With passions for dance, acting and modeling, Larsen Thompson is well on the way to making 2016 her biggest year yet. Not only is she signed to NEXT Model Management, and trained in ballet, tap and contemporary dance styles, she’s also teamed up with Taylor Hatala to create the “Fraternal Twins”, stars of Sweety High’s brand new show Dance Haul. Now with a busy few months ahead and lots of ambitions still to be fulfilled, Larsen kindly agreed to this interview to chat influences, advice and social media.
PW: When did you first realize that you had a passion for dancing? Were you trained or was it something you just did for fun?
Larsen Thompson: I started dancing at the age of three. My parents put me in it for fun and I had a blast getting dressed up in different costumes and meeting new friends. It wasn’t until I was around nine years of age that I started to take dance more seriously. My commitment kicked in it at that point, as I trained consistently, 20+ hours a week, and eventually left my dance company to train independently.
PW: Were there any dancers who perhaps influenced or inspired you?
LT: At an early age I was inspired by Simrin Player, who was two years older than me but was working in the industry with artists like Willow Smith and Justin Bieber. As I got older, I was influenced by Brian Friedman and Jess Warfield, who are amazing dancers in their own right and have an amazing gift in choreography. They are my mentors to this day and continue to challenge and develop me, for that I am very grateful.
PW: Who, in your opinion, is the greatest dancer?
LT: Michael Jackson is probably the greatest performer and dancer that I have seen.
PW: What advice would you give to anyone thinking of making a career through dance?
LT: Ballet is the foundation for dance, so don’t just jump into only one form of dance. I didn’t start really hip hop dancing until I was nine years of age. Up until that point I trained in ballet, lyrical, tap, and contemporary. I am thankful for dance as it has helped lead and prepare me to explore other career opportunities like acting and modeling.
LT: Social media is fun and it is a lot of work to ensure that I take the time to respond to my followers. They take the time to write me and inspire me, so it is the least I can do. I’m very appreciative to each and every one of them.
PW: Would you agree that all artists today, regardless of their profession, need to be socially interactive in order to get ahead?
LT: Social media is important in every profession and digital platforms are everything because it is how people interact in their daily lives.
PW: You've also achieved more than 6 million views for your videos - what is it about creating and sharing videos that you enjoy so much?
LT: On my DIY YouTube videos I love sharing things that help others relate to and connect with me. When it comes to dance videos, I love working on unique concept videos which are exciting and tell a story.
PW: How has your connection to Radio Disney impacted your career?
LT: We launched our last “Fraternal Twins” dance video on the Sweety High channel and we are super excited on collaborating with them more. They have a great relationship with Disney and are all about girl empowerment which is very inspiring. I love their message and they introduced us to Radio Disney so we are very appreciative.
PW: Tell me about your latest dance video "Dance Haul”.
LT: It was an amazing collaboration with Sweety High as they brought in a full production crew to work with us. We normally have a one man crew for video work so it was really cool to see the team work together. Also, working with Veronica Zelle was amazing. She has worked with some of the largest artists in the industry on music videos and her team was so professional and fun to work with. The shoot location had a cool vibe, and it is always fun working with family – Taylor Hatala my BFF and "Fraternal Twin", Janelle Ginestra the visionary, and WilldaBeast Adams who helped choreograph this video.
PW: How does your being signed to NEXT Model Management tie in, if at all, with the dancing you do and the videos you create, or is that something kept completely separate?
LT: I love blending dance, fashion, and modeling. Dance has been a great platform for me to launch my modeling career. I started modeling after doing a back to school commercial for Target. During the shoot they asked if I would work on their national print campaign. It was a blast! Then I started to get more work with brands like Coca Cola, Panera, and Aeropostale.
PW: How did it come about that you got signed?
LT: I always wanted to work for NEXT as they have an amazing reputation in the modeling industry. I had an interview with them over a year ago but I was too young and not quite tall enough to get signed at the time. I continued to stay in touch with them and over the summer met with them again with my manager and they agreed to sign me as one of their new faces for modelling. I feel so blessed and have already started working with brands like David Yurman, HP, and Kohl’s since joining the team.
PW: Would you agree that models get a lot of unjustified criticism or are there aspects of the industry you feel need to be criticized in order for things to improve?
LT: My aunt - Julianne McNamara - was an Olympic gymnast and I feel that in a lot of sports, and in the modeling industry, there is criticism over weight, height, looks and more. I always try to be the best me and not worry what others say and think about me when I am modeling. I think modeling is changing for the better and is embracing diversity which is what the industry needs.
PW: Is there one career you favor over the other or do you count yourself fortunate to be able to juggle them all?
LT: I have a passion for dance, fashion, and modeling! I try to balance it all and am very thankful for my friends and family that help support and keep me grounded.
PW: What does 2016 have in store for you?
LT: I was honored to be on the cover of my first international fashion magazine in 2016 with Neo2 magazine out of Madrid. I would love to walk the runways in 2016. Also, possibly be on a television show, and continue to work on and with amazing people to create more videos that inspire others.
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate goal for the year ahead and what would be the biggest thing you could achieve in your career that would make you say "Yeah, I've now achieved all I wanted to”?
LT: I would say modeling high fashion lines on the runway would be a dream come true!