Justine Menter



Take Your Career to the Next Level!

Work 1-on-1 with Dane, host of You Booked It.



EP 174: Justine Menter (autogenerated)

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it. Episode 174. Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Justine mentor. Are you ready for this Justine? All right. Justine is an LA based choreographer director and producer who brings her warm infectious personality to every project she works on.

[00:00:27] Whether it’s network, television, convention, stages, or  videos, premiering, worldwide. She is best known for teaching Kim Kardashians on it. Keeping up with the Kardashians. And her professional work spans Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris Jackson. America’s got talent LMF. Yo CBS is a life in pieces, foxes LA to Vegas, faith Hill, Manny Pacquiao, Sephora the view and LA.

[00:00:53] Fashion week. She is also the former owner and creative director of flirt dancers in Hollywood. She was on faculty at AMTA in LA loom and a soul to soul dance convention. She teaches internationally and is the founder of mentor management and online platform for industry. Coaching Justine. That is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

[00:01:20] Fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:01:27]Justine Menter: [00:01:27] Great. Yeah. I’m originally from Dallas, Texas, but I’ve been in LA now for a little bit. Over 13 years. I mostly work as a dance educator and a freelance choreographer. And. That’s pretty much it.

[00:01:44]Dane Reis: [00:01:44] beautiful. And let’s dig into this first section here and Justine, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?

[00:01:56]Justine Menter: [00:01:56] Yeah, me too. I love a good quote. Um, my favorite one right now, because it’s definitely changes by the day is you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. And it’s by Wayne Gretzky. Who’s you know, a famous hockey player.

[00:02:11]Dane Reis: [00:02:11] Yeah, so good. I love the quote. You know what, I don’t know if I’ve even heard that on the podcast yet, but it is one of my all time. Favorite quotes. Can you expand on that a bit on how you’ve applied that and worked it into your career?

[00:02:25]Justine Menter: [00:02:25] yeah. I feel like it’s been the theme of life recently, especially now in 2020.Um, just not waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect feeling or the best case scenario. You know, if you, if you wait then you simply like you won’t get it. Right. So there’s going to be somebody else there to take your spot or to book it.

[00:02:44] If you don’t go for it every single time.

[00:02:48] Dane Reis: [00:02:48] yeah, for sure. And I think we’re finding that, especially now, when. It really puts into perspective, I think is the right thing to say, because our industry has flatlined very much so. Right. so. Right. And before opportunities would come up and people might call you, you might get an email things, just kind of ebb and flow your way sometimes.

[00:03:07] And that’s really cool, but now nothing’s happening and nothing does happen unless you make it happen.

[00:03:15]Justine Menter: [00:03:15] Yeah, absolutely. I feel like it’s really been the motto of my career forever. Just not waiting for someone to book me or for the right job to come along or even just in life. Like, you know, Not waiting for the right time to have kids. Cause you’re just never going to be ready for it. Right. So just kind of doing what your heart is telling you to do and not making excuses.

[00:03:36]Dane Reis: [00:03:36] for sure. And let’s get into this next section here. And Justine, of course you are an entertainer. I’m an entertainer. And I think. I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries in existence.

[00:03:54] And you know, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like your having now. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while, yeah, there’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer, doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures.

[00:04:14] We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.

[00:04:27]Justine Menter: [00:04:27] Such a good point. Um, there’s so many challenges, like you’re saying in the industry, because. It’s not consistent ever. So , um, but probably one of my biggest ones is I was actually dropped from my dance agency at assignments back in 2009. It was part of like a really big mass Exodus from the agency. I think it was about 500 clients were dropped, but it was, it was, it was pretty scary.

[00:04:50] You know, I had signed with an agency. Um, it was actually my second agency all, but. I had not ever not been signed well, that was a double negative, but I’d always had an agency I’d always had the representation. 

[00:05:04] Um, and even then the majority of what I was doing at the time was really self-made. I just, it still felt that part of my identity was like taken away as the like quote unquote signed dancer , um, you know, having their name and touch to what I was doing and giving me like a validation of sorts.

[00:05:20]Honestly, it pushed me to work harder because I was just motivated to prove them wrong. Um, thankfully I still had commercial representation, so I was able to continue auditioning and different avenues. And then it just landed up that I got a dance manager after that, who I was able to connect with because I ran into his partner or not ran into, I met his partner at CB CBT.

