Constellation Magazine 

London Talent Portfolio II

Photo by Rosaline Shahnavaz

Photo by Rosaline Shahnavaz

Jaclyn Bethany: Hi, Renee! Where did you grow up, and where are you currently based?
Renee Stewart: I was born in London, but grew up in Los Angeles. I’m now based and living in London, where I just graduated from the London Contemporary Dance School in July.

JB: How did you first discover dance, and when did you decide to pursue it as your profession?
RS: My mom was a ballet dancer for 13 years. Seeing photos of her in her pointe shoes when I was younger definitely inspired me. I started dancing when I was about six…. When I was about nine, I started to take my training more seriously and have been dancing ever since. I trained in contemporary dance for three years at University of London. As a dancer your training never ends—you’re constantly learning more about your art form and yourself, which is why I love doing it so much.

JB: Is there a performer you would drop everything to see live?
RS: Sylvie Guillem is a French ballerina who I’ve looked up to her ever since I was young girl starting my training. She danced with the Paris Opera Ballet and then with The Royal Ballet in London. She recently retired from dance in 2015. 

JB: What led you from dance into your modeling career? Do you find that these two modes of “performance” inform each other?
RS: My first modeling job was in 2010 for a Pantene commercial in Australia and New Zealand.

They were able to incorporate my dancing into the commercial, which I absolutely loved. Modeling has a lot to do with movement. It’s incredible to see how many editorials and campaigns use dancers now—it’s very exciting. But for me, being in front of the camera and performing on stage are two very different things. I don't think I will ever feel comfortable in front of the camera. 

JB: If you ever stopped dancing, what would you do instead?
RS: Ever since I was young, I've wanted to be a National Geographic photographer and travel the world. I take lots of photographs now, anyways, so if I could no longer dance, that would be my choice!

JB: What are your hopes and dreams for 2017?
RS: I’m looking forward to dancing more and to creating more work with fellow dancers and artists! I would also like to start working more behind the camera. ★

Renee wears a dress by Gabriela Hearst.