Knocking on Doors: An Inspiring Talk With Katrina Jo
They say the best artists are the ones who possess the childlike quality of being able to lose themselves. Before Katrina Jo knew what passion was, she’d lose herself in her urge to dance at just three years old. Her incessant movements around the house had caught the eye of her mother, who’d recognized the early sprout of Jo’s passion and put her into dance class.
As training cultivated Jo’s dance skills and she blossomed into a professional, lending her energy and talents to NFL and NBA stadiums, as well as dance studios, Jo would tell people, “when you put the uniform on it’s different. You’re kind of playing a character…kind of like an alter ago.” It’s clear that childlike quality has never left her, as Jo engulfs herself in her passion as she slays every performance.
What or who inspired you to pursue your current career ventures?
I loved Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. They were and still are a huge inspiration, especially with dance. I loved their dance style and their work ethic and we can’t deny all of the great music they’ve put out. Actually, when I was little, after taking dance class one day I came home and broke my mom’s VCR from continuously rewinding Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk.
How is it working for huge corporations such as the NBA and NFL, versus dancing and choreographing at dance studios?
I loved dancing for the NFL and the NBA. I still go back to those organizations such as helping choreograph for the Clippers and helping the Chargers with their game day operations, as well as choreographing for them. The energy in both arenas is amazing. They are literally experiences for a lifetime. As for the studios, I still teach there. I still teach dance camps as well as for numerous companies, artists and DJs. They’re both different, yet they balance each other out. The studio is where it all starts and where it happens. I think keeping both sides in tact helps to stay balanced as a dancer.
What led you to Entertainment Marketing?
It came natural with being in Sports Entertainment. Being a dancer in the NFL and NBA led me to start my first company GlamGirlsLA, which is a full service event/marketing company that consists of promotional models and dancers who are mainly alumni NBA/NFL dancers.
I was able to get into the backend of things, which is event production. I was originally signed on to be a brand ambassador for Moet, Hennessey, USA and Reebok. I eventually moved up the ladder and got on the corporate side of Reebok and was head of entertainment marketing on the West Coast. So everything came full circle.
What’s something interesting or unique about you that people don’t know?
I’m actually secretly shy. I think a lot of people assume because I’ve modeled and performed at these big arenas that it’s a piece of cake, but I actually get super shy sometimes. But also, being in a room with tons of people and performing is completely different when you’re dancing to the music. You’re not really thinking; you’re just in the zone.
How do you balance your career and lifestyle while remaining a diva?
I like to have my plate full. I’m one of those people who go crazy when I don’t have a lot to do. I like to stay organized and stay on top of my schedule because having that organization helps me balance everything. I’m also lucky enough to be able to make my own schedule and have all of the things I do kind of all connect with each other.
Who’s your current inspiration?
I would have to say my mom. She’s a single parent and she raised me by herself. She’s been that classic model: a strong independent woman who has faced struggles along the way but overcame them.
She’s taught me a lot about balance and that if there’s a closed door, to keep knocking and to keep going.
How would you describe your journey so far?
I would say my journey so far has been amazing. I’ve been blessed with a lot of amazing opportunities and experiences. I would like to say to people though, to not let the social media stuff fool you. That everyone, behind closed doors, is working tirelessly and endlessly. I don’t clock out.
If you had to compare yourself and your journey to a non-human being what would that be and why?
The ocean because it’s my favorite thing, I love being by water. And whether the ocean is smooth or rocky it always washes back to the sand, no matter what the weather is. Whatever storm comes my way, I’m going to keep knocking at the doors and keep coming back for more.
What do you hope to get from your journey and pursuing your dreams?
I personally just like to inspire. I’m thankful to do what I’m passionate about but nothing compares to doing a gig and teaching a child and them telling me how much it inspired them. After that, I can go home and say that was worth it and this is why I do what I do.
Now signing off with the reminder: Don’t wait for the world to recognize your greatness, live it and let the world catch up to you.
Tamara Shanice is an actress, writer, lyricist and fashionable hustler who takes pride in entertaining and educating through her art. She’s a wandering spirit who loves to travel the world and marvel at the works of God’s paintbrush.