When we asked Ianna Jackson how she would react if she won this year’s cover model search, she told us to expect a tear or two of joy. Well, we sure hope she’s not crying over her keyboard right now because we’re so happy to congratulate Ayanna that she dance spiritWinner of the Cover Model Search for 2021!
Before heading back to her busy life at NYU’s Tisch School of Art, we caught up with Ayana to get the scoop on what she’s been up to since our photo shoot, her goals for the next year, and her favorite role around being in the competition.
What have you been doing since the last time we spoke?
Basically just school, dance and rehearse a lot for Tisch Dance Works, which is when students design the dance pieces and perform in pieces created by other students. I also recently celebrated my nineteenth birthday.
How was the Cover Model Search voting experience?
I was honestly nervous the whole time. My friends would talk about it every time they saw me. It’s also great to feel loved and supported by friends and family. I was very surprised to see some people I haven’t spoken to in years reach out and tell me they voted for me. I felt so loved.
Is there anyone in particular who has been a staunch supporter?
My best friend, my sister and my parents of course. And my entire class at NYU will be showing me their voices every day.
Did you have a strategy on how to get the word out?
It kind of happened naturally. I would post about it and then my friends would talk about it with their friends. Lots of my friends’ moms posted about it on their Facebook pages as well, and that helped a lot.
What are your goals for 2022?
I want to make another movie. I also like to teach a lot of workshops in different studios in my hometown. I also want to post my music because I was really shy and in control of the music. “Going for it” is my motto for the coming year.
Any dance goals?
I would say not to be too shy. I’ve had a lot of feedback from my professors about that, so my overall goal in dance is definitely to overcome that fear and not feel shy. Once I get out of my head, I’ll be able to do everything.
♬ Mount Everest – Labrinth
What is your favorite part of the CMS experience?
Photography session! It definitely made her feel surreal. It was so wonderful. I didn’t take a real dance photo – this was actually my first photo, and it was so much fun! I even watched Reed and Kela, I was very surprised. It was like a dream to me. I thought the whole photo day was great, even just eating and talking.
How did it feel to meet and get to know the finalists?
I’ve already seen Kayla before, and I didn’t even know she was part of the top three finalists until I read the list and was impressed with her. It was really great to meet them, and I was very impressed to see Red on pointe. That was great for me, especially since I’m not the best pointe dancer in the world. They are both really cool and really amazing outside of the dance world. They were kind, genuine and kind-hearted people.
What would you say to anyone wanting to get into cover form research in the future?
Just work to make it happen! Even if you don’t win, you still earn a lot from it beyond appearances, new relationships and great people to meet. Going through the whole experience is amazing. It’s never about the end result or who will win, it’s more about just doing it for yourself and boosting your self-esteem and confidence.
What would your reaction be if you won this contest?
The first thing I will do is cry! I told my friends I would take them all out to get Bubba and go out to eat or something because at the end of the day, their votes are what count. If I win, I will cry and scream for sure.
being dance spirit A finalist for Cover Model Search has been more than a dream to me. Not only was it a great experience, but it was also a huge teacher. She taught me self-motivation, and endless ways on how to support and, finally, love. I am forever grateful to have been a part of this amazing opportunity. I want to send a big thank you to everyone. To people I’ve known for many years to people I didn’t know showing their support. Not only have I been part of something with great artists like Kayla Mac and Red Henry, but I have also been able to meet new beautiful people. Thank you to my teachers, from my teens onwards, at BB Dance Productions, Charlotte Performing Arts, Miller Street Dance Academy, Myers Park Company, and Havilah Dance Company for making me the dancer I am today. Thank you to my amazing sisters, friends, Anthony, family, and especially my parents, for constantly showing me your love and support. Thank you to the staff and my friends from NYU Tisch Dance for making this voting experience so enjoyable. Finally, a big thank you dance spirit A team working to make this whole experience possible – this was truly a dream come true. Thank you all, and I will always keep this one, and all of your support, close to my heart. Sending love to all of you!
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