It’s been a minute! Welcome to the revamp of our Behind The Beauty feature, a series of interviews chronicling the lives, work and interesting facts of the 876 Beauties we showcase on our platforms, going beyond their gorgeous looks.
The first 876 Beauty we recently linked up with for this Behind the Beauty relaunch is the multitalented Empress Cece, a popular U.S.-based dancer with strong, proud Jamaican roots who has danced alongside some of dancehall and soca’s top names. As you’ll see, she’s just as vibrant and captivating in conversation as she is on the dancefloor. Let’s get to know her more.
876: Thanks for joining us! We’ve been following your journey and dance chops for several years now and can tell you’re a natural at what you do. What motivated you to become a dancer in the first place?
Empress: I really can’t say what motivated me. I was just always dancing from mi mummy’s womb. Music is the fuel that always inspired me from when I was young.
Yes, I was trained professionally from age 5 in West African Dance for many years. Although, I can’t say what my motivation was. Over the years I continued to dance in many genres – modern, stepping, hip hop, African boot dance & etc.) – just loving the rhythms that move me.
876: Tell us about your upbringing. You’re based in the U.S. and do much of your work there, but you’re a champion for Jamaican music and culture everywhere you go. What was your first exposure to Jamaican music and who were your favourite dancehall artists growing up?
Empress: Well as I am Jamaican! Bap Bap Bap! My exposure to Jamaican music starts from my household!! But my house played all types of music because, naturally, we as Caribbean people have so much history & culture. Just bare mix-up & blend up!
Favourite dancehall artists? Now that’s very hard being born in the ’80s. Dancehall was evolving fast. Each decade, there were so many different artists to vibe to. I can’t say I had one favourite artist but it was many I grew up on. To name a few that stand out in Dancehall/Reggae are Supercat, Buju Banton, Tiger, Garnett Silk, Terror Fabulous, Sanchez, Beres Hammond & the list goes on.
876: We see you at countless parties doing your thing and owning the room with your moves and curves. How do you judge when the vibe is right at a party to get immersed in it and dance at will?
Empress: It’s just innate. I read the room! Once a beat drops or a song that moves me is played, then it’s a wrap! Lol. Most people are too shy to express themselves through dance. It’s never been a thought for me. When a selecta plays music, we are supposed to be dancing, so I just vibe out. We didn’t come to stand around, pose off &/or chat. That’s why it’s a dancehall/BASHMENT/party!
876: You also have run a dance class for several years now called Dance-N-Drip. How did the concept come about and how successful has it been for you?
Empress: Funny story, I never wanted to do classes. But I was contacted to start a class called Soca N Sweat. If you didn’t hear about it before, yes, I was the original instructor for Soca N Sweat. There were some issues with the colleague business-wise. So I branched off with my classes. My younger brother was one of the main people to tell me to keep going with the classes. He helped me come up with the name. Big Up Yuhself Boss King!
We agreed to Dance N Drip because, one, I do not dance to one genre of music. Second, I always have the people dripping/sweating! The legacy continues. It has been successful for me in many ways. I’ve travelled to many places, met many different people, and touched many lives. Like any business or, any entrepreneur, there are obstacles & challenges. The fans/supporters/clients keep me going.
876: What is the most rewarding part about dancing for you and what’s the most difficult part?
Empress: The most rewarding part about dancing is seeing people smile. I love making people feel good or giving them the energy to want to be happy & comfortable. The difficult part about dancing in retrospect can be the people as well. The ignorance, biases, & jealousy from people can be a lot to test your character or even discourage you. You have to have thick skin in entertainment, especially as a woman.
876: You’ve gotten to appear alongside some notable dancehall stars over time, recently appearing on shows with Elephant Man and Cham. Who’s been your favourite artist to work with throughout your time dancing?
Empress: If we are referring to dancehall artists, I enjoy a few of them because they are talented and are comedians. QQ is one artist who always has a great people vibe! The one I worked with the most and actually toured around the world with is Charly Black. We have good performing chemistry & it naturally flows.
This is regarding dancehall music, not soca artists! For Soca artists, I would have to say Freezy & Marzville are my favourites to work with. Big up to all the artists I’ve worked with & I hope to perform with many more that I admire.
876: As an amazing 876 Beauty, we’re sure guys have been trying to use God knows whatever pickup lines to try and win you over after seeing your looks and your dancing. Enlighten the men out there. What’s the best way for a man who’s interested in you to approach you?
Empress: Lol, now this is a good one! I must say honesty with some charm & wonderful smile may catch my attention.
876: Also, as an 876 Beauty, what do you consider your most attractive physical attribute? And, what’s your most attractive non-physical attribute?
Empress: I don’t even like talking about my physical anything. But, from what I hear from many people – including my mother – I think my most attractive physical attribute is my shape. most importantly my legs. And, my non-physical attribute is my captivating smile.
876: When it comes to a relationship, we know there are several moving parts to it. Love, sex, trust, companionship, etc. What do you think is the most important aspect of a functional relationship?
Empress: Hmmm..this is very interesting because it’s quite difficult being internationally known. There are many moving parts yes but I think being transparent, honest and communicative are key!!!!! You have to start there to even form a relationship.
876: What is one interesting fact about you that people may not know?
Empress: An interesting fact about me is I love competing in physical sports. DWL!
876: What projects and parties should we look forward to seeing Empress Cece in the near future? And how can people follow your progress on social media?
Empress: I do have a class tour coming up.. it will be many cities and countries. That is being organized now towards the end of 2023 and beginning of 2024. I have many hostings coming up & every month is something new. Miami Carnival, I will be on the road playing Mas with HauseofWolves. Also, I am an ambassador for a group called Endlezz Army and I’ll be hosting their event called Frost White in Dec. 2023.
To keep updated on the events, classes, private lessons that I’ll be attending or having you can follow on Instagram: Empresscece, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@EmpressCece, Facebook: EmpressCC, TIkTok: TheOfficialEmpressCece If anyone is interested in Booking for any type of event or choreography for special events, email Cece@EmpressCece.Com