KINRGY is such an interesting fitness method. For some people who may be resistant to a new workout, how would explain it?
So basically, in the name KINRGY, kin represents tribe and community. Kinesthetic is movement, and then kinder is also child. I’m really big on the concept of energy. We lived in an age where it was all about the physical health and now, we’re in the age of mental health. I think where we’re going is energetic health in the sense that if you can change your energy, you can really change your mindset. And when you can change your mindset, you can change your physical; you can change anything. You can really step into what’s possible for you.
This method in general is about connecting to your most authentic self. I know that term gets used a lot, but what is our authentic self? It’s who we were as kids, when we weren’t worried about doing something, whether it was right or wrong, good or bad. One of our biggest taglines for KINRGY is that it’s not about perfection, it’s about expression. In competitive dance, it’s always about perfection and looking a certain way, and doing it so hard until you’re exhausted. That’s really not what KINRGY is at all. It’s about finding what works for your body. So you’re laughing, you’re crying, you’re having a good time and you’re feeling what it feels like to feel connected to yourself. Those are our pillars: connect to self so that you can relate to and see the people around you. When you can do that, you can really experience the world in its most true and pure form, which is love. I know it sounds woo-woo-hippity-dippity, but I’m all about that. I think that we need more of it.
As someone in the limelight as a public figure and a celebrity, surely, you’ve had experiences in Hollywood where that idea of perfection is just glaring. How are you able to work through that? How did you overcome your own insecurities and self doubt?
I was recently reflecting on my career: The progression of starting out on “Dancing with the Stars,” and then having a country music career, and then going into film, and then really continuing my entrepreneurial ventures. My preparation of all the hard work that I did living in London, training and dancing, got me to a place where I feel, honestly, like I was in a flow state with things just happening. But I didn’t feel like I had the wisdom that I have now. I was more so just letting it happen to me, and I didn’t really put any intention of what I wanted to put out into the world. It was just happening and I was just going along with it. Whereas now, what I feel like I’ve learned is that I need to get a little bit of that fearlessness back, that flow of just like, it can happen. But I also have more of an intention of what I want to put out into the world. I want to put goodness out into the world. I want to put a message out there so that I stand for something, and that there’s a through line in everything that I’m contributing to the world.
So, I would say that with all the insecurities and everything, I know it might sound egocentric, but it’s always to come back to myself and thinking, “Why are you doing this? Is this for someone else or is this for you? Are you trying to keep up and stay relevant with social media or do you really want to say what you’re posting?” I keep checking in to ask myself if this is coming from me or the pressure of what everybody expects of me, or what I think I need to prove. That was what I learned along the way.
This kind of calling that you’re describing to have an offering for others, and really do good, and infuse this positivity into the world with movement, when was the shift that you realized you wanted to contribute? How did you decide that now was the time?
My whole life has been about me and how I can be self-expressed, and how I can dance, and how I can sing, and how I can act. It’s been about me and I think it’s a cheesy saying, but the secret to living is giving. I’ve really learned so much about myself. I got to a place where I was so curious about the body and movement. There are so many healing aspects to movement. We carry so much information from our life in our fascia. It’s literally in our energy. Energy doesn’t go away, so where does it go? Your experiences stay with you, whether it’s in your brain and your memories, or it’s within your body.
I started getting curious about all these forms of healing. I looked at Tai Chi, Qigong, meditation, yoga, breathwork and all these different forms of movement. And I thought, “Wow, I’ve been moving my whole life,” and I think if I didn’t have movement, I would be a very different person. I would’ve had much more anxiety or depression from a lot of my childhood. This was an outlet for me to transform that energy into something that was working for me instead of hindering me.
After I was understanding all that insight, I thought, “Man, I just want to share this”. And one of the greatest things that I ever did was “Dancing with the Stars,” that’s like the pinnacle of transformation hidden in a dance competition. The average person that I would meet on tour, if they would come to see a show, they’d say, “When are they going to do ‘Dancing with the Stars’ for the regular people?” I was like, “First of all, nobody’s regular, everyone is special, and unique, and perfect, and amazing. But why do you want to do ‘Dancing with the Stars?’ Do you want to do a triple pirouette into a split and cha-cha?” They’d say, “No, I really want to gain my confidence back. I want to feel expressed in who I am.” And when you watch these celebrities go through these transformations, they’re literally transforming before your eyes and you go on this journey with them and they break down to get to that pearl on the inside and then they just expand into their being of who they are. So I thought, “Wow, that’s what I’ve been doing in helping people achieve but as a dance competition, so how can I give that same expression, but even deeper, to people around the world?” And that’s how KINRGY came about.
On the topic of the pandemic, did you learn anything about yourself? What was the time like for you personally?
