Asia Monet has attracted attention on many well-known platforms. She found initial success in dancing competitions across the United States, before appearing in the reality TV show, “Dance Moms,” then surprising everyone by getting a show dedicated to her, “Raising Asia.” Afterwards, while people thought Asia would enjoy her on-screen fame for decades, she withdrew from pursuing a “safe” goal, competitive dancing.
Instead, Asia explored other talents to see if she could attain the same or higher prominence. This decision showed that the young dancer followed in her parents’ footsteps and that her ambitions included joining other competitions and branching into entertainment, such as singing and modeling. Let’s dive into why Asia Monet left “Dance Moms”, and what she did in the years after.
- 1 Who is Asia Monet?
- 2 When did she get into dancing?
- 3 Asia Monet during “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition”
- 4 Joining “Dance Moms” and her journey
- 5 Asia Monet leaves “Dance Moms” and the aftermath
- 6 Getting a reality show and other TV appearances in 2014
- 7 A brief return to “Dance Moms” and other notable appearances
- 8 Releasing a music album and several singles in later years
- 9 Making an acting debut
- 10 Asia reveals real reasons for leaving nine years later
- 11 She felt that she should either give her best at dancing, or not try
- 12 Asia’s career in 2021 and beyond
- 13 She has no regrets about her dancing stint
Who is Asia Monet?
Asia Monet Ray was born on 10 August 2005 in Yorba Linda, California, USA, as the eldest daughter of Kristie Monet Ray, a former bodybuilder, certified paramedic, and skincare salon owner, and Shawn Ray, a professional bodybuilder, author, magazine cover model, and founder of a bodybuilding charity fundraiser. Her sister, Bella Blu Ray, was born on 30 April 2008 and is an Internet personality with the most significant following on Instagram and YouTube. Asia also has an older half-sister named Kerri on her father’s side, with whom he only reconnected in 2016.
When did she get into dancing?
Asia Monet started gymnastics, ice skating, and dancing all at once when she was 18 months old. At 4, she began dancing competitively, and promptly entered her first Starpower National Talent competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. After she won Petite Miss Starpower in 2011, two years later, several producers spotted her and sent her mom an e-mail with an audition proposal, so she flew to New York City and performed two dance routines from the competition.
Satisfied producers gave her a questionnaire and were shocked to hear she was six because their project required a minimum age of nine. With her mom’s permission, who said she ‘was a different breed of a child,’ Asia did a mental maturity test to ensure she could handle the pressure and the presence of cameras.
Asia Monet during “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition”
After competing for several years, receiving a green light, and learning that the filming would happen in Los Angeles, California, and not New York City, where she auditioned, Asia Monet joined the cast of the first season of “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition.”
She cannot remember whether the series was entitled “My Kid Can Dance,” which was the working title and appeared on contract for other dancers. Additionally, she didn’t submit an audition tape because the producers scouted her. This information shocked viewers who learned that, according to Yvette Walts, mother of one of the competitors and based on audition tapes, over 2,000 dancers wanted to join the show.
Anyone who knew the backstory was unsurprised to learn she was the cast’s youngest member. Nonetheless, Asia used her charisma, technique, competitive spirit, and talent to impress the judges and ended in third place at age 7. She said she grew up in a family of athletes, and was surrounded by strict teachers since she could walk, so her placement didn’t surprise her. Her feat was even more impressive when people realized that the winner, Brianna Haire, was 23, while the runner-up, Madison O’Connor, was 13 during the competition.
Asia challenges the final five contestants to a high-energy diva dance-off!
Posted by Dance Moms: Full Numbers on Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Joining “Dance Moms” and her journey
Instead of returning for the second season, Abby Lee Miller invited Asia and her mom to join her studio, Abby Lee Dance Company as a guest, and appear in her TV show “Dance Moms” in the third season’s episode 14. Asia and her mom accepted, although she appeared in an episode “Divas in the House” in the second season of the previous show, even judged the group’s competition, and supported contestants in the season finale.
With that said, Asia’s time in “Dance Moms” was filled to the brim with excellence – she joined the junior Elite Competition Team, which was an achievement as she was the only dancer from the first season of the previous show to enter this reality TV competition. Asia competed in many groups, and her undefeatable solos marked her time in the show. She excelled at jazz and hip-hop, two of her favorite dance styles, and won first place in episodes such as “The Robot,” “Rock That,” and “Ready for War.”
