Spreading her wings: Energetiks talks with dancer & (role) model Mackenzie Duffy
We thought it was high-time to introduce our readers to the talented little dancer who’s been gracing our insta feed (and everywhere else!) for some time now. Chances are if you’re in the Melbourne dance scene yourself you’ll have seen the gorgeous Mackenzie Duffy around, tearing up the dance floor at events like VDF (catch her in this year’s promo video), making waves with her on-point fashion statements, and making friends with her bubbly, infectiously positive personality wherever she goes. You might also know Mackenzie from her own instagram and YouTube channel, where (thanks to the help of her equally talented Mum, make up artist Carol Duffy) she shares all her dancing and modelling adventures, and has been attracting plenty of fans with her loveable nature and enviable wardrobe!
With Mackenzie most recently featuring as the star of our gorgeous new Socialite Collection, which celebrates social butterflies and all things vibrant and fun, now seemed like the perfect time to let our readers get to know a little more about the effervescent and lovely dancer behind the photos! So without further ado, read on to enjoy our chat with Mackenzie and see our photoshoot featuring some of Mackenzie’s favourite pieces from the limited edition Socialite Collection below.
E: How and when did your journey with dance begin?
MD: I was 9 years old when I started dancing. I was originally doing netball, and my little sister did dancing… But I really wanted to do dancing! So mum let me start that too. After a little bit the teacher came to my mum and said ‘she’s doing really well’, so we started adding on more classes.
E: How did you feel about dance when you first started?
MD: Oh it was so fun, so much. So I kept working harder to get better.
E: What is the most challenging and most rewarding thing about dance for you?
MD: I guess learning how to deal with disappointment is the most challenging part. Because if you don’t get something that you’ve worked so hard for it can be really discouraging. But the most rewarding thing would be when you’ve been working as hard as you can and you finally get the position that you’ve been after, or when you’re standing there on stage in the front row because you’ve earned that spot… that’s an amazing feeling. I also love meeting new people through dance. And just getting on stage after you’ve worked so hard the whole year round, that’s such a rewarding moment.
E: What have been a few of your favourite highlights that dance has given you so far?
MD: Well one of my highlights would definitely be working with Energetiks. I was so excited when I found out I was doing my first photoshoot! I love Energetiks. Another highlight would definitely be when I first started at my dance school, Dance Nation Academy. It’s been amazing, they make me work so hard, and I’ve become such a better dancer for it.
E: What’s your favourite piece of advice?
MD: That would have to be to never give up. If you don’t get the part, or something else you’re working for, don’t let that ruin your confidence. Instead let it motivate you to work harder so that next time you do get that opportunity that you were after. Because you won’t always get everything, but if you keep going and don’t give in to disappointment you can do so much.
E: What does being a good friend mean to you?
MD: It’s always having someone’s back, and being someone that your friends can trust and tell their secrets too, it’s about being loyal. A good friend should be there whenever you just need someone to talk to. I have a best friend from dancing, called Akira, and we pretty much do everything together!
E: What styles of dance do you do now, and which is your favourite?
MD: I do everything except acro pretty much! Ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, commercial, contemporary. I also do stretch and technique and have a duo private (with my bestie!) and a solo private. My favourites would probably be commercial and hip hop though.
E: We know you’ve experienced bullying from peers in the past, what helped you cope with a situation like that? How did you keep positive and overcome it?
MD: Dance. Dance helped me with bullying, because when I was at my lowest I could always leave all my worries behind at the studio, and everything would be okay. It helped me a lot finding something positive to focus on. I think that’s my advice to others too, bullying hurts. But you’ve just got to find something that you can think of or do to make yourself happy and focus on that.
E: Your Instagram is always popping! And you’re on YouTube now too! Tell us what you enjoy about social media, and what’s your favourite experience that’s come from your social media presence so far?
