Dancer Charlize Glass on Her Generation and What Inspires Her


If the name "Charlize Glass" doesn't immediately ring a bell, think back a bit. The year was 2014, and a video of the then–12-year-old's impeccably choreographed dance routine to Beyoncé's song "Yoncé" went viral after Queen Bey herself shared the video on IG with the caption "wow." That was just the beginning, though: Five years later, Glass has appeared in a string of music videos and even danced at the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show with Missy Elliot.

Now 17, the native Californian is also huge on YouTube (where she regularly posts choreography tutorials for her 100k subscribers) and on Instagram (where her 739k+ followers come for more dance videos). Her style? It's seriously cool, seriously fun, and inspired by none other than Minnie Mouse. In fact, Minnie Mouse has acted as a muse to Glass in more ways than just with her style: She looks to the iconic character when she needs a reminder to live life boldly. 

It's all a bit hard for me to fathom, as a millennial who thought butterfly clips were the epitome of cool and was just barely logging onto MySpace on my aqua-blue iMac when I was her age.You can imagine, then, how many questions I had for Glass—a true Gen Z girl—when I got the chance to sit down with her the other day. From the moment I met her, I could sense that she's a real force to be reckoned with… She's got these spot-on eyebrows, some serious beyond-her-years wisdom, and she takes being bold to a whole new level. Yet somehow she still has the playful charm of a teenager ready to sashay gracefully into adulthood. I'm impressed.

So how does Glass manage the rigors of school, work, and just trying to be a teenager, I ask? "Balance is key," she tells me. It helps, of course, that she genuinely loves what she does: In fact, she tells me her love for dance gives her a sense of purpose.


Take one look at her YouTube channel and you'll literally see her growing before your very eyes. Glass has been dancing since she was in diapers, and it's been inspiring to watch her build a full-on career out of that passion after dancing her way into Beyoncé's heart. It's also impressive to see how grounded she remains: She tells me she's always placed a real importance on staying real and not letting her growing success get to her head.


Of course, as a fashion editor, I was also curious about Glass's sartorial influences and the way she builds her streetwear/on-trend wardrobe.

I've been observing Gen Z girls through the lens of my Instagram "discover" feed, and I've noticed that these days, teenagers are a lot more interested in how something would look on their profile than a millennial like myself was concerned with.

"As I grow up, my style has matured and grown," she tells me. "I like to experiment with my style too." Generally, though, she says likes to keep things fairly classic: "It's the real OG."




On the subject of fashion icons, Glass was quick to offer up an answer that transcends the gap between millennials and Gen Z: Minnie Mouse. When Glass was younger, she liked wearing her hair in two puffs on top of her head like Minnie ears, but these days, touches of reinvented polka dots are her way of incorporating the Disney icon's style into her everyday looks whether it's through rhinestone-encrusted sunglasses or opting for graphic t-shirts that have touches of the print. "Minnie inspires me to stay playful and flirtatious while staying true to who I am," Glass explains, adding that she really loves Minnie's classic bow. Which got me thinking: Why haven't I thought about adding a bow to my Monday morning outfits?




Ready to see Charlize dance? Watch the video below. 



Nayiri Mampourian
Senior Fashion Editor, Branded Content

Nayiri is Who What Wear's senior fashion editor for branded content and based in her hometown, Los Angeles. It all began in 2014 when she landed an internship at the company and never looked back. While she does love writing her fair share of fashion stories, her heart really belongs in the brainstorm room, where she has fun strategizing different ways to create content with our fashion partners so that you engage with the brands you know and love. Her style tends to be more classic (she loves a good black-and-white look with gold accessories), and white pumps are kind of her thing. If she had to pick one person's wardrobe to raid, it would be Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's, and she also has a major obsession with interior design. She's a mom to a 1-year-old baby girl named Sophie, and she fully plans on training her to spot fashion trends by the time she's 10. That's all!