At first glance Chloe appears to be just your high school student with a passion for dance, and then you talk to her and that’s when you really discover her fierce dedication to everything she does! She’s humorous, enthusiastic, and seems to have a thing for exclamation points. Honestly, I feel like she’s living proof that you can fit a lot more into a day than you thought. A week for Chloe means: 15-20 hours of dance, perfecting her 5 languages, 30 hours of rigorous school, journalism, the arts, the list goes on!
Hi Chloe, tell us a bit about yourself!
I was born and raised in Los Angeles (Sunny Southern California!) and I attend a small, private, French-American school called Lycée International de Los Angeles.
What's something super cool about you?
So I am fluent in English, French, and Mandarin and am proficient in Spanish and Taiwanese. In addition to that, I am currently studying Italian!
Wow, that’s a lot of languages. When did you start to learn them?
I’ve been going to Lycée International de Los Angeles since I was 5. Up until 10th grade, almost everything was taught in French. Starting in 6th grade, Spanish was also mandatory. In elementary school and part of middle school, I attended an Argentinian school to learn Spanish on Saturdays, and a Chinese school on Sundays. Since both of my parents are Taiwanese-American, I was naturally fluent in Mandarin. I’ve also learned how to speak Taiwanese since I heard it a lot growing up and still have to use it when I go back to Taiwan to visit my family. I also took an introductory Italian course at UCLA this past summer, and am currently continuing it!
That's pretty amazing, congratulations! You're very interested in the arts too, right?
Yes, I dedicate a lot of my time to the arts. I’ve enjoyed working on various projects in different forms of visual art, such as paintings, sketches, photography, and architecture. I also enjoy writing a lot - I was super lucky to be published both in Chinese, in the Chinese World Journal, and in English, and in the Los Angeles Times (as a featured writer)! I am also the founder and editor-in-chief of my school’s first ever student-led newspaper, LilaPride! Despite all of this, I would say my largest commitment in the field of arts is dance. I am a dancer on the teen elite competition team at the Abby Lee Dance Company, which was featured on the reality TV show, Dance Moms :) Last summer, I won first place as a soloist at nationals, which was so awesome and unexpected!
You do so much! But I'm really interested in knowing about your dance journey, and what kept you going.
I’ve been dancing on and off since I was about 2½. I started with ballet at a local ballet conservatory in Pasadena, California. Growing up, I was always a super loud and outgoing kid, therefore the calm nature of ballet didn’t appeal to me as much. (hence why I was dancing on and off!) In between, I also dabbled a little bit in other genres such as jazz and modern. I continued to do so until I was about 11, where I began taking classes at another local studio and joined their competition team. This was when I genuinely fell in love with dance and committed to it. After two years of dancing with that studio, I craved more training, so I became an “independent” dancer. I took classes at many different studios, as well as master classes. I competed 3 solos with 3 different choreographers. That year, I learned a lot and felt ready to go further with my dance training. Towards the end of the season, I found out that Abby had just opened her a new studio in Los Angeles! I attended their summer intensive course, where I auditioned for the team, just for fun! To my surprise, I made the team, and decided to join! There, I train in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, hip hop, acro, and a little bit of ballroom! Last year, I trained anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a week, but this year I had to cut down a little due to other commitments. What motivates me to put so much time and effort into dance is my pure love for it. When I dance, I feel as if every single problem in the world disappears — it’s a cliché because it’s true!. It’s simple, really, dancing releases endorphins, which make you happy!
It’s great that dance makes you so happy. What’s it like to dance at Abby Lee’s studio? Is she anything like the person she is on TV?
Abby is quite different from what the show portrays her as. You have to remember that after all, it’s just TV! She’s a lot of things, but a monster is not one of them. I’m not going to speak on her behalf, but it’s no secret that she’s had a couple issues regarding the way the show is handled. But it is important to remember that reality television is almost never the “reality”, it is the “reality” that the audiences want to see.
I joined her company last season on the opening of her new Los Angeles studio. It was quite competitive, as I recall, many were being kicked out on the spot at the audition! Being apart of the ALDC team is very different from what I had experienced with my old studio. It is larger scale, and the teachers are top of the line. Granted, any competitive dance studio comes with its own drama, but once you get past that, you realize how much you grow and learn as a dancer. I am so thankful for the experiences I have shared with my team. I have learned lifelong lessons and made lifelong friends, and can’t wait for what’s next to come!
What other things interest you besides the arts?
I have a strong passion for environmental studies. A couple of summers ago, I had the privilege to conduct research in the environmental engineering department in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California. I explored microbially-driven engineering processes for water management with a focus on resource recovery from waste stream as well as anaerobic treatment of wastewater via biogas recovery and microbial fuel cell energy generation. This March, I will be travelling to Ecuador to work on agricultural ecology systems and nature conservation! Most recently, I attended a program at UC Berkeley where we designed and built a storage shelter and rainwater catchment system for the Verde Elementary School Community Garden in collaboration with a non-profit organization called Urban Tilth. Furthermore, I designed a pavilion for the Berkeley Aquatic Center that cultivates algae from water sources to produce energy.
Yeah, you’re quite interested in community service too, right?
Yes! I love to give back to my community! I am a leader of the MWLA chapter of the Tzu-Chi Youth Foundation. We engage in service activities such as teaching children with Down Syndrome, medical outreach, and disaster relief. I am also the Junior President for Key Club International. Last year, I received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. I am also a current intern at Time4Good, an organization that helps the world’s busiest leaders make better use of their limited meeting times and helps enquirers get noticed in their inboxes — all while giving back to charity.
That’s quite inspiring! You're doing so much, and so well! As a wrap up question, Chloe, what would you like to be doing in 15 years' time?
In 15 years, I’m going to be 30, in which I hope to be, just like Jenna from 13 going on 30 hoped to be, “Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving!” By then, I hope to have come out of law school with a patent law degree, and maybe an architectural degree from undergrad as well! I will continue to dance, as well as being involved with a lot of philanthropic work. I hope to maybe have a happy little family by then, and we can travel the world together! By then, I also hope to have had an internship experience in New York City with a magazine firm such as Vogue or Cosmopolitan, as it has been a lifelong dream of mine! Honestly, I don’t like to plan out my life way too much, I’m just excited to see where life takes me!