Lifetime’s ‘Dance Moms’ Ava Cota dances in Hudson, talks about the #13reasons4me challenge
HUDSON – As a 10-year-old star on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms,” Ava Cota was often ridiculed on social media solely on the basis of her looks.
“I’ve always been skinny, and I’ve always been tall, and so people felt like they wanted to attack that,” she said. “They were calling me anorexic and telling me my mom wasn’t feeding me.”
Knowing she had to persevere regardless of the negative comments, Cota realized she had to look inward.
“The thing that help me got through it was self love,” she said. “We all have to deal with things and the best way to do that is finding love within ourselves and confidence within ourselves.”
Now 16, the “So you Think You Can Dance” alumnus is making stops in dance studios throughout the country hoping to spread her message – “self love creates self happiness.”
PHOTOS: DRIVEN TO DANCE
Cota and her mother Jeanette stopped by the studio Sunday where they led a workshop for nine young up-and-coming dancers.
For Samantha Santana, 14, being able to dance with Cota was an almost surreal experience, as she is one of Cota’s biggest fans.
“I love Ava so much, I’ve watched her for forever,” Santana said, referencing Cota’s appearances on numerous dancing shows as well as her large online media presence on YouTube.
“I was so nervous coming here,” she added.
Cota led the group of girls through a series of exercises ranging from improv dances to a choreographed routine. Afterward, Cota and her mom hosted a brief question-and-answer session.
Even as a young child, Cota loved dancing; she started when she was 2. Having worked with her mom at their studio early on in life, Cota also knew she enjoyed teaching dance.
Cota, however, said she wanted to bring something different to the table. It didn’t take long for her to realize the insight she could share with young dancers, given her experiences online.
In addition to visiting studios throughout the country, Cota has also started the #13reasons4me challenge (also known as the #13reasonsof love challenge). Inspired by the Netflix Original series “13 Reason Why,” Cota is challenging kids throughout the country to create videos highlighting 13 reasons why they love themselves.
To end the session, Cota encouraged students to live positively and surround themselves with people they love when they are going through hard times.
“I think that’s why it’s so important for me to spread this message, especially in dance studios because this is a place where we can surround ourselves with that, but I think sometimes we don’t realize we have this special place,” she said.
Source: MetroWest Daily News