[00:05:44]Um, you know , the, the furniture store and he was like, Oh, I’ll give them your number or I’ll tell him that you’re gonna email him. So I reached out to him from there and it just kind of snowballed from there. And then he eventually introduced me to the agent who would represent me for choreography first.

[00:06:02]And that agency really played a huge role in my career for the forthcoming years.

[00:06:07]Dane Reis: [00:06:07] Yeah, I really like how you. Talk about the relationship that really created that because relationships in this industry really are everything. It’s great to have an agent and they do so many wonderful things for you. Right. Right. And that can be such a fantastic resource, but it really boils down to having those relationships.

[00:06:29] With people and making sure that you’re not burning bridges, that you’re nice to people that you follow up with people and you have to like your quote. You have to put yourself out there. You have to do the thing you can’t just say, Oh yeah, I’ll tell him I’m emailing him. And then if you don’t , well, you have to follow through.

[00:06:46]Right. You have to do the thing, uh , really, really liked that you highlighted the importance of relationships.

[00:06:52]Justine Menter: [00:06:52] Absolutely so important.

[00:06:54]Dane Reis: [00:06:54] And let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing in the entertainment industry. Tell us about that.

[00:07:15]Justine Menter: [00:07:15] So my spotlight moment was definitely moments. It was when I was spending the summer in New York city during the summer in college, I was a summer intern at Broadway dance center in New York.

[00:07:30] And I just fell in love with that lifestyle. And obviously New York is. Easy to fall in love with just the energy and everything about it.

[00:07:42] Dane Reis: [00:07:42] Yeah, 

[00:07:43] Justine Menter: [00:07:43] there’s something about the lifestyle of choosing a path as an artist that was very attractive to me. obviously BDC during that time, it was 2005. Um, I actually did both summers 2005 in 2006, but doing that program in a very structured way was. Really inspiring the teachers in New York, or just incredible and just, just the energy of that and the teachers and the lifestyle exposure, all of it. It was just like, yes, this is me. This is how I’m moving forward. So that was definitely my spotlight moment.

[00:08:17]Dane Reis: [00:08:17] very cool. And let’s piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and callbacks. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it moment.

[00:08:36]Justine Menter: [00:08:36] Oh, goodness. Well, you know, Well, you know, I really haven’t had a conventional career as a dancer, honestly. I didn’t always want to be a dancer. I wanted to , well, I wanted to be a dancer, but I wanted to segue quickly into choreography and. And being a director, I really loved the behind the scenes of all of that. Um, but very early in my career, probably about maybe a year after being in LA, I was teaching at Ida, which is a studio that was out here that closed recently.

[00:09:08]Um, And they did a showcase in the Chinese theater courtyard in like right Hollywood and Highland, just right next to the Chinese theater. And I did a piece to  I’m in Miami bleep. I won’t say the word and I posted it on YouTube and that was the like, YouTube was cool, but it wasn’t like what it is now. next thing I know, I get an email in my inbox, in my professional websites , um, email. And it was from one of the members of the group LMF. It was from Redfield. Yeah. And he was like, Hey, we really love your combo. I mean, I mean, I wish I could remember the wording, but I definitely don’t, but it was because I was so like, what’s happening right now.

[00:10:01] It was like, we love this. Like we want to perform, we want you to perform this at our show and can you meet with us and yada, yada, yada. And I was like, Holy moly. What’s happening? Like, because it was just so. Rare for that to happen, right? You don’t normally get well in 2007, you didn’t get booked off of online things.

[00:10:19] There was no influencers with Instagram at the time. It was like my space and, you know, YouTube was, was burgeoning. So it was awesome to get that email. And I took a friend to go to their apartment in the Hollywood Hills and. Had a meeting with them. And I did make choreography from the show that I had just done with a few of my friends.

[00:10:43]And yeah, that’s like one of my favorite jobs, one of my favorite moments and probably really special because it was very early on in my career.

[00:10:52] Dane Reis: [00:10:52] Yeah, that is so cool. Taking advantage of those online platforms straight away when they were just really starting to take off is so cool that you did that and it’s so much more difficult now, do you have something like that?

[00:11:07]Stick out and have someone contact you because there’s so much content now. And there’s so many people creating amazing things and everyone posts their stuff on social media now. Right? There’s a lot of noise and way cool that you’re able to leverage YouTube in its infancy and book something so cool way.

