“I’m a girl from Compton, she’s a girl from Spain,” says choreographer Charm La’Donna of working with musician Rosalía. “We come from two different places, but we share common ground as two forces pushing to create.”
After meeting Rosalía on Instagram earlier this year, Los Angeles–based La’Donna traveled to Spain to help the flamenco revivalist with the choreography for her El Mal Querer world tour, which kicked off in April. And that was just the beginning of what’s already proven to be a virtuosic collaboration: On Monday night at the MTV VMAs, La’Donna picked up the best choreography award for Rosalía and J Balvin’s electrifying “Con Altura” music video. It’s a major milestone that La’Donna is still wrapping her head around. "I’m still in shock right now,” she admits. “Everything is sort of surreal. I’m grateful. I’m honored. But to be honest I don’t think it’s completely set in yet.” And yet for those who have been following La’Donna’s career, it’s just the latest in a string of triumphs.
At 17 La’Donna joined Madonna on her Sticky & Sweet Tour, and within a year she became industry vet Fatima Robinson’s protégé. In 2017 her career hit a new high point when she joined Kendrick Lamar as the sole female performer on his Damn tour, going on to stun viewers during the rapper’s 2018 Grammy performance. A dancer since the age of three, La’Donna credits her mom as her number one supporter. “My mom couldn’t always pay for dance classes, so she would work at the [dance] studios in order for me to continue to live my dreams,” she explains. Traversing the globe to work with music’s biggest acts—including Pharrell, Selena Gomez, Anderson .Paak, and Saweetie—the 31-year-old’s star continues to rise. And she’s expressing herself visually in more ways than one: La’Donna hit the VMAs red carpet with bronze smoky eyes and an intricate braided updo punctuated by sculpted baby hairs.
“I just do what feels good for me,” she explains of her approach to beauty. “I’m comfortable enough in my skin now to allow that to be whatever it is.” More often than not La’Donna’s look hinges on a naturally luminous complexion and a cascade of plaits woven by her friend and founder of the Braid Bar Twy Bernal. “Twy has been braiding my hair since we were kids,” says La’Donna. “She was just this little girl doing hair and then turned it into a business! I guess that’s kind of what happened with me and dance too.”
Though a self-proclaimed Sephora addict, she’s honed a tight edit of day-to-day makeup essentials. First up is Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer, blended on as needed. “My schedule is all over the place, and getting enough rest isn’t always an option, so when I’m looking a little bit tired, this concealer saves my life,” she explains. Then, for a natural-looking flush, she’ll blend Benefit’s Benetint Cheek and Lip Stain into the apples of her cheeks. “I usually don’t wear a lot of makeup, but just a hint of this blush goes a long way and makes me feel like I got ready,” she explains. Then she enhances her full pout with a swipe of her “all-time favorite” Chanel Gloss Volume Plumping Lipgloss. “You can never have too much gloss!” insists La’Donna. Before stepping out the door, she always applies a layer of Bella Block sunscreen. “I never leave the house without wearing UV protection,” she explains. “It’s an everyday necessity to keep my skin looking healthy and youthful—and this brand is the best I’ve found.”
Fitnesswise she’s “not really the gym type,” and she supplements her intensive dance regimen by going on regenerative hikes in the hills of Los Angeles. “I love nature and the outdoors,” she explains. “I’m inspired by the little things in everything, so hiking is a way for me to explore and keep in shape.” Another thing that keeps her grounded? Unwinding with a few episodes of The Golden Girls at the end of a long day. “I literally just laugh,” she explains with a giggle. “I appreciate the humor more now that I’m older. It really is is the greatest.” La’Donna may be ascending the world of dance at a dizzying speed, but trust: She’ll always stay true to herself, inside and out.
Originally Appeared on Vogue