A few weeks ago Matt and I made our way up to PAX:East. It was a great adventure to say the least, and while there we witnessed one of the best panels we’d ever seen, The “Other” Us. The panel focused on gender, community, and the world of gaming in general. “The ‘other’ us” inspired us to write some articles that hopefully you’ve had a chance to read (Ash and Matt) by now. The mastermind behind the panel was one Allison Thresher, former CM turned junior choreographer at Harmonix. I had the pleasure of talking with Allison about the panel, gender in gaming, PAX Pox, and other shenanigans. Enjoy!
Nerds come in all shapes and sizes. In case you haven’t heard of Keltie Colleen, she became the idol of thousands of young dancers as a Radio City Rockette (one of the most prestigious dance organizations in the entire known universe). While I’m no dancer (I can’t even walk very well), I very much admire people that work their ass off to accomplish something huge and actually pull it off. On top of being a former Rockette, Keltie has also danced for huge recording stars like Fergie, Panic at the Disco, Taylor Swift, and has done her thing on four MTV Video Music Awards. When not dancing, Keltie has been blogging about her misadventures for over five years on High Kicks and High Hopes, and has completed her first novel “Rockettes, Rockstars, and Rockbottom“. Did I mention that she’s a social networking addict and and loves to collect pens? Enjoy!
NA-Ash: Keltie, thanks again for talking with us! We have a metric ton of things to talk about so I hope you brought some snacks and pillow… it’s going to be a long chat. Now that we’ve probably scared you a little, how’s your morning going?
Keltie Colleen: Pretty awesome. I woke up to some serious morning love from my doggie hobo.
NA-Ash: Your body of work is pretty staggering. You’ve done just about everything in the dance world, and, are idolized by a ton of young aspiring dancers. Long ago when you set out on your adventure, did you ever think you’d be where you are today?
Keltie Colleen: Honestly, I am just surprised anyone ever hired me, and as far as inspiring people on www.highkicksandhighhopes.blogspot.com, it surprises me everyday that people write me and say that I inspired them to follow their dream. I eat pop tarts and drink diet coke. I barely sleep. I don’t like to shower. I wouldn’t say I am the normal “I wanna be like her” icon.
NA-Ash: Now your book, “Rockettes, Rockstars, and Rockbottom” tells the brutally honest tale of your big move from Canada to New York City. Do you ever regret being so incredibly open on paper?
Keltie Colleen: I try not to regret anything in life because when I make the biggest fool of myself is usually when I learn the biggest lesson. Be open and honest is what I think makes a great artist. Seems everyone these days is hiding behind a wall of people, airbrushing or tacos. Not me.
NA-Ash: Speaking of Rockettes, their status is nothing short of legendary. After dancing for them at such a young age, how do you top that?
Keltie Colleen: Being a Rockette was my childhood dream so I am pretty sure I cannot top it. Since I retired from the line, this entire past year has been me breaking up with my childhood dream. It’s been a really gnarly break-up but I think that I am just moving onto a new section of my life that doesn’t include Santa and ice baths. Now I get to write and purge my heart in a new way and I am really excited about what’s next.
NA-Ash: If you had to really pinpoint where all your motivation comes from what would you say? What drives you to be so creative and full of energy? (Me: caffeine and beef jerky…)
Keltie Colleen: The energy comes from my totally un-healthy diet coke addiction. My creative comes from wanting to prove people wrong about me.
NA-Ash: I fully understand your addiction. I too drink way too much diet soda. You were recently on the Bachelor, and while you’re no stranger to being in the public eye, I can’t image the experience was “normal” by any means. What was the overall experience like? Can you perhaps share the most ridiculous thing you witnessed?
Keltie Colleen: When they asked me to be on the Bach I was sort of shocked, I am not the typical girl that goes on that show, and I was pretty sure the dude wouldn’t be wearing skinny jeans or be anywhere near interesting or artistic. I was right. I made some great friends. The most insane thing I saw was the amount of foundation Brad was wearing all the time. I swear. It was like, drag- queen status. gross.
NA-Ash: Now for some nerdy questions, because it’s our job to build you a legion of nerdy fans who, like me, cannot dance. You’ve been blogging for over five years on (http://highkicksandhighhopes.blogspot.com/) . I was curious what your opinion was on social media in general. Do you feel as though it helps keep people connect? Or does it perpetuate people’s inability to interact in real life? (I know phone calls feel MUCH more personal than they used to)
Keltie Colleen: For me social media is a total escape. I have much better relationships with total strangers online then most of mine in real life. Being someone who has always been a slight social-phobe I LOVE my computer and it’s little world. I wasn’t good at “real life” prior and I am even worse now.
NA-Ash: Confession: I’m an awkwardly lanky guy with no rhythm. I’ve probably only danced a handful of times in my entire life. Sadly, when I dance, I look a bit like Frankenstein chasing a terrified villager… Is there hope for someone like me? What should I do? (to clarify, I’m not afraid of fire, and therefore am not actually Frankenstein)
Keltie Colleen: Well, Lucky for you awkwardly lanky is all of sudden really cool. Thanks Micheal Cera! I heard the new Michael Jackson dance game is a pretty good teacher. Teach yourself the moonwalk and then let’s talk again.
NA-Ash: Speaking of dance games… Have you gotten the chance to try out Dance Central? It’s pretty remarkable. What is your opinion on dancing and rhythm games in general?
Keltie Colleen: I think I auditioned for the commercial for that. I like anything that involves dancing, but obviously that game, and ALL dance games would be so much better if I was in them. Right?
NA-Ash: What is the nerdiest thing that you do on a regular basis? (Anything goes, from toy collecting, to building LEGO robots).
Keltie Colleen: I collect pens. I love to go to staples and dream about if I had a million dollars all the nice pens I would buy. My favorite are “le pen” because they make them in lavender + teal and beautiful colors. I am also obsessed with the royal wedding and I read the news every morning because it is super important for me to know that Kate had 6 hairstylists the day of her wedding.
NA-Ash: Six hairstylists? That’s intense. I’m surprised they didn’t kill each other. On another note, what advice do you have for people that are stuck in a rut that feel like they’ll never be able to accomplish what they REALLY want to do?
Keltie Colleen: Honestly, everyone is talented. Well, eer, 85% of the people in the world are talented. So really it isn’t about being good or pretty or smart or any of that. It is about getting off the floor every morning and putting on your combat boots of life and stomping through the best you can. Having your dreams come true has almost nothing to do with being “amazing” and everything to do with working your butt off.
NA-Ash: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next and what we have to look forward to?
Keltie Colleen: Well! Currently I am writing 17,000 more words to add to the second printing of Rockettes, Rockstars and Rockbottom and also meeting with all kinds of dudes and chicks in suits about creating a really magical TV series based on the book. SO, it is all really exciting and wonderful and scary and sometimes I laugh and scream and sometimes I cry my face off and I guess that is all a part of being alive and being a nerd.
NA-Ash: Thanks again Keltie!