Backstage With Beyoncé's Main Dancing Queen

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useTo the left, to the left...if you’ve watched a Beyoncé performance in the last seven years (and tried to memorize them for later go-to dance moves), then you’ve seen Ashley Everett, the fierce redhead bumping and grinding to the left of Queen Bey on stage.

A promising dance student and prospective Juilliard School student at the age of 17, Everett changed her destiny of being just a dancer by accepting Bey’s offer to dance back-up instead of attending the prestigious performing-arts school. Now at 24, she runs the dance world as Beyonce’s dance captain and lead dancer.

Lucky for us, we got to chat with Everett before the Mrs. Carter show at the United Center last night. From beauty tips to style to what it takes to be self-confident — better grab a pen and paper. You're gonna want to take notes.

You’re a natural brunette — what inspired your now-signature red locks?
“Beyoncé asked me to dye my hair in 2009. She never gave an explanation but I imagine it was for variety. Then I just kept dying it brighter and brighter to the point that it became my trademark. The process is very damaging, and I’ve considered changing it up but I think people would miss it. I keep my hair healthy by using Moroccanoil. It’s the best way to have healthy and hydrated hair."

What are your other must-have products for maintaining a healthy mane?
Hair rules products are amazing. The no-suds shampoo is magic in putting moisture back into my hair. I’d use it all the time if I could, but the bottle is tiny, and I end up using it in about three washes because I have so much hair! I substitute Pantene in whenever possible.”

How do you keep your hair looking so awesome when you’re dancing on stage?
“Curly hair is ideal when you’re moving around and sweaty because curls have better movement. Straight hair sticks to the sweat on your body and makes for a less than appealing visual.”

Can you share any makeup tricks of the trade?
"Matte lips are key for performing because the lipstick doesn’t get caught to my lips. Ladies should keep that in mind when they know they’re going to be out on the town, dancing up a storm. MAC offers a variety of shades and that’s why they’re my favorite. Also, M.A.C.’s Studio Fix Pressed Powder is a must-have for masking shininess.”

What do you say to get yourself pumped up to share the stage with not only Beyoncé but Usher, Ne-Yo, Jennifer Lopez, and Tina Turner?
“YOLO [laughs]. No, I seriously do feel like that. You only do live once and you need to make every moment count. I’m living like every moment is my last. As far as standing next to Beyoncé and doing what I do, I just feel like I’ve worked really hard to get here and I definitely don’t take it for granted. Each day is a blessing, and I love what I do”

How did you become comfortable with your looks and style at such a young age?
“I’m an old soul. I build confidence by loving myself first. If you don’t love yourself, no one else will either. Confidence needs to be built from within. It’s not all about looks. Beauty comes from many different shapes, sizes, and colors."

Describe your style.
"My style changes with my mood. I go through phases where I want to be urban chic, hood, or girly. Givenchy is one of the designers for the Mrs. Carter tour, so it’s been fun to wear such beautiful designs. I’m also a big fan of Dsquared2 and tripped over myself when the opportunity to meet them came up. Topshop is one of my favorite places for shoes, and I’m really loving thick ankle-strapped heels."

What advice would you give people trying to carve out their style identity?
“Explore and try different things and when you feel sexy and hot — that’s when you know it’s right.”

What would you be doing if you weren’t working for Beyoncé?
“I think I would be a contemporary dancer because that’s where my life was heading toward before it turned into this. I was about to go to Juilliard, so I think I would be in a company in NYC somewhere — which is so crazy to think because it’s totally opposite of what my life as a dancer is now.”

But since you are here for work, what are you most looking forward to experiencing?
“I’m so excited we’re staying at the W Chicago Lakeshore. I love all the W Hotels because the beds are comfortable and the decor is gorgeous. But this one in particular holds sentimental value; it’s where I first met my grandfather. My mom is from Chicago, and it was my first time coming to the city to meet him. I also love the Gyu-Kaku next door because I’m obsessed with Asian food, and they have one in L.A. Lastly, you can’t beat the shopping in Chicago — especially in the Gold Coast."

Photo: Courtesy of Ashley Everett