Why Deja Riley ditched a career dancing with Beyonce and Katy Perry for her mental health

Abu Mubarik October 27, 2022
Photo credit: dejawebsite

Deja Riley grew up dancing. Since age three, it has become a big part of her, but she took dancing more seriously at the age of 12 when she started competitive dancing. She landed her first dance job, working for Laurieann Gibson as her assistant.

Through Gibson, she got her first celebrity gig, which was on Dancing with the Stars with Lady Gaga. Since then, she has danced for celebrities like Britney Spears, J.Lo, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and Katy Perry, among others.

Riley recently moved from the dance industry into the health fitness space, inspired by her inclination to move her body. Riley recalled dancing behind Beyoncé with all of the glitz and glamour and lights but still felt inadequate.

From this point on, she felt the need to take her mental health important. “So when I started feeling that way, I knew that it was time to shift. It was time to switch gears into something a lot more fulfilling for not just my body, but also my spirit and my mind,” she told XoNecole.

“It took six months to a year for me to fully make the transition. But I had already been working out a lot so I decided that I wanted to lean into fitness even more. At first, I was like, maybe I’ll do some fitness modelling. Then I was like, maybe I’ll go into personal training. And I landed in group fitness where I started my fitness journey as a leader,” she added.

As one of the few Black women in the fitness industry, Riley said representation is important and she hopes to continue to pave the way and show young Black women that they can lead a healthy and happy life.

According to her, she wants to make it part of her mission as a trainer, an advocate and an activist to encourage a healthy and happy life among women. Her brand, Deja Riley Athletics, shifts the industry narrative and creates a safe, inclusive space for all people seeking to not only look better but feel better, according to her blog.

Like every entrepreneur, Riley has had her own fair share of challenges or obstacles, and these challenges date back to her journey as a dancer. According to her, she often faced the idea of tokenism. For her, combating the narrative of tokenism was important to her as a way to show her competency.

Riley is the daughter of super-producer Teddy Riley, which means she was born into the world of entertainment. And even though she is a star in her own right, she credits her dad for instilling in her a strong work ethic. “So it was never an option to only lean on my last name. I always had to work for everything that I had,” she noted.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 27, 2022


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