try not to overthink everything.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
No matter what cards you’re dealt in life, it’s up to you to find a way to pursue your passions and never become a victim of your circumstance.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always be a student. The more I know about the industry, the more I realize that I haven’t even scratched the surface. That keeps me grounded and wanting to continue learning.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Always putting myself out there, knowing my worth, and never settling for less.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had jaw surgery in 2019 and was recovering for months. I was super down on myself and couldn’t stop obsessing over all the opportunities I was missing out on. I became my biggest enemy and honestly failed myself. This taught me a lot in life, and even though the few years since then have been difficult due to health complications, I refuse to give up on myself. Nothing can stop me from my dreams except for me.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I want to start styling people in the entertainment industry. I’ve been working on putting it together – it’s called “Mak Styled Me.”
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I’ve been off socials for most of this year due to my health complications, but I’ve recently decided to put myself out there again because I feel like my story will empower and inspire others to continue fighting for their dreams. This pushed me to invest in myself, and so I’ve been putting together my website and other social platforms that will not only help others but will help me reach my dreams of performing and touring for artists.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I’m old school and rely on handwritten to-do lists. I’m so scatterbrained and a perfectionist so, simplicity is essential for me to stay productive.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Book? What’s that? But let me tell you, recently I’ve been inspired to read other people’s life stories such as “Vibrate Higher Daily” by Lalah Delila.
What is your favorite quote?
It’s hard to pick just one when I save quotes daily, but one of my favorites is…
“I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what cards I’m dealt, I’m going to be successful. That’s just how my faith is set up. That’s just how I was built.”
- Be humble yet highly aware of your worth
- Stay true to yourself
- Never give up on yourself and your passions, regardless of the circumstances
- Always be a student
- The cards you’re dealt don’t determine how your life will end up. Only you’re in control of that.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.