Every Beyoncé needs an Ashley! Blavity sat down with one of Queen Bey's dance captains Ashley Everett, who has performed beside Mrs. Carter for over a decade.
After the red-haired dancer first found her rhythm at two years old, she went on to study ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical and modern dance, eventually entering competitions and joining a ballet company. But as she grew older, Everett was ready to share her potential on a bigger stage.
“When I was 16, I moved to New York to pursue my dance career,” Everett told Blavity. “I’m from a small town in northern California. I had to go to the big city to try and start my career, and that’s where it all happened. When I was 17, I auditioned Beyoncé, and my whole world did a 180.”
Everett dished that she was still in high school at the time of her audition, but lied on the application, claiming she was 18 years old. While she was certainly taking a chance, her efforts paid off. The dancer was selected for the tour and consequently missed school to shoot music videos.
Between touring dates, Everett managed to catch up on her studies, eventually applying and getting accepted into Juilliard. However, she turned down the opportunity to study at the top performing arts school when Bey’s tour was extended. But Everett has no regrets, as she was upgraded (pun intended), becoming one of Beyoncé’s dance captains. She was also featured as one of the two dancers in the infamous "Single Ladies" music video.
YouTube | Beyoncé
“'Single Ladies' is super iconic,” Everett said. “It turned into the 'Thriller' of our generation. I feel like my kids, and my grandbabies and their grandbabies can look at that and be like, ‘Oh, that’s my family!’ It’ll be around longer than me, and that’s super cool.”
Her most memorable moment, though? When Everett’s fiancé proposed to her during the Formation tour.
“I was so shocked and had no clue that he was even in town,” Everett said. “That was one of my most vulnerable moments on stage. When we’re performing, you’re playing a character, you’re in the zone. I was completely out of my element all of a sudden when I saw him walk up on stage, and I turned into Ashley at home.”
The moment went viral, hitting news stations across the world.
“I was overwhelmed with love,” Everett beamed.
YouTube | Simon Venekeo
Outside of dancing, Everett has also dabbled in acting, including landing a role on the VH1 drama Hit the Floor, a show about basketball players and their interactions with performers on the dance team.
For those inspired by her journey, or just looking for words of wisdom, Everett advises seekers of joy to "be fearless."
"It’s so easy to compare yourself to other peoples successes or what they’ve done with their careers," Everett said. "We’re all individuals; our journeys are all different, our timing is all different. Maybe someone starts really young, maybe you don’t hit until you’re 40. As long as you still love it, and you’re doing what you’re love — continue doing it. Be fearless.”
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