Welcome to Episode 11 of the Untamed Podcast with guest Akira Armstrong, Founder and CEO of Pretty Big Movement.
Akira Armstrong began her intensive dance, drama and vocal training at age 8 at Mind Builders Creative Arts Center; Bronx, New York. She was hand-picked to participate in a high level merit program and is also a former student of the Alvin Ailey School.Following her graduation from professional performing arts high school, Ms. Armstrong studied at Syracuse University, where she received her B.A. in Public Relations/Education. She has performed with Jubilation Dance Company, Bernice Johnson Dance Company, The world famous Apollo Theater and Ladies of Hip Hop at Cosmo Theater in Vienna, Austria. In 2007, Akira Debuted as a principal dancer in two of Beyonce’s videos: “GreenLight” and “Get Me Bodied.”
Due to the bias faced by plus size dancers, Akira formed Pretty Big in the Spring of 2009 as the first Plus Size International Dance Company. In 2015, Pretty Big was featured in a video entitled “Personally.” This video was a homage to all of the Black men and women who were victims of police brutality and a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement. Then in February of 2017 The Scene interviewed Akira and the members of Pretty Big Movement. That video went viral and over 21.5 million viewers became aware of Pretty Big and Akira’s desire to enhance one’s outlook on their personal appearance.
Today, Pretty Big Movement performs, conducts workshops, and travels across the U.S. providing empowerment tools for women and the community who need to be inspired, elevated, self-aware and reminded of their inner and outer beauty. Akira is passionate about image, fashion and beauty and it’s her personal mission to utilize her artistic background to inspire members of Pretty Big, the community and workshop attendees. Her goal is to empower and encourage everyone she meets to reach their full potential and convey these messages in each workshop, appearance, and panel event through dance – proving that size has no barrier.
4:20 Heads Up on Upcoming Openings to Work with Me!
5:50 What Do You Want to Hear? Let Me Know! (untamedpodcast.com)
7:08 Sound Quality Disclaimer
8:20 Akira’s Bio
11:12 Akira Introduces Herself + Pretty Big Movement
12:20 The Reason Behind the Name
13:35 Pretty Big as a Movement for Body Acceptance
15:55 Akira’s Personal Experience as a Plus Sized Dancer
18:28 The Source of Akira’s Ambition
21:32 Size as a Social Justice Issue
23:30 Pretty Big’s Anthem
26:10 Akira’s Feelings About the Impact She’s Making
29:35 Pretty Big is for Everyone
30:40 Pretty Big Workshops
32:28 Akira’s Hopes for Pretty Big
34:02 Akira Answers the Untamed Closing Questions
39:31 One Word UN Words
40:33 How to Learn More and Stay Connected with Akira
CONNECT WITH AKIRA:
Lu Uhrich is the host and producer of the Untamed Podcast. She is also the founder of LU|EATS,LLC (www.lueats.com) where she works one-on-one with clients as an Eating Psychology Coach, Body Image Mentor and Life Coach.
Photography by Sam Interrante
Intro/Outro Music by Shoyei
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