Born into a family of dancers, it’s only natural So You Think You Can Dance judge Mia Michaels dreamed of pursuing the same path. But in her teens, she was told she was too big to dance professionally. “Directors would say, ‘You’re so good, but we can’t use you because of your body.’” Devastated, Mia tells In Touch she considered taking drastic measures to slim down: “I remember actually wanting to be anorexic.” Here, the 44-year-old choreographer shares how she struggled with her size in a world of physical perfection and ultimately learned to accept herself.
When did your shape first become an issue for you?
When I got into ballet. Ballet dancers are so tiny, and I was always a big girl. I remember thinking my goal was to be as small as they were, so I was going to just eat a bowl of oatmeal once a day.
Did you actually do that?
For a couple of days, but it wasn’t in my makeup. Being anorexic wasn’t me. I am too passionate about life.
What was your breaking point?
After so much rejection from auditioning, I went, ‘I’m done’ and decided to do my own thing. And that is when I feel the calling came for me to be a choreographer.
So you never worry about body image anymore?
I wouldn’t say that. We are all guilty of getting caught up in things that are unimportant, like a couple of extra pounds on our body. I still think sometimes, ‘If I was a little bit smaller, maybe this or that would happen,’ but I just try to live as healthy as possible.
Do you have any regrets?
I would have loved a career as a dancer. But if I had a tiny little dancer’s body, I don’t think I would have been the choreographer I am today.