We had the good fortune of connecting with Grace Costigan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Grace, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Now that I look back on it, I’d like to think that dance pursued me. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy but I really think it was the other way around. Growing up in North Carolina I felt small, like I had to stay in my own little box and grow into being something more ‘professional’ like nursing or education. I started dancing really young and I always thought that it was only a side hobby. It wasn’t until middle school when I really started thinking the possibility of doing this for a career, only when I said it out loud in front of my class everyone laughed in my face. Although I had support from friends and family, I still couldn’t help but feel they wanted me to be something I’m not. I started doubting myself and was desperate to find a new career path, but I never found passion in anything else-only dance. I always found my way back to dance, it was all I thought about and the only thing I knew I was confident in. Dancing was my home away from home, it’s really the only thing that makes me truly know who I am, even if it was just for a night. High school came and I was struggling immensely between wanting to pursue my passion as a career and going along the path I thought other people wanted me to take. I felt like I had to fit in to something I knew wasn’t meant for me in the first place. Dance always pulled me back to myself and my true reality. When I got accepted into AMDA in Los Angeles (college of performing arts) after my audition, it was the first time I felt like I knew what I was doing. Even though I was moving the farthest away out of all of my friends, it felt like everything snapped into place and that dance was for me all along. It’s an art that can be healing, creative, and inspiring all on so many different levels. It really helps others feel like they understand and belong, even if they don’t dance. Other artists definitely know the feeling of being attached to their art, like they know it’s something meant for them. It helps me breathe and it helps me find my way.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My journey has been a full on rollercoaster. In fact, I feel like my path is only just starting! The journey of doubt along my middle, high school and even college years was only setting me up for a whole new path to finding out who I am as a dancer and an individual. Dancing before college was all about figuring out that it was the love of my life, while learning about it in college was going into depth about finally making it into a career. It definitely was not easy, especially trying to find a part of me that makes me different from everyone else. To be completely honest, I’m still figuring that out and I think that’s okay! A lot of individuals try to look into what sets them apart from others and I want those people to know, that it’s okay if you don’t figure it out right away. Things take time and not everyone’s path has to be yours, it took me a very long time to learn that. Nowadays I believe as long as you are your authentic true self as an artist, that’s the best you can give yourself because you shouldn’t have to change to be well-liked. One of my favorite poetry authors, Rupi Kaur has a small poem from her book The Sun and Her Flowers that has stuck with me. She wrote “you do not just wake up and become the butterfly -growth is a process.” I am incredibly excited to become that butterfly. I used to want to rush my growth process because I just wanted everything to happen to me all at once. However, growth is a process you’re meant to experience and feel on all levels and it’s what makes you into something new and better.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I LOVE this question! As soon as I’d pick up my friend at the airport I would take them to brunch at Solar De Cahuenga in Hollywood, they have the best potato fries you will ever eat. On Sundays, there’s this adorable flea market in echo park they have the cutest pop up clothing stands and jewelry and tons of other small businesses! I normally recommend Santa Monica or Venice beach since it’s such a tourist go-to, but my friends and I love going to El Matador beach in Malibu. Not only is the drive beautiful but the rocks on the beach are gorgeous to look at. We like to film dances there as well since its such a pretty environment, trust me the fifty minute drive is worth it. During the week my friends and I love to go to this bar called Cabo Cantina that does karaoke on Wednesdays. It actually gets pretty crazy there, we end up singing the best songs of the night! Anywhere with a view is worth checking out. There’s the Angel Crest highway which is a drive but the view at night is breathtaking. Sometime’s we also love going to Griffith to hike up the trails and I never get tired of that view. There are so many more places I could talk about but those are definitely my top choices.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
No one deserves more credit than my parents. My mom was a dance teacher growing up so I always had her to look up to and understand all of the struggles I was going through. To this day, she truly is my best friend and really the only mentor in my life who has helped bring me this far. She doesn’t express it but I know my mom secretly misses me too much back home (: My dad owns his own business and although he may not understand the dance industry to a certain level, it means everything that he still supports me. After I had a recent surgery and got back into dancing I was having a hard time with healing where I wanted to heal faster than my body could keep up. I remember talking on the phone with my dad and he told me that me being frustrated shows that I care and that this is what I truly want and he will always support me for my passion. It’s a heartfelt feeling knowing both of my parents will always be there for my journey.

Instagram: @gccostigan

Image Credits
Photography by Camden Retzlaff, Jessica Alba, and Jordan Davis Miller

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