We had the good fortune of connecting with Manmeet Kaur and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Manmeet, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am from North India, more precisely Punjab but I am California born and raised. Growing up was different for me. Majority of my life I grew up in Palm Springs, where there were not many Indian people, maybe us and two other families but that was it. I went to a predominantly white school where I was made fun of a lot for my fragrant food and my brother who tied a turban.
My home life was much different. My parents were such hard workers. When we came home it was always all love. They taught me that working hard and working honestly was always so important. Along with respect and helping others. This rubbed off on me and it is something I live by to this day. My parents never let us feel the effects of the outside world. They always raised me to be strong but to also be kind to others no matter what. That has impacted me to who I am today, being a performer for a majority of my life, it has taught me that I love to give and make people smile. Dancing and doing makeup gives me that opportunity to manipulate emotions in the way I see fit, it allows me to entertain people, maybe even make them smile or feel something, which if I can do just that much, it would be amazing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe I have the best of both worlds when it comes to being an artist. Being a dancer I think what really sets me apart from others is the diversity I have when it comes to dance styles. I really like to play around the different styles I have trained in order to create something truly unique. Showing raw real emotions in pieces can be hard to do but I make sure that the story is not only being told by dance, but also with emotion. When it comes to be a makeup artist, I love to play around with cultural aspects of India and implement them into the artwork I do. Most of it being Indian jewelry or an Indian twist on a Disney movie character. Thinking outside the box and seeing what I can create that has not been done before. It was definitely not easy by any means. A majority of my dance training came from the 10 years I have been doing color guard, where we spun flags and various types of equipment along with 5 to 6 our rehearsals every other day, training ballet, contemporary and jazz. Once I graduated I wanted to push the threshold and started to venture into other kinds of dance such as Bollywood, bhangra and hip-hop and I fell in love.
Challenges with makeup are totally different. It still requires a lot of training and practice, especially while doing actual illusions or artwork on your body. I have faced creative blocks in which I ride out until they are no longer there, I find that going for a drive with my favorite music helps me get over that. There also have been times that I have a look that I would love to do, and on the first attempt it goes really bad, and when that happens I realize tat I have to practice drawing things out more so that I t used to it. I don’t think anyone could get used to having to write backwards on yourself so that it will show up the correct way on camera. 😂
Overall I have learned that there is no limits to creativity. And if you see it in your head, there is no way that you cannot make it into reality. Anything is doable and the sky is not the limit!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to Icon Winter Guard. My instructor for my color guard team Juan Gonzalez, has taught me everything I know about being a performer and working with a team. I have been under his instruction since high school and since then he has taught me so many lessons, not just in color guard but in life. A lot of the discipline that goes into Color guard can correlate with life experiences and it has shaped me into who I am today.