Success is about following dreams

Of Samoan descent, it’s about support of family and hard work

At the end of 2016 Parris Goebel finally relaxed and had down time in Beautiful Samoa after a big year of success. She is a 25-year-old, who is an award winning New Zealand-born choreographer, dancer, singer and actress of Samoan descent. Her dance crew, The Royal Family, has won the World Hip Hop Dance Championship three times.

Goebel has worked with artists including Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, Justin Bieber — choreographing routines and starring in music videos and movies such as “Step UP All-in”.

One of her momentous successes was her work choreographing for the Justin Bieber song “Sorry”, which as of December 2016 is the 3rd most viewed video on YouTube with more than 2 billion views and has scored her 3 Video Music Award nominations and has won Video of the Year at the America Music Awards. Goebel was named female choreographer of the year at the World of Dance Industry Awards for 2016.

Late last year Parris walked the white carpet of the Video Music Awards in her Pasefika-themed dress by E’vana Couture, and told Samoa News then, “I really wanted to wear something different from everyone else and what better than to represent my culture. My mum is Samoan so I am proud to be Polynesian and to represent my family and my culture.”

Dancing has always been her passion and life from a young age. Parris is the youngest in her family of four children, and it wasn’t until she was 10 years old that she had found her calling to dance, she told Samoa News.

Parris attended a European school where she says she was the only Polynesian girl in her year, so she would get bullied for being brown. The bullying continued for most of her time at school and she started to feel she didn’t fit and so decided to drop out at 15 years old.

Good or bad: It led to her having to decide to either do nothing or get up and do something; and with the help of her parents, she began intensive dance coaching and opened a dance studio in 2009, to continue her passion.

Parris said, “I remember dancing from a young age and have always loved dancing. My mum enrolled me into a performing arts program and I quickly discovered the class I loved the most was hip-hop. I taught myself how to dance and watched a lot of YouTube to see all the various styles. I started ReQuest Dance Crew when I was 15 and then opened my own studio [The Palace] when I was 17 years old and have never looked back since.”

Towards the end of last year, she released her own debut EP Vicious, including her hit singles Friday and Nasty. She also announced she is teaming up with Elton John for her next project.

Away from it all, Parris finally found the time to relax and soak up the sun for the 2016 holidays and New Year in Samoa.

She managed to keep it on a low profile and has just been posting photos of herself in loving Paradise and visiting her mother’s home in Pesega. People have come to recognize who she is and were able to meet and take photos with her — such as one of our locals, Siulepa Uiagalelei, a teacher at Samoana High School, who is a fan of Parris’ work, especially her dancing, and saw her in Samoa.

"I wanted to scream when I met her, I was star-struck and wanted her to just teach me some dance moves — she's like our celebrity in the Polynesian community," Siulepa told Samoa News.

Right now — Parris is back in New Zealand, because it’s January, and her dance studio — The Palace — holds its annual auditions for a chance for a position in the studio’s dance crews. It usually brings hundreds of hip-hop dancers from across New Zealand — and an increasing number from overseas — to perform.

The very best get the opportunity to compete at world championships, dance with Parris, possibly even perform with her big-name clients and carve out international dancing careers for themselves. 

An 18-year-old graduate from Samoana High School, who participated in her dance workshop in Las Vegas and has a passion for dancing, said he’s looking forward to auditioning for Parris soon.

“Having to be a part of her Master class has helped me perfect my dance skills, she is one of my main role models in dance and I cannot wait to audition for her team when I return back from a two-year LDS mission,” said Okesene Jr. to Samoa News.

 “Follow your dreams, I’m a just a girl from South Auckland and am now working all around the world doing what I love. If I can do it — then anyone can do it if they are willing to work hard,” says Parris Goebel to the youth of American Samoa.

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