Ashlyn Sins – Louisiana Interview by Inspiring Teens Team Nomination and Photography by Trena Sins Issue 39 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination:Ashlyn Sins is a 10th grader and aspiring dancer with interest in law. Ashlyn is always finding ways to help and provide for others. Whether volunteering for organizations that serve marginalized groups such as Options, Inc. or her school, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, she is always willing to give her time. She also comes up with fundraisers for different groups, such as the Tangi Humane Society, the Tangi Food Pantry or items for hurricane relief. She does all of this and more between her high school schedule and her competition dance schedule.
Photography by Kathy Whittaker Photography
How did you get started in dance? How long have you been doing it and how many hours do you spend practicing? I started dance at 2 years old at a daycare program. From there, I joined a dance company and then went to my first Nutcracker audition! I was a tiny mouse! Dew Drop Fairy soloist has been my biggest role to date. So, I’ve been a dancer now for 13 years. In all, between my dance company and my performing arts school, I am dancing or in dance education for approximately 28 hours a week. It may sound like a lot, as much as a job for some, but to me it’s fun and it’s my dream.
Tell us a little about your high school as well. I attend the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school. In 8th grade I had to apply and audition. I was accepted by audition to the Dance Department as well as their full academic studio. I have the honor of attending a school with notable graduates such as Harry Connick, Jr., Branford Marsalis and Wendell Pierce to name a few. What I love most about my school is the diversity. There are many different departments, such as Culinary, Jazz and of course Dance! The school is full of creative people from many different backgrounds. It’s definitely New Orleans!
What was it like to have been selected by audition and danced at Orlando Ballet School, Austin Ballet and Joffrey Ballet School for summer intensives? Since I am a dancer I love to stay on top of my technique. Over the past few summers, I have auditioned for and attended intensives with Orlando Ballet School, Austin Ballet and Joffrey Ballet School. These were all amazing experiences where I lived on university campuses for up to 5 weeks while training with world class instructors. Aside from the great training and growth, I loved making friends across the country!
Who do you find inspiring? As a dancer, and as someone who embraces diversity, I find Misty Copeland’s story inspirational. She is a dancer that so many young girls look up to for so many reasons, such as being told you are not good enough. There are times when many of us don’t feel “good enough” but we keep working because it’s what we love. I say that if you dance with your heart, your feet will follow! What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? As far as being inspiring, I think I see myself more as a mentor or role model. I love to help the younger dancers at my studio, not only with their footwork but with their confidence. I’ve been in their (ballet) shoes. I worked hard to get where I am and I want them to understand that they can do it too! I’ve had dance moms thank me for being nice to their children, helping them and just being good example. It’s nice to receive the compliments, but it’s even greater when I see a girl achieve her goal.
Photography by Trena Sins
What does it mean to be a Major Donor Ambassador for DanceHopeCure? was designated this title due to the amount of funds I have raised for pediatric cancer research. I wanted to be involved with this organization because my family has been touched by cancer in many ways and I wanted to find a way to be involved in giving back. I make social media posts occasionally and I keep a link on my Instagram @ashlynsins where people can make donations.
How did you get started with volunteering and what are some of the volunteer services you have participated in? My volunteerism truly began when I started in pageantry with National American Miss when I was 8 years old. I joined the Tangi Food Pantry as the youngest ever volunteer! I was allowed to stock shelves, bag groceries and make bread bags. As a current contestant for Miss Louisiana Teen USA, a place to volunteer close to my heart is Options, Inc. They help people that are physically and mentally disabled find a place in the community to work with a sense of purpose.
Tell us more about how you got started with organizing fundraisers, and some highlights from the events you've organized. While volunteering is fun, there is always a need for fundraising. I’ve been able to have food drives for the Tangi Food Pantry at my dance studio and I’ve even had a supply drive for the Tangi Humane Society. Something that can be devastating in my region of Southeast Louisiana are hurricanes. So, occasionally there is a need for me to gather donations for hurricane relief for people that are displaced.
Photography by Trena Sins
Tell us about you’re the pageants you ‘ve been in. Pageantry has been a constant in my life since age 8. I would always tell my mom that I wanted to be in a pageant. My mom was unfamiliar with pageantry, so she didn’t look into it until the day I received a referral to a natural pageant in the mail. She said, “if I don’t have to worry about hair and makeup then you can do it.” And so, I did my first pageant with National American Miss and won 4th runner up to queen and I won talent! Dance, of course! The rest, as they say, is history! I am now a contestant in the upcoming Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageant in January 2021.
How do you keep your schedule straight when you are so busy? I have a very full schedule, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I guess that’s how it is when you do what you love! I have my Mom to thank, of course, for helping to keep me organized and getting me everywhere I need to go. I do keep a calendar of events and notes of things I need and want to do!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? In the future I see myself attending a university to pursue my education in dance as well as my interest in law. It seems like an odd combination to some people, but to me it’s all about balance. It’s about following your calling. I’ve always loved dance and recently in the current state of our nation I’ve started finding a passion for law. I want to help those that need a voice and deserve to be heard.
Look for Ashlyn in issue 39 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!