July 3rd, 2013
There are some people who work so hard they make it look easy. Branding yourself is a fine line between gaining acceptance from the masses and becoming a bit too exasperatingly in-your-face.
For local go-go dancer and model Cherry Lei, what she has been able to build in a short amount of time speaks highly of her work ethic — but more importantly, her positive outlook. She knows that in order to succeed, you must take your work very seriously. No drama, no attitude.
After just three years, she is now in high demand and I love bumping in to her while out and about. I see Cherry Lei regularly at Vice Nightclub and Ginza Nightclub along with a lot of the larger concerts. She led the go-go troupe when I was stage manager for the recent Big Sean concert, making sure all the girls knew what they were doing and where to go. It left a lasting impression. I am a fan.
Cherry Lei stands out on any entertainment bill, and she is a go-to for events because promoters know she is a huge draw, having taken first place in modeling contests at the 2012 SPOCOM as well as the 2011 MMA Expo. She even has a T-shirt collaboration with local lifestyle icons Puffer Hawaii. This month, she will travel to Seattle as an official go-go dancer for "Hot Import Nights" and you can catch her tonight on stage at Aloha Tower Marketplace during the second "Legion of Boom" concert featuring Luminox and Trinidad James.
Quite the resume for someone who has been dancing for only three years. When I asked her what her mantra is, she said, "Baby steps. It’s always taken me a while to get where I want to be, but I always get there eventually and it seems to just fall in to place. I believe it’s because I take my time and make sure every step I take is a good one to take."
Born in Honolulu, the Hilo High School and University of Hawaii at Hilo graduate Lei is back on Oahu for now, but she is also aware of the bigger picture.
"I definitely take go-go as more than dancing," she said. "I've learned it’s an opportunity to put yourself out there and show people who you are. It opens doors to opportunities you never thought you would have."
Are you a dancing machine who thinks you have what it takes? Just know there are opportunities for anyone who can remain focused.
"It’s not just about dancing. You need to network and build strong relationships with people in the industry." Cherry Lei said. "People need to like you and want to work with you."
This is sound advice for any industry, I've learned. Just remember, how you treat others makes a lifelong impression — no matter where they fall in the food chain. People move around professionally quite often, so it’s better to offer the same respect and courtesy to everyone.
TONIGHT, July 3, is the launch of a new summer party at Ginza for the late night Wednesday crowd. I've noticed the flow for a Wednesday night out these days is to start early in Chinatown, then migrate late to Safehouse at The Republik and Bar Seven. Ginza will now be there for you in full nightclub mode from 1 to 4 a.m. to cap the night off for those who aren't ready to call it quits. Just make sure you aren't wearing shorts!
I ALSO wanted to send a special congratulations to Foundation and Spells for pulling off an amazing show last weekend. They effectively brought together the old "Wonderlounge" crowd from the W Honolulu with their headliner Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation.
The room was packed with more people than expected, extending from the Safehouse side all the way into The Republik performance space. While it did create an awkward bottleneck and had many wondering why he wasn't on the main stage, the crowd kept the energy positive and packed the small dance floor with their hands waving in support the entire night.
It was definitely one of the best nights out I've had in a while, and of course the music was perfect. While Komo Low, one of the "Wonderlounge" pioneers and huge fan of Thievery Corporation who brought Garza to Hawaii 10 years ago and has since passed on, his presence was felt by many of his old supporters who showed up on Saturday.
R.I.P. old friend.
Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.