From roles in music videos to dancing live on stage, working alongside the likes of Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams and the Far East Movement has given Mao Kawakami a resumé that reads like a who’s who of the hip hop world.
Originally from Japan, Kawakami, 22, moved to Langley in Grade 10 after taking summer school courses here and developing a fondness for the community.
Having studied only classical ballet in Japan, Kawakami decided to branch out once she’d moved to Canada, and joined Kick It Up A Notch Academy of Dance in Aldergrove.
For the next two years, she trained in a range of styles, from musical theatre to jazz, ballet, contemporary dance and, of course, hip hop.
After graduating from Langley Secondary in 2011, she grabbed her tights and leotards and headed south.
In Los Angeles, Kawakami attended college — finishing a degree in psychology — while continuing to train and audition for jobs.