[00:11:26] Awesome.

[00:11:26] Justine Menter: [00:11:26] Yeah, it was fun.

[00:11:28] Dane Reis: [00:11:28] Yeah. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And it’s a weird time, right? We’re amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:11:45]Justine Menter: [00:11:45] Okay. There’s a lot. So that question, so I’m going to, I’m going to do my

[00:11:48] Dane Reis: [00:11:48] For sure.

[00:11:49] Justine Menter: [00:11:49] um, um,  .   Right now. I’m focusing entirely on my new management program called mentor management all online and all geared towards dancers who are either new to the industry or looking to make a change in their pre existing career.  yeah, I’m really excited about it. I, obviously, my last name is a mentor. Um, but ironically, I’ve been a mentor for many years to so many students and I love that role. I love teaching. I love helping dancers move forward in their professional career and really. Fine tuning their look and helping them just be an efficient professional behind the scenes, online on their computer with organization and etiquette and all of that stuff.

[00:12:37] And I really, really enjoy it. I’m very passionate about it and I’m hoping to help as many people as I can with that platform online. And what am I looking for too? I’m looking forward to being back in a studio with dancers in 3d. I love teaching. I’m very thankful to be teaching virtually for sure, but there is no matching the energy of dancers in a room together.

[00:13:03] It’s just, there’s no matching it.

[00:13:04]Dane Reis: [00:13:04] right. Of course, of course. I mean, I mean, that’s everything right? That’s the,That’s the, that’s the, the, the catch with our live theater industry, right? Is that it’s all about that energy exchange.

[00:13:13]Justine Menter: [00:13:13] Absolutely. Yeah , the, the tiny squares. They’re great, but they’re just not doing it for me. And I’m sure everybody can relate to that. It’s it’s fine. And it’s thankfully we have that medium to make it work. Right. But I definitely miss that energy for sure.

[00:13:28] Dane Reis: [00:13:28] Yeah, absolutely. And it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightening round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready? 

[00:13:48]Justine Menter: [00:13:48] I’m always ready. Grace is my favorite movie, so I’m ready for it.

[00:13:53] Dane Reis: [00:13:53] First question.

[00:13:54] What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?

[00:13:59]Justine Menter: [00:13:59] Definitely the instability of a career as an artist. I was very worried about that.

[00:14:05] Dane Reis: [00:14:05] yes. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:14:12]Justine Menter: [00:14:12] Okay.  Um, I think the best piece of advice I’ve ever received is from an agency rep meeting that I actually didn’t end up landing, which you said , you don’t have to be in a scene to be working. And that really stuck with me because it helped me like move my mindfulness away from all the people who were . Gossiping or partying together and allowed me to focus on what I was doing and knowing that that would still be valuable.

[00:14:38]Dane Reis: [00:14:38] Yes. There may be some things to be said about networking and being around people and going to events and things like that. For sure. You need to develop relationships, but that can also be a very fine line to where it’s actually a detriment to what it is you’re working towards.

[00:14:54]Justine Menter: [00:14:54] Yeah, I agree. No for sure. There’s you should be networking. I definitely am not discounting that. I think it was more just like if I would get discouraged seeing certain people hanging out or things like that, then I think that was just like a good side note.

[00:15:08]Dane Reis: [00:15:08] absolutely. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.

[00:15:21]Justine Menter: [00:15:21] Definitely the Peloton. I love just disconnecting. Like it’s such an escape, great workout. And I love all the teachers on there. They give great bits of advice and they keep you motivated and yeah. It’s so easy. Cause you can access it from the Palm of your hands. And I just feel like it keeps me sane right now.

[00:15:41]Dane Reis: [00:15:41] you’re very good. And this is, and you have a bike at your house.

[00:15:45] Justine Menter: [00:15:45] Yeah.

[00:15:45] Dane Reis: [00:15:45] Amazing. I’ve heard wonderful. Amazing things about those bikes. Uh, are they as good as everyone says they are?

[00:15:52]Justine Menter: [00:15:52] Honestly. Yes. I really think so. I was never a cycle person literally have not been to one cycle group, cycle class ever, but my husband actually got it for his birthday and. I’ve been the one that’s been using it because I just took it over. I just really was like curious. And then a couple of my friends were doing it and it’s very community-based.

