Nowadays being a geek means many different things. Just ask hip hop dancer, designer, artist, model and entrepreneur, Queena Yan.
Name: Queena Yan
All kinds, as long as they make you think. But some of my favorites are the classic Walt Disney movies. All Dogs Go to Heaven and Cinderella are probably my favorites. I also like horror, usually foreign scary movies because you can kind of guess what’s going to happen, but not really. It’s all about the anticipation and the build up of suspense. They’re just done really well in foreign horror films.
Rn’b, Soul, Blues, Jazz, Oldies, Rock, Alternative, Reggae, Classical, Orchestra and symphonies, Country, Rap, House, Old School, and more.
Bacon or Canadian bacon:
Spider-Man, Wolverine, Batman or the barely clothed 300 “I AM SPARTAN” guy:
The barely clothed 300 “I am Spartan”
What were some of your favorite cartoons as a kid?
My Pet Monster, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Samurai Pizza Cats, Sharky and George, Smurfs, X-men, Gargoyles, Beasties and more.
Do you still watch cartoons now?
The only cartoons I watch now are Family Guy, Robot Chicken and American Dad.
What were some of your favorite toys as a kid?
My Little Pony, Lego Barbies, Polly Pocket, Nintendo, Turbo Graphic X, Gameboy and etc.
Do you still have any of them?
I still have them all. I haven’t thrown of my old toys away. Unfortunately, since I moved to NYC I don’t have any with me. I wish I have some with me, that way I can reminisce my childhood memories.
I have been dancing ever since my mother forced me to take ballet classes at 14 because she thought I was looking too much like a tom boy because all I ever did was play basketball, volleyball, tennis and badminton. I hated dancing when I first started. Not only was I the oldest in my class, but I was also the worse. To make it worse, I had to stand in front of the mirror constantly staring at my physique and I was teased all the time because of the way I was shaped and no one believed that I could ever be a dancer.
At 14, taking up ballet felt like torture and I went through many obstacles. I felt I had definitely grown up a lot faster than most other girls at my school because while I was going through adolescence and usual teenage girl high school drama, I battled a lot of self confidence issues and depression because of ballet and everything that evolved around it.
Eventually, I slowly grew to like ballet but still remained resentful of my mother for shoving me into the class. After graduating high school, I was still dancing in the same studio but the studio offered other dance styles and one class of hip hop over the weekend. I thought to myself, I’ve been dancing for so long and I stuck by it, maybe I should try another style of dance to see where it can take me — I mean I didn’t want to put all my hard work to waste.
So I then took jazz and modern for two and half years. After that I took a couple of hip hop classes and found that I was actually picking up hip hop choreography much quicker than I thought. I felt extremely comfortable with the style and ever since I switched to it, it was like an entire new passion for dance came out of me from nowhere.
I don’t know where dancing is going to take me in my life, but just like many other things in life, sometimes you do things because you follow your heart, your instincts and most of all, what makes you happy. Life is too short to be not doing things you want to do.
I’m a dancer and when you say you’re a dancer you don’t have a specific specialty. I keep my range of style open because I believe in being versatile. I can say this though; I am very inclined with the hip hop culture.
I would image that the dance world is fairly competitive just like everything else, what makes you stand out from all the other dancers? Do you think there is solidarity among dancers or is it fairly cut throat like show biz?
It is competitive in the dance world because there are so many people that want to land that same video job, that movie role, or that tour and some are just hungrier than you are. It sucks to know sometimes it’s not even about your skills, its how you look, your style or your swag. It’s really up to the production or casting to decide if you can good enough to their eyes.
I try to make myself stand out by trying to learn as many different dance styles as I can in order to stay versatile and not limited myself to any particular style. That way I can go to more auditions and who knows, if I don’t land a job here, maybe I can land one in another.
Overall, I think the industry for dancers is a difficult place because we are the entertainment when you think about it. Without the dancing and the level of energy we exude on stage, there will be no entertainment.
The problem is, we are also not always in the lime light. Typically we are in the background dancing for an artist, in a video or in a movie. If you ask me it’s tough, but everyone has their own path to success and it’s only hard if you make it hard.