MD: I really like social media because it’s a great way to meet friends, and it’s led to a lot of great experiences for me, like modelling. My mum has organised a lot of my photoshoots through social media, and it’s always nice to get positive feedback. It’s so easy to write a nice comment and support each other, and I especially like that Instagram doesn’t have a ‘dislike’ button or anything like that, so it’s a really positive experience. I like doing YouTube too… but it takes me like 700 takes to get through a sentence! I haven’t mastered speaking on camera yet!
E: What or who inspires you?
MD: Obviously dance inspires me. But the person who really inspires me is Yvette Lee. She has inspired me from the time I was nine years old, I saw her at VDF and I was like ‘That’s how I want to dance when I’m older, I want to become like her.’ She’s so talented. I hope I can dance like her one day.
E: What’s a hidden talent of yours?
MD: People say I’m funny… but I think I’m on the verge of funny and annoying! Haha. I can also do a handstand for a very long time, and walk on my hands!
E: What part of class do you enjoy the most?
MD: My favourite part is when we’re learning a routine, and getting to dance it in groups. After we have our concert in term three, we get to play with different choreography and styles for the next two terms, and it’s so fun. After rehearsing the same pieces for our concert for so long, getting to learn a new dance each week is really exciting. I love learning new routines.
E: What always makes you laugh?
MD: My best friend, she’s just the funniest kid ever!
E: What’s your favourite thing to do with friends?
MD: I don’t mind what I do with my friends really, it’s more about the people you’re hanging out with. Akira and I make silly videos for fun though, it’s hilarious!
E: Describe your fashion style in three words.
MD: Hmm… ‘urban’, ‘individual’, and… ‘cool’. Haha!
E: What’s your go-to post dance snack?
MD: I loveee trail mixes, they’re delicious.
E: Describe your perfect day off:
MD: Probably going out with my family and friends, I like doing stuff and keeping busy. I don’t sit still for too long. I might chill out for an hour or so but then I’m like ‘Ok it’s time to do something!’.
E: What do you like about the Socialite Collection?
MD: I really love the navy pieces, and the variety between the butterfly print and the navy. I feel like it’s a collection for everyone!
E: Your mum is a very talented make-up artist, so you two are the perfect dream team! Do you love that you get to work with your Mum on so many projects?
MD: Yeah, it’s really nice having Mum there. I love how she does my makeup, she’s such a good makeup artist. She knows me so well and always knows just what to do for my features, she does my face for pretty much every photoshoot.
E: What’s something that you’ve learned this year?
MD: I think this year I really learned how much hard work pays off. I kind of changed my mentality a bit in 2019 and I have a much stronger drive with dance, and it’s been so worth it.
E: What do you think is the most important quality that someone can have to successfully pursue dance?
MD: You need confidence, definitely. But also resilience. You can’t let one bad experience or one failed audition ruin your career. Not getting one role doesn’t mean you’re not good at dancing. There are so many reasons why one opportunity might not have gone your way, maybe you were too short, or too tall, or they were looking for someone older or something like that. So have confidence as a performer, and resilience to stick out the tough moments.
E: What other things are you passionate about, outside of dance?
MD: I’m really passionate about my family. I love them so much, I have the best family ever. I have a younger brother, a younger sister, and two mums. And I love that I have two mums, they’re both amazing. Sometimes people ask me if it’s harder having two mums, but I love it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
E: What’s one goal you’re looking forward to achieving?
MD: I think the main thing is just that I want to go somewhere with my dancing. I really hope I can make a career out of it. I think being a back-up dancer could be fun!
E: Any final words of advice for other aspiring dancers?
MD: Yes, just don’t compare yourself to other people. The person next to you might have been dancing for ten years more than you, and you’re comparing yourself and thinking ‘Oh I’ll never be as good as them’. But everyone is on their own level, nobody out there is like you, so just focus on yourself and focus on being better than yourself. That’s the way to improve, don’t worry about everyone else.
Article and photography by Elly Ford.