Her victories were even more remarkable because, due to her age, she could only practice new dances for two hours a day, and had to be homeschooled and study on set. In contrast, older dancers had four to five hours to learn a dance, and professionals usually had half a year to prepare for a major competition. Actually, one of her most memorable experiences during the filming was the snow in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as she grew up in California, and had never seen snow before.
Asia Monet leaves “Dance Moms” and the aftermath
Asia Monet left “Dance Moms” during the 37th episode, “The Big, Not So, Easy.” Her team headed to the Nationals in the Masters of Dance Arts New Orleans Invitational event hosted at Tulane University’s McAllister Auditorium. Although her mom Kristie promised Asia would be there, a fight that broke out between dancers’ moms changed everything, and Asia quit before the Nationals.
However, neither she nor her mother clarified the reason for leaving back then. Asia only said she had her mom’s approval, and was planning to pursue other opportunities in Los Angeles.
Getting a reality show and other TV appearances in 2014
Viewers were confused by her departure, but more worried about the legal side. Based on other contestants’ public discussions, dancers had a strict contract, thus leaving before the “Dance Moms” season ended in mid-September 2013 would breach the agreement Asia and her mom signed. Luckily, the announcement that Asia and her family would get a spin-off TV show entitled “Raising Asia,” which premiered on 29 July 2014, explained her abrupt withdrawal.
Asia claims that she had no idea this would happen, and that the producers sent the offer on the night she quit, or the day after. Additionally, based on some rumors, the producers had wanted her to appear in “Dance Moms” to introduce herself to the audience, and then planned to create the show from the get-go.
Throughout 13 episodes of the first and only season on the Lifetime channel that finished airing on 9 September 2014, the audience saw her daily life as a dancer, and her efforts to become an actress and singer. Her show featured her entire family, her main choreographer and manager, and answered many additional questions about her sudden exit, and goals.
Years later, Asia, clarified that the producers were eager to film another season of “Raising Asia” but that she didn’t want to continue, citing being in front of cameras from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and disliking that publicity affected her family life.
A brief return to “Dance Moms” and other notable appearances
Additionally, Asia made her last appearance in “Dance Moms” in season four, episode 18, entitled “Girl Talk,” which premiered on 29 April 2014. She was also featured in the fifth episode of season 13 of “Hell’s Kitchen,” and performed at the 27th Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards in 2014. That year, Asia received a nomination at the Industry Dance Awards in the Favorite Dancer 17 & Under category, too – all these activities ensuring that Asia remained in the spotlight, and viewers didn’t get to protest her absence from Abby Lee Miller’s dancing show.
— Abbys Originals (@dancemomsgirl98) October 4, 2013
Releasing a music album and several singles in later years
With her passion for dancing waning in 2014, Asia was preparing for a career shift, partly because she came from a musical family, and wrote music while dancing. She also felt it would be too early for acting since she had just quit being in front of the camera. Although the producers and Lifetime talent agents were disappointed, she was happy, citing that she ‘wanted to conclude an entire chapter of her life, dancing, at 10.’
As part of her efforts to switch to music, Asia released her debut self-titled album on 29 July 2014, the same day “Raising Asia” aired for the first time. Several songs were prominent, including “Get up 2 Get Down” and “Go Back.” Still, two received the most attention – “1 Wish 4 U” as it had an official, radio, and acoustic version, and “Christmas Time” because it was released with a music video.
Asia didn’t stop there; she released another music video entitled “Mary, Did You Know?” in 2015 and three music videos in 2016, entitled “Rise,” “I’ll Show You,” and “Kill ‘Em With Kindness.” A week before her 12th birthday in 2017, she released another single, “Come Along,” and another, coupled with a female empowerment music video, “Hey Girl” in 2018. Asia wrapped up 2019 with two singles, “Bad Connection” and “Real Life.”
Making an acting debut
After expressing her desire to be an actress, Asia landed her first named role as Young Lexie in the 2015 movie entitled “Sister Code,” starring Amber Rose, Eva Marcille and Drew Sidora. However, her two most recognized acting roles have been in four episodes of “American Crime Story” as Sydney Simpson and Jasmine Singh, in two episodes of the 12th season of “Grey’s Anatomy,” both in 2016.
