After placing third on Season 1 of “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition,” followed by a scene-stealing turn on Season 3 of Lifetime’s “Dance Moms,” Asia Monet Ray could have easily hung up her dancing shoes. But Ray had big dreams she still wanted to achieve, like having her own show, “Raising Asia,” and recording an album.
Zap2it got a chance to catch up with the 9-year-old Beyonce-in-the-making, as well as her mother Kristie, to find out their thoughts on everything from weird fan encounters, to what the tricks are to keeping a budding star grounded in show business today.
Zap2it: You have said you want to be the next Beyonce. Why her?
Asia Monet Ray: I chose Beyonce as a role model because she’s the absolute best at what she does! She sings, acts, and dances … all the things I enjoy doing. She
has done it much longer and had a lot more success than most. I see her
as strong, powerful, and creative!
Everything she does seems to be above the competition, which makes me
work harder now so hopefully I can achieve half of what she has. Also,
did I mention she’s beautiful!
Describe Abby Lee Miller in three words.
Aggressive, because she lets you know what she wants and helps you give it to her to the best of your ability. Consistent, because she always reminds us that, no matter in victory
or defeat, there is always someone out there that’s working harder or
is better than we are. Successful, because there is no one I have met so far that’s more
determined to get the best out of her dancers through hard work,
practice and competitions.
Plus, she has all the trophies and awards to
prove it, not to mention the TV shows, workshops, and
businesses that are incredibly successful! I admire how hard she works
to help others like me.
What is your favorite song to dance to?
I dance to almost anything with a good beat, but mostly to music by
Beyonce, Janet Jackson and Lady Gaga. I really can’t choose just one
song, because I can never stop dancing after just one. Right now I’m
dancing to my own songs, because they’re mine!
They’re available now on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and my website: Iamasiamonet.com
What is your favorite part of having your own show “Raising Asia”?
Being with my family full time! I liked being on the other shows, but I was away from my sister Bella Blu and my dad … I missed them a lot. On my show, we are together all the time and I can share my dream of performing with them. They help me in so many ways, especially my mom, but everyone has a role to play in helping me get to the top! I’m very blessed with a supportive and loving family, even when things get a little crazy at times.
What has been your craziest fan encounter?
First off, I’d like to say thank you to all my fans for their
support and encouragement. If I had to choose one encounter, I’d say one
of my fans actually asked if they could come over my house and start a
singing group with me and my sister Bella. I
thought that was crazy because my sister is a gymnast, and she’s a bit
shy, so I don’t know why this person would think I was interested in
singing in a group.
What celebrity would you like to meet the most and why?
Hello! Beyonce, call me sometime, girlfriend — we can catch up! All
kidding aside, I’d love to meet Oprah Winfrey, because she has done so
many things in her life and given so much to so many people as a result
of her success. I think it would be cool to just
shake her hand and let her know that we notice her generosity and
appreciate her hard work. I’d also like to one day meet Ellen DeGeneres,
because I know she loves to dance, she’s super funny and she loves
kids! We watch her show all the time and, like Oprah,
she’s amazing with the way she relates to people. She gives so many
people opportunities to show their talents on her TV show. She’s a
class act. I’d love to be on her show one day … that would be a dream
When I was competing I simply relied on my training. My parents
built a dance room in our house so I could practice at home, because I
couldn’t stop dancing! I think knowing my routines as well as I did
before I competed gave me an added edge in confidence.
My dad always said ‘Perfect Practice Make Perfect!’ While my mom coached
my practice at home until it was perfect after my instructors showed me
what to do. It paid off! I have a ton of trophies to remind me that
perfect practice does make perfect!
My weakness is ice cream and candy. I have a sweet tooth that I
have to fight to control sometimes because I’m genetically muscular like
my dad. My greatest strength is that I’m not very shy, which everyone
tells me is a huge plus when it comes to acting
& performing. I think it helps me because I’m not
afraid of failure or being embarrassed over making a mistake. Those are a
part of life and I’m not afraid if people laugh at me, because I would
just laugh with them. My parents have prepared me
for success and with success comes failure sometimes. I’m OK with
I wish I could fly! If I could fly, I could visit more places and
get things done in a day that sometimes take me a week to do. Living in
Southern California there is so much traffic on the road it takes
forever to get to my rehearsals and practices. Plus,
if I could fly, I could visit my dad when he’s working and still sneak
back to perform before anyone found out.
Yes, I’ve met a lot of celebrities, including the Incredible Hulk,
Lou Ferrigno, who’s a friend of my dad , and Mary Murphy from ‘So You
Think You Can Dance’. Also, World Boxing Champion, Sugar Ray Leonard and,
most recently, Scooter Braun who manages Justin
Bieber. I’d say I was most impressed by meeting Abby Lee Miller, because
she was a person I watched on TV and thought was really good. Then, the
next thing you know, she’s helping me fulfill my dream as a dancer! That
was an amazing time in my life … when we first
met I was only six years old.
What’s a surprising activity you do in your free time?
I love to swim with my friends, Jersey and Jaslyn. We used to be
next door neighbors, but my family moved, so it’s extra special when we
get together and swim. I also draw a lot too. I love drawing and
creative things like that.
