Unapologetically Asian: Complexions Ballerina Candy Tong
One of our favorite models, Candy Tong, shares her story in her own words:
Hello legging lovers!
I’m Candy, a full time professional dancer, model, fashion-obsessed Bay Area native. I, like many other girls started dancing at 3 years old, but contrary to the norm I knew at age 9 that I wanted to become a professional ballerina. It is crazy to think that a girl who just started the 5th grade knew exactly what career she wanted to tackle. I remember discussing with my mom to enroll me for independent study in addition to my attendance at public school, so I could speed up my education and graduate early. That way I could focus and dedicate most of my time, energy, and devotion towards my passion for dance.
For 89% of my pre-professional training years, I was mainly working towards a contract with a classical ballet company. It wasn’t until I faced many challenges with my height (5’10) that I lost hope in the ballet world. I took a short hiatus from the ballet world and ventured off to get my Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance at UC Irvine. I graduated in just 2 1/2 years with an even clearer mind than my 9 year old self about my next career endeavors. I discovered my love for contemporary ballet during those two years from workshops and masterclasses held at Lines Ballet, Steps on Broadway, and even (my personal favorite) Complexions.
Several months after graduation and on the day after Christmas, I received my first real professional dance contract from my dream company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet. My audition process was quite unconventional as I didn’t exactly attain my contract straight from the audition. Complexions’ audition consists of mainly showcasing the company’s repertoire. I remember having to show at least 5-6 pieces to my directors (Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson). The audition process was a total of six hours with (if I remember correctly) three big cuts; boys and girl in separate groups. Having done a few intensives with Dwight and Desmond prior to this audition allowed me to become more familiar with their movement and work ethic which ultimately put me in favor when it came to this fulfilling day. I remember leaving this long day smiling with so much joy because no matter the result, I knew that it was one of my best auditions to date. Furthermore it came down between me and another girl; and they went with X due to their lack in shorter girls at the time. But luckily for me, I was able to receive a contract a couple months after in the winter.
Being able to work under the direction of two legendary dancers/choreographers has been so rewarding and an eye-opening experience. Not only am I am working one-on-one with them I am having the chance to perform all over the world such as Germany, New Zealand, Italy, and even Ukraine. I have always aspired to be a world-traveler and to be able to see the world at such a young age while getting to perform on some of the most renowned stages has been unreal. But with traveling comes jet lag and fatigue. That is probably the only downside with working for a touring company…but to be honest, it is TOTALLY WORTH the designer bags under my eyes. To fight off the jet lag, I often cross train and like to incorporate HIIT into my daily regimen. Some might find this absolutely crazy since we are working eight hour days, six days a week. But going to the gym and incorporating weights helps maintain my strength, stability, and mobility for my body. Plus I get to sport cute fitness outfits to the gym like my favorite mermaid leggings from Emily Hsu Designs.
My next endeavors, goals, and dreams for my career is to find my calling in the fashion industry. Having been newly signed with Stetts Model Management, I have dipped my toes in the modeling world and want to continue this long dream of my mine to hopefully help advance me into the fashion industry. Lots of new projects are stirring up and I can’t wait to share them with you.
To learn more about me, you can check out my website and blog here: www.candytong.live
To follow my dance journey, check out my Instagram: @candytong12, https://www.instagram.com/candytong12
To watch my vlogs, subscribe to my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CandyTong