5. Remember that your journey can have twists and turns.
Michelina recalls that it took them four years in college and six years after that to be certain that they wanted to film dance for a living.
But they say that they’d do it all over again.
Michelina has worked as a warehouse box picker, a quality inspector, a Mardi Gras props painter, a server, a business owner, and even a well-known drag king in New Orleans.
Michelina was also met with financial struggles post-graduation while developing their business and videography skills. They had to move back home to save money before moving to New Orleans for their career.
“I fell into a deep depression. I was starting to think I wasn’t ever going to align my artistic passion with financial success,” Michelina said. “Looking back, in the beginning, I was a mess with my first attempted business. I made many mistakes, but I learned from them, and that is key.”
In an unpredictable journey, Michelina found comfort in their family, professors, and fellow Stamps alums.
Michelina’s Stamps peer, Andrew Fuller, helped remind Michelina of their persistence.
“Andrew said this: ‘Your best quality, besides your honesty, is your passion and drive to chase what you love to do. Don’t lose that ever. Most people don’t have that in them. That’s why you’re you.’” Michelina said.
Michelina says that their mom is their “ultimate supporter.” Michelina recounts their mom supporting their pivots from music to art concentrations in high school while searching for various art opportunities to help support their career.
“There are so many parents who don’t approve of pursuing a creative industry, and I feel so grateful that my mom supported me,” Michelina said. “I feel so grateful for everything she has done so I could create my own creative career path.”
Michelina also formed a strong connection with Nel Shelby of Nel Shelby Productions, who was a pivotal reason for their move to New York.
“We formed a strong connection at Jacob’s Pillow with our work ethic and dedication to our passion for filming dance,” Michelina said. “After learning about her company, I knew in my gut that I had to move here. She’s a large reason why I took a chance on New York, and I’ve filmed incredible dance companies in iconic locations and am eternally grateful to her and everyone on the team for their knowledge, support, and friendship.”
After learning from their past business endeavors, Michelina is thriving in filming dance in New York City.
“Looking back at everything that led me to where I’m at in my life, I’d do this journey all over again. I would explore, pivot, try, fail, explore, pivot, and try again. And again. And again. Each pivot point gave me skills and artistic insights into my work, as well as personal life lessons along the way,” Michelina said.
To stay updated with Michelina and their current work, check out their Instagram: @michelinaartist, and YouTube Channel: @michelinaartist.