I love steak and ice cream! Not together, but in general.
First, I’d need my Mac Book Pro and Wifi connection so I could
download music and movies. Next, I’d need my sister, Bella Blu, because
she’s my best friend and I have to watch over her. Finally, I’d need my
blanket, pillow, and American Girl Doll or else
I won’t be able to sleep very well at night! Oops, was that more than
three things? Oh well, I’d need all of this or I’d never survive!
I’d go to Paris, France! All of the hair and make up people, along
with the fashion people I’ve worked with, say that’s were the best
shopping is and it’s beautiful! I want to find out first hand! I’ll get
there one day probably sooner than later, because
everybody knows I’m a shopaholic like my mom!
Where do you get your energy from?
I have always had a lot of energy my mom says. I’m a lot like both
my parents, because at a young age I am interested in things I love. That
makes me happy, which helps get me out of bed each day. I keep my school
grades up, which allows me to do thing that
make me happy, so I get excited! Who doesn’t want to sing, dance and act?
This is who I am! I get energized each day and feel very blessed that I
can perform for people. I’m like the Energizer Bunny that just keeps
going and going.
Well my parents constantly remind me that school comes first! As
long as my grades are good and I get great report cards, they will
continue to let me pursue my passion. It’s important to get good grades
so that I’m prepared for my future. So I encourage
all the other kids that if they want to succeed get good grades and the
rest will come.
My parents have taught me since a very early age that there will be
a lot of people genuinely happy for me if I became a success, but there
would be just as many that will dislike me because of it. I’m
experiencing some of that now, but I use them as motivators.
Nothing bothers them more than continuing to be successful. I pray for
them, but I rarely think about them because I’m too busy working and
focusing on myself.
Simply being away from home for 10 weeks, missing my birthday
at home, mom’s birthday at home, my sister’s first day of school, being
away from my dad and my bird. We make a lot of sacrifices as a family,
but luckily my parents understand what I’m
trying to do. They have both been used to making sacrifices, being that
they are both former competitive athletes.
My mom and dad have always told me I was special and I could be the
best at whatever I did. They instilled in me that you can’t win if you
don’t play. They have prepared my sister and I for winning! They’re
always telling me it’s OK to lose, but it’s much
more fun when you win! That’s always motivated me to practice harder and
prepare more than others. It helps that my parents are both former
athletes and competitors, that’s for sure!
I plan on releasing more music, working more in TV, and hitting a
concert tour! I’d love to come out with some products I like, but we are
working on different things now…so much is happening at a very fast
My songs and music are an extension of who I am. I have a lot of
dreams and hopes, not only for me, but my fans, so I sing about that
stuff — family, friendships, and fun! My music is all uplifting and
these days are playing their own instruments, is this something you
would like to incorporate in your own work? If so, what instrument?
No, I’m not so interested at the moment in playing an instrument as
much as I am interested in improving my vocal instrument. I never say
What do you do to battle nerves?
I really don’t have any nerves when it comes to performance, which I
guess is a blessing I’ve been given. I just love performing.
It’s a half hour show, but there’s a lot we just don’t have time to
show because it’s all about the performance. It doesn’t show much
family time, church, playtime and things like that. We do go to the
beach, the movies, and the park. We have a lot of
family outings that don’t involve work or business that I would like to be shown.
If you could record a duet with anyone who would it be?
For sure it would be Beyonce!
Zap2it: What are your tricks to balancing your role in Asia‘s career, with being a mother, wife and business woman?
Kristie Ray: I simply protect, provide, and guide! I’m her mother first and foremost, but I also put myself in Asia‘s shoes as a performer when she’s out there so I make sure she is being treated properly and most of all has fun!
I keep her very busy, too busy at times to fall into the problem
area a lot of kids have when they have too much idle time on their
hands. We are together a lot so I keep her close to family, the Church,
and childhood friends she grew up with. My husband
and I remind her how fortunate and blessed she is to be a role model to
other kids and keep her aware of the bad things that can happen to good
people like her.
The challenge has been the lack of privacy regarding tons of cameras
and crew in our personal space for 14 weeks. I never really adjusted to
the filming hours and lack of sleep a show like this imposes on a
family. I didn’t even have time to run personal
errands and properly clean my house. It was a crazy filming schedule. I
think the most rewarding aspect of the show is that we went through it
all as a family, including my sister, who now can appreciate some of the
craziness regarding my family’s schedule.
My mom is amazingly supportive and helps when she can no matter what our
schedule is. Most of all my husband, who has been extremely patient and
supportive taking time away from his work and schedule to help support
and build the career path Asia
He doesn’t just pay the bills and expenses, he’s physically present and
involved! Lastly, after we wrapped the show, I got some much needed time
with my youngest Bella Blu who is Asia‘s biggest fan!
Watching this show come together was tough in the beginning,
but the reward was seeing Asia
become a real performer, actor and singer! It is something we told her
she would be one day if she worked hard enough, we just never imagined
it would happen so fast. When it comes to Asia Monet we shouldn’t be surprised! We are
all very proud of where this journey has brought us.
“Raising Asia” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.