Kelli Youngman is a performer and life coach based in New York City. After getting her start in dance from a mommy-and-me class as a child, she grew up to attend Fordham University and The Ailey School. The many paths in front of her made her consider alternatives -- but within 6 months of deciding to commit to her dream of being on Broadway, Youngman booked her first Broadway show! Her credits include ANASTASIA and THE KING AND I (including the First National Tour) on Broadway, NEWSIES at Arena Stage, and THE FLAMINGO KID, as well as becoming a life coach for her company, Kelli Youngman Wellness! Her advice to young artists? “Trust yourself and what you have to offer to the world. You are valuable and needed just as you are.” Read on to learn more about Kelli and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Kelli Youngman
Heritage: South Korean
Hometown: North Brunswick, NJ
Current City: New York City
Current project: Founder of Kelli Youngman Wellness
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
ANASTASIA (Broadway), THE KING AND I (Broadway and First National Tour), NEWSIES at Arena Stage, THE FLAMINGO KID
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Trust yourself and what you have to offer to the world. You are valuable and needed just as you are.
How did you get your start?
I started dancing at the age of 3 in a Mommy-and-Me dance class. Apparently I loved it! I've been dancing and performing ever since.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
I booked my Broadway debut while I was taking a nap in Starbucks. I had been intentionally believing that I was going to be on Broadway and then it happened within 6 months of deciding it was possible.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
I think "compare and despair". It took me time to really love my unique path and trust that everything is always working out for me. In the past, I've also limited how I perceive myself as a performer and felt resentful of other people doing the things I wanted to do. Now I know that I'm the creator of my life. I am constantly expanding what I think is possible for me. I love getting to challenge myself and increase my belief in possibility!
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I always figured I would be in the arts, but I questioned myself for a long time. I didn't know how to trust myself and my decisions yet, so I let myself indulge in a lot of confusion about pursuing musical theatre or concert dance. I didn't believe that what I was doing was the "right" choice. During college, I spent a LOT of time considering alternate career paths (doctor, bakery owner decorating extravagant cakes and cupcakes, lawyer, real estate agent, wedding planning) and buying into the idea that I wouldn't be able to support myself as a performer. I'm so glad we always end up exactly where we are supposed to be!
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
In some ways I always knew, but after I booked a cruise ship contract and got to perform Legally Blonde, I came back to NYC ready to be all in.
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
I am the CEO and Founder of Kelli Youngman Wellness. In addition to performing, I am a Life Coach. I help people allow themselves to have what they truly want through 1:1 coaching and inside The Performers Plan™.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
You don't have to figure it all out. You actually never will. So just allow yourself to enjoy exactly where you are. This "now" moment has everything you'll ever need. PS. You're beautiful.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Resiliency. And love for yourself and others.
Where did you study?
Fordham University/The Ailey School
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Learning how to love my life unconditionally
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
Being part of an Original Broadway Cast (or really five OBCs!), doing a Cast Recording, performing at the Tonys, working on a movie musical, becoming a millionaire, getting married to my partner Steve in Spain and treating our families to the celebration, being interviewed by Oprah, helping a thousand performers learn how to approach their careers through love and worthiness, living life fully and always cherishing the people around me
What do you love most about what you do?
As a performer, I love it all. The costumes, the singing and dancing, the physicality, the community, the process of creating and rehearsing, the 8 show schedule, the moments with your company offstage and onstage. As a life coach, I love getting to be a small part of a person's transformation and growth. I will never take for granted getting to witness a client become the person they've always wanted to be. It's incredible!
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane?
Yes, lots! My morning routine (which you can learn at kelliyoungmanwellness.com/morningroutine), meditation, long walks through Central Park, listening to Abraham Hicks and good music.
What inspires you?
The sky, love, seeing other people thriving by doing what I want to accomplish, self-help books, my partner Steve, remembering the unlimited nature of our human experience.
If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?
Reading “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. I realized I didn't have to be a victim to my circumstances and that I was in control of my life experience. It was the start of my personal growth journey and allowed me to become who I am today!
To find out more about Kelli, please visit her at:
Instagram: @kelliyoungmanwellness and @kelliyoungman
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