Catching Up With Cover Model Search Finalist Kayla Mak

December 16, 2021

We’re thrilled for our Cover Model Search winner, Iyanna Jackson—but we also love our two runners-up, Kayla Mak and Reed Henry! We talked to Kayla about how life has changed since the last time we spoke with her.

Hi, Kayla! What have you been up to since our Cover Model Search photo shoot in August?

Kayla Mak stands in a right battement re
Photo by Nathan Sayers

I’ve been super-busy dancing every day in my first year at Juilliard, and absolutely loving it! My class is small, just 22 dancers, and it’s a dream to be surrounded by so many supportive and talented people. Right now, we’re in the thick of rehearsals for a show called New Dances, and my class’ piece is choreographed by Caili Quan, formerly of BalletX.

What was your campaign strategy for CMS?

It felt kind of odd to campaign for myself, but the people around me were so helpful! It was so fun to see how my friends, who all go to different colleges, would post about voting for me, and then they’d tell their friends about it, and so on. It’s crazy to think that people who don’t even know me that well were helping me out with votes. My family was also super-excited and voting every day. Overall, this experience has definitely added an extra layer of gratitude for the people that support me on my dance journey.

What advice do you have for CMS hopefuls?

I just say, “Keep doing what you love.” Sure, it’s a competition for votes, but it’s really more about embracing and appreciating your support system, and having fun with the opportunity. Thanks to CMS, I’ve gotten to connect with so many people, and it warms my heart.

What are your goals for the future?

They’re still pretty much the same! I would love to join a ballet or contemporary ballet company and travel the world performing. Learning different modern techniques, and hearing about the companies my professors have danced with, Juilliard has opened my eyes to lots of new opportunities that I would love to explore further.

Kayla Mak stands in the fourth position en pointePhoto by Nathan Sayers

I am so incredibly grateful to have been a Cover Model Search finalist. Growing up, I have always looked up to the finalists and the talented artists that are a part of this experience. It has been a complete full-circle moment to be a part of the model search, and it still feels like a dream to be able to share it with such talented artists as Reed Henry and Iyanna Jackson. Firstly, I would like to thank
Dance Spirit for giving me this honor and a platform to express my love for dance and share my gratitude with the dance community. Thank you to Westchester Dance Academy and Ballet Academy East for pushing me and training me to my fullest potential, and to The Juilliard School for providing me the resources and space to explore and grow in ways I never knew I could. I would not be the dancer or person I am today without the help of my teachers and mentors that have had my best interests at heart from the start. Lastly, thank you to my beautiful family for their sacrifices and continuous support for my passion. I am eternally grateful. This has been a lovely reminder of the constant support that surrounds me daily. My heart is extremely filled with love and appreciation. Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3


Kayla Mak