The biggest thing that I’ve recognized… connection and friendship in a form of empathy. I had a lot of personal stuff going on and to have people reach out that knew those things made me feel so grateful for the friendships that I had cultivated. For maybe the people who didn’t reach out who I would have thought would have, that also taught me empathy of, “Oh, we’re just in different places.” I think that’s what I really discovered this year— finding the people that I want to invest in and that want to invest in me.
That’s how I experienced the pandemic. It stripped all of the muck away of what’s really important. And it’s connection to self, it’s being able to have empathy for others, especially not just the pandemic, but what we went through as a collective with BLM and everything that we experienced this year. And so to be able to take away all the noise and really connect to what’s important in life. That’s been the greatest learning.
You mentioned that you were really going through something. Are there ever times when you want to shed the fame and the notoriety? What’s your relationship with fame like?
It’s funny. I have this duality. I built my home here in L.A. and I’m so proud of it. It’s hard work and I achieved this. I did this. My home has a view of the Hollywood sign. I remember I pinched myself when I built the house. I thought, “Oh my gosh, I did it. I’m here. I did it.” And it was interesting because right when the pandemic hit and we all went into lockdown, I remember looking out — I’m looking at it right now — and I don’t see the Hollywood sign straight on. I actually see it from an angle. And I remember I looked at it and thought, “Oh my gosh, all I’m seeing is the scaffolding. There’s really nothing holding it up and there’s nothing behind it.” And I just formed this metaphor… it’s really strong, but there’s also a lot of emptiness behind it.
I started questioning a lot, wondering, “Is this my place? Is this my path? Are these my people? Is this where I feel like I thrive the most?” And look, I came to a conclusion of, I love what I do. I love to perform. I’m an artist by nature. I love it. And I don’t have to be one or the other, I am also a 32-year-old woman who is finding her own voice and power in the world. What does that mean? Those are the conversations that I’m having, not just in the bubble of Hollywood, but in the world. Conversations of identity and self-discovery, and of ownership of being a woman today.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
You know what? I’ve never thought about this. And the first person that popped in my head was Lucille Ball. I feel like we would have the best time, we would be laughing. We’ve all gone through some tough stuff together, and now it’s time to play. It’s time to have fun. It’s time to find some lightness. And she just seems like the coolest person in the world to have a drink with and just be silly and let loose and just, I’d love that. That would be really fun.
[Audience Q/A – Sophie] Tonight happens to be a new moon. What intentions are you taking with you? And is there anything that you’re leaving behind?
Oh my gosh, I’m leaving so much behind. In fact, I lit a candle a couple of days ago like a pre-thing to prepare to break and cut. I feel like there’s a lot of things that I’m trying to untether right now to feel that release and freedom stepping forward. So, I’m definitely setting an intention to untether. There’s also something magic in the unknown and the freedom of allowing the universe to pave the way. So that’s also my intention: to break and cut ties as well as leave things open so that when you meet the opportunity, you feel prepared. So, I’m untethering and stepping into who the hell knows.
[Audience Q/A – Bradley] How do you go about having a best friend sibling who is in the same industry and on the same competitive level, and yet not compare yourself, both professionally and personally, to where he is?
I think there’s always a little healthy competition, like, “Ooh, he’s doing so well. He’s inspiring me to bring out that part of me.” And I can always tell when my ego or my shadow pops, because it does turn into, “Oh man, dang, I have to work harder.” I think, “No, no, no, no, no. Bring it back to look how awesome he’s doing, that should inspire me instead.” And so, that’s my form of it. And hopefully I can be more aware of it as time goes on. There are times when Derek’s super poppin’ and I’m in development mode. And then all of a sudden, I’m going to pop and he’s in development mode. It’s not linear. It’s never really one or the other. It’s ebbing and flowing. He’s crushing it right now. Especially on TikTok. I don’t even get TikTok and he’s just blown up, so funny. I don’t need to compete with that.
[Audience Q/A – Maggie] Beyond the obvious physical beauty and technique, what’s the most important skill you learned through dance?
Oh my gosh. I think just the ability to feel what it felt like to have complete ownership of my life in a way where I gave myself permission to be fully expressed in a way that maybe someone else has suppressed for many years. Dance gives me the ability to feel joy, to feel free, to feel expressed, to feel all of who I am. That’s why I want people to feel expressed in who they are and that’s why KINRGY is what it is today, because that’s the most pure way I feel like people connect to their soul.
I know it’s silly to say, but when you dance, you feel free. And when you feel free, you dance, it’s literally the thing that happens. I remember in “Jojo Rabbit,” that was literally the saying and what did they do at the very end of the movie? They danced because they were free. The war was over. And that’s what we do, we celebrate with dance and we grieve and dance. We just all need to go out and dance. Especially after this year, we just need to be celebrating, dancing and connecting with people.