She also played Eliza in a short comedy musical entitled “Zombies 2: The Collab” with YouTubers such as Ben Azelart, Brent Rivera, Sofie Dossi and Alan Stokes, and fellow dancers Mackenzie Ziegler, Madison Lewis, Nia Sioux, and Tatiana McQuay, to promote the second installment in the Disney original movie franchise.
Asia reveals real reasons for leaving nine years later
In September 2021, while discussing her life up to that point on the What They Don’t Tell You (WTDTY) podcast, Asia was a bit more specific in hindsight about her hurried departure from “Dance Moms.” – ‘I left of my own decision. I thought my time was up, and I wanted to do other things. I didn’t want to compete anymore as a dancer.’
Her friend Jordyn inquired about the abruptness, and she responded, ‘People think that I just quit dance altogether recently, but I started losing my love for dance after I felt like I was a show pony, and feeling like I always had to be on ten.’ She added that she had a great time, loved everyone there, and felt comfortable with her surroundings. In other words, she didn’t leave due to a negative experience.
She felt that she should either give her best at dancing, or not try
During the same podcast, Asia elaborated on what led to moving away from dancing. She explained that someone always booked her for dancing performances, and never for the other passions she disclosed to her talent agency. Therefore, she slowly started giving excuses to her talent agent, and skipping events, even important ones such as music video appearances and award shows.
Asia remarked that she didn’t feel stressed or overwhelmed at the time, and that besides a lack of passion, dancing started taking a toll on her body. Specifically, because she was a gymnast, and her solo involved many complex movements, her muscles and joints were getting tired, and she risked injury. Ultimately, Asia wanted to know she gave all she could while dancing; otherwise, appearing was not as rewarding. She also felt fans would feel disappointed if her performance was inferior to what they saw on TV, and supporting her fellow dancers from afar was the right choice.
Asia also clarified that she never stopped dancing; she still danced privately and worked with California dance instructors for years after leaving the show. Her mindset was the key difference; she only posts something about dancing if she wants constructive criticism.
Asia’s career in 2021 and beyond
Asia moved from Corona, California, where she lived during her time in the dancing show and for a while afterward, and now in 2023, lives in Orange County, California, with her family. She planned to release a single, full-length, or EP (extended play) album by the end of 2021. However, Asia delayed those plans because she became a model in the early 2020s. To mitigate that game, she occasionally released song covers on her YouTube channel in 2021 and 2022, but as a model, she appeared in the New York Fashion Week, although not on the catwalk, and attended private shows by designers such as Patricia Bonaldi, Alexandra O’Neill and Cynthia Rowley.
Asia also leverages her Instagram account with over 1.7 million followers to promote brands such as Levi’s, Victoria’s Secret, Ksubi, and I AM GIA. Additionally, her prominence and fashion allowed her to collaborate on a “Heritage” fashion collection with Rebecca Hessel Cohen, founder of the LoveShackFancy New York fashion brand.
Although she does a lot of work to stay in shape for her modeling career, Asia admits to two guilty pleasures. Her favorite drink is a Starbucks beverage, a strawberry acai refresher with no sweetener, two agaves, and lemonade – she has a sweet tooth, but has controlled her calorie intake by being vegetarian since 2013;Asia remarks that she would never be a vegan because she dislikes beans. Her dad, a former bodybuilder, teases her, thinking it’s a phase and she will eventually come around to eating meat.
She has no regrets about her dancing stint
Asia was open about not regretting a moment she spent dancing, even though she had no plans to return. She feels she would have had to attend public school and have ‘an everyday teenage life.’ That way, she wouldn’t be able to attract brands to model for and land the roles she did, and she feels like growing up in front of cameras helped support her extrovert personality.
Although Asia admits her childhood was hectic and rigorous, she considers working a form of therapy, and states that it was what she wanted to do at the time. Moreover, she has a favorable opinion of Abby Lee Miller, unlike many “Dance Moms” contestants, and felt that Abby respected her enthusiasm, work ethic, and talent.
Finally, in late 2021, she revealed that she plans to continue her education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, studying courses related to the entertainment industry!