DENVER – A 17-year-old Colorado teen is finding success in Los Angeles, Calif., claiming weight stereotypes prevented her from following her dreams here in Colorado.
Amanda LaCount launched the #breakingthestereotype movement on social media, aimed at changing the stereotype of what a trained dancer should look like.
“I think it was just what I was meant to look like, and this is who I'm supposed to be, and I was born like this for a reason,” said LaCount.
The Fort Collins native told Denver7 the first recollection of criticism surrounding her weight happened back when she was 10-years-old.
That’s when she was kicked off a Colorado dance team.
“At the end of the season, the director of the studio, he pulls my mom and I aside and he pretty much just tells us that I don't have the right body type for his vision,” she said.
Through Skype, the teen showed plenty of confidence in her work. However, LaCount acknowledged all the confidence in the world can’t silence the critics.
“Someone told me that I'm going to die in two years because I'm so unhealthy,” she said. “And someone told me that I'm a whale.”
LaCount pointed to her mother, Jill, when the teen talked about the reason behind her resilience. The teen has never accepted defeat. Instead, she and her mother simply moved from one Colorado dance studio to the next.
“Even though there were kind of bumps in the road, nothing was going to stop her,” Gary Lubell, with Denver School of the Arts said.
Lubell was LaCount’s middle school counselor who ultimately helped her through the hard times.
“Typical dancers have a different body composition than she did. She was aware of that,” he added. “She took some heat for it from people around her, but that was not what she was about because she had such passion in her heart.”
Lubell said the sky’s the limit for the young teen.
“She was a kid who truly, truly had dedication and motivation in her heart,” Lubell added. “She wanted to make some great things happen.”
He said he saw a sense of resiliency inside of LaCount that was not common in a lot of kids. Instead, he said the young girl persevered, and that her success is evident today.
When asked about LaCount’s focus on #breakingthestereotype, he referred to his eight years of experience at the Denver School of the Arts. He said he was well aware of what many believed a dancer's body should be.
“Amanda's creating something that certainly will open eyes and change peoples' thinking, especially around the things that she's presenting,” he said.
LaCount said she’s trained in ballet, contemporary dance, hip-hop, jazz and tap dance.
She took her talents to L.A. when she was 13-years-old and has since found plenty of success there.
“I’ve been in Katy Perry's ‘Swish Swish’ video, I've been on Dancing with the Stars, The Voice twice,” she said. Now, LaCount is preparing for an appearance on The Ellen Show.
LaCount has thousands of followers and fans on social media—just one of several opportunities many claimed were impossible for the teen, strictly because of her weight.
“Clearly that's not true because I've done some pretty cool things, and I haven't changed myself one bit,” LaCount said.
In the near future, the teen is expected in London to teach and perform.