Who would win in an ultimate dance off challenge where the loser is fed to hungry crocodiles – you, presently, or a 60 year old Janet Jackson with serious nip slip?
Me of course haha
Yes, there are four of us in the company, Angus and I are the creators and designers while Eric and Howard are the business savvy’s. I did however, founded the name of the company.
My colleagues originally wanted to name the clothing line “Courage” and I was knodding my head, “Um um! No we have to think of something better.” It took us two weeks to come up with a name and one day I was on dictionary.com, I was searching on the thesaurus for “courage” and came across the word “Hardihood.” It caught my eye because of the way the letters were put together and the “I” in the middle really made me think that we can work a lot of designs around it. The word HardiHood is interesting word in itself. Sometimes we have people asking us, “is that a real word?” and I would just reply back, “yep, look it up in the dictionary.”
Hardihood means vigorous, courage, daring – and you can find HardiHood Clothing all across Canada or online at www.HardiHoodClothing.com.
Second, how does being a creative director for a clothing line translate into Queena as a dancer, and vice versa? There must be some sort of cross relationship between the two occupations.
I’ve always been passionate about fashion and dancing for a long time, and I can never decide which one I’d wanted to do more. I just can’t drop one or the other. I had to have them both in my life. Not to mention, I am a variety person; so if I were to take one path I would be bored and probably unmotivated or I go crazy because my energy can only be on one thing but by being able to go back and forth, it keeps my creativity going and it makes me think more outside of the box.
I always find myself juggling a CRAZY busy schedule with dancing and designing, but I do it to keep myself happy.
Fashion and dance do come together; people don’t realize that pop culture is what dictates the next trend. As dancers we follow trends too, but we are also have own unique style that separates us from the non dancers. There are people who go the extra mile to make themselves stand out but sometimes less is more. It’s about your image and how you are put together to present yourself to others. We live in a superficial and materialistic society it’s hard not to dress to impress. Dancing is all about your body and fashion is about putting clothes on your body so there you have it haha
Do you have any designs of your own outside of Hardihood?
I do have some designs of my own aside from hardihood, recently I’ve been working with some photographers, helping them style the models in my clothes for editorial shots for magazine submissions.
As someone living in the digital age, do you think the Internet, social networking sites and Youtube provide new avenues for aspiring artists/designers trying to get noticed or some exposure?
Sometimes, I mean the more things that are available to us the more we take advantage of. Sometimes it can also be a negative because people do get their ideas plagiarized or stolen and other claim that your ideas are their. It’s a great way branch yourself but you have to be very careful and be very picky of where and how you post your things up online.
How are you personally taking advantage of the Internet doing what you do as a dancer and designer?
I use it for inspiration and motivation. I watch other people around the world post their thoughts and ideas, or people who post their dance skills, performances, battles, and etc. It is great to see what is out there and who are doing the same things you are.
Okay be honest now, we all know you’re cool but there has to be something that you’ll totally geek out about. What is it and why?
I love playing online word games!!!!! I play against people around the world in this game called Literati on Yahoo. My rating is about 4500 plays and that’s a lot friggin time wasted. I have a lot of geeky qualities.
I’m always constantly working, whether it’s with photographers for styling, or being in photo shoots to dancing with and for choreographers. I don’t have all the time to really update people on what’s really going on in QUEENA’s world but if you really want to know there are some sites. You can check out my site which is currently under construction at www.queenayan.com, or to my Myspace at www.myspace.com/queenayan. If you search for my full name, you can also find me on Facebook and Youtube, although I don’t post much up there. You may not find much because I’m horrible at updating with what’s going on because theres just so much that I can’t even keep with myself.
If there was ever a collectible Queena doll, what kind of accessories would it come with? Or better yet, what color hair would it have?
First of all, I would be so honored to have someone wanting my face on plastic doll and especially a collectible haha Accessories…. hm ….. there would have to be chains (it’s my signature). It would have chains and more chains, chain necklaces, chain bracelets, chain belts, rings and so on.
And lastly, some of us at Bent Wookie are thinking about forming a dance crew. Wanna join? We all have our special skills. I can do the funky chicken and the Macarena for example.
Well, when you guys hold your auditions let me know haha.
Once again, thanks for taking the time to speak with us at You Bent My Wookie.