[00:16:17] And then I started taking a class from former dancers and I just felt  connected to them. And that really helped me. So yeah, I’m currently on a tour six weeks streak, which I enjoy. They’re like statistics, you can really like keep track of everything and I’m definitely, my brain needs that. 

[00:16:35] So

[00:16:36]how would time for the wedding?

[00:16:37] For sure. 

[00:16:38] Dane Reis: [00:16:38] Very cool. Yeah. I’ve heard people say like, yeah, the bike is expensive, but it’s worth it.

[00:16:42]Justine Menter: [00:16:42] Yeah, I think so too.

[00:16:44] Dane Reis: [00:16:44] Cool. And the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology you found is helping your career right now? No.

[00:16:58]Justine Menter: [00:16:58] Well, Sigler, Peloton , um, I do like the podcast dance boss. And obviously I like your podcast. Um, it’s just helpful to hear from other professionals sometimes and just like get out of your head and be inspired by someone else. There’s also a website called pivot for dancers who I just did a piece for, but great resource for the community.

[00:17:20]Um, really important. Aspects to discuss. And honestly, the best resource for me right now is disconnection. Um, I think it’s. Especially since we’re all spending so much time on screens, I really have to take a break and take a step back. So I actually use my alarm on my phone and I it’s like a set every day from six to 7:00 PM.

[00:17:44] So I turn it off. I turn it off or like on airplane mode or whatever. And then I, I leave my phone out of my room at night. So that is like, I absolutely have to do that every night for myself. Otherwise I will just be. No intertwined with the internet world. And I don’t want to be

[00:17:59]Dane Reis: [00:17:59] . I think that’s really at a really good point that you make, because it’s so easy, especially during this time too. go down the rabbit holes of the interwebs, Hey, and all the different apps and social media and everything. And it’s so easy. Cause it’ll just keep giving you content that you love or hate to love.

[00:18:16] And it is, it can be really valuable and really wonderful for both professionally as resources, for entertainment, all the things. But we have to remember to stay present as well and realize that. We still need to connect with people. Right. Right. And be also with our own thoughts for a minute, every once in a while.

[00:18:35]Right. At least

[00:18:37] Justine Menter: [00:18:37] 100%. It’s. I encourage it so much to all of my students or anyone I’m just like put the phone down for a minute, like schedule it, you know, make it, make it very specific, what you’re trying to do, because otherwise, you know, your phone won’t be in control of you and you’ll be in control of your phone.

[00:18:54]Dane Reis: [00:18:54] Love that.  Your phone won’t be in control of you.

[00:18:56] You will be in control of your phone. So. So. Good. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?


[00:19:14] Justine Menter: [00:19:14] I wouldn’t do many things differently, but I would have kept up with YouTube a little bit more than I did.

[00:19:21]Dane Reis: [00:19:21] yeah, for sure. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.

[00:19:33]Justine Menter: [00:19:33] this is a quote, but it’s my quote. So I’ll, I’ll, I’ll leave the golden nugget. All you can do is be the best you, the rest is out of your hands. Right. We can’t control the outcome. We will never know if you’re going to book it or even why you didn’t 

[00:19:49] Dane Reis: [00:19:49] should, 

[00:19:49] Justine Menter: [00:19:49] it, but you have to give it your, all, you have to be prepared, professional, ready mentally and physically the rest is out of your hands.

[00:19:59]Dane Reis: [00:19:59] love that advice. And to wrap up this interview, Justine, it is time for you to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:20:14]Justine Menter: [00:20:14] Yeah, absolutely. I spend most of my time online for sure on Insta. And you can find me at Justine mentor and also. Mentor.management without any of the vowels.  And I’d love to promote the program for any performers, wherever they are in the world. They can connect with me. I will sit one-on-one with them  . And you can sign up on my website, which is just seen mentor.com/.

[00:20:44]Dane Reis: [00:20:44] perfect. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Justin just said into the description of this episodes, you can easily connect with her. And also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, teachers, arts, and entertainment educators, and anyone, you know, you know, aspiring to create a career in this industry.

[00:21:07] You booked. It is the number one resource of expertise on how to create a successful entertainment career. It is integral to helping them succeed and helping you create a better, more fulfilling career in this wild and crazy. Industry. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit that subscribe button.

[00:21:25] So you don’t miss the next guest. Justin, thank you so much for being on today. It’s been so great to get to know you have a bit of a chat

[00:21:34]Justine Menter: [00:21:34] Thank you so much for having me.